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A Weekend Getaway

Escape to a historic hidden gem in plain sight.

Kids still at camp? Grab your partner and experience a weekend of historic luxury.

Just 30 miles north of Chicago, Deer Path Inn ( has all the charm and hospitality of a stay in the English countryside without having to use your passport. Nestled in the sleepy suburb of Lake Forest, Ill., Deer Path Inn has been serving up English innkeeping traditions for nearly a century. 

The Inn is certainly known to the locals who sell out their Afternoon Tea service or gather in the Bar for craft cocktails and expertly prepared comfort foods like cottage pie, fish ’n’ chips and steak frites, but it’s mostly a tucked-away secret.

There’s no mistaking the Inn upon arrival. The Tudor-style stucco and half-timbered structure was modeled after a 15th-century manor house in one of England’s oldest villages. The inviting lobby, with its flagstone floor, wood-beamed ceiling, and fire burning in the hearth, felt like a warm embrace. 

“The Inn has been the backdrop for generations of family memories and special occasions,” says George Cook, director of guest services. “Additionally, many of our employees have worked here for decades and are the fabric of the Inn. The culture is one of caring-based service and putting others first.” 

In contrast to the darker, cozy, cocoon-like feeling of the common areas of the property, the Inn’s 57 rooms are decorated in a fresh, neutral palette with traditional wood accents. Every detail is of superb quality, from the Frette linens to a marble-tiled bathroom with Jacuzzi soaking tub and fluffy oversized bath towels. 

The level of comfort that the Inn provides is such that there is no need to leave the premises. You could start your day with a full English breakfast in the Inn’s glass atrium overlooking the patio courtyard. If you find you crave some fresh air, take a mile and a half walk or bike ride to the shores of Lake Michigan and then tuck into a hearty lunch in the White Hart Pub with a steaming hot bowl of French onion soup while listening to the pub’s playlist including the perfect UK rock mix of Queen and Elton John. Relax by the fire with a book in the Hearth Room before dinner.

Meals feel like an event at the Inn, complete with such an authentic setting, the only thing missing are the English accents. The White Hart Pub, in the Inn’s lower level, is all wood-paneled and tartan-cushioned with vintage Toby mugs peering down at you from the shelves. The Bar is packed with locals and visitors on a Saturday night, offering a convivial atmosphere in the wood-paneled space with leather banquettes and paintings of hunting dogs on the walls.

When it comes to cuisine, Deer Path Inn offers an interesting option: sushi. Unexpected, but absolutely legit, it’s been a staple at the Inn for many years. Although it’s a deviation from the Brit theme, it’s so popular that it endures.

Chief Spirit Officer Jorge Centeno develops the extensive cocktail list for the Inn. His recipes are personal and wildly inventive. “I am inspired by everything: the seasons, holidays, places I have visited, scents and flavors I’ve enjoyed,” he says. “Sometimes I start with a spirit and build from there and sometimes I start with a vision in my head and then bring it to life.” The Inn’s signature Old Fashioned is made with a special spice-infused simple syrup made in-house. Local honey from the Inn’s sushi chef is incorporated into some of the cocktails.

The Inn is infused with a feeling of family — it’s built into the wood beams and stucco walls and is exuded by the staff. Deer Path Inn doesn’t feel like a parody of an English inn. It is an English inn — it just happens to be in a Chicago suburb.