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5 Historical Midwest Retreats

5 Historical Midwest Retreats

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The Midwest offers a handful of unexpected destination resorts with vast acreage and expansive historical buildings. With so many on-site opportunities to relax and reconnect, you don't even need to leave the property. These five exceptional retreats offer the best of the classic mini-break, be it as a family, alone, with friends or as a couple. Take advantage of the great seasonal weather in the Midwest and book your room now.

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The Elms Hotel and Spa, Missouri

Established in 1888, and recently renovated, the historic and timeless luxury of this property is not lost on us. Add in a potential haunting and we're in. Indoor & outdoor pools, grand bedrooms, classic American cocktails and homegrown food, round out a comfortable yet exceptional getaway. Nearby wineries and golf courses dot the beautiful Midwest landscape, only 40 minutes from Kansas City. If you can, book the Grotto Experience in the hotel's spa. Inspired by the area's mineral springs and a traditional Roman bath, they've modernized this luxurious and relaxing retreat with both steam and dry saunas, a hot tub, and an exfoliation bar.

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The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan

There is a reason why the legendary Grand Hotel makes several "best of" lists annually. Plus, anytime you arrive by ferry or a property is registered with the historic hotels of America, our interest is immediately peaked. This 19th century Summer resort sits high above Lake Huron and is very reminiscent of the seaside properties maintained by generations of East Coast high society in the 1920's. Activities are grounded in the traditions you'd expect from a classic era where it's commonplace to sit on a porch drinking tea, or dancing in the moonlight. Where you play lawn games, listen to live music and swim with a swim cap (just kidding we made that last one up). The exceptionally designed rooms (fabulous wallpaper), hospitable service, family friendly amenities and charming spaces at the Grand Hotel just can't be beat.

RTip: If you are staying as a family and this property is out of your price range, consider booking The Family Experience at the smaller, yet equally charming, storybook Mission Point Hotel on the "sunrise side of the island."

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Stout's Island Lodge, Wisconsin

Rightly named the "Island of Happy Days," this resort will fill your heart and transport you back in time. Welcoming visitors in their gorgeous boathouse for nearly 150 years, Stout's Lodge is an idyllic getaway for people of all ages. There is so much and so very little to do, all at the same time. Fully equipped for water activities, lawn games, tennis and picnics. They even offer s'mores kits and a full bar to grab a glass of red wine for the evening bonfires. For everything you need to know about this lovely resort, see our full destination post here.

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The American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin

Originally a dormitory with a pub, bowling alley and barbershop for immigrant workers, this charming 1800's redbrick tudor is exactly what you'd expect from a classic luxury resort. You'll immediately appreciate the opportunity to experience the history of this quaint world class hotel, offering tennis, yoga and a 5-star spa. Think generous pours of whiskey, old libraries, and a conservatory right out of the game of Clue. Not to mention the Whistling Straits championship golf course, nestled nearby along the shores of Lake Michigan. Golfing here is breathtaking beyond expectation. Family activities, including a kids club, multiple restaurants, a tavern and wine bar, round out the on-site offerings. The Carriage House guest rooms in the annex next to the club, offer extra amenities as well as the convenience of being in the same building as the Kohler Waters Spa, where there is a rooftop deck with a whirlpool, fireplace and lounge. Renovations to the property finish this summer. This place feels like a dream, if you dream of living in a Country Club.

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Big Cedar Lodge, Ozark Mountains, Missouri

This celebrated wilderness oasis is the perfect couples getaway and a long-standing favorite of families, many who return each year for the unforgettable experience. Treasured activities include kayaking on Table Rock Lake and hiking in nearby Dogwood Canyon. We love coming back after a day of exploring to find tree-shaped gingersnap cookies on our pillows, a tradition I remember fondly from childhood. There’s now even more to do for all ages with the recent additions of Fun Mountain, which includes an underwater-themed bowling alley, and the top-rated Aquarium. No matter who you’re with, the day should end at Top of the Rock, where a nightly sunset ceremony is set to the peaceful tune of bagpipes. It’s the one of the best views in the country. If golf is your thing, this property boasts world-class golf courses, including one designed by Jack Nicklaus. Fly in to Kansas City or Springfield, MO and enjoy the scenic drive. Thanks to the care put in to every detail by the resort’s founder, even the winding road into the resort is something people talk about. Review Courtesy of Amy Riley


Weekend bag essentials include leggings, slip-on shoes and a comfy sweatshirt (this one is the softest and a great price) and a great dress for dinner.

What are we missing? Tell us your favorite Midwest Getaway in the comments below.

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