Cupcakes and My Home Town

Whenever I need a little pick-me-up, I make the short drive to my hometown of Geneva, Illinois. Quaint and idyllic, the town was settled on the Fox River in 1835 and carries a heavy Swedish influence. In fact, the town’s biggest festival (held in June) is appropriately dubbed Swedish Days and attracts thousands of tourists. Residents and business owners take great pride in their homes and shop fronts, and for this reason, I love walking the streets to admire the historic architecture. Everything in Geneva is tidy and beautiful.

Located on Third Street (Geneva’s version of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile) is The Little Traveler. A warren of cozy little shops bursting with trinkets, clothing, jewelry, sweet treats, fine crystal, china, and more … you can get lost in all the rooms that ramble through this historic home.

See the men at the back of the pack? They get dragged in here by the womenfolk. I’ve lured my own hubby and son in here on occasion (usually on my birthday or Mothers’ Day when they have to do whatever I want). Giggle. A wonderful garden tea room tucked inside serves lunch, homemade pie, and an assortment of tea. It’s absolutely delightful and I’ll write more about it in a future post.

Across the street is The Paper Merchant. Before the internet and email, I used to buy wonderful hues and patterns of stationery here. My grandmother and I were avid pen pals and we’d always get new stationery to craft letters to each other. I’m getting a little teary now just thinking about her … we called her Mimi. She passed about 10 years ago but she’ll always hold a special place in my heart.

Another view of The Paper Merchant, all decked out for the holidays. I’m playing around with my camera these days and historic homes give me the opportunity to tinker with making colors more vivid. I’m still getting the hang of it and if you have any tips for me, please let me know in the comments section below (I’m shooting with a Canon Powershot 3300).

Margaret Matson Jewelry is next door. I love the subtle color scheme of this house, and the red window trim is similar to what I have on my own home.

I was trying to capture the glow of light inside the front door, but decided it was too bright and a bit ghastly so switched it over to sepia tones. I probably should’ve used a tripod for this close-up shot but I’d left it at home.

Ohhhhh. Graham’s Chocolates! If you ever visit Geneva, this is a must-stop. See all those big picture windows? That’s where they make all the sweet confections. You can watch them stir their magic and then make your purchase after wiping the drool from your chin. My daughter Bridget was in grade school with the owner’s daughter and the class would get special treats from the store.

Dusk is descending on Artemesia, also on Third Streeet. It’s an eclectic mix of home furnishings and clothing. My parent’s best friends used to run the previous shop in this home … Provincial House, which was a collection of fabrics, threads, and all manner of sewing supplies.

For me, no visit to Geneva is complete without a trip to The Latest Crave, an adorable cupcake shop.

Peppermint cupcakes served with steaming hot chocolate makes for a great way to get in the holiday spirit. An earlier stop at Denise’s Adornments resulted in collecting a few Christmas ornaments. And omigosh, what temptations await inside Denise’s shop! Check out her website and see for yourself. I’ll be writing more about her shop in the future.

Anywho … back to the cupcakes. Just playing around with the lighting and filters on the camera. Outdoor shots are easier for me. I hope one day I’ll get the knack of this photography thing.

Pink walls, white cottage tables and chairs, and decadent cupcakes … sounds like a perfect afternoon to me! My fave cupcake is the Jack and Jill, a rich combination of chocolate, marshmallow, and ganache. Mmmmm. Other contenders for the taste buds include Red Velvet, Blackbottom, Strawberry, Carrot Cake, Peanut Butter Cup … and so much more. Did I mention the English Toffee?

I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting my home town with me. It’s impossible to fit everything into one post, so I hope you’ll drop by again to enjoy more photos of charming Geneva. But before you go, I’d love for you to leave a comment and share what you love about your own home town!

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  1. What a fabulous little town. I would love to visit sometime. The cupcake shop would be the first stop on my list! Thank you for sharing such a lovely place. Hugs, Terri

  2. What amazingly beautiful buildings! Glad to have found your blog. Thanks for the follow…I’m following you now too!
    Looking forward to reading more.
    x Marnie

  3. I would love to go on tour of these homes! The cupcake doesn’t look bad either! Following your blog from the Debbiedoos newbie party. If you get a chance I’d love you to stop by my blog & maybe follow along too!

  4. hhhmmm
    I think we might be neighbors … you’re welcome at my Christmas gathering on Dec 8 …
    also, thurs, I’ll be on a styling team for the Geneva housewalk … house number 2

  5. Hi lovely lady.
    This town is beautiful. I also would love to visit with you. Thanks so much for your field trip ! I m your newest follower on your lovely blog.
    Thanks so much for your sweet comments on my Christmas Tablescape. I hope you have a great week with your family.
    XXOO Diane

  6. Quaint shops and houses with character! My favorite way to shop so I wish I was able to tag along and enjoy the day with you.

    My Nikon camera has a special setting just for food shots! Have not used it yet but maybe you have a similar setting.

    Visiting from the Bunny Hop, Debra

  7. Hi,
    I’m so glad I found your blog. I’m your newest follower. I live in Batavia and saw Little Traveler featured, so exciting to see another local gal. Please stop by and visit me sometime!

  8. This whole town is is a tresure! I would love to be able to stroll through those streest and visit all those cut little shops.

    Thanks for sharing at my Bunny Hop!

    xoxo Bunny Jean

  9. What an adorable town…I love the turquoise shop and the cupcake shop is so cute!! I am having a giveaway on my blog and would love to see you enter! Now, I am off to see more of your blog!

  10. Hi Jennifer, what a beautiful place Geneva must be. I bet you miss it on occasion. Thanks for sharing all the gorgeous boutiques. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  11. Hi, I loved your articles about our hometown Geneva. It truly is a special place. The photographs were stunning. It was a stark reminder of why my neighbors and I are working tirelessly to protect some of the old homes. I was wondering if you could contact me regarding an effort my neighbors and I are involved in. Perhaps you could just write a letter stating why you think these old homes are worthy of protection. We would be so grateful. Thank you.