Nicole and Erik Landrowski rave about Savanna Lakes, the community where they live with their three young children.
"It's the gem of Elgin," Erik Landrowski said. "I think it's the best place to live in the city of Elgin.
Listing sheetPrice range: $350,000 to $700,000
Age of homes: 25 years and newer
Schools: Otter Creek Elementary, Abbott Middle and South Elgin High schools in Elgin Area School District U-46
Parks: Elgin Parks and Recreation Department
"We love our house, and we love everything about the neighborhood. The larger lots and open space with the ponds is fantastic."
The couple found the area and had a home built in 2003. "That was way back when it was in the middle of nowhere," Lewandowski said.
"Now we can walk to the restaurant and bar -- Porters Pub -- at the Bowes Creek Golf Club, which is a nice little benefit. How many people are within walking distance of a nice restaurant.
"We connect up to some trails; we go bike riding, and the ponds are stocked with fish. I fish with the kids; they love it. We enjoy the outdoor freedom, the landscaping and the water."
Situated at Nolan Road and Savanna Lakes Drive in Elgin Township, Savanna Lakes offers a pretty setting where individual custom builders, as well as homeowners, have built about 40 or 50 homes on large lots, said Bob Wisdom, real estate broker with RE/MAX Horizon.
"The lakes that meander through the subdivision are a big attraction as well as the large homes with an average of 3,885 square feet that sit on an acre and larger lots with mature trees," Wisdom said.
The houses offer great variety and generally feature stone and brick exteriors with four bedrooms, 2½ to 3½ baths and two- or three-car garage.
The Lewandowski's home features an open floor plan where the kitchen and family room combine for a great gathering spot. They also have a finished basement with full bar where they enjoy entertaining friends and family.
Their home backs up to the Otter Creek Forest Preserve, which Lewandowski says puts them in an ideal spot between Bowes Creek, where he can walk to play golf, and the forest preserve on the other side where the family can go hiking.
"This is not a compact neighborhood; it has a nice country feel, yet we have the benefit of being near all the Randall Road amenities," Landrowski said. "That's a nice huge bonus.
"Our kids love Country Donuts, which moved out here from Schaumburg. And they put in a Gail Borden Library, another place that's great for the kids," Landrowski said.
As a result of its downtown renaissance, Elgin offers restaurants with cuisines from around the world, unique shops and myriad events that include outdoor concerts and arts and cultural festivals.
For recreation, Festival Park set along the Fox River features gardens, pathways and interactive play areas. The park hosts FoxFireFest, a huge festival with a light show on the water and all kinds of family activities.
Elgin has many excellent parks including Lords Park and Wing Park and three public golf courses. The Fox River Trail and Illinois Prairie Path run through the city.
Other treasures include the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Opera and a mecca of theater and arts groups, including a well-known children's chorus, children's theater groups and its youth orchestra. Elgin is also home to cultural organizations unique to the city such as Ballet Folklorico and Laotian dance troupe.