Autumn ColorsOne of the greatest aspects of autumn is that the season provides a fleeting glimpse of nature at its most radiant and brilliant best. It’s almost as though nature has provided fall colors as compensation in advance for the cold and snow ahead.

In Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, the changing of the leaves is upon us. In a twinkling, it will pass, replaced by grayish hues of winter. That means there’s no time to waste. Before the season passes, you owe it to yourself to get out and see the fall colors, to enjoy the majesty of nature’s handiwork and to fortify yourself for the cold ahead.

From Chicago, Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin are only a couple hours away, at the most. The border-line area offers an accessible destination where autumn’s splendor can fill a day-long excursion. But, why pack all that beauty into a single day? Why rush nature when it is moving fast enough on its own?

A better idea is to come north to the Illinois and Wisconsin border and stay a while – rest, relax and recharge your batteries.

By spending the night along the border you’ll maximize the experience. It’s an opportunity to appreciate the gold, red, yellow, orange and greens of fall. To really make the most of your trip, why not develop a full itinerary of adventures? For instance, you can start your adventure on Saturday, Oct. 18:
• Noon: Arrive at 16105 Garden Valley Road, Woodstock for Autumn Drive 2014 ( where you’ll follow a country road while stopping at 15 family farms amid the splendor of autumn and stocked with things to see, buy, eat and drink.
• 4 p.m.: Check into the Waterfront Hotel & Marina where Chapel Hill Road ( crosses the Fox River. From your fully equipped room, including a microwave, small refrigerator, flat-screen television, Wifi access and more, you’ll gaze out onto the Fox as it gently rolls by as though carrying your worries and stress away.
• 6 p.m.: Choose from Marzano’s Wood Fired Italian, Green Peapod for Thai, Sakura Japanese Restaurant for sushi or any of a wide range of dining options in the area.
• 8 p.m.: Attend a live performance of Little Shop of Horrors at the historic Woodstock Opera House. After the show, stop at Stage Left Café, the Opera House’s reception and concessions area for snacks, drinks and a chance to reflect on the show and your day of relaxation.
• Midnight, or there abouts: Return for a full night’s slumber between the fresh linen sheets at your room in the Waterfront Hotel & Marina.
• 9 or 10 a.m.: Check out of your room and head off to drop in at the Windhill Pancake Parlor, just down the river in McHenry (west of the river on Route 120).
• Noon: After a breakfast at one of the most charming restaurants in Chicagoland, head north to Richardson Farm and the World’s Largest Corn Maze. Richardson Farm also offers an 850-foot zip line and 50-foot high observation tower where you can have a unique view of the maze and the fall colors. If you’ve brought the children along, you may want to stop at the pumpkin patch, giant slides, pedal carts and wagon rides.

Front_1Maybe you’ll want to create your own itinerary. There’s plenty to do in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Maybe you won’t check out on Sunday but, rather, you’ll stay another night or two. You might even come out a different weekend. If you’re coming for the fall colors, of course, you don’t want to wait to long.

Even if you miss autumn’s splendor, there’s plenty to do in the area the next time you want to get away and escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Whenever you’re ready, you can escape to the Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin border, or just escape to the Waterfront.