At Your Service
Thank You to our Local Volunteers
Volunteerism hits close to home with me. Growing up in Michigan, my mother was always involved in the community. I remember hopping in the car for Meals on Wheels visits and seeing piles of papers on her desk while she was President of both the PTA and Junior Woman’s Club the same year. She even coached my soccer team at the local park district and travel team level until I was 18. Her time and dedication to her community were undeniable and profoundly impacted me.
Due to her influence, I consider myself a “semi-pro” in volunteering. Although I am no longer on the soccer fields with my kids, I still enjoy spending my time with the people I meet through the PTA and the Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club, as well as the Boards of the Downers Grove Swim & Racquet Club and the Education Foundation of District 58.
Downers Grove has hundreds of volunteers, and we are honored to feature just a handful in this issue. Although the organization’s name may be familiar to you, some of the faces may not be. And that was our goal. To honor just a few unsung heroes that make a difference in so many lives in the community in different ways. When we gathered for photos, they expressed their thanks for sharing their perspectives in our magazine. But the reality is we should thank them. Thank you, Adrienne, Kathy, Lisa, Suzanne, and June, for your hard work and dedication. We are proud to feature you in this edition during the giving season.
Thank you, readers! Hundreds of voters participated in our annual “Readers’ Choice Favorites” awards. We appreciate the opportunity to honor several local businesses in the area that you deemed favorites. From best steak to favorite golf course, the list is revealed. Hopefully, these awards uncover a few new places for you to check out during the holiday season.
We asked, and you answered. In this issue, we feature sev eral Downers Grove residents that participated in the Chicago Marathon in October. Congratulations are in order. Perhaps each of these runners will take a note from local resident Mike Harris or not. Harris has run marathons in all 50 states. My goal? To just step foot in each state.
For this issue, we feature one of our own. Greg Kozlick of 726 Visuals recently came on board as a photographer for Hinsdale Magazine Group. After Greg and I first met, I searched his name to find his contact information. Lo and behold, the story regarding his returning long-lost photos was at the top of the search results. I briefly remembered hearing the story on social media sites, and happy to tell his story in this issue from his point of view.
Are you setting your sights on a weekend ski getaway? Or things to do over the holiday season? Check out our local ski guide and to-dos for fun as you ring in the new year.
Finally, as we end another year of publishing, we would like to thank our advertising partners. The truth is that without you, this magazine would not be possible. Thank you for allowing us to bring unique stories regarding unique people, places, and organizations to our readers every other month. And readers, please visit our partners and help us continue to deliver meaningful stories for our community.
Have a safe holiday with friends and family. We will see you in January.
Sincerely,Anne Healy Associate Publisher anne@HinsdaleMag.com
To guarantee delivery of each issue of Downers Grove Magazine to your home, please subscribe to the print edition by visiting www.downersgrovemag.com.
Thank you, Downers Grove!
Cadence Kitchen & Co and The Foxtail are thrilled to be your neighborhood favorites!
You set our hearts aflutter by voting Foxtail the town’s top date night restaurant. And cheers to you for choosing Cadence as the spot with t he best cocktail bar and outdoor dining.
We’ve been honored to serve you great eats while keeping the safety of our team and guests our top priority. Your continued support means we can look forward to hosting you for more brunch meet ups, dinner dates, patio cocktails, and everything in between.
We love you back!
Rosemont is the ultimate destination to capture the magic of the season!
From saving up to 75% while shopping for gifts at Fashion Outlets, to enjoying ice skating and spectacular light displays, Rosemont offers festive and memorable activities for the whole family.ROSEMONT.COM
Make it magical with 10,000+ ornaments. Find something special with unique & hand-picked gifts.
Set the scene with outdoor net, icicle & ﬂicker lights.
Deck the halls with trendy décor & more.
Spruce things up with live & life-like trees, wreaths & garlands. Make it yours with custom porch pots.
WINTER TO-DOSIMAGE BY ANNIE SPRATT OF UNSPLASH
'Tis the Season. It’s time to enjoy the holiday season with friends and family. Downers Grove Magazine has curated a to-do list of for those young and old to enjoy.
Elf The Musical
Drury Lane │www.drurylanetheatre.com │ 11/9/22-1/8/23
When Buddy discovers that he’s a human raised as an elf, he embarks on a journey from the North Pole to New York City to find his birth father. Elf The Musical is based upon the New Line Cinema film written by David Berenbaum. Showtimes vary by date.
Grove Express 5K
Main & Grove St, Downers Grove │ www.groveexpress.com │ 11/24/22
The Grove Express Foundation is hosting its annual Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk to benefit education and youth programs. Participants will make their way through the heart of downtown Downers Grove on a USA Track and Field certified course. Start time is 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 24, by Main & Grove Street, Downers Grove. Photo courtesy of Grove Express 5K
Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Lyric Opera House │ www.joffrey.org │ 12/3/22-12/27/22
The Joffrey Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker is an annual holiday tradition. This critically acclaimed performance takes place from December 3-27 at the historic Lyric Opera in Chicago. Showtimes vary by date.
The Morton Arboretum
www.mortonarb.org │ 11/19/22-1/7/23
Enjoy 50 acres of the Arboretum’s trees during its tenth annual Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum. Also experience The Electric Illumination, a new late-night experience for adults 18 and older. Enjoy a mix of trance and progressive house music, synchronized to the light display. Be the first to experience this limited run December 16, 23, and 30 from 9:30-11:00 p.m. Photo courtesy of The Morton Arboretum
Visits with Santa Downtown Downers Grove │ www.downtowndg.org │ Saturdays and Sundays in December 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Swing by downtown Downers Grove to visit with Santa! Visits are complimentary thanks to the Downtown Downers Grove Management Corporation.
Candy Cane Lane
Lincoln Center │ www.dgparks.org│ 12/3/22 at 9:00 a.m.
Candy Cane Lane is a family-friendly event you won’t want to miss. Kids can enjoy hol iday crafts, pictures with Santa, stories with Mrs. Claus, and more. This event will be held in an open house format at the Lincoln Center. Be sure to bring your camera to capture all the holiday fun!
Merry and Bright: A Victorian Christmas Downers Grove Museum │ www.dgparks.org │ 12/10/22 at 3:00 p.m. Stop by the Downers Grove Museum to learn all about Victorian Christmas traditions. You can tour the holi day-decorated Victo rian Blodgett House, visit with Santa, and enjoy Victorian-era carol ers while you warm up by the fire. This event is free for all ages.
Village of Rosemont
www.rosemont.com │ Holiday Events & Activities
Rosemont is the ultimate destination to cap ture the magic of the season! From saving up to 75% while shopping for gifts at Fashion Outlets, to enjoying ice skating and spectacular light displays, Rosemont offers festive and memorable activities for the whole family. Visit Rosemont.com to learn more! Photo courtesy courtesy of the Village of Rosemont. ■
Local runners hit their stride
Congratulations to these residents that completed the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 9. We are inspired by your achievements.
O’Malley ran the Chicago Marathon just 13 days after running the Berlin Marathon. Next up? The New York City Marathon in November. This was O’Malley’s ninth Chicago Marathon.
AMY GORAY: Goray finished her 13th marathon and was cheered on by her daughter Kate through the streets of Chicago.
