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16 Road Tripping From Galena to Chicago

Main Street, Galena

On a recent scouting trip Kristin Bienert, Midwest Living editor, discovers great shopping and inspiring heritage in Galena, along the Rock River and in Chicago’s entertaining suburbs, including Geneva, St. Charles and Aurora. For more Illinois getaways check out the special section, Drive, Eat, Shop in Midwest Living’s May/June 2010 issue.

A vibrant downtown, too-many-to-count bed and breakfasts and three wineries keep me coming back to Galena, just about the perfect small-town getaway in my book. Come autumn, it will be just us girls at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa; then skiing at Chestnut Mountain in the winter with my husband. On this rambling, back roads trip to Chicago, I’m flying solo.

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17 Thanks Mom

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.”
— Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Apple picking with Mom

I can’t imagine my life without my mom. When I was a kid, there are very obvious reasons why having a mom was important – she fed me, helped me with my homework and taught me how to garden. As an adult, my relationship with my mom is different (though just last week I called her to ask how to cook a chicken), but probably even more important. I go to her for advice, comfort and most importantly, friendship. I would not be who I am today without her.

Moms should be appreciated every day, but this weekend is especially for them. It can be difficult trying to find something special and unique to do each year, so we created a list of things going on around the state this weekend.

– Katie

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18 And the Finalists Are

Last month, we asked you to submit your most colorful image of Illinois to celebrate spring. We received so many beautiful images, so thank you all for participating. Two of our photo bloggers narrowed down the submissions to the top four and we’re letting YOU choose the winning photo. Vote for your favorite image by May 12.

Stay tuned for our upcoming summer photo contest.

Spring Cantigny's Way by Kasia Bartnik

My Spring by Chris Bartnik

Sunrise - 63rd St Beach by Bob Long, Jr.

Springtime at the House of Worship by George Hatcher

[polldaddy poll=3156888]

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19 An inside look at the Chicago Theatre

The Lobby of the Chicago Theater

The Chicago Theatre is one of the most beautiful icons in the city. I never walk down State Street without pausing to look at the bright lights that adorn this great architectural masterpiece. Now, not only can you admire the theater from the outside but now the theater offers guided tours that allows visitors to get a closer look inside. Through September 1, the Chicago Theatre will be giving tours of the building every Monday – Thursday at noon and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m.

My mom and I love historic buildings and this tour was right up our alley. We booked a tour and planned a girl’s day out in the city. We began with Peach Sparkle tea from Argo Tea on Randolph and State, conveniently right around the corner from the Chicago Theatre.

The tour guide was incredibly well informed and personable, taking his time to pause for questions as he discussed the history of the 88-year-old building. It was amazing to be able to see the theater completely empty and explore its mysteries. The tour even takes its visitors to the stage where many acclaimed legends have preformed such as Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Harry Connick Jr. It was overwhelming to be on stage looking out at the vast and elegant theater and thinking about all the great artists that have stood in the same spot.

The tour went just over an hour, leaving time for us to spend the rest of the day shopping at all of the great stores on State Street. I couldn’t imagine a better girl’s day out.

The Chicago Theater tour is $12 and tickets can be purchased online or at the theater. It is a great way to explore some behind the scenes history of Chicago.

– Jaclyn Howard

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20 springfields old capitol farmers market

One of Springfield’s favorite events opens for the season downtown on May 19th.

The 11th Annual Old Capitol Farmers’ Market returns to Adams Street, just west of the Old State Capitol Plaza. If you’re in town, the ribbon cutting will be that morning at 10:00 a.m. There will be live music and a chef demonstration by Chef Michael Higgins of Maldaner’s Restaurant.

The Market will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, May 19 –October 30 on Adams Street between 5th & 3rd streets, and seven new spaces on Broadway Street just SW of the railroad tracks at 3rd and Adams.

There’s also a juried Artisan Area at 4th & Adams, and “Super Saturdays” will be held the every 3rd Saturday with chef demonstrations by Chef Higgins and the following live entertainment from 10-noon:

  • June 19 – Thornhill
  • July 17 – Elvis Himselvis
  • August 21 – Don Smith Band
  • September 18 – Salsa Dancing & Music by Julio Barrenzuela
  • October 16 – Black Magic Johnson

As in past years, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, plants, flowers, cheese and baked goods will be available for purchase. The Grower of the Week radio program which highlights individual vendors will again be hosted by Bob Murray of WTAX on Wednesday mornings.

The event is run by Downtown Springfield, Inc.

-Scott Troehler
Twitter: @Scott217


To learn more about Scott, check out his bio.

More info:
Contact Ann Frescura, Downtown Springfield, Inc., 217-544-1723, or www.downtownspringfield.org.

Downtown Springfield, Inc. Fan Page on Facebook:

Getting there:

[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=113849109827449889535.000485244de369dfe948d&ll=39.802668,-89.64994&spn=0.011539,0.018239&z=15&iwloc=000485245bb015dd56a01&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

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