Saturday, November 30, 2019

Historic Long Grove, Illinois is Full of Nostalgic Charm

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood were the visits I would make with my sister, sisters-in-law and mother to the little community of Long Grove, a northwest suburb of Chicago. The historic downtown business district seemed frozen in time and the village had restrictions on building in and modifying the downtown area to help retain that small-town country feel.

The Village Tavern in Long Grove, established in 1847.
We'd go for a day trip to shop in the quaint boutiques and we'd end with dinner at the old Village Tavern. On a trip to Long Grove earlier this year, I was so pleased to see that not much has changed since I was a kid. The Village Tavern, established in 1847, is still there - the oldest continuously operating restaurant/tavern in the state. A lot of the shops I remembered were still around and there were several newcomers. There's now a winery and a brewery there, too.

We visited High Tea with Gerri for the traditional tea service and it was so lovely and charming. And I popped into the Long Grove Confectionery for some goodies and visited some other shops. It's such a fun throwback and a great way to spend some time in Lake County, Illinois. For more info, go to and

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Take Advantage of Rare Opportunity to See Sanfilippo Estate During Holiday Season

On a media trip I took last year to McHenry County, we had planned for some outdoor activities that had to be adjusted when we had heavy rain. Our hosts with Visit McHenry made some calls and re-arranged the schedule a bit and instead of spending time on a lake, we boarded a bus and got a tour of a magnificent mansion in the northwest suburbs. I love spending time on the water and doing outdoor activities in the summer, but in the end I was pretty grateful for this rainfall. If it hadn't happened, we would have missed out on this tour, which was one of the best parts of the trip.

Our tour was of the Sanfilippo Estate, which is a private home not open to the public except for special fundraising events organized by the Sanfilippo Foundation. We were lucky to get this private tour. We were able to see much of the family's collection that includes steam engines, vintage music machines, a steam locomotive, an 1890 carousel and much, much more. As we made our way through the exhibits, each room was more breathtaking that the last. There's also a theatre with an 8,000 pipe Wurlitzer organ. Right now tickets are still available for three holiday concerts on December 6, 7 and 8. It's one of the few opportunities each year to visit the estate. I was there is June and I can only imagine how beautiful the place is during the holiday season. For more information, visit

Prairie Guest House, Fishers Indiana

On a recent media trip in Indianapolis, I spent a little time in Hamilton County, staying at the Prairie Guest House Bed & Breakfast in ...