St. James Farm Forest Preserve offers covered wagon tours on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. off and on throughout the year. You'll find the tours listed on the Go West Calendar, but here, guest contributor Naomi Krodel tells you what to expect.
I’m always looking for nearby fun outdoor activities to do in the fall with my kids, especially this year with such pleasant weather. So when I saw that the St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville was offering covered wagon rides, I thought it was a good chance to check out a place I'd always wanted to visit anyway.
St. James Farm encompasses 607 acres, including more than 100 acres of woodlands, prairies and wetlands. Beginning in the early part of the 20th century, it was the retreat of the wealthy McCormick family.
Its borders are Butterfield Road to the south and Mack Road to the north. South Winfield Road runs through it on the west side. We first attempted to enter from the north and west (lots of construction), and eventually we found the correct entrance from Butterfield Road. At first we only saw a few cars but no people so we walked toward a caboose on the property.
We then saw a wagon unloading and quickly inquired about the next ride. I paid $5 (children ages 5-12 are $2; kids under 5 are free) and we were then treated to a private tour -- we were the only ones on our wagon on a recent weekday afternoon. Although we didn’t see any coyotes or deer (the earlier tour did) we loved the colorful trees and imagining how it must have looked when the McCormick mansion was standing.