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COVERING CHICAGO’S WEST SUBURBS

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CONTENTS

The Little Red Treehouse at the Mohicans, Ohio 4 MAY MONTH 2020 2019 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

Editor’s Letter

10

Peer Preview

14

The 630

18

Books

20

Discover Lisle

22

Expert Advice Realtor Chris Cobb

24

Move

26

Humanitarian Sharing Connections

28

NaperScene Comedy for Cancer

30

Kudos

32

Shop Marijuana in the suburbs

34

Home

36

Market

38

Table for Two The Foxtail

40

Recipe Pepper and egg white sandwich

42

Let’s Go Glamping Nature is calling

60

To-Do List

64

Encore Mat Smart COVER ILLUSTRATION BY VIVIAN MINEKER

PHOTO BY COMPELLING PHOTO

8


Stacey Keeler, RN Program Coordinator, Cardiac Innovations & Structural Heart Center®

No matter where we are, we never really leave our patient’s side. Stacey Keeler may be done working for the day, but in her head she’s still with her structural heart patients, finding all the little ways she can treat them less like patients and more like family. It’s that never-off-the-clock attitude that’s led Edward-Elmhurst Health to become a nationally recognized leader in heart care. Take your free HeartAware Assessment at ThisIsPersonalEEH.org


you

distinctively A TRIBUNE PUBLICATION

Michelle Dellinger | Editor mdellinger@napervillemagazine.com Megan Holbrook | Advertising Director mholbrook@chicagomag.com Patty Brand | Account Manager pbrand@napervillemagazine.com Jenni Price | Account Manager jenni@napervillemagazine.com Haleigh Brown | Art Director Kathy Aabram | Editorial Coordinator PRODUCTION Tom Kadzielawski | Prepress/Design Manager Julie Szamlewski | Production Specialist MARKETING Brittany Van Swol | Graphic Designer AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Elizabeth Kerndl | Specialist, Audience Development FINANCE Michele De Venuto | Senior Director Guisselle Ramirez | Financial Analyst CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lisa Arnett, Karen Wojcik Berner, Julie Duffin, Mark Loehrke, Annemarie Mannion, Cara Sullivan, Christie Whillhite CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Olivia Kohler CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATORS Vivian Mineker, Maeve Norton, Ievgenii Volyk EDITORIAL AND ADVERTISING OFFICES 495 North Commons Drive, Suite 102 Aurora, IL 60504 630.696.4124 napervillemagazine.com

Naperville magazine adheres to American Society of Magazine Editors guidelines, which require a clear distinction between editorial content and paid advertising or marketing messages.

630-41 6-8998

www.cbconlin.com

Naperville magazine (Vol. 16, No. 5, May 2020) is published monthly by Chicago magazine, 160 North Stetson Ave., 4th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60601, a division of Tribune Publishing. Unless otherwise requested, submitted materials become the property of Naperville. Statements, opinions and points of view expressed by the writers and advertisers are their own and do not necessarily represent those of the publishers. We cannot assume liability for any products or services advertised herein. Naperville magazine assumes no responsibility for the return of unsolicited materials. Standard class postage paid at Aurora, IL 60504. Subscriptions: $11 for 12 issues. Printed in the USA. All rights reserved. Postmaster: Send address changes to Naperville magazine, 495 North Commons Drive, Suite 102, Aurora, IL 60504. Š 2020 Naperville magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior written permission is strictly prohibited.

6 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM


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t’s been said that people in Generation X are faring better than others during the pandemic. We follow the baby boomers, who are high risk due to their age, and we precede the millennials and Generation Z, who have lost so much of their recently earned independence. As kids, we Gen Xers were left to our own devices for entertainment. After school and chores and jobs, evening and weekend options were somewhat limited. Talking to friends meant using a corded phone that offered little privacy. Programming on the one TV we owned was dictated by four networks and two parents. Movies, vacations, and eating out were rare treats, reserved only for special occasions. So what did we do? We rode our bikes around town just to get out of the house. We helped make dinner, weed the garden, and cleaned bathrooms. We played cards or put together puzzles with family. Does this sound familiar again? If all you needed back in the day was a Rubik’s cube to entertain yourself for hours, you have earned some serious sheltering-in-place skills. If our family needs us, we’ll be on the front porch, enjoying fresh air and waving to the neighbors. Because we have always known, and younger generations are learning, that the simple things in life have always been the most important.

Michelle Dellinger

CONNECT Subscribe, read articles, search local events and sign up for our e-newsletters at napervillemagazine.com or join the conversation via social media on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram Naperville magazine @Napervillemag napervillemag

8 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM


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PEER PREVIEW The 50 Most Powerful Women

T H E 5 0 M O S T P O W E R F U L W O M E N I N C H I C A G O

by Rachel Bertsche, Amy Cavanaugh, Marcia Froelke Coburn, Anne Ford, Aimee Levitt, Jake Malooley, Edward McClelland, Tal Rosenberg, Mike Thomas, and Lauren Williamson interviews by Anne

Ford

photography by

Clarissa Bonet

lori lightfoot photo by thomas chadwick

They come from all over the city and from every field, but those who made the rankings have one thing in common: They’ve got clout, and they know how to use it.

1

62

Thinking of you Awaiting your return

Ready to make new memories

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SIGN UP FOR OUR WEEKLY TO-DO LIST AND STAY UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST HAPPENINGS

MAGAZINE.COM 10 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

C H I C AG O | M AY 2 0 2 0

Lori Lightfoot Mayor of Chicago, 57

During the onset of the coronavirus crisis, Lightfoot may not have made the big decisions — Governor J.B. Pritzker closed the schools and gave the stay-at-home order —  but she took the lead in easing Chicagoans’ financial suffering, establishing a $100 million Small Business Resiliency Loan fund and announcing limits on ticketing, towing, and impounding cars. By then the new mayor had already built some considerable cred at City Hall. At her very first council meeting, in May 2019, she memorably put Chicago’s longest-serving alderman in his place. As Ed Burke tried to launch into one of his famously long-winded speeches, she scolded him as if he were a misbehaving pupil: “I will call you when I’m ready to hear from you.” Seven months later, Lightfoot brought

the hammer down on Eddie Johnson when the police superintendent was found sleeping in his car after a night of drinks at Ceres Café. She promptly fired him and appointed former Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck, whom she admires, as interim chief. The message is clear: It’s Lightfoot’s City Hall. And while the mayor, who ran on an anticorruption platform, has had only limited success in fulfilling her promise to end aldermanic prerogative, she’s already effected real change in other areas, moving the city away from what she’s called a “regressive system” of generating revenue through fines and fees that are disproportionately extracted from lowincome Chicagoans. She’s also lowered water and sewer rates for poor residents, ended water shutoffs, and given motorists more time to pay their boot fees. All of which seems to send another clear message: If Rahm Emanuel was Mayor 1 Percent, Lightfoot wants to be Mayor 100 Percent.

POWERFUL WOMEN An excerpt on Lori Lightfoot in “The 50 Most Powerful Women in Chicago,” a feature story in the May issue of our sister pub, Chicago magazine

D

uring the onset of the coronavirus crisis, Lightfoot may not have made the big decisions—Governor J.B. Pritzker closed the schools and gave the stay-at-home order—but she took the lead in easing Chicagoans’ financial suffering, establishing a $100 million Small Business Resiliency Loan fund and announcing limits on ticketing, towing, and impounding cars. By then the new mayor had already built some considerable cred at City Hall. At her very first council meeting, in May 2019, she memorably put Chicago’s longest-serving alderman in his place. As Ed Burke tried to launch into one of his famously long-winded speeches, she scolded him as if he were a misbehaving pupil: “I will call you when I’m ready to hear from you.” Seven months later, Lightfoot brought the hammer down on Eddie Johnson when the police superintendent was found sleeping in his car after a night of drinks at Ceres Café. She promptly fired him and appointed former Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck, whom she admires, as interim chief. The message is clear: It’s Lightfoot’s City Hall. And while the mayor has had only limited success in fulfilling her promise to end aldermanic prerogative, she’s already effected real change in other areas, moving the city away from generating revenue through fines and fees that are disproportionately extracted from low-income Chicagoans.