KELLY PETRING: Petring completed the Chicago Mara thon just two weeks after competing in the Ironman Chattanooga where she qualified for Ironman world champi onships in Kona, Hawaii in 2023.
ANGIE CROWSON AND BROOKE EDMONSON: Crowson and Edmonson have been running together for over eight years. Crowson has completed 34 marathons and Edmonson has competed in 13. According to Crowson, “training for a marathon is so much better when you have a friend.”
JENNIFER NORGAARD: Norgaard completed her second marathon, but is no stranger to the sport. She has been a competitive runner
and/or coach since junior high. She completed her first marathon in 2000 and made it back again after training long distances with a running group.
AND MAGGIE NOON: This father daughter dynamic duo have been running together for years. Zellner completed his 31st marathon and Noon her 21st marathon.
Lambiasi celebrated her 20th marathon at the Chicago Marathon. According to Lambiasi, “the spectators and volun teers were wonderful for the entire 26.2 miles. The city views and neighborhoods are always welcoming and help the runners push through.”
Turner ran her 10th marathon in Chicago, but has declared she has officially retired...from marathons that is. ■
LOST & FOUND
Local photographer Greg Kozlick saves the day, decades laterBY MAUREEN CALLAHAN | PHOTOS BY 726 VISUALS
Have you ever donated something by mistake? Trying to track it down is a virtual nightmare. For Sue Brose, this error was a huge tragedy. Her wed ding photos were inadvertently donated by relatives who quickly cleaned out her mother’s home before its sale. Enter Downers Grove Magazine’s photographer, Greg Kozlick.
Last year, Kozlick moved into a new apartment. Shortly thereafter, while shopping for dishes at the Goodwill store in Downers Grove, he came across a box of about 80 slides labeled “Sue’s Wedding.” After holding a few of the slides up to the light, Kozlick recognized the value of the contents of the box. He wondered if it had been donated by mistake. “I knew immediately that the slides had to be saved,” Kozlick stated. “They’re someone’s memories. I couldn’t leave them in a thrift store.” Kozlick purchased the slides and started thinking about how to locate the family.
As a professional photographer, he realized the type of Kodak projector it would take to view the slides. Kozlick managed to locate one several months later, at another area Goodwill location. As he began to view the slides, Sue’s wedding projected onto his wall. A few shots of a graduation and family vacation in the Dakotas were also in the box.
Kozlick immediately posted the story on both the ‘Lombard Peeps’ and ‘Downers Grove Area Parents’ Facebook pages, along with a few of the photos, hoping someone might recognize some of the subjects and reply with information leading to the owner.
Responses began rolling in immediately. Someone in the Downers Grove group identified the church in Lombard. A handful of people recognized the priest. Someone else showed it to their mother, who identified members of the Brose family. Kozlick recognized the name as belonging to one of his high school classmates, Amber Brose, who turned out to be-DOWNERS GROVE MAGAZINE PHOTOGRAPHER GREG KOZLICK ON RETURNING LONG LOST PHOTOS
Sue’s granddaughter. She helped unite Kozlick with her grandmother.
Sue was located within 30 minutes of the time of the original post. “I was surprised how quickly the mystery was actually solved,” Kozlick said. An NBC representative who happened to be a part of the Downers Grove Facebook group connected him with a reporter to share the story.
Knowing the process of converting the slides back to frameable photos might be challenging for Sue to navigate, Kozlick thoughtfully took care of everything. He dropped off a USB stick containing photos of the converted slides to her home. He had also submitted the photo order to
Costco, printed the address labels and paid all the charges.
“I’m so grateful for all that Greg did to save my valuable memories,” Sue stated, smiling. She was thrilled to be able to make new prints of her wed ding photos, as the ones she had were over 50 years old. She was also grateful to be able to present her youngest brother, who appeared on the family vacation photos also found in the donated box, with prints of the trip he took with their parents years ago.
Kozlick says that “meeting Sue and giving her back her memories is something I’ll never forget. I’m glad I could help.” ■
“Memories like weddings, graduations and childhood vacations are precious. I’m glad I was able to give them back.”
The Moment of A
Local author and entrepreneur Mistie Psaledas’ unique take on the tooth fairy traditionBY VALERIE HARDY PHOTOS BY 726 VISUALS
s most parents know, a loose tooth may cause mayhem. In my family, a child’s first two loose teeth fell out on the same day, resulting in twice the tears; a tooth was lost in a donut (and digested along with said donut); a tooth attached to a Nerf bullet was shot out of a child’s mouth; a permanent tooth was even knocked out during an ill-advised squirt gun fight in a school gym nasium (cue face plant).
Sometimes the timing of a lost tooth is utter perfection. Nothing is quite like losing a tooth at school and receiving a coveted plastic treasure chest in which to store the tooth for safe transport home. In other cases, the timing is more inopportune, like right as the child is about to walk down the aisle as the ring bearer in a wedding (another of my family’s tooth loss sce narios). Whatever the circumstance of the finally freed tooth, one thing is certain: the tooth fairy is expected to make an appearance. This is where Mistie Psaledas comes in.
Psaledas, who recently relocated to Downers Grove, is no stranger to an untimely lost tooth. Nine years ago, her then 6-year-old daughter’s tooth
THE DIVERSITY, CREATIVITY, AND IMAGINATION OF DIFFERENT TOOTH FAIRY LEGENDS IS THE FOCUS OF PSALEDAS' BOOK.
came out right before bedtime. In typical fashion, the “tooth fairy” only had a $20 bill and a single ripped dollar handy. Psaledas did not find either option acceptable, but she wanted to ensure the tooth fairy’s visit was a memorable one for her daughter. “So, instead, I tried to create a teeny little note from the tooth fairy and burn the edges so it would look special…it went up in flames in my hand,” she said.
Psaledas was frustrated, but the incident got her thinking. She imagined plenty of parents had faced similar situations, and she began brainstorming ways to make the tooth fairy’s tasks easier and more enjoyable.
“I wrote a note to myself, filed it away, and life went on,” Psaledas said about her idea for a “tooth fairy kit” to aid parents while still making a magical experience for the chil dren on the receiving end of the tooth fairy’s visits. Psaledas’ idea remained untouched for years, until Feb. 28, 2019, when she serendipitously heard a radio announcement that it was National Tooth Fairy Day.
Psaledas took this as a sign. “I said aloud, ‘Alright. I got the message!’” she recounted. That day kick-started her work on bringing her idea for a tooth fairy kit to life.
Psaledas titled the kit Wiggle, Tooth Fairy Registry. According to her Etsy shop, “Wiggle is an all-in-one solution for the dilemma of what to leave when a child’s tooth gets wiggly, then falls out.”
Each Wiggle kit contains different notes with themes such as late visit
Fitness), “‘The Truth about the Tooth’ encourages anyone who believes the tooth fairy visits at night to imagine the tooth fairy any way they want…it doesn’t always have to just be a cute, blonde fairy,” Psaledas said.
