Looking for New Year's getaway ideasWe're looking for ideas to get away for the New Years weekend. We like cross-country skiing, hiking, shopping, fine dining, nice interesting places to stay, not too crowded, that are about four or five hours from Chicago. Any ideas? Maybe the four or five hours are too restrictive; we're open to suggestions. - Marty and Pat, Chicago
Well, if you want to get to the good snow for cross-country skiing, you have to drive five to six hours.
The closest place is Wausau, where you could ski at Nine Mile County Forest and snowshoe at Dells of the Eau Claire County Park.
There are some classy places to stay, including the Stewart Inn B&B or Jefferson Street Inn, and good restaurants, including the Wright Place on Sixth and Back When Cafe.
For more, see Winter in Wausau.
Another hour of driving will put you in Minocqua, where there's great skiing at Winter Park and also in the surrounding forest. I like Whitehaven B&B, a 1928 lodge in the forest. There are New Year's Eve fireworks in adjoining Woodruff.
For more, see Minocqua's white magic.
Reserve for New Year's as soon as possible.
You also could consider Door County, though it doesn't always have enough snow for skiing that early in the season. Sturgeon Bay has a lot of great places to stay, restaurants and shopping; see The door to Door County.
In Egg Harbor, Kurtz Corral has a candlelight horseback ride on New Year's Eve that sounds kind of fun. And in town, there's a New Year's Day parade.