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INFLUENCERS, EVENTS AND ISSUES ON OUR WEST SUBURBAN RADAR

SUBURBAN SHUTDOWN Local shop owners struggle to minimize impact of closures By Christie Willhite

F

or businesses worldwide, the story of the coronavirus eventually may be told in dollars and cents, in losses from days upon days with closed doors, in revised business models reflecting changed consumer habits. When Naperville business owners talk about the pandemic, though, their words speak of caring—empathy for their employees, for each other, and for their customers. By and large, businesses closed at 5 p.m. March 21, when Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order first took effect throughout Illinois. Many owners had been following the news about the virus and the measures other nations were taking to slow its spread, and already had been planning how to protect their employees and the public. “We knew we were going to shut down (in Illinois) once New York did it,” said Becky Anderson, owner of Ander-

14 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

son’s Bookshop and Anderson’s Toyshop in downtown Naperville as well as bookstores in Downers Grove and LaGrange. “This has affected everyone at levels I didn’t even think were possible.” Anderson began tracking coronavirus news in February and encouraged employees to stay home if they had health conditions that put them at greater risk for the worst of COVID-19. The company also promised employees the

pandemic wouldn’t steal their sick days or vacation time, she said. As much as possible, the staff at Anderson’s practiced social distancing from coworkers and from customers—a challenge in a business built on one-onone service. In contrast, Tara Wofford’s Pure Art hair salon is a one-woman operation. She has one client chair and space for her next customer to wait. Even as the state was issuing guidelines against large gatherings, she hoped the size of her business meant she’d be able to keep working. When Pritzker announced the shutdown, Wofford raced to reschedule more than two weeks of clients into appointments after the original projected end date for the restrictions. “I did work until 4:30 [p.m.] on the Saturday [the shutdown took effect]. I only let in one person at a time and I wiped everything down with Lysol in between each client,” she said. “The whole thing just gives me anxiety. I don’t know where to start moving people as this is extended.” Wofford, like many in service industries, doesn’t earn an income if she doesn’t work. But her landlord, Phenix Salon Suites, eased the strain by waiving rent temporarily, she said. “I feel fortunate they’re so supportive,” she said. “I do know my business is going to survive. I’m going to be very, very busy when we come back.” Some businesses, though, felt the economic pressure almost immediately. In the first week of the shutdown, at least two businesses on Ogden Avenue had closed permanently. More are

BUSINESS TO BUSINESS When stores and restaurants still were open, businesses were scrambling to find cleaning supplies. Anderson’s Bookshop owner Becky Anderson happened on a supplier with hand sanitizer in stock. She placed a huge order and shared it with downtown Naperville businesses. “That’s the kind of thing we do for each other,” she said. Anderson, who formerly served on the Naperville City Council and the Downtown Naperville Alliance board, says such community support is essential for surviving the shutdown. Key will be businesses and landlords negotiating temporary rent terms so both can stay afloat, she said.

PHOTO BY MIKE MANTUCCA/NAPERVILLE SUN

Blocks like Naperville’s Main Street and Van Buren Avenue were devoid of the usual foot traffic starting in late March.


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likely to follow, Anderson said, and it’s something every business owner fears, even when they’re well established in the community. “We’re worried about our employees. We’re worried about the lease we have at one location,” she said. “We’re concerned about … how many months this will last, about what we owe to our publisher partners.”

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Anderson’s put a number of employees, mostly part-time staff, on furlough during the closure, with the plan to call everyone back to reopen within days after the lifting of restrictions. During the shutdown, Anderson’s has tried to offset the loss of in-store sales by offering customers curbside pickup and a reduced shipping fee for online orders. The business’s internet sales increased 20-fold, Anderson said. The store’s staff also generated ideas for new offerings and ways to connect with shoppers. To help families pass the long days of social distancing, Anderson’s created Boredom Buster Boxes full of surprises for parents and kids to enjoy together. And to help readers choose their next books without being able to peruse the shelves, Anderson’s staff launched Facebook Live discussions of new releases. Still, business owners say such measures are no replacement for the face-to-face contact they usually enjoy with their customers. “I just hope that people think about community, supporting businesses in the community. Think about buying gift cards that you may use later but can support a business now when they need it,” Anderson said. “If we all do what we can, we’ll make it through this.”


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BOOKS FICTION

NONFICTION

The Paris Hours

By Alex George (Flatiron Books) Paris between the wars teems with artists, writers, and musicians—but amid the dazzling creativity of the city’s most famous citizens, four regular people are each searching for something they’ve lost. Told over the course of a single day in 1927, The Paris Hours follows four ordinary people whose stories are as extraordinary as the glorious city they inhabit.

The Jane Austen Society

By Natalie Jenner (St. Martin’s Press) A group of disparate individuals comes together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy, united in their love for the works of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

Girls of Summer

By Nancy Thayer (Ballantine Books) One life-changing summer on Nantucket brings about exhilarating revelations for a single mother and her two grown children. As the season unfolds, a storm threatens to shatter the peace of the golden island, forcing Lisa, Juliet, and Theo to decide whether their summer romances are destined for something more profound.

The Moment of Tenderness

By Madeleine L’Engle (Grand Central Publishing) This collection of short stories traces an emotional arc inspired by Madeleine L’Engle’s early life and career, from her lonely childhood in New York to her life as a mother in smalltown Connecticut. In a selection of stories discovered by one of her granddaughters, we see how L’Engle’s abiding faith informed the creation of her many cherished works. 18 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

The Hilarious World of Depression

By John Moe (St. Martin’s Press) Part memoir, part investigation, and part treasure trove of LOL stories, this book contains insights drawn from years of interviews with some of the most brilliant minds of our day who struggle with depression. Universal themes come to light, including struggles with identity, self-medication, the tragedy of suicide, and the hereditary aspects of the disease.

A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings

By Helen Jukes (Pantheon) A reflection about what it means to live alongside creatures whose laws and logic are so different from our own, this memoir delves into the history of beekeeping and the ancient relationship between keeper and bee, showing us how to be alert to the large and small creatures that flit between and among us.

You’re Doing Great!

By Tom Papa (St. Martin’s Press) Everyone fights an overwhelming feeling that we’re not good enough, which causes us tremendous stress. Relax with comedian and Live From Here writer and performer Tom Papa as he explores his favorite subjects in 75 essays, including: “You Don’t Have to Live Your Best Life,” “Don’t Open the Mail,” “I Love Your Love Handles,” and “Shut Up and Eat.”

The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz

By Jeremy Dronfield (HarperCollins) In 1939, Gustav Kleinmann and his teen son Fritz were imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration. When Gustav is sent to Auschwitz—and certain death—Fritz insists he must go, too. Based on the secret diary that Gustav kept, as well as research and family interviews, this is an extraordinary account of courage, loyalty, survival, and unforgettable love.


W

WELCOME TO CEDARHURST OF NAPERVILLE

Rest assured, we’re here to help.

Our first priority continues to be protecting the health and wellbeing of our residents, families and employees.

On-site Testing Kits

To stay ahead of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we have secured on-site testing kits for our community. In addition to symptom screening residents and employees, we can administer tests if they show symptoms, with results in 24-72 hours.

Protecting Our Residents:

• Ongoing Preventive Measures: We are monitoring CDC and federal, state and local guidelines for health and safety.

• Connective Technology: Families and residents can stay digitally informed about their loved ones’ ongoing care.

• On-site Therapy Continues: Physical, occupational and

speech therapy services have been adjusted using social distancing practices.

