Castles, Pubs and Rails, Oh My! in Lake County, Illinois

Rails, Pipes and Pub

Wandering Tree EstateTrain enthusiasts, music and garden lovers, arborists and aficionados of unusual estates unite. We have the group tour for you!

First, visit the grounds of the Wandering Tree Estate, the home of the "Train Lady," Elaine Silets. You will see two very large and elaborate model railroad layouts. The Gloree and Triumphant Garden Railway runs on over 10,000 square feet of land. Large G Scale trains pass through bridges and over waterfalls. See the Japanese Garden that grows thousands of begonias and is complemented by a charming gazebo overlooking the lake.

Then head inside into the Harvey Silets Memorial Chicago Model Railroad Museum. This intimate indoor train museum has O Scale trains that run through a city of Chicago replica. You can expect to find Union Station, a drive-in theater, the Chicago skyline, the underground "L" subway system, Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, a hidden missile silo and so much more.

Our nearby group lunch suggestion is Wild Onion Brewery and Banquets built from recycled timbers that pre-date the American Revolution. The Barrington facility is perched on a restored gravel quarry. Starting as a brewery making Wild Onion beer, the business grew into a showpiece of craftsmanship inside and out. The menu is created with the same commitment to freshness and quality, using as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible. The Great Hall is anchored by a large timber farm cathedral ceiling that overlooks a beautiful 11-acre lake. Settle in for a delicious lunch, accompanying brews, lively conversation and amazing views. 

Sanfilippo Estate in Lake Barrington

From the pub to breathtaking experiences, visit the extraordinary Sanfilippo Estate (home of the Fisher Nut Company family). It's a mansion in its own right, 44,000-square feet+ of amazingness highlighted by countless orchestrions, artwork and Victrolas, the world's largest indoor pipe organ (over 7,000 pipes) and a restored European carousel trimmed in gold. You really need to see it to believe it and settle in for a three-hour tour. The new wing called the Perfume Passageway featuring, Jeffrey's extensive perfume bottle collection and complete 1800s general store is now part of the tour. Smaller VIP groups can arrange for an in-depth tour of the collection. 

Treetime Christmas Creations in Lake Barrington

The combination of these estates also works well during the holidays. Wandering Tree Estate has "Tea with the Train Lady" and The Sanfilippo Estate celebrates with their luncheon and concert on select December days. Add in a stop and shop at nearby Treetime Christmas Creations; they cna include a demo or class on several items such as wreaths, boughs and more. Plus catch everyone up on their holiday shopping.

Residing in the Ice House Mall is an area-favorite, Chessie's Restaurant, where dinner can be conveniently arranged in the train car. Just another tribute to the train lines that run through Barrington. Delectable fare, impeccable service and a relaxing evening to end the day before heading home or to your local hotel. We can make several suggestions including the Hampton Inn & Suites Deer Park, Four Points Sheraton in Buffalo Grove, Marriott Lincolnshire Resort and others depending on your preference. Chessie's Restaurant in Barrington

In the evening during the summer, catch a concert at North America's oldest outdoor music festival: Ravinia Festival in Highland Park (with Ravinia Brewing Co. nearby to wet your whistle), a favorite or new musical at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire or unwind at the hotel. 

Should you wish to extend your tour, we can keep you busy until the weekend. A trip just north of the Lake County border to the Bristol Renaissance Faire, where you can party like it's 1574. The faire boasts a beautiful 30-acre site with open-air stages featuring sword fighters, minstrels, jesters and more. Those who trek back in time to old England have the opportunity to meet Robin Hood or Queen Elizabeth. All entertainment is included with the price of admission and is open on weekends from early July-Labor Day weekend.

Ravinia Festival in Highland Park You'd never know that you'd find such a range of unusual culture and history north of Chicago. Let Jayne assist you with the tour that best fits your special interest group. 

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