Midwest Living Review
Nestled among the mansions of Chicago's North Shore, this peaceful artists' retreat fronts 50 acres of untouched Illinois prairie anchored by the former summer home of architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. The main house was built in 1897, and in 1976, Shaw's daughter converted the entire 55-acre site into a community for artists. The property is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
You can experience this place a few different ways: on public tours, at special events or during a 2- to 8-week residency for artists, who get to disconnect from their lives and focus on their craft—poetry, sculpting or even obscure talents like "sound artistry." Many Ragdale alumni have gone on to great success, including best-selling authors Scott Turow, Jane Hamilton and Audrey Niffenegger. However you come, guests see the results of the $3.2 million main building renovation to preserve it's turn-of-the-century features, right down to a re-creation of its original wallpaper design.