The book was released last October and was the first one Psaledas wrote. The mother of three who also works full time had to be intentional about her writing process. “I did one thing every single day,” she said. “I came up with name ideas and a logo. As articles would bubble up about the different ways the tooth fairy was handled around the world, I would read those,” Psaledas said.
notices, lost tooth receipts, and con gratulatory messages from the tooth fairy. The kits also feature hand-made envelopes, miniature corked bottles containing a small note and glitter, a vile in which to place the lost tooth under the child’s pillow (or perhaps in a more accessible location), a tiny key for the child’s “safe” where all teeth will be logged within a “national tooth registry,” the registry itself, and even a small wooden container for parents to use to store their child’s lost teeth.
At the same time Psaledas was creating the Wiggle kits, she also started a children’s book about different customs surrounding tooth loss and various tooth fairy depictions around the world. Authored by Psale das and illustrated by Samantha Peroutka (Psaledas’ former colleague from when she ran the chil dren’s division at Lifetime
The writing itself went quickly, and Psaledas sub mitted her concept to a publisher. “I thought [my draft] would go into a black hole,” Psaledas said, but a week later, she received word that Mascot Books wanted to publish her book. “It was almost too good to be true!”
A year since the book’s publication, Psaledas is busy doing readings, serving on author panels, and visiting dental offices with her book in tow. She is focused on new projects as well. Her love for the Hinsdale Humane Society and her own pets inspired her to write about a dog and cat who are opposites to illustrate how those who are different from one another can still get along. She said an “adult-targeted sequel, if you will” to “The Truth about the Tooth” is also on the docket. Additionally, Psaledas, along with her children who can sew, is considering making “fashionista tooth fairy pillows to elevate the tooth pillow to match the style of your child.”
“The Truth about the Tooth” can be purchased locally at Anderson’s Bookshop or Orchid Heart Boutique, or through Amazon or Barnes & Noble online. Wiggle kits are also available at Orchid Heart Boutique or on Etsy (search “shop WiggleToothFairy”). ■
“ ‘ TheTruth about the Tooth’ encourages anyone who believes the toothfairy visits at night to imagine the toothfairy any way they want…”
- AUTHOR MISTIE PSALEDAS
Remembering WHAT MATTERS
Community Adult Day Center helps dementia patients find good momentsBY MAUREEN CALLAHAN | PHOTOS BY 726 VISUALS
Dementia is an issue that touches many families. According to the Alzheimer’s Disease International website, there were over 55 million people living with dementia, worldwide, in 2020. That number almost doubles every 20 years. The need for reliable care for loved ones with this condition is significant.
For three and a half decades, Downers Grove’s Community Adult Day Center, (CADC), located on the lower level of Gloria Dei Church, (directly across from North High School), has been helping dementia patients rediscover purpose and find joy in everyday living.
over the entire course of her 40-year career. Having joined the team at CADC a year and a half ago, Sinderson, along with her dedicated staff and volunteers, is passionate about raising the awareness of members’ abilities. “Dementia isn’t the sentence it once was. There are still many ways to find good moments in ordinary days,” Sinderson said. The care and professionalism CADC staff have for their members is truly palpable. Here, dementia patients are treated with utmost compassion and concern. And above all, patience. They act as a ‘family away from the family.’
To peek inside the CADC is to see a bright, therapeutic, holistic day center where dementia patients have fun. They learn to find joyful, productive moments in a confusing,
and often frustrating, time in life. The outside world can become frightening after a dementia diagnosis, for the mere pace at which it moves. Here, members engage in activities, from chair yoga to an art project to a music class, at a slow pace, to keep frustration at bay. Members are carefully supervised at every moment.
All day long, members move between four rooms, following a carefully preplanned daily schedule of varying activities designed to sharpen both physical and mental skills. A member is welcome to choose activities in which to participate; nothing is mandatory. From creating mosaics to play ing in a drum class led by a teacher, to visits from therapy animals, all activities help to increase neuroplasticity.
The “Magic Table” room is a favorite pastime among members, in which a projector projects scenes and scenar ios onto a table. Using their fingers, members add to a scene and draw pictures. Each afternoon after a catered lunch, everyone is invited to have “quiet time,” reading or relaxing in comfy chairs. A small outdoor garden space is tended, weather permitting. Thanks to a generous donation, indoor hydroponic garden trees will be available starting this year, for colder months.
Members’ families report a huge difference in a loved one’s demeanor because of the care CADC provides. Patients appreciate being among people in their own age bracket, making friends and sharing the camaraderie they experienced in their “old life,” before their diagnosis. While patients might not be able to relay to their fam ilies exactly what they did that day, their demeanor changes and mood elevates. “We’re often amazed that members might have trouble holding a conversation with staff, but easily connect with one another,” said Director of Operations, Shandra Bowlin. “We see real friendships being forged.”
The burden of full-time caregiving can be exhausting. CADC affords caregiving families some time to rest or go to work. It’s truly a win/win situation. The family has some free time from constant care and the patient gets a chance at something very positive.
Certain members have been told by doctors that the progression of their condition has slowed due to the daily activities in which they engage. For example, Nancy, a member, was ‘stuck in the house’ after her dementia diagnosis. Despite her hesitancy to leave home and the frus tration of her condition, she began attending CADC once a week at the behest of her family. Everything changed. Nancy now attends four days a week and thoroughly enjoys her time there. “My doctor noticed an improve ment, not only in my attitude, but also my neuro-condition,” she stated, smiling. “It’s been life-changing.”
It’s not only members who benefit from the kind care offered by this organiza
tion. Sinderson and staff also spend much time assisting the families of CADC members. “People come to us at all different stages on the dementia journey,” she said. “We meet the families where they are on that journey, while helping them look ahead. They need to know what to expect down the line.”
C.S. Lewis wrote that “you are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” CADC lives this mantra daily. For further infor mation, please visit www.communityadultdaycenter.org. ■
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Is leaving a well-planned legacy important to you?
Orchid Heart is truly a business with a heartBY VALERIE HARDY | PHOTOS BY 726 VISUALS | IMAGE BY ANNIE SPRATT OF UNSPLASH
Located in the heart of Downers Grove (4956 Main St.), Orchid Heart, A Boutique and Creative Studio, has something for everyone. Featuring the latest women’s fashion trends, red carpet-worthy jewelry, and an entire room of goods for girls, it is no wonder that the shop’s clientele ranges from “8-yearolds all the way up to my 90-year-old customer,” owner Jennifer Ryle said.
Ryle followed her successful entrepreneur father’s advice to “find a need and fill it” when she decided to take the reins of the boutique two years ago. She said she did not want “pieces that anyone can buy anywhere” and aimed to differentiate her inventory so “shoppers in town have a choice of what they are looking for.”
Orchid Heart carries high-end brands such as Liverpool and Kate Spade, and as of this fall, it became the sole seller in the state of the Anna Zuckerman Luxury jewelry brand. However, the boutique welcomes even those who are not looking to buy anything. Ryle said, “We still sit there and
talk or have coffee. It’s a safe place for everyone to just come together on Main Street.”
Ryle’s commitment to building community extends to adolescents also. This is, perhaps, most apparent in the teen empowerment group – Inflorescence – which she facilitates for two hours every week.
Inflorescence’s vision statement reads, “Little girls with dreams become women with vision.” For the girls in Inflorescence, this vision is cultivated, in part, through mentorship. Ryle said she partners with other female-owned businesses in the community to educate participants (typically ages 9-15) about the accounting, marketing, and communication skills required to run a successful business.
