Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Kildeer, and Long Grove are northwestern suburbs known for their devotion to community conservation. From the beautifully preserved parks to the old-fashioned buildings and cobblestone streets, these villages reflect a rich pride in their legacy. With housing options ranging from inexpensive properties in Lake Zurich to luxury houses in Long Grove, they offer charming homes for both new and established families.
Hawthorn Woods and Long Grove are 38 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. Lake Zurich is 36 miles from Chicago. Kildeer is 35 miles from Chicago.
Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Kildeer, and Long Grove are committed to fighting suburban sprawl and retaining the region’s antique style. In Long Grove, for example, neon signs and chain stores are prohibited. There are also no sidewalks, street lights, or curbs throughout the community.
In 2006, Lake Zurich was named one of the “Top 25 Affordable Places to Live in the Country” by U.S. News.
The villages of Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Kildeer, and Long Grove were primarily settled by German farmers in the early 1800s. When the Eerie Canal opened in 1825, settlers moved to the Great Lakes in search of fertile soil, woodlands, and plentiful game for hunting. This patch of northwestern Illinois perfectly combined these resources, providing an ideal home for immigrant families.
These villages were not incorporated, however, until the 1950s when various area property owners proposed major development plans. The communities felt these plans conflicted with their traditional aesthetic, and referendums were passed to protect the villages’ antique character.
With an average home price of $274,900, Lake Zurich offers remarkably affordable housing in a safe, affluent, and family-friendly neighborhood. Neighboring suburbs offer larger, more expensive homes for expanding families with averages of $607,806 in Hawthorn Woods, $712,690 in Kildeer, and $857,023 in Long Grove. Properties range from condos and townhomes to illustrious vintage homes and customs. Apartments range from $850/month to $1200+ for a one-bedroom unit and $1000-$1500+ for a two-bedroom.
The Union Pacific Northwest Metra Railroad line offers a stop at Barrington, 5.3 miles from Lake Zurich, 5.9 miles from Kildeer, 8.2 miles from Long Grove, and 8.4 miles from Hawthorn Woods. The Metra provides convenient transportation to and from Chicago’s Ogilvie station.
Pace’s Ela Township bus service includes a number of stops in Lake Zurich. Busses run from 7:00am through 5:00pm Monday through Friday.
All four suburbs also provide close access to the city via I-90, I-94, and I-294 highways.
Public schools are managed by the Community Unit School District 95 and 96. In addition to top-rated schools, both districts offer extracurricular programs for gifted students and students with special needs.
Bacchus Nibbles on 20817 North Quentin Road, Kildeer (847) 438-3212 is a restaurant that doubles as a fine wine store. The restaurant features a casual yet sophisticated atmosphere and tasty specialties such as 12 oz ribeye, roasted duck with peach sauce, and chocolate timbale. Bacchus Nibbles even offers a coupon to first-time visitors for a free appetizer or 10% off a bottle of wine.
For a friendly drinking environment and live musical entertainment, residents head to The Village Tavern on 135 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove (847) 634-3117. Family-owned since 1849, the bar maintains a classic pub style with warm mahogany wood and a large stone fireplace. Local bands play six nights a week
Ela Area Public Library on 275 Mohawk Trail, Lake Zurich (847) 438-3433 is not only an excellent resource for child, teen, and adult books, but a hot spot for free activities. The library hosts numerous after school and summer clubs, including an Anime Club, Teen Book Club, and a Writer’s Support Group. Daytime craft and story time hours keep children entertained while parents catch up on their reading. Afternoons and evenings feature adult programs such as the Geneology Interest Group and English as a Second Language.
The Aquatic Center at 94 Midlothian Road in Hawthorn Woods (847) 847-3500 offers outdoor fun for children of all ages. The center contains a 5 foot-deep, 25 yard-long competition pool, a 12 foot-deep diving well, a zero depth pool with two slides, and a splash and play area for toddlers.
The Long Grove Farmer’s Market (847) 634-3117 on Towner Green provides locally grown and harvested produce from June 3rd through October 17th. From farm-fresh vegetables to specialty crepes to homemade jams and pastries, the farmer’s market offers a variety of tempting treats. The market also features live entertainment and artisan demonstrations, giving visitors an opportunity to support regional business.
The apple cider donuts at Apple Haus of Long Grove on 230 Robert Parker Coffin Road, Long Grove (847) 634-0730 have become a local legend! With its one-of-a-kind specialty foods such as fresh-baked bread, cinnamon rolls, and homemade butter cookies, the Apple House is a perfect stop on a picturesque autumn drive.
Walker Brothers Original Pancake House on 767 South Rand Road, Lake Zurich (847) 550-0000 is a great spot for family dining. In addition to oven-baked omelets, Walker Brothers is famous for their enormous German Apple Pancake. The restaurant also offers a 50% off deal on one menu item each month.
For diners seeking more upscale fare, Seasons of Long Grove on 314 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove (847) 634-9150. The restaurant is a Long Grove favorite for wedding receptions, banquets, and party catering. Seasons offers an exquisite lunch from 10:00am to 2:00pm on Saturdays and a Sunday champagne brunch from 10:00am to 2:00pm. For drop-in shoppers, Season’s sells a variety of special foods including Pumpkin Walnut Bread and White Chocolate Cheesecake.
Gianni’s Café on 20505 South Rand Road, Kildeer (847) 550-8872 is a fine dining destination for gourmet Italian. The restaurant includes a popular “create your own” menu with unique ingredients such as gluten-free pastas, scallops, prosciutto, and lobster meat. Gianni’s outdoor patio is perfect for romantic candle-lit dinners.
Long Grove is famous for its seasonal food festivals, including Chocolate Fest from April 30 to May 2nd, Strawberry Fest from June 25 to the 27th, Apple Festival from October 1st to the 3rd, and Oktoberfest from October 16 to the 17th.
The combined districts of Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Kildeer, and Long Grove offer dozens of parks and hundreds of acres of green space. Parks feature charming gazebos, tennis courts, picnic areas, soccer, softball, and baseball fields, skating rinks, and concession stands.
Oak Ridge Marsh on 500 Lions Drive in Lake Zurich contains a gorgeous walking trail and Nature Park. The Oak Ridge Marsh Conservation Group even offers an educational podcast that can be downloaded from their website. Conservationists narrate the marsh’s history as visitors tour its present landscape.
The Reed Turner Woodland and Nature Center on 3849 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove (847) 438-4743 provides a lush and diverse environment. From the oak-shaded Indian Creek to the grassy sedge meadow, visitors can explore a wide variety of habitats. Children love to watch the finches, hawks, and mallards that nest along the creek. Flower-lovers will appreciate the Woodland’s rich display of cardinal flower, goldenrod, bottle gentian, and great blue lobella.