Blarney’s Island, courtesy Visit Lake County
Tell me about some interesting places for off-site events.
• A new year-round pavilion accommodates up to 300 people at Cuneo Mansion and Gardens in Vernon Hills. The European art collection enlivens receptions in the Italianate mansion’s Great Hall.
• Dinner on the 4,600-square-foot stage is one possibility at Waukegan’s Genesee Theater; lectures that make use of the theater’s 2,400 seats are another. Restored a decade ago, the theater is a dazzler with crystal chandeliers, gold moldings and red velvets and brocades.
• Lake County’s long Lake Michigan shoreline has venues with water views. The 1,100-acre preserve Independence Grove, Audubon Hall is lakeside and has event space overlooking the marina, lake and beach. Views are similar at Illinois State Beach Resort and Conference Center, which has 92 guest rooms and 11,000 square feet of meeting space.
How can we spend our free time?
• Play golf at one of the more than 30 golf courses including Conway Farms, where the 2013 BMW Championship was played.
• See a Broadway musical at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire.
• Learn more about the Navy at the Great Lakes Naval Museum at Great Lakes Naval Station. The Naval Station serves as boot camp for Navy recruits.
• For spouse activities or after-hours events, use the Lake County CVB’s itineraries as a springboard.
Tell me about some restaurants where we can enjoy local flavor.
At Lindy’s Landing in Wauconda, savor onion rings dipped in a Caribbean coconut breading and the view of boats bobbing in the Bang’s Lake marina. Mickey Finn’s Brewery in Libertyville is the area’s first brewpub. Parties can adjourn to its Amber Room with glasses of Bear Down Brown Ale.
Rare is the diner who turns down the seasoned rolls and the homemade tiramisu at family-owned Salutos in Gurnee. At David’s Bistro in Antioch, pork tenderloin sits on a sauce of apples, gorgonzola and dates. Dine in a 1927 railroad car at Chessie’s in Barrington. After Capt. James Lovell and his crew brought Apollo 13 safely back to Earth, Lovell ventured into other lines of work, including the restaurant business. His Lovells in Lake Forest has out-of-this-world cuisine, like Australian rack of lamb with goat cheese Dijon crust. A wine cellar is among the restaurant’s private dining spaces.