Members of Inflorescence also develop hands-on experience running their own business: EMPOWER Cosmetic Line.
The inaugural members of the empowerment group wanted to start their own line of makeup. Ryle helped connect the girls with the established Benefit Cosmetics company, and the
EMPOWER’s first products launched in July. Included were mascara, lip gloss, blush-bronzer, and highlighter. Consumers can pur
chase individual items for $17 or a whole kit for $55. The cosmetics are toxin-free and never tested on animals, and each purchase helps continue the Inflorescence program.
To establish product pricing, Inflorescence members first analyze materials and shipping costs. While Ryle is by their side as a guide, “they have to do the math, and they can’t use a computer or their phones,” she said.
They must have gotten the math right because EMPOWER has already sold out of their inventory two times. The makeup is sold at the Orchid Heart Boutique and online.
Comprised of a mix of returning and new members, this season’s Inflores cence group is now busy developing a line of holiday products. Be on the
lookout for EMPOWER stocking stuffers such as Santa Baby red shim mer lip gloss and Naughty or Nice felt tip eyeliner (the girls are also in charge of product naming).
Inflorescence will be debuting the holiday-themed line at the 2nd Annual Benefit Fashion Show, Denim & Diamonds, on the evening of Dec. 2 at the Loyal Order of the Moose in Downers Grove. Tickets are required.
Ryle initiated this fashion show last year “as a way to bring the community together,” she said, “and it is all about supporting local [vendors].” Proceeds from this year’s show will support the Inflorescence program and Metropolitan Family Services, a nonprofit organization that has empowered DuPage County’s most vulnerable children and families since 1930.
With a background in not-for-profit work, it is no surprise that Ryle blends business and philanthropy. However, her greatest motivation is setting a strong example for, and providing for the success of, her children and others like them within the community.
The single mother of three adolescents explained that her purchase of Orchid Heart Boutique coincided with receiving “some really bad health-related news.” She was born with a heart con dition and has “a prognosis that is not good.” However, she has dedicated herself to the motto “never give up,” which is central to her work with the girls in Inflorescence and her message to her own children.
During a recent hospitalization, Ryle missed some Inflorescence meetings. The girls within the group “did it all. They did the invoicing and got the orders out. They said, ‘Mrs. Ryle says we don’t give up,’” Ryle said.
Included in Inflorescence are Ryle’s two teenage daughters (she also has a 12-yearold son). Though she remains optimistic, Ryle does not know what the future holds. She is at peace, however, because “if something happens to me in a month or whenever I am finally confident my kids have what I taught them,” she said. “They’re not going to give up.” ■
NOTABLE & QUOTABLE
Orchid Heart, A Boutique and Creative Studio offers a wide range of products and services. From clothing, jewelry, and gifts to DIY soap-mak ing or candle-making parties, this store and more is a must-visit down town Downers Grove destination. Customers who stop in to browse just may catch a glimpse of the young entrepreneurs from the Inflorescence empowerment group in action – refining their latest business plans, selecting merchandise for the boutique’s back room, or working at one of the parties. Here is what a few of the Inflorescence members had to say about their experiences:
“Empower is such an amazing community that truly feels like a home away from home. Jen and the other girls have made it such an amazing place to learn about makeup, friendships, how to hire, and so much more!”
– Sophie Spanovic, 13
“I love coming to work [at Orchid Heart] every week and for parties… I absolutely adore every one who works here.”
– Eleanor Lucht, 13
“My mom runs [the Teen Empowerment Program]... she is my inspiration and tells the group and us at home to never give up. The program has taught me business, résumé-building, and communication. I have a hard time with communicating… The program has brought friendships and leadership to my life.”
– Olyvia Ryle, 15
“Ever since my [sister and I] started our own jewelry business, I wanted to learn more about business. That is why I joined the group.”
– Katerina Pitsilos, 10
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VOLUNTEERSBY MAUREEN CALLAHAN PHOTOS BY 726 VISUALS
Volunteer work can be tedious and often exhausting. Rarely is it glamorous. So, what keeps dedicated volunteers coming back? For many, it’s the satisfaction of being the last stop on a person or family’s quest for assistance. As longtime FISH food pantry volunteer June Miller puts it, “nobody grows up saying ‘I can’t wait to visit the food pantry.’” The help and encouragement provided by the agencies of assistance around town are not only essential, but at times, life-altering. The friendships formed among the volunteers working to lift strangers in need is its own reward as well.
Following are profiles of a few of these selfless helpers and the organizations they serve.
FISH PANTRY – JUNE MILLER AND LYNN HAYES
Located next to the Downers Grove Township building, just north of North High School, FISH food pantry began assisting people with food insecurity 50 years ago. Although the name is based on the Christian symbol of the fish, volunteers later came up with ‘Food Insecurity Stops Here,’ to fit the acronym.
June Miller has given the previous 20 of her 85 years to this outstanding
Downers Grove’s own guiding lights in uncertain times
organization. A retired P.E. teacher and coach from the high school next door, Miller finds fulfillment in knowing clients can feed their families after visiting the pantry. Over the years, she has worn any hat the orga nization has handed her. Her twoday-a-week shifts find her stocking pantry shelves of donated food, field ing client needs via telephone or packing bags of food to be distributed during open pantry hours. Miller has also periodically served on FISH’s Board of Directors in various roles.
Despite coming away aching from a shift of hauling boxes and heavy items, Miller would never consider leaving her post. “I don’t care where it hurts. If I can help a family eat for a few days, it’s worth it to me,” Miller stated. “People are just so relieved to get their food. Seeing them smile and knowing nobody will starve is what keeps me coming back.”
Volunteer Lynn Hayes retired from a 40 year career in sales. Looking for a productive way to spend her days, Hayes remembered an organization a friend of hers had originally helped found. Hayes became a pantry volunteer. Later, she served as the corre spondence secretary to the Board of Directors. Today, she keeps a database of donors. “We offer thanks to the generous community who help us,” she said. According to Hayes, the client list has increased significantly since COVID. She passion ately guards FISH’s mission-to be sure that all who show up, eat. “There’s no judgment,” said Hayes. “For some, it’s hard to admit they need help. We try to be as welcoming and open-handed as they need.”
SHARING CONNECTIONS –SUZANNE DAUM AND LISA HIGGINS
Located just west of Belmont Road at Curtiss Street is an industrial complex that houses Sharing Connections. This amazing organization helps families set up house. Clients who have
qualified for services visit the large showroom to choose housewares such as dishes, bedding, lamps and décor.
For the last two years, volunteer Suzanne Daum has not only given time, but also housewares and financial assistance to this worthy organization. Daum loves meeting donors who drop things off at the door and sorting the donated items. She finds acting as a “client advocate,”-a relatively new opportunity in which volunteers work directly with the clients- to have elevated an already wonderful experience. Daum loves to interview clients about their greatest needs, then guide them around the warehouse to help locate their requested items. “The clients are so appreciative. Sometimes they hug us,” Daum relayed. Another favorite time is the beginning of December, as the toys for the annual Christmas drive are laid out throughout the warehouse. “Sharing Connec tions has my heart,” she said. “I’m so proud to be a part of this organization.”