If you have questions, we’re always here to help. Just call for more information. Cedarhurst of Naperville • 3333 75th Street • Woodridge, IL 60517 • 630-528-0128 • CedarhurstNaperville.com

NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 19


DISCOVER

LISLE Fitness expert Jen Widerstrom dishes on her foodie favorites and more By Lisa Arnett

MEET JEN WIDERSTROM

B

efore she became the wellknown fitness expert and coach she is now, Jen Widerstrom’s first job as a teen growing up in Lisle was busing tables at Angeli’s Restaurant on Chicago Avenue. “If I had any extra tip money, I might have bought a dessert,” she says. “Their tiramisu is to die for.” Widerstrom, 37, who now lives in Denver, returns a half-dozen or so times each year to visit her parents, who still live in the house where she grew up. “My neighborhood had all these gorgeous oak trees and lakes and trails,” she says. “It was the perfect

place to grow up.” During her summers off of college at University of Kansas, she worked as a bartender at Quigley’s, Potter’s Place, and Two-Nine in downtown Naperville. Today, Widerstrom is best known for her appearances training cast members on The Biggest Loser seasons 16 and 17. She published the book Diet Right For Your Personality Type in 2017 and now serves as fitness director of Shape magazine. Read on for five of her all-time favorite spots to stroll, play, and dine in Lisle. Please check websites before visiting for the latest operations updates due to COVID-19.

QUICK FACTS Founding brothers The village of Lisle was first settled in 1832 by brothers Luther and James Hatch.

PHOTO COURTESY JEN WIDERSTROM (HEADSHOT) AND LISLE PARK DISTRICT (COMMUNITY PARK)

Got game The Bulls/Sox Training Academy (6200 River Bend Dr.) opened in Lisle in 2001. The Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox continue to manage youth sports camps at the facility, recently renamed the West Suburban Sports Complex. Over the hill Four Lakes (5750 Lakeside Dr.) is one of the area’s only downhill ski facilities. In the summertime, recreational volleyball leagues compete on sand courts at the base of the ski hill. Stroll goals PrairieWalk Pond, located just west of Main Street in downtown Lisle, is a picturesque destination for a warm-weather walk. 20 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

ILLUSTRATION BY MAEVE NORTON


WORTH A TRIP

Community Park

1. Country House

“It’s just this homey tavern with great burgers and great apps,” Widerstrom says, who cites the mini mozzarella sticks as her personal favorite. “Pubs have become like a dime a dozen, but this one is always so good and the burgers were always cooked perfectly.” 2799 Maple Ave., 630.983.0545 burgerone.com

2. Benedictine University

This historic university isn’t just for students. Members of the public can visit campus to take a self-guided art walking tour, watching sporting events, or just stroll around the manicured grounds. As a teen, Widerstrom loved coming here to watch baseball and softball games during the summer. 5700 College Road, 630.829.6000, ben.edu

3. Riedy’s Tee Time Golf Range Open since 1976, this no-frills driving range offers plentiful tees to perfect your golf swing. With ample parking and $8 buckets of balls, it’s a must-visit before the season gets into full swing. “This place was always so great, because it’s casual and you could learn without feeling pressured,” Widerstrom says. Fun fact: The nearly 17-acre property has been in the Riedy family for more than 170 years. 1400 Maple Ave., 630.852.1001

4. The Bavarian Lodge

This wood-paneled bar and restaurant serves hearty German fare such as potato pancakes, bratwurst, sauerbraten, and more than a half-dozen variations on schnitzel. “They have a great beer selection here,” Widerstrom says. Options range from German imports to local craft picks. 1800 Ogden Ave., 630.241.4701 bavarian-lodge.com

5. Morton Arboretum

This 1,700-acre arboretum dedicated to tree science features 16 miles of walking trails and winding paved roadways for scenic driving and biking. “This is just one of the most beautiful places to enjoy all four seasons,” Widerstrom says. The wooden Troll Hunt sculptures by Danish artist Thomas Dambo are always worth a visit (or revisit). 4100 Illinois Route 53, 630.968.0074 mortonarb.org

SEEKING NATURE

T

he Morton Arboretum (see “Worth a Trip,” left) is perhaps Lisle’s best-known nature retreat. However, there are many more outdoor spaces to enjoy while still adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Lisle’s forest preserves remain open to the public. “We’re doing our best to keep our trails and our open spaces open to the public to provide the opportunity to get out and enjoy the outdoors if you can, while still practicing the CDC’s recommended strategies for social distancing,” says Tony Martinez, director of community relations for the DuPage Forest Preserve District. Egermann Woods offers an expansive 110 acres of undeveloped nature, including a presettlement

oak forest. There’s a 0.3-mile mowed turf trail for hiking, biking, or horseback riding. The preserve is located on Hobson Road just east of College Road (no parking lot). Hitchcock Woods—located at Yackley and Hitchcock Avenues, a half-mile south of Ogden Avenue— is a 18.5-acre natural area jointly owned by DuPage Forest Preserve and the Lisle Park District. For details, visit dupageforest.org. Lisle’s public parks—but not playgrounds—also remain open. “I think we all appreciate the outdoors now more than ever,” says Dan Garvy, director of parks and recreation at Lisle Park District. At 110 acres, Community Park (1825 Short St.) is the largest, with plenty of ponds, walking trails, and bike paths to enjoy. For a full list of parks, visit lisleparkdistrict.org

“My parents are foodies, so we were always going out and finding new places to eat in Lisle.” —Jen Widerstrom NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 21


EXPERT ADVICE

HOUSE RULES In 2020 B.C. (that’s Before Coronavirus), Realtors shook hands and hosted open houses. Now? Not so much—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Chris Cobb, an agent with ReMax, explains. By Cara Sullivan How has the pandemic affected your business? For now, people are still fairly optimistic about the economy remaining stable. We have not seen a change in the rate of homes sale cancellations due to the virus outbreak, and as a result we are not pulling listings off the market. In fact, I have many sellers who are getting their homes ready for us to list within the next several weeks. From a buyer’s side, interest rates are at historic all-time lows. If you’re in the market, now is great time to buy. Are real estate agents considered essential business services? Yes—as well as ancillary services including mortgage, title, appraisal, inspection, and moving professionals. We have a huge responsibility to take every precaution to help flatten the curve and keep the public safe. How so? We will only show homes when we and our clients are in good health, and we always provide latex gloves and hand sanitizer for all showings. And many steps in the homebuying and selling process already have become virtual. Open houses have been suspended, and we’re minimizing in-person interactions as much as possible. In the case of vacant properties, individual private showings can be accomplished consistent with social distancing practices, and the same is generally true of home inspections. Closing transactions and recording of deeds and mortgages are the only steps that require minimal in-person interaction and document exchange. 22 MAY NOVEMBER 2020 / 2019 NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

SELLER’S CORNER

Listing soon? To get the most bang for your buck, follow Cobb’s three-step strategy before going live. Declutter “Overcluttered homes appear neglected,” says Cobb. “Do a room-byroom purge—hire an organizer to help you, if necessary—and be honest with yourself about whether or not there are some things that need to be freshened up or replaced (two words: paint and carpet). Depersonalize “Take yourselves out of the space,” says Cobb. “Remove family photos, outrageous posters, and controversial artwork, and neutralize the wall colors. It may look a bit sterile for you as the homeowner, but the buyers see a clean canvas that’s ready for their own personal touches.” Deep-Clean If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that cleanliness is next to godliness. “If your home does not show ‘sanitary and clean,’ you will have a hard time getting top dollar in this market," says Cobb. And the outside is just as important: “Make sure the front entrance is clean, inviting, and freshly painted, with new door hardware if necessary,” he says. PHOTOGRAPH BY OLIVIA KOHLER


Image © Tony Soluri

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MOVE ness practice because of its accessibility. There are three types of mindfulness invitations which can be done on a weekly basis during a short walk, generally less than a quarter of a mile. The benefits of forest bathing walks can last for up to several days when done on a regular basis. Try it once a week for a month and see what you notice.

