Why I Love Where I Live
When I started blogging, my desire was to share home projects and local points of interest that are unique and charming. While you won’t find mountains or oceans where I live, you will find natural beauty, interesting architecture, and rich history. This week I’m joining a few friends to share why we love where we live. You’ll find interesting things from coast to coast.
PECK FARM PARK
Peck Farm is just down the road from where I live and I like to visit it frequently for walks, running on the trails, or just enjoying nature.
The Midwest has no shortages of beautiful red barns and Peck Farm is no exception. This property was owned by the Peck family when the area was first settled. Eventually the land became part of the park district and is open to the public. Both paved and unpaved trails wind through the many acres. Families come here to visit the indoor butterfly garden, the playground, and the pond and waterfall.
The original Peck home is stately and stunning. Makes me think it was the Midwest version of a southern plantation. Peck Farm offers a variety of events throughout the year.
THIRD STREET GENEVA
I grew up in the town of Geneva and at the time, took it for granted. Today, I’m well aware of the rich history and architectural beauty of this area. Geneva is a short drive from my house and is my favorite place to shop and dine. Third Street is lined with historic homes that have been converted into stores and my all-time favorite is Cocoon.
People come from all over to shop and dine in Geneva. It’s always busy but not overly crowded. This home houses the Paper Merchant, which sells stationery, wrapping paper, and a few home decor items. Isn’t it beautiful?
Each house-turned-store on Third Street has its own special story of who built the house and what they did for a living. Chain stores are not allowed in the shopping district.
No charming town is complete without a chocolate shop where candies are made on location. You can watch the candy makers through the large windows. Graham’s Chocolates is always busy!
I could show you a lot more historic-homes-turned-shops in Geneva but then this would be a really long post. So I’ll end with The Patten House, one of my favorite restaurants that’s a block over on Second Street. It’s just as gorgeous inside as it is out.
LEROY OAKES FOREST PRESERVE
Another favorite spot of mine is Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve. This place is huge with barns and historic buildings. It’s also where the 17-mile Great Western trail begins – one of my favorite places to run. In fact, it’s where I did most of my marathon training (I’ve run 5 marathons so far). The scenery takes your mind off any tiredness you might feel.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you probably know I live where the Chicago suburbs end and the Illinois prairie and farmlands begin. I have the best of both worlds. Head east to the city, or head west to the country. That’s why my blog is called Town and Country Living!
Seriously, how can anyone not love a beautiful big red barn? Did you know barns were painted red because it was the cheapest paint color back in the day? It’s also considered bad luck to tear down a barn which is why you’ll often see dilapidated barns dotting the countryside.
This area is about a quarter-mile from the start of the Great Western trail, which is mostly crushed limestone that used to be where a train line ran. People walk, run, bike, and even cross-country ski on the trail.
The historic Durant house is also on the Leroy Oakes property. On the weekends you can tour the inside of the house while docents dress in period outfits and demonstrate the daily chores of days gone past.
The same is true of the Pioneer Sholes School which is just a few steps away from the Durant house.
Down the road from my house heading toward the country is Acquaviva Winery. When they first opened this place several years ago, I wondered what kind of wine they could possibly produce in Illinois.
To my surprise, the wine proved to be excellent and several varieties have won a lot of awards. We often sit out on the patio and it feels like we’re in the Italian countryside. The food is just as good as the wine! I recommend the white Donna Mia and the red Don Guiseppe.
Across the street is the vineyard. They host a lot of outdoor weddings in the Acquaviva vineyard. It’s so peaceful and serene at the winery. It’s a great place to visit when you need to de-stress and relax.
THE MOST FAMOUS SPOT IN ELBURN
Elburn is the town where I live, but all of the places above are less than a 10-minute drive away. The soon-to-be most famous spot is The Old Elburn Hall which was the location for filming scenes for Lovecraft Country, an upcoming HBO series based on the novel of the same name. The Hall is currently used as a venue for private events and is open to the public for jazz, drinks, and food every Wednesday night.
Here’s a couple scenes that I captured while the show was being filmed in our town. That white building is The Old Elburn Hall. The crew transformed all of the store fronts and it was fun seeing all the old cars.
There’s so much more that I could share about why I love where I live – but I’ll save it for another day. For now, visit my blogging friends below and enjoy seeing points of interest from Massachusetts, Georgia, Miami, and the Pacific Northwest! And there’s more to come on Tuesday and Wednesday!
Town and Country Living / Finding Silver Pennies / Southern Hospitality
My Sweet Savannah / Hymns and Verses / It All Started with Paint / The Happie Housie
Creative Cain Cabin / In My Own Style / Duke Manor Farm / Hearth and Vine
I love the charm of the area that you call home and how it seems to almost be set in another era. I did not know about the red barn paint!
Hi Janet – I recently learned about the red barn paint while watching an episode of Windy City Rehab on HGTV. 🙂
I LOVE it when people are cognizant and appreciative of the places where they were born. I’m a hometown gal myself- Ocala, FL. You have much to be grateful for; what a delightful area! Thanks so much for sharing with us. I look forward to seeing more of your area.
What a neat area you live in! I love that so many old historic homes and buildings have been restored all over the country. We sure treasure that history now, don’t we? Our town is the same and yours has so many charming homes and businesses. I think it’s perfect to live on the edge of a big city and have country living nearby too. We are very similar in that.