Much volunteer satisfaction comes not only from the work itself, but the camaraderie that naturally seems to accompany it. Daum’s ‘co-worker’ Lisa Higgins found herself with some spare time as her children entered high school. Instead of going back to work, she decided to go where she would be appreciated. “It’s not always all about a paycheck,” she reasoned. Higgins spends her Thurs day afternoons answering the door-
bell for donation drop-offs, hanging clothes, sorting bedding and testing electronics. For Higgins, it’s not just about helping, though. “I love the people I volunteer with,” she said. “It’s therapeutic to chat with them while we’re sorting things. We’re friends.”
WEST SUBURBAN HUMANE SOCIETY (WSHS)CINDY JOHNSON AND SHANNON LENZ
Recently relocated to a beautiful, new, spacious building, West Subur ban Humane Society assists our furry friends. Originally founded as a lost-and-found referral service, this no-kill shelter works to ensure that dogs and cats are loved and cared for, and their owners have the neces sary resources.
Cindy Johnson was actually allergic to cats earlier in life. Luckily, her system was able to adapt after a week of getting used to the dander of her first adopted kitten. “It’s all been downhill since then,” she stated. Now nearly two decades into volunteering, she has also served on the Board of Directors as recording secretary. Later, she turned her passion for animals and words into grant writing to help secure funding for WSHS. Johnson also transports animals to vet visits. When she finishes the manual work involved with her shift, she lies down in the kitten room and lets them
walk over her. “It’s like free therapy,” Johnson laughed.
Ten-year volunteer Shannon Lenz also finds her time at WSHS to be
spent volunteering as valuable family time. She also pointed out the mental health benefits of volunteering. Lenz expressed heartfelt thanks to the organization for being there for her in a dark period of her life. WSHS became a place Lenz felt appreciated, not only by the animals, but the organization. “It’s been life-saving to get out of my head- and home- to come here,” she said. “Animals ask nothing but love and care from you,” she commented.
HOPE’S FRONT DOOR (HFD)ADRIENNE COLVERT AND KATHLEEN SHAW
With offices located at the First Congregational Church, Hope’s Front Door works to guard the well-being of families and individuals as “first-responders” to those in desperate medi cal or financial straits. Once volunteers identify a client’s immediate need, assistance is offered as well as a straight path to the necessary social service organization for help.
therapeutic. Raising a family of animal lovers, Lenz’s son Evan began volunteering at age 10, followed by daughter Avery. Now with the children in col lege, Lenz reminisced on the years
Adrienne Colvert found Hope’s Front Door after making a donation in memory of her mother. Over the past 17 years, she has watched the organization quadruple from when she started. “I always thought I would have to go overseas to help others. Then I learned how much I could do right here in Downers Grove,” Colvert said. Over the years, she has helped with keeping current phone numbers and correct hours of operations of the service organizations referred by HFD. She has helped collect and organize toiletries available for the taking, as well as gas and grocery gift cards for immediate help. Colvert has also worked to build relationships with agencies of lon ger-term assistance, such as FISH. “To be able to help a senior citizen who is unable to advocate for themselves for housing assistance, food delivery, etc., can be life-changing,” Colvert opined.
“There’s really no such thing as altruism. You get back much more than you give. That’s your reward,”
ADRIENNE COLVERT, HOPE’S FRONT DOOR.DAUM AND HIGGINS VOLUNTEER WITH SHARING CONNECTIONS HELPING FAMILIES SET UP HOUSE.
Kathleen Shaw has served as a health and wellness volunteer for HFD for the past 12 years. After a career in education, Shaw volunteers her time unraveling paperwork for her clients’ dental and vision appointments at Midwest University. She spends endless hours waiting on hold with pharmacies to ensure necessary prescriptions are filled. For her clients, Shaw takes on the frustrating but necessary parts of the health care system, with a smile. Recently, a client wandered in with a completely swollen jaw. Shaw helped arrange emergency oral surgery to alleviate the problem. “I get a great deal of satisfaction out of helping my clients,” she said.
The experiences relayed by our volunteers are inklings of vast categories of assistance. People often discount the power of one good deed. Aesop wrote that ‘no act of kindness, regardless of its size, is ever wasted.’ The following is a paraphrased excerpt from “The Star Thrower,” an essay by Loren Eiseley:
Early one morning, an old man walked along a seashore littered in starfish that had washed up with the tide. Down the beach, he saw a young boy dashing back and forth in the sand. As the man approached the boy, he noticed him gently tossing the starfish back into the sea.
When twhe old man asked the boy why he was doing this, the boy relayed that if he didn’t throw the starfish back into the ocean, they would die. The old man pointed out the miles of beach and number of starfish. “You can’t pos sibly make a difference,” he said. After listening politely, the boy tossed another one into the tide. “It made a difference to that one,” he said.
Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something. Small donations, whether of time or money, can be easy to give, but their echoes are truly endless. Any measure of time, hope or compassion bestowed upon someone in need makes all the difference in the world to the one who receives it. ■
OF 2022BY MAUREEN CALLAHAN
Readers’ Choice Awards
Each year, we ask you, our valued readers, for your favorites. And every year, you let us know. The best restaurants. The best places to shop, from gifts to clothing to home décor. The best spot to exercise, your favorite salon and best place for a work outing. The best place to golf or sing karaoke. Where would you choose to live outside of Downers Grove. Thank you for voting. Your results are below.
As always, the categories are varied, the winners few. They are Downers Grove’s very best.
Thai First Thai Café
Wasabi Restaurant & Bar
Egg Harbor Cafe The Baked Apple Breakfast Co. The Foxtail/Carnivore & The Queen (tie)
Carnivore & The Queen Cadence Kitchen & Co. The Foxtail
RESTAURANT: Gatto’s Italian Restaurant & Bar Another Round Bar & Grill Egg Harbor Cafe
Cadence Kitchen & Co.
Carnivore & The Queen Cellar Door
BURGERS: Pierce Tavern Carnivore & The Queen Country House
HOT DOGS: Scooby’s Hot Dogs Teddy’s Red Hots Cozzi Corner
PIZZA: Angelo’s Pizza Gia Mia Mrs. T’s Pizza
SEAFOOD: Parker’s Restaurant and Bar Carnivore & The Queen The Foxtail
STEAK: Carnivore & The Queen Parker’s Restaurant & Bar Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse
ICE CREAM: Every Day’s A Sundae Eiffel Waffle Oberweis Ice Cream and Dairy
COFFEE: Mud & Char Peet’s Starbucks
Mark Harris traveled throughout the nation to race in every stateBY VALERIE HARDY
To many runners across the country, fall is marathon season. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October. The TCS New York City Marathon in November. However, for Downers Grove’s Mark Harris, until recently, every season was marathon season. That is because he ran 50 marathons in 15 years – each in a different state.
From Chicago in October 2006 to Hilo, Hawaii in December 2021, Harris tells about the training and travels contributing to his becoming part of the 50 States Marathon Club (a club he didn’t know literally existed when he first set out on his mission to become part of it).
I decided to run the Chicago marathon in my late 20’s… Like most people, I was quite active in sports until college age and then sort of lost that part of my life. I like new experiences and challenges!
