Midwest travel: Celebrate Elvis and 'Skate With the Greats'


All hail the King

Those All Shook Up needing A Little Less Conversation should head to the 16th Annual Elvis Fest at The Original Mother's on the eve of Elvis' 81st birthday. Radio Hall of Famer Dick Biondi hosts Elvis Fest broadcasting live with a conga line of Elvis tribute artists taking the stage. Get your sideburns in order to compete in the Elvis look-alike contest for a chance to win a trip for two to Las Vegas or just join in Elvis karaoke. There will be Elvis-themed props for free photos throughout the night; drink specials; a free buffet of peanut butter and banana sandwiches; and a cake with a round of “Happy Birthday” at midnight. 8 p.m. to midnight Thursday, Jan. 7, at The Original Mother's, 26 W. Division St., Chicago. Free admission, but there is a suggested $5 donation to benefit Variety the Children's Charity of Illinois.

All hail the ice kings

Take the opportunity to “Skate With the Greats” at MB Financial Park at Rosemont. Hockey fans can meet current Chicago Blackhawk players Trevor Van Riemsdyk and Andrew Desjardins as well as legendary Chicago Blackhawk alumni including the great Denis Savard. Meet and skate among other Chicago Blackhawk alumni including Cliff Koroll, Eric Daze, Troy Murray, Murray Bannerman, Phil Russell, Brian Noonan, Grant Mulvey, Reggie Kerr, Dave Mackey, Peter Marsh, Reid Simpson and Steve Konroyd (players subject to change). Proceeds from the event benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. “Skate with the Greats” overall attendance is limited to 500 attendees. 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at MB Financial Park, 5501 Park Place, Rosemont. Adult tickets cost $150 each. Tickets for children ages 12 or younger cost $100. A special family four-pack is $450, with each additional ticket costing $100. Purchase tickets at

Complete relaxation

Holidays over. Check. Complete exhaustion. Double check. Get to the Spa at JW Chicago for some new packages that promise to lull you into 2016 in a most wonderful way. The HIBERNATION Package begins with an 80-minute MoroccanOil Hydrating Hammam Experience and a Warm Stone Melter and scalp massage. A meal preselected from the winter spa cuisine menu precedes an Express Manicure and Pedicure. A “What ALES You” Windy City Package also begins in the private Hammam with a Warm Shea Butter Body Envelopment, which includes a full body exfoliation and application of an Intense Hydrating Body Masque. Next up is a scalp and foot massage and then a 50-minute Hydrafacial. Ale selected from the spa's seasonal menu concludes the experience. JW Marriott Chicago is at 151 W. Adams St., Chicago. Packages cost $320 and $339. (312) 660-8053 or


Eat this, not that

Inaugurating the culinary season of signature events at Destination Kohler is the first Chefs' Night when chefs offer a meet, greet and eat to inspire foodies. Attendees can make their way through food stations featuring tempting bites from the restaurants and specialty kitchens of Destination Kohler. The casual event held at Kohler Design Center affords the opportunity to meet the personalities behind the dishes while enjoying great food and beverage pairings and live local music. The list of Destination Kohler participants include: The Immigrant Restaurant, The Winery Bar, The Horse & Plow, Blackwolf Run, River Wildlife, Whistling Straits, Cucina, KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates, Wisconsin Room, Kitchens of Kohler Catering, Craverie Chocolatier Café, Take 5 Café at Sports Core, Executive Chefs, Banquets and Pastry. 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7, at The Kohler Design Center in Kohler, Wisconsin. Tickets cost $25 per person. (800) 344-2838 or

Justify your love

Why wait until Valentine's Day to kindle the fire? The Osthoff Resort, on the shores of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, just introduced a romantic retreat so you can discover the depth of your love: the “Aspira Couples Getaway.” The package includes a one-night stay in elegant accommodations; dinner for two at Lola's Restaurant ($100 dining credit); breakfast for two at Otto's Restaurant ($25 dining credit); and a Couples Aromatic or Swedish Tonic Massage ($270 value). Aspira was named one of the Top 100 Spas by Spas of America, and the resort is home to the cooking school L'ecole de la Maison, where you can prepare classic dishes with classic techniques in hands-on workshops. Through May 19 at Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Rates begin at $560 per night, plus tax and gratuity. (855) 671-6870 or

Worth the Trip

Vermont's Green Mountain addresses Healthy Weight Week with the honest message that health is not about a number, it's about lifestyle, well-being and a positive attitude toward self. Through social channels, a webinar, and the blog “A Weight Lifted,” Green Mountain will share a philosophy that covers mindful eating and mindful movement; stress management and emotional health; self care; and more. To experience the program in person, opt for one- to four-week stays. Jan. 18-22 at Green Mountain at Fox Run, Ludlow, Vermont. For rates and lodging information, call (800) 448-8106 or visit

"Skate With the Greats" at MB Financial Park at Rosemont on Jan. 16.
Josh Johnson, Head Pastry Chef at Destination Kohler in Wisconsin, shows his prodigious stuff during Chef's Night on Thursday, Jan. 7.
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