Weekend Explorers

Like many families, we're not taking a regular family vacation this summer because of budget concerns, and also because I started a new job recently and can't take time off. All across America, families are doing the staycation thing, and are looking for free or low cost activities close to home. We're no exception. We've been embarking on our own little adventures, exploring Northeast Illinois, the Chicagoland area and Southeast Wisconsin on weekends.

We've been poking around in antique shops, garden centers, ornamental iron garden shops, diners, farmers markets, children's petting zoos and play parks, ethnic groceries and other interesting places. We like to "rubber neck" as some would call it, grab a bite to eat, and wander around, take a few photos.

We recently stopped at Pesche's Greenhouse in Lake Geneva Wisconsin. This is a fabulous garden center with a huge selection of flowers and plants, but also an amazing selection of gifts, art, home and garden decor items, and so much more. So many beautiful things to see...a feast for the eyes and soul.

We also enjoyed browsing one Saturday at Steel Heart Ltd in Harvard IL. Another virtual feast for lovers of antique/garden ornamental iron and statuary. They're located in an old brick industrial warehouse type building which just adds to the charm.

We've also started a summer ritual of taking a Sunday drive after dinner, and stopping at little drive-in ice cream places in neighboring towns. We recently found this little place. The ice cream is heavenly...a great variety and low prices. It was like taking a little drive back in time....

We're going to put a blank journal in our glove box and start making notes about our explorations....jot down notes about local radio stations, shops and diners we liked, maybe tuck a photo or brochure in here and there. We've been staying within about a 50-60 mile radius of home lately, but we're still exploring. We have lots of summer left, and many places on our list yet to explore. Who knows....we may stop at your place next!

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