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR PATH TO BECOMING A MARATHON RUNNER.MARK HARRIS RUNS THE MT. DESERT ISLAND MARATHON IN 2018. SURROUNDED BY HIS DAUGHTERS SAWYER, MARGOT, AND ISLA AND WIFE ERIN, MARK HARRIS CELEBRATES HIS FINAL MARATHON IN HILO, HAWAII.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO RUN A MARATHON IN EACH OF THE STATES WITHIN THE U.S.?
About an hour after finishing the Chi cago race, a novel idea (or so I thought) came to me: What if I did one of these in each state? Little did I know there were already a few clubs for this sort of thing! See 50statesmarathonclub.com for mine.
HOW MANY MARATHONS HAVE YOU RUN?
I like to be efficient in most things I do. My garage has only the necessary tools and kid items, my closet gets a cleanout each year, and I have only run 50 mara thons in total.
WHAT WAS YOUR TRAINING PROCESS LIKE, AND DID IT CHANGE OVER TIME?
There is this famous training program authored by Hal Higdon. It has guide lines on how many times per week, distances over time, etc. I think everyone likely starts there and comes up shorter and shorter as time goes on! I followed this program to about 80 percent of the mileage or so and finished Chicago with a respectable time. I soon learned that my race times didn’t really change much whether I trained vigorously or just enough to run 26.2 miles to completion. By the last 10 or so, my legs were on muscle memory autopilot.
IN WHICH MARATHON DID YOU EARN YOUR PERSONAL BEST TIME?
Des Moines, Iowa. It was a cool and clear autumn day, and I was still rela tively young at 29. This was a family trip with my wife, Erin, and daughter, Sawyer, as well as my parents. Those witnesses fueled some added motivation to do my best: 4 hours, 12 minutes.
DID YOU RUN ALONE OR WITH A PARTNER OR TEAM?
This was a personal quest for the most part. There are always interesting people to meet at these races who offer unique perspectives on either running or life philosophies. During this jour-
-HARRIS ON HIS THOUGHTS AFTER FNISHING THE CHICAGO MARATHON IN 2006
ney, I would see the same people at four or five races as they were gun ning for the same goal as me in the 50 States Marathon Club.
DID YOU TYPICALLY JUST VISIT EACH STATE FOR THE RACE, OR DID YOU MAKE EXTENDED TRIPS OUT OF YOUR MARATHON TRAVELS?
If the destination could be tied into a family vacation, I would always look to do that. Of course, there were some trips that were 36-hour solo tours for the sake of cost, expediency, and lack of interest in location. Oklahoma City is a fine city, but…
WHAT ARE A FEW OF THE MARA THONS/DESTINATIONS THAT STAND OUT MOST TO YOU?
Falmouth, Massachusetts – This was a family trip that included Boston and a chance meeting at a restaurant in Woods Hole, Massachusetts with fellow residents of my hometown of Manchester, Michigan - a town of only 2,000 people. It was a very “small world” situation.
Valentine, Nebraska – Fellow Downers Grove resident and all-around fun guy Dan Van Anne, who is from outside Omaha, took me up on my offer to come with me to this race. He rode a bike along the race to cheer me and many others on. One of a kind, that guy!
Anchorage, Alaska – The race was interrupted by a black bear on the trail for about 10 minutes. I did not see it and only heard this on the radio after ward. [My family and I] also took a train ride up to Denali National Park – a trip highly recommended by me and every one who has ever done it.
Hilo, Hawaii – I mean, the race was literally down a volcano.
Death Valley, California – The most peaceful race of them all. Still and quiet all around.
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR MARATHON EXPERIENCE?
When I was in shape, I enjoyed the meditative state I’d reach while simply tak ing in the scenery or the smiling kids with their hands out to be slapped. Each finish replenished my desire to keep going to the next one. The travel was a chance to see places in our country I may never otherwise see. I mean, have you ever been to Valentine, Nebraska? There was, also, the built-in excuse to go to Alaska and Hawaii!
WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE ALONG THE WAY?
The most challenging aspect was realizing that after I had run about 30 marathons, I now had to actually fin ish. Otherwise, what a waste of time, right? My motivation dwindled and my physical ability followed. Then, when I had 48 races completed, all planning was halted due to the coronavirus. All said, it delayed comple tion of the goal about a year or so.
NOW THAT YOU REACHED YOUR 50 STATES MARATHON GOAL, WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOU WITH REGARD TO RUNNING?
I’m retired from running! Seriously, I have not run more than a mile since my last race in Hawaii. Most people don’t believe me or think that is strange, but I have no desire to revisit that part of my life. It was the goal I was interested in and not the running itself necessarily. Currently, I am committed to a canoe race across the state of Kansas (from Kansas City to St. Louis) in August of 2023 with two others who have experience with that sort of thing. I’ll report back! ■
"What if I did one of these in each state?”
Here comes the
Things have been put on hold for too long. Your time has come. Bridal
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DISHING IT OUT
Inside Chef Beau’s Klean KitchenBY ABBEY HAYES
Chef Beau’s Klean Kitchen offers a weekly meal service unlike any other. The emphasis isn’t solely on convenience, it’s also about how the food makes you feel.
Chef Beau prepares meals with mainly organic, allergy-friendly ingredients. Meals are also prepared without wheat and American cow’s milk.
Chef Beau’s mother inspired him to become a Chef; however, he truly found his calling after changing his diet and seeing the positive impact.
Chef Beau realized that what you eat doesn’t only impact a person’s health and outlook but also their energy. Before starting Chef Beau’s Klean Kitchen, Beau was cooking for multiple clients on the North Shore with autoimmune diseases. He knew he needed to find a commercial kitchen because he had a niche business that people needed. After some back and forth over the years, Chef Beau made an offer on his kitchen in La Grange and established Chef Beau’s Klean Kitchen in 2010.
If you’re looking for a way to transform mealtime and your overall wellness, be sure to check out Chef Beau’s Klean Kitchen. ■
“ Some of our most popular meals include our grain-free, plant-based lasagna & Chef Beau’s buddha bowls, smothered roasted garlic pork chop, jambalaya, organic chicken Vesuvio, lamb & Bulgarian sheep feta burgers, and all varieties of our fresh pestos, moles & coconut-cream sauces. Our meals are made within 24-36 hours of being ready for either pick-up or delivery. ”CHEF BEAU
OUR HOUSE IS YOURS Hyatt
House, Chicago-Oak BrookBY LARRY ATSEFF
Whether you are on an extended stay, on business or pleasure in Chicago’s western suburbs, or looking for a quick staycation, make Hyatt House, Oak Brook, your house.
Feel at home in one of 144 rooms, including 96 suites. All rooms include a dedicated workstation and comfortable sitting area. You can spread out in a cozy den room, or you can live large in a suite with a full kitchenette that’s perfect for extended stays or a weekend getaway.
Wake up every morning to a full, complimentary breakfast. Chefs are on hand Monday – Friday to prepare your omelet to order.
Speaking of food and drink, we offer a full bar, second to none, and a caféstyle menu and seating.
And, last but not least, we have a very unique outdoor patio with a grill and
fire pit. Bring in your fixings and make yourself at home.
Unwind in our heated indoor pool. Or, take advantage of our workout rooms
Naturally, we offer flexible meeting room spaces, including a board room for up to 14 and a larger space for up to 80.
