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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