Farewell, Pheasant Run

Tonight is Pheasant Run Resort’s last night in business.

What can I say about a place that in just a few short years brought our family so much joy, and helped us create so many special memories?

The first time we went to Pheasant Run in 2016, I was the one who was excited. It had always been that “fancy place out west” when I was a child growing up in Chicago’s suburbs, and I couldn’t believe we were actually going to have the chance to stay there! And we had so much fun exploring the resort that first trip…swimming in the indoor/outdoor pool, visiting Bourbon Street, and of course checking out Combo Breaker (my first, but definitely not last, fighting game tournament experience), at the Mega Center.

After that first long weekend, it became a place we all looked forward to visiting. As we approached St. Charles, no matter which direction we were coming from, we’d compete to see who would catch the first glimpse of Pheasant Run’s impressive tower. And as soon as we were settled in our room (seriously, the should have named it the Markel Room, because we stayed in the same tower location three out of the five times we were there!), and admired the view from the top of the tower, which on a clear day included some of Chicago’s tallest buildings, we always wanted to hit the pool first thing. There were also lots of Combo Breaker memories made over the years in the Mega Center.

Pheasant Run made me feel like a rock star, and helped me make some dreams come true. In 2018, upon arriving in our room, we found fresh cookies and milk and a lovely note waiting for us, and I felt so special. And in 2019, we had a full goody basket of cookies and candies, chips and sodas, plus Kane County Cougars caps and vouchers for tickets to a game during our stay, which was an experience I had always wanted to have…do you see what I mean about feeling like a rock star? And in between those two stays, Pheasant Run hosted us for a Christmas weekend, which allowed us to make some extra special family memories, including taking the children into Chicago to experience a full city Christmas, another dream of mine.

I am so sad that the sun is setting on Pheasant Run, a Chicagoland staple for hospitality and entertainment since 1963, but I will always be grateful for the memories we made there!

Markel Family Combo Breaker Getaway–Day Seven

We’re always sad to say goodbye to Pheasant Run, but that’s how the final day of our trip north began:

We weren’t quite ready to leave Chicagoland, though, so we stopped for a walk around the Lincoln Park Zoo.

We also needed fuel for our journey home, so we went to Rainbow Cone for a treat:

And we stopped in Bloomington/Normal for an early dinner at one of my favorite restaurants…Portillo’s.

And so ended our extended trip for Combo Breaker. We had a lot of fun and made a lot of memories, and summer is only just beginning!

Markel Family Combo Breaker Getaway–Day Six

I had big plan for Memorial Day, because for the first time, we were going to be staying a Pheasant Run an extra day, giving us time for extra activities. My plan was to go to Cantigny Park, which is a fun place to visit any day:

But a really special place to visit on Memorial Day. In addition to a lovely ceremony, where they laid a wreath by the Doughboy statue, there were demonstrations of many kinds, including a fife and drum corps, and an army drill team:

The only real disappointment of the whole trip was that the concert at Cantigny, featuring the Wayne Messmer Big Band, was cancelled due to rain. I was really excited to hear Wayne Messmer sing in person for the first time, but I guess I can hope that we can do that next year. Anyway, we drove back to Pheasant Run in an absolute torrent, and headed up to our room to dry off…we were almost as wet as if we had been swimming!

We went back to Alfie’s Inn for another dinner of appetizers (nachos, wings, spinach and artichoke dip, potato skins, and onions rings), plus another dessert (brownie à la mode).

Thankfully the storms stopped, so we had the chance for one last swim in the Garden Atrium pool:

After our swim, we went back to our room to watch the St. Louis Blues play in the first game of the Stanley Cup final…unfortunately, they lost, but at least we were able to watch them away from home!

Combo Breaker 2019

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a week since Combo Breaker 2019 began! Here’s a look back at some of my favorite moments, including some shots taken during the Tekken 7 Top Eight, which I think was my favorite game to watch this year:

The best part was Ryan being on staff this year. He worked really hard the entire time we were there (we barely even got to see him), but he also got to be part of something really great!

We’re already looking forward to Combo Breaker 2020!!!

Markel Family Combo Breaker Getaway–Day Three

Day three of our vacation was also the day that Combo Breaker began, and of course we had to get a family photo while we were all in the same place (which didn’t happen very often this year!)!

A highlight for whichever children have money to spend is visiting the Gaming Generations booth to buy something video game related. This year, it was all plush, and the nice folks selling them even gave us a discount for being frequent shoppers!

Walking through the resort, we discovered that Pheasant Run had set up this nice table of treats for the gamers to enjoy as they came through the lobby:

After a swim in the Garden Atrium pool (which was surrounded by casuals set-ups for the first time this year, and provided us with a nice soundtrack of buttons mashing), we headed back to Medieval Times for the third year in a row, and for the third year in a row, we got to support the Yellow Knight of Navarre. This year, Ladybug received one of his carnations!

By the time we got back to the hotel, we were exhausted, so we didn’t even stop by Combo Breaker again…just a bit more Food Network before we crashed!

Markel Family Combo Breaker Getaway–Day Two

Last Thursday was one of my favorite days of any trip up north…the day we took the Metra into the city of Chicago!

Those first moments in downtown Chicago are always a thrill for me!