MINDFUL MOVEMENT While sheltering in place, a connection to nature is more important than ever By Jodi Trendler

F

orest bathing is a mindfulnessnature connection practice that was popularized beginning in the 1980s in Japan, where it is known as “shirin-yoku.” There are myriad benefits to the practice, including reduced blood pressure, heart rate, cortisol levels (meaning lower stress) and risks for heart disease, anxiety, depression, weight problems, impairment in memory and concentration. Mentally practitioners report an improved sense of wellbeing, attention and focus, as well as reduced anger and hostility. Forest bathing allows us to connect with all of our senses through interaction with our natural environment, and essentially synergistically combines the benefits of mindfulness with the benefits of nature connection. By following a series of mindfulness-directed “invitations,” or interactions with the natural environment, we reconnect with and awaken all of our

24 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

senses. Because of the stressful lives many of us lead, we’ve lost touch with the ability to pay attention to the important information we can gain from all of our senses. Often people go to bed or wake up sore or stiff because they haven’t paid close enough attention to the signals their bodies were trying to tell them throughout the day. Our current tendency is to just ignore that sore neck, back, or arm and carry on with our day instead of taking a few minutes to stretch and relax. If we are able to notice these messages when our bodies try to communicate them, we can allow ourselves to take breaks and address potential problems, which will help us avoid developing chronic conditions. Forest bathing is a wonderful practice to undertake because it is accessible to anyone regardless of age or ability as long as they are able to get to a natural environment. Those with disabilities find it particularly beneficial as a well-

WHAT’S IN MOTION? Direct your attention to notice the many things that are in motion around you: birds, bugs, bicycles, clouds, leaves, and shadows. If your attention drifts from the intended focus, redirect your focus back to what is in motion. This allows you to train your mind to maintain its ability to focus; similar to lifting weights, it will improve over time the more you practice. As you develop a practice of forest bathing and continue to visit the same location frequently and consistently, you will even begin to notice changes over time. BEAR SENSE As you continue your journey, deepening your connection to the natural environment, a nice invitation in this sequence to help awaken your senses is to focus on your sense of smell using your “bear sense”—practice noticing the various smells you can detect as you walk. Take special notice of the direction the smell is coming from, how strong the scent is, and how your body reacts to it. You may even choose to spend some time in one place, such as a favorite bench or grassy area, to enjoy this invitation. CONNECT WITH A TREE A wonderful conclusion to your walk is to take a few minutes to connect with a tree or favorite plant. This involves touching, holding, sitting or standing against or near a tree that you are feeling drawn to. It may be the way the tree looks, smells, is shifting light, controlling temperature, or just captures your attention that draws you to it. This practice helps you become more fully aware of all of your senses as well. As you spend time with the tree, notice how your body reacts while in connection—this can be a very profound, cathartic experience for some, energizing or relaxing for others, and it can also be different each time you visit. ILLUSTRATION BY IEVGENII VOLYK


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Longtime volunteers Lois Varju and Diane Boyd

FURNISHING HOPE This west suburban nonprofit helps clients feel at home By Julie Duffin

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haring Connections just might be one of the best-kept secrets in Downers Grove. Sure, you may have heard of them—after all, they have been around for over 35 years. You may have even donated furniture and other gently used household items to them. But what many people don’t realize is that Sharing Connections does so much more than give impoverished families some furniture. The nonprofit gives its clients the chance to turn their houses into homes, as well as hope for the next chapter of their lives. “Yes, we provide much-needed furniture and clothing, but it’s so much more than that,” explains CEO Ryan Varju. “Many of our employees and volunteers have overcome a similar crisis. It’s this experience that gives us the opportuni-

26 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

ty to share in the experience with our clients. We truly do furnish hope, one person at a time.” The nonprofit partners with over 200 hospitals, municipalities, and social service agencies to reach disadvantaged families who have empty or severely underfurnished homes. “We mainly serve DuPage, Will, Cook, and Kane Counties, but if our partner agents work with people in other counties, they are also welcome to our services,” explains Beth Carey, director of development. “We also have in-house case managers for those who aren’t working with a partner agency.” Like a lot of charities, Sharing Connections started as a grassroots effort. In 1986 Leeanne McGrath began gathering donated cribs and accessories from her friends and neighbors

and giving them to families in need. Word spread and Sharing Connections quickly grew. In 2001, Sharing Connections moved from McGrath’s garage to its current location in Downers Grove. Since then it has expanded into a 13,000-square-foot warehouse filled with donations from community members and local businesses. “It’s a furniture warehouse, but we also have all kinds of household items, clothes, home goods, and knickknacks. Anything that makes a house a home,” explains Diane Boyd (shown left), a volunteer at Sharing Connections. When assessing a client’s needs, Boyd works hard to put them at ease. “Many times, people are embarrassed or depressed about their situation. Some of their stories are so sad,” says Boyd. While she takes them around the warehouse to pick out furniture, other volunteers put together linens, kitchen items, and whatever else they may need. They are also able to pick out clothes for their families. For a finishing touch, Boyd encourages them to take whatever items they like from a vast array of donated candles, pictures, and other knickknacks. “It’s those little things that will personalize and really finish up their homes. By the time they leave, there are always big smiles on their face and tears in their eyes. They have hope. It’s a start. It’s a new chapter for them. It really makes you feel good.” Since 1986, Sharing Connections has furnished this hope to over 122,974 individuals. In December the nonprofit transforms its warehouse into a winter wonderland filled with toys, winter clothing, and other gifts. Around 500 DuPage County families benefit from the program annually. Sharing Connections accepts donations at its Downer Grove warehouse Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers are available onsite to help unload. The organization also has volunteers available to pick up large furniture items from your home. To see what items are eligible or to sign up for a pickup, visit sharingconnections.org. “At Sharing Connections, we are just ordinary people helping our neighbors,” Carey states. “It feels more like a family. We are just doing what we love—taking care of folks around us.”

PHOTO COURTESY SHARING CONNECTIONS

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1 H Foundation president John Rot, Baird & Warner president of residential sales Laura Ellis, comedian Jeanie Doogan, and H Foundation board member Dan Chopp. 2 Laura Van Zeyl, Jeff Thilgen, Tracy Rae Crow, and John Polivka. 3 H Foundation executive director Cortney Frahm with Nicole Langert, director of major gifts at Northwestern University. 4 Ashley, Linda, and Tom Wilhelm.

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R

emember events? Nearly 600 people attended the H Foundation’s third annual Comedy for Cancer event at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove on February 27. Over $60,000 was raised for cancer research at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. Emceed by Andrea Darlas, the fundraiser featured comedians Jeanie Doogan, Mike Toomey, and Pat Tomasulo. Guests enjoyed an evening of laughs and great food from local restaurants. “Comedy for Cancer was a fantastic way to kick off the 20th anniversary

of the H Foundation,” says executive director Cortney Frahm. “We are so grateful for all of the supporters, sponsors, restaurant partners, and the Tivoli Theatre for making this fundraiser a huge success.” Since 2001, the H Foundation has raised nearly $9 million, donating nearly every dollar raised to the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. These funds are used as seed money for science cancer research projects that earn additional government or private funding based on promising discoveries. To learn more visit hfoundation.org.

PHOTOS COURTESY THE H FOUNDATION

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SENIOR SERVICE Islamic Center launches food delivery program for elderly By Suzanne Baker This story originally appeared in our sister publication, the Naperville Sun, and is reprinted with permission.

A

n offer to deliver groceries and medications to senior citizens from a Naperville-based faith organization is inspiring other groups to do the same. The Islamic Center of Naperville Youth posted a Facebook message March 16 extending home delivery for seniors in the area who are physically unable to shop or choose not to leave their homes because of coronavirus concerns. Since then, similar programs popped up at Islamic centers across the Midwest, in part because of the work of the Naperville group. 30 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

Azam Mohammed said he was motivated to start a free delivery service after seeing an older couple shopping at a grocery store. “The elderly can’t go outside of the house. Why not help so many of our neighbors?” he said. Mohammed worked with another member of ICN Youth, Ahmed Syed, to set up a hotline—773-234-6627— where people can call and members of the group would try to deliver groceries in two to three hours. About 30 volunteers ages 20 to 35 are available to help, and another 15 are on standby

to assist if demand increases, Mohammed said. In the first week, ICN Youth delivered groceries to about two dozen people, he said. “This is going really well,” Mohammed said. Most astonishing for the group was that some of the calls came from well beyond the anticipated area of Naperville, Aurora, and Bolingbrook. Because of social media, ICN Youth said it received requests from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. “I didn’t realize how much [the Facebook message] had been shared. This situation is the first of its kind,” Mohammed said. The farthest Mohammed traveled was 45 minutes straight west on Route 34 to Sandwich. Mohammed said he connected the out-of-state callers to Islamic centers in their areas. He said those centers were eager to help and to start their own delivery services. “(People) obviously are really thankful for the service,” Mohammed said. “One lady was really thankful. She was giving all her blessings to us.”