We couldn’t be more well located. Parking is free, of course. You are min utes away from one of the premier shopping centers in the United States: Oak Brook Center. This center has over 150 stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues; the finest you will find anywhere. Since we are next to major highways, you can get to both airports and downtown Chicago, all convenient for making your way around Chicago and the suburbs.
From the time you start your trip to the time you finish your stay, let Hyatt House be your house. For reservations, call (630) 590-1200, or go to chicagooakbrook.house.hyatt.com
ROOTED IN EXCELLENCE
“Opening The Finest Doors Since 1986”
When searching for a realtor to assist you in buying, selling or investment property, Nikki is the perfect fit. She offers in-depth knowledge of Oak Brook, the Western Suburbs, and Chicago with national and global networking a benefit to her clients and future prospects.
She is an accomplished Real Estate Professional with over 30 years of experience and impeccable market knowledge. A commitment to professionalism and customer service, that continues to be the core of the Coldwell Banker Realty Philosophy.
As a result, she knows how to recommend pricing strategies with well honed-negotiation skills to secure a competitive edge.
Throughout her career, Nikki has developed many wonderful and long-lasting relationships that she treasures. She sincerely cares about her clients’ needs, and they appreciate that Nikki guides them through the process, educating and sharing her years of real estate wisdom. Nikki is known for being honest, energetic, friendly and quick with a smile.
If you are looking to buy or sell with a real estate professional who offers impeccable market knowledge and service with a personal touch, contact NIKKI RICCI.
The Right Move For You!Affiliated real estate agents are independent contractor sales associates, not employees. ©2022 Coldwell Banker. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker and the Coldwell Banker logos are trademarks of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. The Coldwell Banker® System is comprised of company owned offices which are owned by a subsidiary of Realogy Brokerage Group LLC and franchised offices which are independently owned and operated. The Coldwell Banker System fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.
The Skinny on
SKIING LOCALBY VALERIE HARDY
When winter weather arrives, many Midwesterners head south in search of some sun. A key exception, however, is the portion of the population that has been anxiously awaiting the first snowfall in hopes of the perfect powder to usher in another season on the slopes. While the tempta tion to travel east or west to ski or snowboard is understandable, those who choose to head for the hills – liter ally – and ski or snowboard closer to home will not be disappointed. Ski destinations in and around Illinois prom ise snow-filled fun for seasoned skiers and novices alike. So when the temperature takes a dip, be sure to take a trip to one of these drivable destinations to ski or snowboard a sampling of some of the best runs in the Midwest.
Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports – Lisle, IL
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 5 miles
Four Lakes has been offering a unique ski experience right in the heart of the western suburbs for the past 60 years. With beginner, intermediate, and
advanced trails as well as “The Alley” Terrain Park, it is the perfect place to hit the slopes for an hour or the day. Seven rope tows take visitors up the slopes, making Four Lakes a particu larly accessible experience for first-time skiers and snowboarders. Four Lakes’ newer Twilight Saturdays offer a dis counted ticket price from 5-9 p.m.
Villa Olivia – Bartlett, IL
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 19 miles
People from all over the Chicagoland area visit Villa Olivia for downhill skiing and snowboarding. The hill at Villa Olivia features seven runs, a chairlift, and six rope tows, giving rookie and
veteran skiers and snowboarders opportunities tailored to their skill level. Not a skier or snowboarder? Tubing is also available. Visitors can purchase a two-hour unlimited tubing package, which includes use of the magic carpet conveyor lift and a snow tube. After hitting the hill, warm up with a hot drink or snack at Villa Olivia’s Ski Café.
Chestnut Mountain Resort – Galena, IL
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 129 miles
Take a scenic drive from Chicagoland to see and ski the rolling hills of Ga lena. At Chestnut Mountain, a range of slopes awaits skiers and snowboarders of all skill types. Beginner slopes include the Old Main, Acorn, Bunny, and Rookie’s Ridge. Intermediate slopes are the Apache, Blackhawk, Bobcat, Buck, Catwalk, Chute, Crazy Horse, Fever, Fox, Geronimo, and Moser. For a true adrenaline rush, advanced skiers and snowboarders will want to check out the Eagle, Mine Shaft, and Warpath slopes or the Farside Terrain Park. Those who like a challenge but prefer to be on wheels may opt to go to the Farside Bike Park for lift-serviced downhill mountain biking. Onsite lodging is available.
Snowstar Winter Park – Andalusia, IL
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 145 miles
Travel to the Quad Cities for a premiere ski and snowboard experience at Snowstar Winter Park. With 15 skiing and snowboarding trails, 11 snow tubing lanes, and a 28-acre terrain park with 40-foot jumps and over 40 features to try, this is the ideal outdoor playground for both beginner and advanced skiers and riders to practice their tricks and refine their techniques. Concession areas allow visitors to quickly refuel and return to the slopes.
Sundown Mountain Resort –Dubuque, IA
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 150 miles
For a ski and snowboard experience that is drivable but feels like a vacation, visit Sundown Mountain for a snowfilled adventure for both experienced enthusiasts and newbies. With a variety of scenic runs carved among pictur esque cedar trees (21 trails in total), two terrain parks, and a park facility
specifically designed for children ages 3-11, Sundown Mountain is a fit for winter athletes of all ages and abilities. Offsite lodging in downtown Dubuque is plentiful, with Ski & Stay packages available at Hotel Julien, a boutique hotel that blends elegance and historic charm, and at the Holiday Inn Dubuque/Galena.
Timber Ridge Ski Area – Gobles, MI
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 121 miles
When the temperature drops, hit the historic Timber Ridge Ski Area, Southwest Michigan’s oldest ski hill. Family-owned and operated, Timber Ridge offers skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and other snow sports. With green runs on up to double black diamonds, and with two terrain parks on the premises, there is a fit for each member of the family. Most lift rides are less than a minute long, which means less time getting cold and more time carving snow!
Bittersweet Ski Resort – Otsego, MI
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 124 miles
Select from 20 runs, seven chairlifts, two wonder carpets, and two rope tows at Bittersweet Ski Resort. Learners of all levels can grow their snowboard and ski skills through the resort’s Snow School, or just watch and learn from the master skiers in Bittersweet’s various racing programs. Snowboarding is allowed on all slopes, and night skiing is offered as well. Lodging is located offsite in nearby Kalamazoo.
Crystal Mountain – Thompsonville, MI
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 214 miles
Crystal Mountain, located in the heart of Northern Michigan, is a community-built ski resort operating for over 60 years. It features 59 downhill slopes, with 27 of these lighted for night skiing. Also prominent are the resort’s three terrain areas (Jester’s Alley, Little Vincent, and Megan’s Way Pump Track) and seven glade areas. Lifts number eight in total: one high-speed quad, three quads, two triple, and two carpet. For outdoor adventurers who
would rather remain on flatter terrain, Crystal Mountain is home to 15.5 miles of cross-country ski trails, some of which are also equipped for nighttime use. The resort contains over 250 guest rooms and houses the Crystal Spa plus an indoor pool and fitness center.
