One of the best romantic getaways in the Midwest lies in one of the prettiest districts in Bloomington, the historic Vrooman Mansion. Since 1869, this home and its inhabitants have played a significant role in the stories and events that have taken place in this part of Central Illinois. In its heyday, the Vrooman Mansion hosted presidents, playwrights, poets, the local elite, and heads of state. Today, guests come to stay and celebrate in this elegantly preserved time capsule.
Best Romantic Getaways in the Midwest
Once inside, you can’t help but marvel at the time-traveling effects that occur within the mansion. Most homes with this amount of historical significance operate only as a museum. However, overnighting in the Vrooman Mansion allows guests to experience what life was like for Julia Scott-Vrooman; a woman who lived quite a luxurious lifestyle as a member of the elite in the 19th century.
During the stay, we learn that although Julia lived a lavish lifestyle, she was a giving woman who passionately served her community and country with a strong sense of patriotism. Serving twice as the National President of the Daughters of the American Revolution, walking in her footsteps feels like a special honor.
Our Experience at the Vrooman Mansion
In desperate need of an escape, we decided to spend two nights at Vrooman Mansion with three goals in mind: to explore the Bloomington/Normal area, tour some of Route 66, and enjoy our time on the property.
For those that like to get out and explore, there is no shortage of activities to keep you entertained. Interestingly enough, we found that although there was plenty to do, it was hard for us to pack up and leave the beauty and comfort of the mansion.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Sarah who gave us an interesting tour of the home. We learn all about the owners, the mansion, and local history. As a guest, the mansion is free to explore on your own. In the evening, guests often retreat to the common areas to enjoy a drink in the parlor or to gather around the piano, fireplaces, or stacks of books.
Puts the “Breakfast” in B&B!
In the mornings, elegant breakfasts are served in the dining room at the very same table once used by Julia Scott. Candles are lit. Sunlight illuminates the stain glass windows. We found ourselves savoring our cups of coffee, in no rush to leave the cozy, yet exquisite room.
It’s surreal to believe that dignitaries such as First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt previously dined at the same table where we sit and enjoy our perfectly cooked Eggs Benedict. Typically, original furniture pieces such as these are roped off, only to be seen in a tour-like setting. But in the spirit of Julia Scott who welcomed all to her home and table, we dine in the very same place that her friends did, many of whom were notable, historical figures.
One of the hardest decisions to make when staying at the Vrooman Mansion is what room to overnight in. Guests always appreciate all the mysteries and stories that each individual room holds. Fortunately, you can’t go wrong with any room that you choose.
Carriage House | Vrooman Mansion
Since we were seeking more of a romantic retreat, we opted to stay in the Carriage House located just a few steps away from the main home. The detached, two-bedroom house offers couples a little more privacy and space to unwind and relax.
After a busy day touring, we took advantage of the sitting room, relaxing next to the roaring fire in cozy robes sampling chocolate-covered strawberries that are available as an extra special treat.
We stayed in the Charlevoix Suite, which is also considered the honeymoon suite. The room features a spa shower, copper soaking tub, and a massive, king-sized wooden bed. Any couple seeking romance won’t have to look very hard to find it here.
Best Places to Find Romance Around Bloomington
Couples looking to connect outside the Vrooman Mansion have many fun activities to choose from around Bloomington. Here are just a few ideas to get lovebirds started!
For the Artsy Couple | Best Romantic Getaways in the Midwest
The Normal Theater is worth a stop just for the photo opportunity alone. The historic theater is a traditional stop on the Route 66 route and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Travel Tip: As a busy college-town with two major universities, there are always numerous events going on in and around Bloomington. Before visiting, check out the Visit Bloomington-Normal calendar of events to see the wide range of activities to enjoy during your visit.
In addition to over 30 art galleries around town, the McLean County Arts Center offers a variety of different art classes. Another fun and creative outlet can be found at Merlot and a Masterpiece where couples can enjoy wine and a night of painting all at the same time!
For the Active Couple | Best Romantic Getaways in the Midwest
Couples that like to connect while working up a sweat may want to explore The Constitutional Trail. The 30-mile route is perfect for cycling, walking, or running together. There are also nine golf courses around town for couples who want to challenge one another to a competitive round. In warm weather, paddle boats can be rented at Evergreen Park in Comlara Park.
For the History Buffs | Best Romantic Getaways in the Midwest
After absorbing all the fascinating history of the Vrooman Mansion, there are other great places to gain more historical insight into the region. The David Davis Mansion offers free tours (donations welcome) of the Supreme Court justice’s home. David Davis was a good friend to Abraham Lincoln and was a key player and supporter in his journey to the presidency.
The McClean County Museum of History is a popular attraction. Many folks also come to explore the Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitor’s Center, located in the same building. Those interested in touring the nearby Route 66 Roadside Attractions should definitely stop here for free maps and guide books to help get your kicks on Route 66.
For the Winos | Best Romantic Getaways in the Midwest
Wine lovers will appreciate six different wineries scattered around the area. They include:
- Sunset Lake Vineyards and Winery.
- Mackinaw Valley Vineyard.
- Alto Vineyards.
- Willett’s Winery & Cellar.
- Kickapoo Creek Winery.
- Indian Creek Vineyard.
Located near the city center, The Stave Wine Bar & Market also offers weekly tasting events.
For the Foodies | Best Romantic Getaways in the Midwest
The Bloomington area has over 200 restaurants in the area, 65 of which are original to the region. Some popular choices include Epiphany Farms Restaurant and Avanti’s Italian Restaurant. Some budget eats that come highly recommended by the locals include Reality Bites and Tony’s Tacos. For something completely new, check out Bloomington’s new Speakeasy, Bakery & Pickle.
For the Shop-to-You-Drop Couple | Best Romantic Getaways in the Midwest
Downtown Bloomington and Uptown Normal offer many unique finds in antique stores, art galleries, and specialty boutique shops. Many folks enjoying stopping at a coffee-house or bakery in between purchases. Mall Rats can head to Eastland Mall or The Shoppes at College Hills to get their shopping fix.
Looking for a much-needed romantic rendezvous or a place to stay while exploring Route 66? The Vrooman Mansion is the perfect destination for wedding nights, honeymoons, babymoons, and any romantic getaway!
The B&B features en-suite rooms within the mansion or guests can choose to stay in the Carriage House just a few steps away from the main house. Are you inspired to visit one of the best romantic getaways in the Midwest? Visit the Vrooman Mansion website to learn more.
Budget Travel Tip: The Vrooman Mansion offers a great mid-week special. If you book 3 nights and one of the nights is a Tuesday, you get Tuesday night free!