Form and function
"Form in Floral II" returns for a second year and takes root at a new location, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, as part of Chicago Artists Month. Take the opportunity to see sculptural displays from 14 artists who drew inspiration from the environment. The nature-based sculptures are created with various media including metal, stone and earthwork and are set inside Lincoln Park Conservatory's Show House and on the grounds.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, to Friday, Nov. 4, at Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 N. Stockton Dr. Chicago. Admission is free. Call (312) 742-7736 or visit chicagoparkdistrict.com.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation presents Open House Chicago 2011, a free public event that puts visitors behind the scenes of many of the city's most interesting spaces and opens areas that are normally restricted to invitation only. Architecture buffs, history aficionados and novices will appreciate the unique event that takes you to downtown Chicago, Bronzeville, Garfield Park/North Lawndale, Little Village and Rogers Park/West Ridge. Just arrive at the designated hub site for that neighborhood and a free shuttle will take you to each neighborhood site.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, Oct. 15-16. Free. Call (312) 922 3432 or visit openhousechicago.org.
Allure of couture
Fashion Focus Chicago, a weeklong celebration of Chicago's thriving fashion industry, showcases some of the city's top designers and features runway shows in Millennium Park, fashion installations, shopping events, student designer events and industry seminars.
Event times and venues vary, Monday to Sunday, Oct. 17-23. Many events are free and others require tickets purchased in advance. Visit chicagofashion resource.com.
Take a drive
The Annual Autumn Drive takes harried city folk and suburbanites away from the malls for a day and instead winds by a dozen farms in rural McHenry County. You might find antiques and arts and crafts at one stop and pumpkins, hay rides and fiddlers at the next. Each stop offers a distinctive country experience from corn mazes and barrel rides to tasty foods and kids' activities.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to Sunday, Oct. 14-16, on Garden Valley Road between Woodstock and Marengo. Call (815) 923-2429 or visit autumndrive.net.
Covered Bridge Fest
Wander through nine communities that show off 31 historic covered bridges during the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival in Rockville, Ind. In between viewing the bridges, crafters and vendors offer a variety of unique goods, there is entertainment and lots of food. Visit the Covered Bridge Art Gallery, Historical Society Museum or browse through antique and specialty shops around the historic Parke County Courthouse. In Bridgeton, Ind., visit the old gristmill and the 1878 House then try fall specialties like persimmon and pumpkin ice cream or head to Montezuma, Ind., home to the hog roast. Kids may want to visit Billie Creek Village, a turn-of-the-century village with 30 historical buildings and three covered bridges.
Friday to Sunday, Oct. 14- 23. Download a map outlining covered bridge routes at coveredbridges.com or call (765) 569-5226.
Everyone is German in October, especially during Long Grove's annual OktoberFest celebration. Expect booths serving ethnic food and beverages, dancing, live German entertainment and plenty of shopping. Take a family carriage ride then let the kids decorate pumpkins. Admission and parking are free and many of Long Grove's shops and restaurants offer autumn and Halloween-themed items, sales, live music, plus special food and drink.
10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, Oct. 15-16, at 307 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove. Call (847) 634-0888 or visit longgroveonline.com.
Worth the trip
You can't blame cold weather on a gap in your fitness regime. The Train Like An Olympian package offers days of fitness and nights of luxury at the Sky Lodge in Park City, Utah. Select from a number of Olympic winter activities, including cross country and downhill skiing, and bobsledding. The nearby Utah Olympic Park offers skeleton, luge, freestyle and ski jumping camps and the Canyons holds a three-day steep skiing camp led by World Extreme skiing champion Brant Moles. The package includes breakfast each day before hitting the slopes, as well as a rejuvenating massage at the Amatsu Spa. After dinner, retreat for a soak in your private hot tub on the deck of your suite.
The package, available through April, starts at $485.99 per night, based on double occupancy, and includes a 50-minute massage at the property's spa as well as breakfast for two daily. Olympic Park activities are available to book through the Sky Lodge concierge service. A minimum of four nights is required and some blackout dates apply. Call (435) 658-2500 or visit theskylodge.com.