For many visitors, a stop at the White Pines Inn is the highlight of a park visit. The Inn consists of the massive historic log lodge which houses the restaurant, gift shop and dinner theatre. Tucked away on a hilltop in a quiet corner of the park, the Inn also features 25 cozy log cabins constructed by the CCC when the park was built. The cabins surround a grassy mall ringed by oaks, pines and shag-bark hickory trees, with the forest literally a stone's throw from the cabins' doorsteps.
Each cabin has a gas fireplace, a queen-size hand-hewn log bed, an old fashioned trundle bed for children, a private bath with shower, heat and air conditioning, a mini-refrigerator, coffee makers, telephone and TV. There are 13 one-room cabins with open-beamed ceilings. Two cabins are handicap accessible. Twelve additional cabins, known as Quads, are built in groups of four under one roof. Each has a private entrance and bath, but there are interconnecting interior doors, which make them popular with groups, weddings and large families. None of the cabins have kitchen facilities and cooking is not permitted. There are 6 fire pits to enjoy campfires and s'mores.
While the cabins have been renovated over the years, they remain rustic log cabins in the woods. Deer occasionally stroll through the cabin area and raccoons are frequent night visitors. The cabins are very popular and several lodging packages are offered. Reservations are essential on weekends and mid-week travelers can take advantage of dollar saving packages.
The park's gem is the Inn's lodge and restaurant. Built of huge logs shipped by rail from Washington and Oregon in the 1930's, the rustic lodge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The main dining room, the Fireside Room, features a native limestone floor-to-ceiling fireplace, with an adjacent smaller dining area, called The Porch. The restaurant features an extensive menu of mostly home-style dishes and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday. A buffet is offered on Sunday and is noted for its huge, all-you-can-eat Paul Bunyan Breakfast and signature red raspberry pie. The open beamed banquet hall is an ideal location for wedding receptions, reunions and corporate retreats. Directly across the street from the park is a beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony site called the White Pines Wedding Canyon, so weddings are quite popular in this forested setting.
It's worth a stop at the Inn's delightful gift shop to browse through the charming displays of homemade jellies & jams, chocolates, clothing and souvenirs. And a stop at the gift shop isn't complete unless you have visited with Max, a beautiful blue-and-yellow macaw, the Inn's very entertaining mascot who has been there for more than a quarter of a century.
The park also has a dinner theater with talented singers, actors and comedians, presenting live stage shows in the lodge's 125-seat open-beam theater. There are over 100 performances a season, mainly comedies and musicals. Most shows are mid-week afternoon matinees, usually given Wednesdays and Thursdays from April to late December. Every Christmas season theater goers are treated to the hilarious "Scrooge the Comedy" show with performances on weekend evenings. A home-cooked buffet style meal is included. Theater / lodging packages are available.
White Pines Inn is open the first Friday in March through the Sunday before Christmas each year. The State Park is open year round. This beautiful park and Inn are located 7 miles west of Oregon, IL, and some 90 miles west of Chicago. For additional details, contact the Inn at 815-946-3817 or www.WhitePinesInn.com.