From a single subdivision with a few hundred residents and village offices located in a motel lobby, Vernon Hills has come a long way. Now it’s a welcoming suburb with upscale homes, plentiful parks and bustling shopping malls—and a beautiful Village Hall built in 2002.
The village’s most famous historical site is the Cuneo Mansion and Gardens, a spectacular Italianate estate built by Commonwealth Edison founder Samuel Insull as Hawthorne-Mellody Farms, and later sold to printing magnate John Cuneo. The Cuneo Foundation recently donated the property to Loyola University.
From fish-stocked lakes to an old-fashioned sledding hill, the Vernon Hills Park District offers year-round fun. Sullivan Community Center features a pre-school for the younger set and a state-of-the-art fitness center for their parents. Outdoor adventures can be had at any of the two dozen community parks, or at the Family Aquatic Center, a fabulous pool complex with water slides, a lazy river, and sand play area. Golfers enjoy nine holes at the Vernon Hills Golf Course, or test their skills at White Deer Run.
Summertime brings residents together at concerts in the beautiful Memorial Arbortheater, an outdoor amphitheater that also honors our nation’s veterans, and at Summer Celebration, a three-day festival of music, food and kids’ activities. But villagers don’t let a little cold weather slow them down; the Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show draws oohs and aahs from visitors of all ages.
Homes in Vernon Hills include a few ranches dating from the 60s, but most were built after 1980. Age and price are pretty much in direct correlation in Vernon Hills, with older homes priced around $300,000, and the newest, large, amenity-filled luxury homes, pushing the $1 million mark. There’s a lot to be had in between though, with many newer 4-bedrooms between $350,000 and $500,000. A good selection of condos and townhomes, appealing to empty nesters and young professionals, are priced from the $100s to the $300s.
Vernon Hills is located 35 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, and most residents who commute for work or leisure catch a Metra train for the 65-minute trip to Chicago’s Union Station. Traffic on the area’s main street, Milwaukee Avenue, can be slow at times, but most times of the day it’s easy to get around by car. I-94 is just a short drive to the east.
Shopping, Dining and Nightlife
Townline Road, at the north end of the village, is a major regional shopping area, with several strip malls and Westfield Hawthorn Shopping Mall, home to Macy’s, Carson’s JC Penney, and a huge variety of specialty stores.
When it comes to dining out, Vernon Hills residents have a lot of options, mostly grouped at the north and south ends of the village. Cuisines from Greek to Japanese to Indian are represented here, in addition to the usual Italian, Chinese, Thai and Mexican. Newest to the mix: the popular burger and fries chain Five Guys.
For a place to watch the game on big screen TVs, locals choose McCarthy’s, where you can also dance to a DJ or live band on Saturday night.
Elementary students attend the schools of Hawthorn District 73, while high-schoolers attend Vernon Hills High School, part of District 128. The Southlake Campus of the College of Lake County offers credit and non-credit courses in a beautiful new building completed in 2007.