Our big activity this year was going to the Sears Tower Skydeck. (Yes, I hear some people are calling it the Willis Tower these days, but it will always be “Sears” to me!) Not only were we thrilled with the views from all four sides of the Skydeck, we also walked out onto the “Ledge” for an even more amazing, and slightly terrifying, view!

After we had our fill of Chicago views, we made our way to Buckingham Fountain, where we had lunch, and a nice lady offered to take a picture of the six of us:

We then started walking toward Millennium Park, and found this cool dog along the way. I think he’s a companion to the dog we saw on the Wendella dock last year!

Bunny was thrilled to have an opportunity to feed some pigeons:

And we took some pictures at The Bean, as has become our tradition:

We then walked across Michigan Avenue to the Chicago Cultural Center, which used to be the central library in the city, and is home to beautiful mosaics and Tiffany glass domes:

Outside of the Cultural Center, we stopped to see the Bronze Cow statue, a gift to Chicago to commemorate the 1999 Cows on Parade display:

We of course had to stop at Marshall Field’s of Blessed Memory for a box of Frango mints:

And then back to Ogilvie Transportation Center to catch a train back to Geneva. We even found seats on the second floor!

After dinner in the hotel room, we indulged in the chocolate torte cake that I mentioned yesterday. It was as good as I remembered, and the children loved it!

After we spent a little more time relaxing, we headed to the outdoor pool, and stayed in the water as the stars came out. It was a lovely evening for a swim!

Back in the room, we watched a little more Food Network, but not a lot, because we were all exhausted from our busy day, and knew there was more fun to come!

Summer Fun at Pheasant Run

It’s summertime, and that means there’s plenty of fun to be had at Pheasant Run Resort! Of course, the number one summer activity is pool time. Pheasant Run hosts pool parties at the outdoor pool on Saturdays from 11am-4pm, as well as on the Fourth of July and Sunday, September 1, from noon-4pm. There’s a DJ to provide plenty of music, plus poolside games and activities, and drinks available for purchase at the Splash Bar. And if you live in the area, you don’t even have to stay at the resort…you can purchase a wristband that allows you to access the pools all day for $15!

If you want to get out of the sun, you can swim through to the connecting indoor section of the famous indoor/outdoor pool:

Or even visit the charming indoor pool in the Garden Atrium:

If you find that you’re worn out from all of that swimming, you can even check out a board game to continue the family fun!

Summertime also means evening fire pits, and you can purchase a S’mores kit to make your night more fun!

If you’re looking to explore the area a bit, Pheasant Run can also help you purchase tickets to a Kane County Cougars game. The games that the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league team plays are a lot of fun to attend, and you just might be watching tomorrow’s stars on the field!

There are so many fun things to do in the summertime at Pheasant Run, you’re guaranteed to make special family memories, and have tons of Fun at the Run!

Markel Family Combo Breaker Getaway–Day One

It’s time for another Markel Family Road-Trip Wrap-Up!

One week ago, the Fab Five and I left home dark and early to drive up to St. Charles, IL, to meet Ryan at Pheasant Run for this year’s Combo Breaker. Even with the lovely Chicago construction traffic, we made it to the resort by 10:30.

As always, we ran to the Super Target to pick up a few things…the novelty has yet to wear off, and it’s still a treat to shop there!

Then it was pool time! I think we spent almost three hours swimming that first day!

Upon returning to our room, we discovered that the resort fairy had stopped by, and left a basket of goodies, Kane County Cougars caps, and vouchers for tickets to a game while we were in town (stay tuned for the details on that!), along with a lovely note!

We went to dinner with my mom and her husband at one of my favorite Chicagoland restaurants…Alfie’s Inn in Glen Ellyn.

We stopped at the Jewel-Osco after dinner to pick up a chocolate torte, a dessert I have loved for about two decades (more on that tomorrow).

We then enjoyed a pleasant walk around the resort before the storms rolled in and we headed to our room to watch the Food Network on cable TV:

Tomorrow’s post will feature our adventures in downtown Chicago!

Flashback Friday–Fun at Pheasant Run Resort!

I’m so excited that it’s almost time for our annual getaway to Pheasant Run Resort! Here’s a look back at some of the fun we’ve had over the years at the pools, on Bourbon Street, and of course, at Combo Breaker in the Mega Center!

Markel Family Christmas Getaway–Day Three

The third day of our Christmas getaway was also the real reason we were there…to attend the Santa Breakfast at Pheasant Run. We enjoyed the decorations, a great meal, and a nice, leisurely morning together. Before we left the ballroom, we took a family picture with the host of the event:

It’s always hard to say goodby, but at least this time, it’s only six more months until we go back, instead of a whole year!

Before we really hit the road, we had one more stop to make. Since our Chicago Christkindlmarket experience didn’t exactly go as planned, we stopped at their satellite location in Naperville at the Naper Settlement. I was shocked by how big the market was, and how similar to the one in Chicago. I guess I had assumed that it would be kind of…dinky…but it wasn’t at all, and we had a great time!

Since we were already so far south, we didn’t even have to get on the tollway, which was a nice surprise. Just a few hours south on 55, and we were back home. It was definitely a quick trip, but extremely memorable! I’m already looking forward to our next family trip!