PHOTO BY SHAFEEK ABUBAKER

Ahmed Syed (left) and Azam Mohammed prepare to deliver groceries.


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SMOKIN’ P HOT Despite controversy and COVID-19, suburban dispensaries are overcoming sales challenges By Annemarie Mannion

32 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

ot is a topic of budding interest throughout the western suburbs, and it’s likely to smolder for some time to come. The burgeoning industry has faced challenges including many communities choosing to ban sales of recreational cannabis and the impact of COVID-19, which has forced some stores to impose social distancing measures. Before recreational marijuana became legal in Illinois on January 1, many suburban communities had wrestled over whether to allow sales of recreational pot; some said no to it. The law allows cities and towns to decide for themselves whether they want to allow sales of recreational cannabis to adults 21 and over. It was temporarily banned in Naperville, where opponents noted that marijuana

is still prohibited on the federal level and charged that it would harm the town’s family-friendly atmosphere. The topic led to the City Council’s longest meeting ever—seven hours and 24 minutes—before the council voted against allowing it in September. Other communities, including Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, Bolingbrook, and Elmhurst, also have banned sales of recreational pot. The story is far from over, however. Referendums in March put the question of whether to allow recreational weed sales to some voters and many indicated they’d favor it. A majority of voters in Naperville, Rosemont, Cicero, Northlake, and Westchester said yes to allowing pot sales in their communities, but the referendums are nonbinding—meaning

PHOTO COURTESY BURDI CLOTHING

Cresco’s Rise products have uplifting effects.


leaders aren’t obligated to follow the desires of voters, though the results may inform future decisions. Meanwhile, suburban businesses are capitalizing on the new market. The state reported marijuana sales totaling nearly $110 million in the first three months of 2020. A visit to a dispensary to purchase cannabis may be a first-time experience for many, but it shouldn’t be intimidating, says Clay Wynn, district manager for Illinois and Ohio for Pharmacann, which operates Verilife stores that sell both medical and recreational cannabis in North Aurora, Romeoville, and Ottawa, plus one in Arlington Heights for medical cannabis only. Cannabis dispensaries have been deemed essential and are staying open during the COVID-19 shutdown. To stay healthy during the pandemic, the stores are currently practicing social distancing. “Our staff is cleaning all surfaces between transactions and adhering to Cresco’s sativadominant Rise flower

the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines of frequent hand washing, wearing gloves, and other practices,” Wynn says. “We have markers to show patients and customers where they should stand to ensure proper distancing.” Wynn recommends checking the company’s website or calling its tollfree number, 888.493.6066, to learn whether there are wait times at the store or to make an appointment. Like Wynn, Ernie Thompson, an associate at Rise cannabis dispensary in Joliet, recommends that first-time customers visit the risecannabis.com website first to get an idea of product offerings and wait times. The store is a brand of Green Thumb Industries, which has 31 stores in nine states, and is opening new stores every month. As a result of COVID-19, Rise is asking customers and med patients to sign up on a wait list on the company’s website. Clients will receive a text telling them the wait time, and a

second text when the store is ready to receive them. Customers can wait in their cars until it’s time to enter, and will find that social distancing is in practice, with markings for where customers should stand to keep six feet apart. While any adult 21 or over can buy recreational cannabis in Illinois, purchases of medical cannabis are limited to people who’ve gotten a doctor’s referral, have registered with the state, and have a medical ID card. Customers of either type of product should also bring a valid identification card and cash for the purchase. IDs are checked to verify identity and ensure a customer is at least 21 years old. State law in Illinois sets limits for how much recreational cannabis a customer can purchase. The limit is 30 grams of flower, five grams of concentrate, or 500 milligrams for edibles. Medical marijuana has been legal in Illinois since 2013, and was the impetus for the creation of Cresco Labs, a Chicago-based company that has become one of the largest multi-state companies that control cultivation, manufacturing, extraction, and packaging processes. It now operates in 11 states, with 18 production facilities, 31 retail licenses, and 21 owned dispensaries. Cresco operates dispensaries under the Sunnyside brand in Elmwood Park, Rockford, and Buffalo Grove. It has plans for more dispensaries in Schaumburg, Chicago, Danville, and South Beloit. Jason Erkes, chief communications officer, says the company is happy to help customers new to purchasing cannabis. “We’re aware that this may be the first time a person purchases cannabis,” he says. “We’re there to help walk them through the process.” Whether during a time of social distancing or not, the goal is to make customers feel comfortable. Thompson, Erkes, and Wynn all said their stores have a sleek yet welcoming decor, and are happy to address customers’ concerns by phone before they enter a store. “It’s not like a head shop experience in any way,” Wynn says. “It looks like an Apple store. There is a lot of open space and display cases. It is designed to take the mystery out of it.” NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 33


HOME

Designer Maria Hildebrand selected these pendant lights for their simple, industrial look. The wrought-iron finish complements the blackpaned window that looks into the adjacent wine cellar.

“Our original plan was not to finish the basement until our one daughter said, ‘Where are we all going to party at?’ ” Steve says. Naperville-based Liam Brex designed this spacious U-shaped bar.

“I work in Indy quite a bit and one of our favorite bar/ restaurants had these retro Naugahyde bar stools that were super comfortable,” says homeowner Steve Benck. He looked at hundreds before he found the right match online from One Way Furniture. Large-scale porcelain tiles are a neutral, practical flooring choice. “It really opens up the space by not having too many grout joints,” Hildebrand says.

This eclectic Elmhurst home blends personal treasures with new finds By Lisa Arnett

I

t was our dream to build a house together,” says Beth Benck. After hunting for the perfect Elmhurst lot, she and husband Steve Benck are now settled into their new-build dream home. “Like most grandparents, we just wanted a space for our family to gather.” The Benck family owns West Side Tractor Sales, which has 11 locations in Illinois and Indiana, including one in Naperville. They hired Rich Barnes of Barnes Architects to design their stone and stucco home and serve as construction manager. 34 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

The Bencks’ last home was a historic Barrington farmhouse with eight-foot ceilings. “As much as we loved that house, we were kind of looking to blow things out a bit,” Beth says. The family room features a dramatic 16-foot barrel-vaulted ceiling with salvaged wood beams sourced from J. Hoffman Lumber Company in Sycamore. Custom windows by Pella look out onto a bluestone patio with a pergola, fireplace, fountain, and hot tub. Maria Hildebrand, owner of Designing Interiors in Naperville, created a polished, eclectic look to complement the homeowners’ most treasured pieces.

PHOTOS BY MARINA STORM, PICTURE PERFECT HOUSE

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FULL OF RESTAURANT REVIEWS & RECIPES Naperville-based Liam Brex designed the kitchen cabinetry and layout, which includes a metal range hood and an island with refrigerated drawers and a butcher block end cap. Hildebrand stepped in to select finishes. “We selected a very pretty textured backsplash tile from Virginia Tile [in Wood Dale] … that’s actually a mix of different sizes and four different colors,” Hildebrand says.

