Jul 20, 2011

Getting a Taste of Downtown

I may be a commoner, but I have a traveling spirit, and if I don’t get out of town every so often I feel like I missing an important element of living.  However, for being “stuck” in Springfield, Ill., you’re never really lacking for something to do every weekend, especially during the summer when one festival after another fills the calendar.  Let’s face it, sometimes we tend to take for granted what’s right in our backyard to enjoy …    

Jul 12, 2011

Hill Prairie wine, women and song

When I wrote about Illinois wines a couple of months ago, one winery I praised was Hill Prairie in Oakford, Ill.  So, with an extra day to enjoy the Independence Day weekend, I decided to make a spur-of-the-moment return visit that Sunday.

As fate would have it, I encountered an exotic Gypsy who happened to have the same idea, and we made the short road trip from Oakford to meet her friend, Monica.  Isn’t it funny how a plan comes together sometimes?
They love it when a plan comes together.

Jul 4, 2011

A Commoner Reviews Stockholm’s in Geneva, Ill.

When you’re traveling as a commoner, sometimes the most memorable experiences come from discovering places you never intended to find.  Such was the case a few weeks ago, as Gypsy and I made our way home from Lake-in-the-Hills, Ill., and made an unexpected stop in Geneva, Ill., at Stockholm’s.  

We found ourselves in historic downtown Geneva while meandering through Chicago’s far west suburbs.  The city is nestled on the Fox River, and the downtown features a good variety of specialty shops, antique stores and restaurants.  I can see many a Chicago resident taking advantage of the scenery and shopping in Geneva and nearby St. Charles for a weekend getaway.     
Somehow, we found ourselves in the heart of downtown on a Sunday afternoon, and since we were feeling particularly hungry for a late lunch (or early dinner), the façade of Stockholm’s on State Street looked especially inviting.  Ok, maybe I was a little thirsty, too.  It may have influenced our decision to stop.  Plus, it looked open and had a decent amount of traffic compared to other shops nearby. 

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...