Escaping the hustle of the city doesn’t necessarily mean escaping the beauty of the arts; far from it in Spring Green, Wisconsin in fact. Home to the American Players Theatre since 1980, this picturesque haven in the woods offers up a balm to the mind, body and spirit. (When’s the last time you strolled up a moonlit path–breathing in the scent of wildflowers, no less–to enjoy a superbly staged performance under the stars?)
August at APT brings literary greatness from Stoppard to Shakespeare, and provides a stellar repertory primer for the uninitiated. The hilarious and tightly spun “A Comedy of Errors”–running through September–was enjoyed by packed crowds ranging from elderly patrons and tattooed hipsters, to my rapt 6-year-old on the night we attended. (Accessible Shakespeare may just be the very definition of “family friendly.”) The hilltop amphitheater, that open air gem of a venue, is truly an enchanted spot to experience shows on balmy evenings. And the Touchstone Theatre, with its interior modernity and attention to detail, offers a beautiful counterpoint stage for a weekend filled with shows (which I highly recommend taking full advantage of).
Families staying in the area will find the charm extends far beyond the box office. The funky House on the Rock Resort boasts a terrific series of swimming pools, an “above and beyond”staff and guest room suites which let parents enjoy bucolic views from the quietude of that killer second room. (Can you say “post-bedtime balcony cocktails?” I bet you can.) Other nearby must-sees include the Cave of the Mounds with its prehistoric crystalline beauty, and the House on the Rock itself, an architectural marvel which includes the world’s biggest indoor carousel alongside creations too marvelous to list.
A mere three hours outside of Chicago, a jaunt to Spring Green is an easy weekend trip, and an even easier way to air out your soul.