Getting back to nature in Galena


 
 

Chicago Parent Staff

Resources
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa
(800) 892-2269
www.eagleridge.com

I’d just read an article about how nature deprived this generation of children is before I left for the Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa in Galena. Three hours later, when I maneuvered my mini-van down a steep path to park near our weekend house in the woods, I realized we were about to make up for lost time.

My husband, our three children and I were spending three days in the Galena Territory, courtesy of Eagle Ridge. This time of year, there are free kids’ craft classes, face painting, campfires, nature hikes and family scavenger hunts.

During the summer, you can rent paddleboats, pontoons, tennis equipment and bikes (warning: the hills are steep; even walking is rigorous exercise). In the winter, there are complimentary sleigh rides, sledding and ice skating. Snow shoes and cross country skis are available (free for the first two hours, $10 per hour after that).

When we visited in November, it was hard to entice my children—Anthony, 12, Emma, 9, and Grace, 7—to leave the house and surrounding woods. Our four-bedroom, three-story house looked like something out of Better Homes and Garden magazine and we loved the full-size pool table in the house and the hot tub outside surrounded by the woods. My children actually sat silently in the hot tub while a family of four deer stood nearby, just looking at us.

We did head into Galena, but after spending 15 minutes looking for a parking space, the kids begged us to head back to the woods, which we did. I might have enjoyed exploring the small shops, but my children were much more interested in watching the blue jays fly from tree to tree, spying deer in the woods and counting stars at night. They soaked in the nature and I couldn’t help thinking the article was right—nature and children belong together.

Galena, for one short weekend, allowed my children to find the Big Dipper and watch a sunrise through the trees.

Liz DeCarlo

 

 
 





 
 
 
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