Nestled in the heart of White Pines Forest State Park, located roughly 2 hours outside of Chicago in Mt. Morris, Ill., lies White Pines Lodge.
The cozy lodge encompasses 23 rustic one-room log cabins that were constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The lodge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the center of activity for those who stay overnight or enjoy a day at the park.
Since 1989, the Lodge’s Pines Dinner Theatre has welcomed live entertainment including singers, actors, comedians, plays and tribute shows. The menu offers a buffet, coffee or tea, and dessert.
“The Dinner Theatre features 30-plus musical tribute shows and theater productions every year,” says Troy Derrer, general manager at White Pines Lodge. “We are well known for our ‘Scrooge the Comedy’ performances in December, which have been running for over 30 years.”
The Lodge Restaurant offers a taste of traditional American cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Open Sunday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., the restaurant’s menus feature everything from old-fashioned biscuits and gravy to 100% premium beef prime rib and more. The dessert menu includes specialties like the signature raspberry pie, made with fresh fruit and a flakey, buttery double crust.
White Pines Forest State Park offers 6 miles of hiking trails in a scenic, wooded landscape.
There’s access to a canyon where weddings and private events are hosted, and about 4 minuteswest of the lodge is White Pines Ranch, which offers youth horseback riding. The nearby towns of Mt. Morris and Oregon possess their own variety of shops, historical attractions, access to the scenic Rock River, and several other state parks and nature preserves.
“Get away from the hustle and bustle to relax in nature, enjoy a great meal in our restaurant or partake in a show,” Derrer says.
White Pines Lodge is located at 6712 W. Pines Road, in Mt. Morris, Ill., (815) 655-2400, whitepinesinn.com.