MAGAZINE.COM NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 35


MARKET

LOCAL BLOOMS Put some spring in your step with these floral finds Styled by Joanna Aloysia Patterson Floral bouquet diffuser from Anthropologie, $28

Beaded vases ($24.95) and faux tulips ($2.25 each) from SaraBoo Creek Wildflowers vintage pouch ($17) and houseplant jungle pen set ($17) from Paper Source

Floral scarf from Karisma Boutique, $28

Demdaco jewelry dish ($16) and ring stand ($10) from Little Luxuries

Tea rose candle from Sur la Table, $20

Rose gold ring set from Costello Jewelers, call for price

Fotini Tikkou visage mug from Anthropologie, $14

It’s with support for our retail community that we share these local products. Check store websites and social media accounts for details on curbside pickup, delivery, and shipping options. 36 MAY SEPTEMBER 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM 2019 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

Floral triple liqueur set from Vom Fass, $48

PHOTOGRAPH BY OLIVIA KOHLER



TABLE FOR TWO

The Foxtail offers a swanky new addition By Lisa Arnett

I

nside Downers Grove’s newest restaurant, a neon sign declaring “I’m just here for the …” bathes the dining room in a millennial pink glow. It’s deliciously appropriate for the Foxtail (5237 Main St., 630.541.9240), as there are countless appealing ways to complete that thought. Fresh oysters? Weekday brunch? Cool vibes? Firstclass cocktails? After spending some time there, I’m going to say “yes” to all of the above. The Foxtail is the second restaurant in downtown Downers from chef-owners Todd Davies and Tim Canning, who opened Cadence Kitchen & Co. in 2018. If you think of the two restaurants as distinct siblings, Cadence is the dark, 38 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

flannel-wearing rocker; the Foxtail is bright and sophisticated, and studied abroad in Europe. Davies and Canning envisioned a restaurant for light, healthy weekday brunch and lunch options in a beautiful, sit-down dining room. They also pictured a hip place with live music to hit up for cocktails or freshly prepared seafood from a raw bar. And so, the Foxtail serves brunch Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and then dinner 3 p.m. until late. When they hired chef Maya Nahouli, her Lebanese heritage and experience cooking Mediterranean cuisine—especially her love of seafood—gave the menu an inspired focus.

PHOTOS BY REGAN BARONI

FRESH FLAVORS

THE COAST IS CLEAR There are plenty of spots to settle in at the Foxtail, from high-top tables under a cascade of hanging plants to a pastel velvet booth near the corner platform where DJs spin or musicians play acoustic sets. But for a date, the best seats in the house may be at the raw bar, where you can watch a chef shuck oysters and slice seafood for the restaurant’s poke, crudo, and carpaccio preparations. Those oysters arrive on ice-filled platters with housemade cocktail sauce, peppery mignonette, and the cutest little doll-size bottle of Tabasco you’ve ever seen. On my visit, they were shucking belons: massive, briny beauties in palm-size shells hand-picked by divers in Maine’s Damariscotta River. Toss one back, close your eyes, and I swear you’ll feel like you’re knee-deep in the coastal waters. Other stellar raw seafood options include a citrusy hamachi crudo with razor-thin slices of serrano and tender octopus carpaccio with crispy matchsticks of apple. There are equally tasty dishes coming out of the kitchen, from addictive smoked salmon arancini to lamb and beef kefta with lemon salsa, hummus and puffy house-baked pita. A crisp, light spin on the classic wedge salad features Burrata, dried cranberries, almonds, and bits of red pepper and bacon, all bathed in a tangy white balsamic-blue cheese vinaigrette. Perfectly al dente agnolotti—think ravioli, but smaller—with lamb shank filling and creamy brown butter sauce is rich and comforting.


Ghosted cocktail

TREAT YOURSELF The Foxtail has a robust wine and beer menu, but if you enjoy a well-made cocktail, I’d recommend partaking. Drinks created by beverage director Johnny Holder are on par with the most serious of craft cocktail bars, but fun names and housemade candy garnishes show this crew digs whimsy, too. The cognac-based Ghosted is garnished with pineapple gumdrops—bouncy little pâte de fruit-like cubes skewered on a toothpick—while the Whatta Man, a old-fashioned made with salted caramel syrup, made me smile with both its Salt-N-Pepa reference and its spiced marshmallow garnish. There’s also a rotating barrel-aged cocktail named for the company Davies and Canning formed, Not Kind Of. “The name stemmed from us saying, 'We are going to produce the best dining and drinks and experience that we possibly can—not kind of,' ” Davies says. “We are not taking shortcuts; we are not cheaping out on anything.” From that fluffy housemade pita to the restroom wallpaper custom-printed with the restaurant’s fox logo, that level of attention is crystal clear throughout. As of presstime, the Foxtail was offering a limited carryout and delivery-only menu in compliance with the statewide ban on dine-in service to prevent COVID-19 spread. The menu features what chef-owner Todd Davies calls “fan favorites” from the Foxtail and sibling restaurant Cadence Kitchen (also temporarily closed), as well as family meals that serve four to six people. Visit thefoxtaildg.com for the latest.

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RECIPE

Yield: 1 sandwich

TO MAKE JALAPEÑO RELISH 1 Using gloves, slice jalapeños into halves; remove seeds then rough dice. 2

2  cups fresh jalapeños, sliced (about 10) ½ cup water ½ cup white vinegar ½ cup sugar ½ teaspoon salt 1⁄3 cup canola oil 1⁄3 cup shishito peppers, sliced rice flour 1 ciabatta bun 3 tablespoons butter 3 egg whites (or ½ cup liquid egg whites) pepper Jack cheese ¾ cup baby kale and spinach salad mix salsa verde 40 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

Place jalapeños in a sauce pan with water, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Cook over medium-high heat until boiling, then reduce and simmer until liquid is reduced (20 to 30 minutes). Drain, reserving liquid.

4 Chop peppers to desired consistency, adding liquid to desired thickness. Let cool and store in jar. TO MAKE SANDWICH 1 Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge shishito peppers in rice flour and fry them until blistered and slightly crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes; add a pinch of salt, then set aside and keep warm.

2

Split the ciabatta bun and toast until both sides are a deep golden brown.

3

Melt butter in small skillet and cook egg whites and ½ pinch salt until cooked. Top cooked egg with one thick slice of pepper Jack cheese; cover skillet with a lid until cheese is melted.

4 Spread 1 tablespoon jalapeño relish on entirety of bottom bun, then add baby kale/spinach mix on top of the relish. 5

Add the cooked egg whites with cheese, then top sandwich with crispy shishito peppers.

6 Close the sandwich, add sandwich picks, slice in half, and add salsa verde on the side. Recipe courtesy Beatrix

PHOTO COURTESY BEATRIX

PEPPER & EGG WHITE SANDWICH


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NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 41


LET’S GO GLAMPING If you like communing with nature, but not roughing it, glamping (glamour + camping) might be the answer. Think comfy beds, indoor plumbing, and a hot breakfast—it’s all possible. Whether you’re traveling with pets or kids, or just want a romantic weekend away, we’ve done the research so you can just get out there when social distancing starts to ease. Choose a state and a glamping level and hit the road—nature is calling. STORY BY MARY BERGIN ILLUSTRATIONS BY VIVIAN MINEKER 42 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

Editor’s note Events listed were confirmed at press time. Check websites or call ahead to confirm there hasn’t been a postponement or cancellation due to the pandemic.

PHOTO COURTESY VISIT CANTON

FINDING WAYS TO ESCAPE HAS RISEN TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL IN 2020. THE GREAT OUTDOORS IS CERTAINLY THE ANTIDOTE WE ALL NEED, JUST AS THE MIDWEST COMES ALIVE.


CLAY'S PARK RESORT

GLAMPING LEVEL 1 NO ELECTRICITY, INDOOR PLUMBING OR PRIVATE BATH/ SHOWER 2 ELECTRICITY, PLUMBING, PRIVATE BATH (TWO OF THE THREE) 3 MOTEL-LIKE AMENITIES, BEYOND BASIC FURNISHINGS

MAX PER UNIT COST PER NIGHT

NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 43


ILLINOIS FOREST TO FARM SETTINGS The Has Bin

THE HAS BIN

ALVIN

3

2

$110

On a beef/crop farm between Champaign and Lafayette is a converted grain storage bin, 18 feet in diameter. Inside the 1950s farm building are a satellite TV, loft for sleeping, flush toilet, and clawfoot tub with shower. Watch corn grow from a porch swing or the sun set from the upper deck. Anglers can fish at the farm’s pond. Overnight guests get homemade treats and a choice of a sweet or savory breakfast. Cook dinner over a fire pit in the evening, or pay extra for a farmhouse meal. thehasbinguesthouse.com NEARBY

Danville Dans, a college summer wooden bat team, plays at the 1946 Danville Stadium, 15 miles south. Hot-air balloons dot the countryside sky during Balloons Over Vermillion, July 10–11; the gathering doubles as a Danville festival.