Boyne Mountain Resort –Boyne Falls, MI
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 279 miles
With all Boyne Mountain Resort has to offer, it is well worth the drive! Over 60 downhill trails (with 12 lifts) await skiers, and Disciples 8 – the first eight-person chairlift in the Midwest –is opening this season. The resort also offers Sno-Go downhill biking, horseback riding, ziplining, and so much more to explore the outdoors. Don’t miss the chance to take a walk on the wild side on SkyBridge Michigan, the world’s longest timber-towered suspension bridge. When it is time to come inside, the Avalanche Bay Indoor Water Park is there to greet guests of all ages.
Wilmot Mountain – Wilmot, WI
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 50 miles
Considered the “Matterhorn of the Midwest,” Wilmot Mountain celebrates 85 years of snow skiing and more this season. Owned by Vail Resorts, Wilmot invites patrons to ski or ride for $40 per day with an EPIC 7-Day Pass, making a day on the various green, blue, and black runs affordable. A substantial tubing area with its own entrance is also part of Wilmot’s winter offerings,
and Walt’s Tavern (named for Wilmot Mountain’s founder, Walter Stopa) is visitors’ top stop for “Beers, Brats, Bloody’s and Tots.”
The Mountain Top at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa – Lake Geneva, WI
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 60 miles
Come for the day or stay at The Mountain Top at Grand Geneva & Spa. The Mountain Top boasts 20 downhill ski runs, a six-acre terrain park, and the Burton Riglet Park, built with younger children in mind. Here, young skiers learn through a series of stations, with certified instructors coaching the kids through the course. Visitors can also enjoy ice skating, sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Those interested in staying indoors can be pampered at the resort’s Well Spa + Salon or grab a bite and beverage at Leinenkugel’s Mountain Top Lodge or another restaurant on the property.
Alpine Valley Resort – Elkhorn, WI
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 69 miles
If you are ready to shred, hit the slopes at Alpine Valley Resort. With over 100 skiable acres and 20 runs ranging from beginner to expert, Alpine Valley is a prime place to build or challenge your snowboard or ski skills. With four won der carpet lifts, two rope tows, a snow carousel, three high-speed quad advanced chairlift systems, and four triple chairlifts, customers spend less time in line and
more time on the slopes at Alpine Valley. With onsite lodging available, skiers and snowboarders may further maximize each moment on the mountain.
Cascade Mountain – Portage, WI
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 141 miles
For winter adventurers looking to get a little further away from home, Cascade Mountain is a great escape. With 48 trails of varying difficulties, visi tors may need to return a time or two to experience them all. The longest trail at Cascade is “Far Out,” a beginner cruising trail, just over a mile long, which takes skiers and snowboarders past forests, waterfalls, and other scenic terrain. Three terrain parks – Cottontail, Mountain Top Park, and J.J. –provide progressive challenges for those looking to hone their jumps and tricks. Cascade also offers tubing, thrilling riders with a slide down a snowy 900foot chute, a feature that is fun for the entire family.
Granite Peak – Wausau, WI
Approximate Distance from Downers Grove: 232 miles
Skiing Granite Peak is like gliding through a piece of history. First opened in the late 1930s, Granite Peak is on Rib Mountain, a geological formation over two million years in the making. Rib Mountain is the second highest point in Wisconsin, bringing thrill-seekers from all over the state and beyond. Explore over 200 acres of terrain, spread across 60 trails and serviced by Wisconsin’s only 6-pack chairlift. Skiers and snowboarders looking to catch some air have four progressive terrain parks from which to choose. While there is no onsite lodging at Granite Peak, downtown Wausau, with its authentic ski town feel, is just minutes away and features a variety of hotel options. ■
GIFT GUIDEBY ANNIE SPRATT OF UNSPLASH
Consider supporting the local boutiques and services in Downers Grove this holiday season while doing your shopping. This is your chance to bring some joy to someone in your life and support a local business at the same time. Give the gift of local this season. Happy shopping!
RIBBONS & STRINGS 816.520.7953
Give the gift of time! Affordable and convenient gift wrapping! Ribbons & Strings offers holiday gift wrapping, corporate packaging, gift baskets and more. Mention the Downers Grove Magazine “Shop Local Gift Guide” and receive complimentary pickup/delivery within a ten-mile radius Downers Grove. Schedule today!
RYBELL’S BLOW DRY BAR
5221 Main Street in Downers Grove
Put a little pep in her step. Give Rybell’s Blow Dry Bar gift certificates to those that need a wash, blow, style, and go approach. Purchase $100 in gift certifi cates and receive a $20 credit. A gift for you too.
FLOWERS & GIFTS
524 North Cass Avenue in Westmont
Enhance any Thanksgiving gathering with this compact candle centerpiece in rich Fall colors and textures with a Mercury Glass hurricane. Featured flowers include roses, lilies, alstroemeria, chrysanthemums, hypericum, or similar seasonal favorites.
THE PAPER PEONY MAKER STUDIO
Gift the experience of a candle making workshop! Perfect for the person who “has everything.” The Paper Peony offers group and individual candle making sessions along with a full collection of stunning, clean burning coconut-soy candles. Come in and sniff our best-selling Downers Days and Nights candles. Festive workshops during the holiday season are available as well.
MAPLE HOME MARKET
1015 Maple Avenue in Downers Grove
Eloise + Eric Trophy Sculptures are expressive animal characters, hand-cast in metal, with an oil-rubbed bronze finish. The antique appearance, including the incredible detailing of the sculptured heads and the expressive visages of the animals, uplift your wall decor beyond the ordinary. Based on the popular children’s story of Eloise and Eric this set celebrates the saga of unlikely friend ship between five animals.
WELLS STREET POPCORN
5124 Main Street Wells Street Popcorn’s premium old-fashioned popcorn is the perfect anytime gift. Chicago sports-themed tins are also available including the Chicago Bears and Chicago White Sox. These tins are the perfect giveaway, table centerpiece and or employee holiday treat. All tins are refillable for the life of the tin.
TOBIAS MUSIC AND GARAGE
5013 Fairview Avenue
Give the gift of music! Founded in 1978 in Downers Grove, Tobias Music is a family-owned and operated music store specializing in stringed-instrument sales, service, and lessons programs. Tobias Music also offers an excellent teaching staff for guitar lessons, bass, mandolin, banjo, and drum lessons.
DOWNTOWN DOWNERS GROVE MANAGEMENT CORPORATION
933A Curtiss Street
Are you having a tough time knowing what to give some loved ones? Let them choose! Downtown Downers Grove Management Corpo ration offers downtown Gift Certificates that are redeemable at most downtown businesses. These gift certificates make the perfect gift for everyone, young and old. Photo courtesy of the Village of Downer Grove.
“A straight, beautiful smile is universally sought after. While it is an esthetically pleasing feature, it enhances a person’s overall wellbeing in many ways. When a person’s teeth are not in alignment, the function of the teeth and jaw are not optimal; therefore, food may not be digested properly, excellent oral hygiene is difficult, wear and tear on the teeth is advanced, and the pressure from the misalignment may cause headaches and facial pain.
Seeing these transformations in my patients, along with a renewed self-esteem and a new desire to smile, is by far the greatest reward of my profession as an orthodontist.”
Exceptional Academic Achievements, Leadership and Research
“The commitment to helping patients have a straight, beautiful smile started with my dedication to learning. Education was the gateway to my profession, and I optimized the opportunity to learn. With a desire to exemplify academic excellence, I graduated first in my dental class.”