I generally have stayed with relatives at their place, but for logistical reasons I'm instead at The Homestead which is exceedingly convenient to them -- literally next door. And just two-blocks east to the shores of Lake Michigan and also two blocks to the north is the beloved Northwestern University campus. And it's only about an eight-minute walk through the business district of Evanston with its shops, grocery stores, library, restaurants and movie theaters to an El stop and also a Metra train station that both take you into Chicago.
I've stayed at The Homestead once before, and quite liked it. It is not a high-end modern hotel, but that's its charm, and they've done a great job over the years keeping it up in its Old World shape. It's an official local landmark, built in 1928 and under family management since 1930.
The pace at The Homestead is very slow, with an elevator you have to be patient with, but then I like elevators like that. In fact, the whole place is quaint. That's the word that permeates the whole place -- from the lobby below to a fairly well-regard restaurant and rooms.
I like too that they have a low-key, but pretty-nice and filling, complimentary breakfast -- cereals, fruits, bagels and bread, juice, and other beverages, along those lines. Give me a buffet any time, even one that's fairly basic, but tasty.
Though the nearby Orrington Hotel has probably long-been the best-known in Evanston, a lot of visiting professors stay here at The Homestead when teaching at Northwestern.since it offers a more comfortable living-space for an extended period.
In fact, the last time I was here, I ran into one such visiting professor under odd circumstances. About 11 at night, the fire alarm went off, so we had to walk down to the lobby. One of the guests on my floor was a young woman who turned out to be one of those visiting professors -- and she was mortified. There is a no-smoking policy in the hotel, and she sheepishly admitted to have lit a match, when the alarm went off. She was sure she was the cause of it all. But as everyone was standing outside on the sidewalk, waiting until the fire trucks showed up, we heard that, in fact, there had been an actual, tiny fire somewhere, very quickly put out. The professor was relieved to be off the hook and chastened enough that I'm quite certain she didn't light a match again.
I don't think everyone would love The Homestead -- I know my dad preferred new hotels, the newer the better. But while I do, as well, I also love staying in places like this. It's warm and comfortable and has a sense of history in every nook.