GARDEN OF THE GODS

Hidden Ridge OTTER LAKE, GIRARD

1+

9

$129

Thirty miles south of Springfield is a woodsy refuge for getting unplugged as the occasional bald eagle soars. Home is a 14-by-16-foot tent with a wooden floor that is on stilts and off the grid—as in no electricity. Use solar-powered lanterns to read and cook heat meals over a campfire, but sleep in a real bed. Outside is a hot shower and a toilet that flushes. airbnb.com

Timber Ridge Outpost and Cabins HEROD

3

4–6

$175+

For rent are two treehouses, 50 miles east of Carbondale and in Shawnee National Forest, part of the Illinois Ozarks. One treehouse is built into a 200-year-old white oak, 24 feet above ground. The other, between a maple and oak, is smaller. Both have a kitchenette, bathroom, sleeping loft, heat and A/C, fiber optic Wi-Fi and high-def TV. Also on Timber Ridge’s 120 acres are cabins and modern homes for overnights. timberridgeoutpost.com NEARBY

Sample national and international award winners along the 11-stop Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. Five miles north is Garden of the Gods Recreational Area, wilderness with sandstone rock formations. Climb the popular Observation Trail; reserve an hour to do the ¼-mile uphill hike. 44 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

ILLINOIS STATE FAIR

PHOTO COURTESY ENJOY ILLINOIS, HAS BIN, ILLINOIS STATE FAIR

NEARBY

Eat ice cream and find the 500-pound cow made of butter at Illinois State Fair, Aug. 13–23 in Springfield. Visit the city’s many Abraham Lincoln sites, including the 16th U.S. president’s burial site and official library and museum (with people-size holograms, interactive exhibits).


INDIANA SPEEDY TO SERENE SURROUNDINGS Thyme for Bed LOWELL

3+

3

$135+

Inside an unusual, earth-friendly monolithic dome (whose energy usage is far less than traditional architecture) are three homey accommodations with modern amenities. Decor for each is distinct: an edgy-rustic Pheasant Room, the wrought-iron-and-lace Victoria Room, and a spacious king-bed suite with a whirlpool tub. Rates include breakfast: Souffles, blintzes, popovers, and eggs Benedict are among the tasty possibilities. tymeforbed.com NEARBY

Celebrate Eastern European heritage during Pierogi Fest, July 24–26 in Whiting, 30 miles north. Add hiking at Indiana Dunes National Park, along Lake Michigan, or go 30 miles south for hearty comfort food at the Farmhouse Restaurant of Fair Oaks Farm—apps include cheese curds and a bacon sampler.

INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Mary Rose Herb Farm and Retreat BRISTOW

2

4

$90 for 2

Between Evansville, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky, is a Cattail Valley farm with a Zen garden and walking trails (no longer selling herbs). Two roomy yurts share a deck and are flanked by fields and forest. Each is furnished with two double beds, a little refrigerator, a microwave, a hot/ cold water dispenser, heat and AC, a CD player, and reading materials. Outside are an outhouse, a shower, and a campfire ring. Pay extra for time in the steamy, Japanese-style soaking tub. Rates include breakfast. maryroseherbfarm.com NEARBY

Splash through the theme park Holiday World, whose third water coaster—Cheetah Chase—opens this year. The park, which opened in 1946, is 15 miles southwest, in Santa Claus, where it’s Christmas all year. HOLIDAY WORLD

Indianapolis Motor Speedway INDIANAPOLIS

PHOTO COURTESY INDIANAPOLIS, FLICKR/HOLIDAY WORLD & SPLASHIN' SAFARI

1-3

2-4

$1.3k+

The racetrack’s infield turns into a cozy village—call it Glamptown—during Indy 500 week. Sleep on an air mattress (pillows, blanket provided) in a canvas tent that also contains a couple of chairs and tables. Flush toilets and private showers are nearby. Or book a sensibly appointed tiny house with its own shower/toilet, electricity, refrigerator, stovetop, sinks, and dining table. Plan early: All overnight packages, which include event tickets, for 2020 are sold. indianapolismotorspeedway.com NEARBY

Ride zip lines of Edge Adventures’ Koteewi Park. Swim with dolphins at Indianapolis Zoo. Challenges are numerous at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis; no museum for kids is bigger. NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 45


10 ESSENTIALS GEAR AND TIPS FOR ENJOYING THE GREAT OUTDOORS By Michelle Dellinger When interviewed, Jennifer Rydzewski was working from home in mid-March—an unusual indoor scenario for the naturalist, who has master’s degrees in environmental sciences and zoology. As antidotes to spring sequestering and winter weather, the nature programs she oversees at Oak Brook’s Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center will surge in popularity as people can safely get outside. We tapped the outdoor expert—who is herself an avid hiker—for her list of essential gear and tips on traversing the Midwest safely and comfortably.

1 WATER Carry clean water in a bottle, canteen, or hydration bladder. For long hikes, consider buying a portable filter to refill in a stream or pump. She recommends one from Sawyer that screws on your bottle and removes more than 99 percent of bacteria, protozoa, and microplastics.

2 FOOD Bring a little extra food in case you get stuck somewhere, Rydzewski advises. Bars, trail mix, dried fruit, apples, oranges, and beef jerky—“things that won’t get squished in your backpack”—are all great options.

3 CLOTHING Bring a light outer layer (windbreaker, fleece, sweatshirt) for cool mornings and evenings. “A space blanket is really nice because it folds down,” says Rydzewski. “If you’re stuck somewhere or there is a storm, you can use that to keep yourself warm and sheltered.”

4 SUN PROTECTION When hiking in open areas it goes without saying that a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and clothing with SPF fabric are all essential. “I wear a long-sleeve sun shirt because I get burned really easily,” she says.

5 NAVIGATION TOOLS Rydzewski advises against going into an area assuming you will have cellular service. “Generally, don’t rely solely on your cellphone,” she advises, but the camera function can be useful, as well as paper or saved online maps. 46 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

ORIENTATION

While batteries can die and gadgets can malfunction, a compass relies only on earth’s magnetic fields—but it’s only helpful if you know how to use it. The forest preserve hosts navigation and way-finding courses at Waterfall Glen and Blackwell Forest Preserve, and REI offers map and compass navigation classes.


IT’S IN THE BAG

Naturalist Jennifer Rydzewski doesn’t have a specific brand of backpack to recommend, but she tells people to search for what outdoor stores call a day pack. “I like backpacks that have a hip belt and chest strap, so it’s not bouncing all around,” she says. “The smaller the better—the less weight you can carry the more comfortable it’s going to be for you overall.”

6 FIRST AID KIT Pack bandages, safety pins, meds (prescriptions, Benadryl, and pain relievers), antibacterial cream, and alcohol wipes to clean out a scratch or cut. Moleskine pads are also helpful for the No. 1 bad news for hiking: blisters.

7 FIRE STARTER Even if you’re planning a day hike, always bring some sort of fire starter—in case you get lost or have to spend the night unexpectedly. A lighter or waterproof match will do the trick, but it’s good to have a backup like a magnesium stick.

8 LIGHT SOURCE If you’re stuck at night or it starts to get dark, having a flashlight or lamp will be essential. “Keep in mind,” says Rydzewski, “if you’re in the woods it will start getting darker earlier under the shady trees.”

9 POCKET KNIFE “I always have a knife on me so I have little scissors and screwdrivers,” she says. “Duct tape is also a good friend. I wrap my water bottle or trekking poles so I have some that I can use without taking the whole roll.”

10 WHISTLE If you get get in trouble on a hike you can alert someone to find you. “And if you do get lost or get stuck somewhere, it’s always good to stay where you are,” says Rydzewski.

