Elawa Farm is one of Lake Forest’s hidden gems. This working gentleman’s farm was built in 1917 by one of Chicago’s most distinguished families and is a rare example of an American estate farm—designed purely for pleasure and not required to turn a profit. The land was acquired by the City of Lake Forest in 1998, thus providing the general public access to the stunning grounds, gardens, and historic buildings.
The farm presents an incredibly unique opportunity for those interested in gardening, healthy lifestyles, and historic preservation. After undergoing complete restoration, Elawa committed its efforts to enriching the community through hands-on learning. There’s a little something for everyone; take cooking classes with renowned local chef Gale Gand, sign up for a flower arranging class and learn how to make the perfect centerpiece, or pamper yourself with a yoga retreat. Kids can join in the fun with Elawa’s summer camp program or with music and movement classes.
Apart from scheduled programing, the farm also offers a weekly garden market on Fridays and Saturdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm. The public is invited to stop by and purchase organic produce, freshly cut flowers, or other delicious wares baked in the on-site kitchen.
Other fun activities available at Elawa Farm include wandering through the garden and over the grounds, hiking through the Middlefork Savannah, and volunteering for the garden, market, or kitchen—the perfect way to experience hands-on learning. Harvest dinners are a fun affair where guests are treated to a farm-to-table meal prepared by gourmet chefs and served in the garden on a long communal harvest table.
Elawa Farm is a stunning place where history comes alive. The manicured grounds and thoughtful agriculture provides a rare respite in these hectic modern times. Whether you want to expose your children to the possibilities of nature, or whether you want to visit alone and have a few quiet moments to yourself, the sights, smells, and sounds in the garden are the perfect way to enjoy a slow afternoon.
Planning your visit: There is free onsite parking. The farm is located on Middlefork road, just two miles west of Waukegan Road and only a few minutes drive from I-94.