For many Chicago-area families, the hour-long annual trip northwest to the village of Long Grove is as much a part of the Christmas tradition as hanging stockings and baking cookies. Starting in mid-November, the town's 19th-century buildings are outfitted with period decorations, while carolers wearing colorful bonnets and top hats stroll the streets on weekend afternoons. Spend the day shopping there are no chain stores in town, only independently owned shops and boutiques. In the afternoon, settle in for the Nutcracker Tea offered at the Seasons of Long Grove restaurant, where, in the Victorian style, a variety of miniature delights are served with your choice of loose-leaf tea. For children, not only does Santa come to town, but he brings his reindeer too.
Next Bethlehem, Pa.