As I was reading your post today I too thought there were similarities between our towns. Except you have much better weather!
I was lamenting the fact that I haven’t been anywhere in the last number of years. I guess I should discover what in my own area. I know the area you are talking about. My husband loves going to the Arcada in St Charles for concerts. It takes about 30 minutes for us to get there (NW of the city).
Last year I thought I it would be a good idea for us to go to the pumpkin farm in Barrington. NOT it seemed everyone had the same idea. We walked around the South Barrington mall instead and enjoyed ourselves just the same. It was getting out of the house on a nice day. (Before the cold temps of last winter).
Thank you for reminding me of the area around us.
Hi Maureen! I avoid some of the festivals in the area because it’s too crowded. You should head out to Geneva sometime. I think you’ll enjoy it. You could even spend the night at the historic Herrington Inn right on the river. It’s beautiful!
A charming town! No wonder why you like where you live.
Thanks Linda!! The Midwest is a great place to live.
What a lovely place to live, Jennifer! There’s so much charm and it looks like a calm pace. It might be delightful!!
Hi Lory! It is a nice place to live. The only thing I don’t like is the winter weather. I’m ready for snow to be gone after Christmas but it hangs around until at least March. Otherwise I have no complaints. LOL.
A charming area of our country!! You are a beautiful writer – I felt like I was right there with you. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Lynne! What a nice thing to say – that really means a lot to me!!
I used to live in Illinois & our youngest son was born in Bloomington! I’m glad to see such great pictures of the area. Appreciate them!! Thanks so much!
Hi Shirley! My son went to Illinois State University in Bloomington so I’m familiar with that area. A lot of nice old homes there!
While I’ve been to Chicago a few times this post makes me want to venture out. Lots of great ideas for beautiful towns to travel too. Great idea Jennifer!
Thanks Patti! I’m 44 miles west of Chicago and it’s quite a bit different than the city. Chicago does have a lot of neat neighborhoods though.
What a lovely place to live. I especially was intrigued with Geneva and it’s shopping district. It is so nice to hear that no box stores allowed. While I may like the convenience of them I would rather have the coziness of the small store and support the small businesses.
Thanks Kim. The shopping district in Geneva gets me in trouble too often! There’s so much that I love and I don’t have very strong willpower, unfortunately! 🙂
I had no idea that Illinois offered so much beauty! I just love where you live and really need to get myself out to visit Geneva! I mean, I’ve only lived in Chicago for 20+ years and it’s about time I ventured west!!! Gorgeous!
Linda, you really need to get out more. LOL. Let me know if you ever plan to head this way. Have you been to Galena in the northwest corner of Illinois? If not – you really need to go. It’s about a 3 hour drive from you. It’s actually one part of the state where there are decent sized hills.
I love hearing about where you live, you always tell so many interesting things . I have been there but it was a long time ago, and thought it had a lot of beautiful scenery and old houses.
Hi Marlene! I don’t know if I knew you’d been to our area. So glad to hear you visited at one time. Much has changed and much has stayed the same!
I think this has been my favorite post by you. I love this type of stuff. All the places you shared are gorgeous. I hope you will share more of your hometown. I wish it wasn’t so far away or I’d love to vacation there.
Aw, thank you Shayna! I will definitely share more of our area in the future. It was a fun post for me too. There’s plenty to see and do in Chicago so I have plenty of material. 🙂
What a lovely place!! I love that chain stores are not welcome.
Thanks Susan! Glad you enjoyed it!
Everything about your location is charming and cozy. What a great place to live! You mentioned that one of the bloggers is posting about the Pacific Northwest? I couldn’t find that post–perhaps it will be on another day? I live in the PNW, so I’m especially interested. Thank you.
Hi Barbara! Melaine of My Sweet Savannah is in the PNW. Her post is tomorrow!
What a charming town. I love that they don’t allow big chain stores on their streets. Its so pretty to see the historic buildings without a Dollar General on every corner.
You live in such a lovely area! And I do love Geneva! I was there with relatives last Friday, my husband’s cousin and her husband. We had lunch, but we didn’t have time to explore 3rd street. I do need to get back there soon as there were many stores I haven’t been in. Lots of changes since I was last there! Thanks for all the shipping recommendations in this post.
What a beautiful area – such a country feel yet near the city. Definitely best of both worlds. Your town is SO charming!! Things are so NEW on the west coast… especially in our more industrial town – very few of those stunning charming buildings.
Jennifer, I loved reading about your neck of the woods. I remember a few years back when I came to Chicago and you showed me around. I have such fond memories of that trip. I also wish I got to see your sweet little town. It’s adorable. I didn’t know those facts about the barns. How interesting and I also love that you have a vineyard. It looks like wine country there! Thank you for organizing this tour. I really loved taking part.
It looks beautiful there. So charming. I have never been to Chicago or Illinois. It is in my future plans though. I have seen so many dilapidated barns and wondered why they get in that state and never torn down. Now I know lol.
Just found this archived post and it brings me back to my young self. I couldn’t wait to “escape” Illinois and small town living. And I did. I moved out East and live on the water. I do love where I live and all it entails, but I’m still a Midwest girl at heart. It’s in my soul. Aurora was my hometown but Geneva gives me heart palpitations. And of course, my true love is Door County WI. Thank you once again for bringing me back to my roots and my old self nostalgia.