Have you ever wanted to tell an attendee to get lost? Well, now you can do so while maintaining your professional integrity. In conjunction with the Illinois Bicentennial celebrations happening this year, the Illinois Office of Tourism has partnered with 17 farms and orchards around the state to debut Bicentennial-themed corn and apple tree mazes for the public to enjoy.

Each maze has a unique design depicting the 200-year history of the state, ranging from people who shaped history (Abraham Lincoln) to iconic state images (the Chicago skyline, the Illinois Capitol Building). All mazes open to the public by Sept. 22, with some already open. At least seven of the farms also offer group outings, including:

Bomke’s Patch in Springfield was first established as a Christmas tree farm in 2009. They expanded to pumpkins in 2011, and now they offer 13 acres with more than 50 varieties of pumpkins and gourds in addition to a Route 66-themed maze. Four-hour corporate rentals start at $100 not including food. Within minutes from the state capitol, it’s an easy add-on to a meeting in Springfield.

Dollinger Family Farm in Channahon (one hour southwest of Chicago) offers corporate events that can be tailored to your organization’s goals. Daily activities are geared toward kids, making it a good option for events for the whole family, but they’re also fun for adults, ranging from a petting zoo, hay rides, a honeybee barn, teepees, antique farm equipment and more.

Abbey Farms in Aurora is a 300-acre farm that also offers a rustic-chic meeting space called The Ken & Carole Nagel Family Emporium. Meeting services on site include audiovisual support, Wi-Fi and catering (from boxed lunches to plated dinners) for up to 350 guests. An 8-hour day rental is $1,000. For teambuilding, send your attendees to one of two different fields incorporating Bicentennial designs. (For an extra challenge, try them at night.)

Find out more about the Illinois Bicentennial corn mazes at EnjoyIllinois.com.

Defying industry norms by opening earlier than originally planned, the first-ever tri-branded Hilton development joined The Collection at McCormick Square this month.


Winning a golf tournament constitutes a pretty fantastic way to end a weekend, as my husband and I learned first hand yesterday. Together with professional golfer Heather Angell and two other great local amateurs, we took home the trophy for the 2018 Phil Kosin Illinois Women’s Open Pro-Am, held at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville.


The 36-room Atticus Hotel in McMinnville, Oregon, opened for business this past spring. The hotel features an on-site restaurant and bar, private dining in the Atticus Hotel Drawing Room, a boardroom for meetings of up to 16 people, a business center and a fitness room. Additional amenities include Dutch-style bicycles, electric-car charging stations, rooms with fireplaces and original artwork from local artists.