BEFORE YOU BOUNCE Research the trail. Find a map ahead of time so you knowing the distance and the difficulty of the trails, which vary from park to park. Do advance research using apps like AllTrails, Gaia GPS, and Hiking Project. “People’s comments will also tell you about current conditions,” says Rydzewski. Also confirm if there is a source of water and bathrooms. Check the weather. Clothing and gear should be adjusted for the range of weather expected—and unexpected. Also be aware of what time the sun will set to ensure trails are visible. Share plans. Tell someone where you are going, when you are leaving, and when you’ll be back to ensure help will be dispatched if problems arise.

NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 47


IOWA SPECTACULAR STATE PARKS, FARMS Luna Valley Farm DECORAH

1+

2

$150

Match a tent stay at this organic farm with a pizza night, when pies with locally harvested ingredients are baked in a stone oven. Two off-the-grid tents for overnights are atop elevated platforms in an oak savanna valley; each contains a king bed and LED lighting. Bathrooms and bathhouse are in the barn. lunavalleyfarm.com NEARBY

Walking paths weave through 890 acres of gardens to orchards at Heritage Farm, a vast repository for seeds from heirloom plants from Seed Savers Exchange. Explore Norwegian roots during Nordic Fest, July 24–25, at Vesterheim, a national Norwegian American museum and heritage center, also in Decorah.

LUNA VALLEY FARM

English Valley B&B MONTEZUMA

2–10

$100+

NEARBY

The Iowa State Fair, Aug. 13–23, is among the nation’s oldest, biggest, and best. Des Moines also is home to the state’s gold-domed Iowa Capitol, open for tours. IOWA STATE FAIR 48 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

PHOTOS BY REBECCA OTTMAN AND COURTESY IOWA STATE FAIR

2–3

Sixty-five miles east of Des Moines is a revamped 1930s barn with overnight digs (bunkhouse to king-size bed), an event hall, and a common area with Amish-made furniture and big-screen TV. Weddings happen here. So do pheasant hunts, fishing, and farm tours. Two of seven guest bedrooms are in the farmhouse basement. Each accommodation comes with a private bath (the bunkhouse has two). airbnb.com


CLASSIC CAMPFIRE CONFECTIONS PAMMEL STATE PARK

JOHN WAYNE'S BIRTHPLACE

McIntosh Woods and Pammel State Parks VENTURA AND WINTERSET

PHOTOS COURTESY IOWA TOURISM OFFICE

2

4–8

$35–$70

The parks are 160 miles apart, and each has two yurts. Expect one full-size futon, one or two sets of twin bunk beds, electricity, a ceiling fan, and a table with chairs. At McIntosh, up to four per yurt sleep near the shore of Clear Lake, Iowa’s third largest. At Pammel, yurts sleep up to eight and are near a stream with woods; added furnishings are a sofa sleeper and kitchenette. All yurts have fire pits and access to detached bathhouse with flush toilets. iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com NEARBY

The Clear Lake area is home to Surf Ballroom, where Buddy Holly performed before his plane crashed six miles away in 1959. Tour the ballroom and visit the crash site memorial. Six miles north of Pammel is film cowboy John Wayne’s birthplace, in Winterset, and covered bridges that were film sites for The Bridges of Madison County are in the vicinity.

By Karen Wojcik Berner When it comes to campfire dining, everyone has their own preferences— from stick-roasted hot dogs to panini-style pudgy pie sandwiches to Dutch oven stews and casseroles. But when the sun goes down and it’s time for dessert, the choice is nearly unanimous and the air around almost every campground tends to take on the scent of roasted marshmallow. Because whether you’re pitching a tent in the backyard, spending time at a cabin on a lake, taking in the night sky outside an RV, or just joining in the celebration of National S’mores Day (Aug. 7), that holy camping trinity of graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow is a camping classic like no other. “S'mores have something for everyone: crunchiness, chewiness and, of course, chocolate,” says Jen Cain, a longtime scouting parent and organizer with the Three Fires Council in St. Charles. “Even better, each person builds their own, and that right there is the magic! You choose how to toast your marshmallow. Mess it up, make another—no big deal.” Cain’s many scout camping trips have yielded a number of worthwhile tips for s’more administration, including keeping a close watch on the chocolate allotments (to avoid overindulgence), limiting the number of pokers for younger scouts (ditto), and having wet wipes on hand for the sticky cleanup. And while she notes that there are plenty of variations on the three-ingredient recipe to experiment with—from dark chocolate or peanut butter cups to flavored marshmallows to honey versus cinnamon graham crackers—the most important components are an open flame and a group of fellow campers with whom to share more than just a tasty campfire treat. “As you wait for your turn at the fire or with the poker, or wait for it to cool so you don't burn your face off, you chat, giggle, sing, and just act goofy,” she says. “You come away from the experience having had just that—an experience. It's not just a dessert, it's a special time with friends.”

SPRUCE UP YOUR S’MORES Transform the gooey goodness with these gourmet variations befitting any adult glamper. Feel free to indulge paired with a glass of port or Bailey’s on the rocks. Instead of (or in addition to) chocolate, try: Nutella Berries Bananas Peanut butter cups Caramel Bacon

Instead of graham crackers, try: Waffles Cookies Rice Krispie treats Oreos

Instead of plain marshmallows, try: Bourbon-infused marshmallows (wondermade.com) Champagne or coffee marshmallows (xomarshmallow.com)

NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 49


ALTERNATIVE SLEEPS FIVE UNIQUE LODGING OPTIONS FROM KOA By Mark Loehrke

TEPEE TENTS

YURTS

WALL TENTS

CABOOSES

AIRSTREAM TRAILERS

Available at a number of Midwest locations—including Hayward, Wisconsin; Terre Haute, Indiana; and Mackinac Island, Michigan—KOA’s tepees combine modern amenities with a look and feel that honors Native American traditions.

These unique round structures may never be as popular at American campgrounds as they were on the plains of ancient Asia, but campers at KOA sites in places like Salem/Lisbon, Ohio, and Higgins Lake, Michigan. are flocking to them now for something different.

For these muchupgraded versions of traditional tents, KOA properties (like the one near St. Joseph, Michigan) have found a variety of ways to deck out traditional safari tents with bedding, furniture, and creature comforts that bely the fact that you’re on a campground.

They may not adorn the back end of America’s trains anymore, but several of these classic train cars are now parked on KOA campsites for use as overnight lodging—including the one on historic Route 66 near St. Louis (see p. 53).

Only a few select KOA locations out west have these stationary classics available for rental, but closer to home the South Bend/ Elkhart campground in northern Indiana does have one “retro” trailer onsite.

50 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

PHOTOS COURTESY KOA

Portable tents, rustic cabins, and pop-up trailers generally have been seen as the tried-and-true standard-bearers for camping accommodations since, well, camping became a thing. But as times have changed, so too have the types of temporary domiciles that campers are looking for, which is why Kampgrounds of America (KOA) has developed a range of unique lodging options that offer plenty of new po-tent-ial. “The demand for these unique offerings has really caught fire in the past five years or so,” says Mike Gast, KOA’s VP of communications. “The millennial generation began having their own families and were looking for both more comfortable ways to camp with a minimum of equipment to purchase, and also for more ‘unique’ outdoor experiences.”


KENTUCKY FOLK ART, THOROUGHBREDS, DISTILLERIES Canopy Crew STANTON

2-3+

2-8

$165+

Four treehouses, each unique, loom high above hiking trails in a forest where the arborist-builder makes environmental sustainability a priority. Expect smartly designed and window-rich quarters with homey furnishings. The most modest unit has battery-powered lanterns, propane appliances, a water jug sink, composting outhouse, and offsite shower. The other extreme: full electricity, indoor plumbing, a flush toilet, and a spring-fed hot tub. thecanopycrew.com NEARBY

Treehouses are at Red River Gorge Geological Area: 29,000 acres with sandstone cliffs and natural stone arches in Daniel Boone National Forest. An hour southwest is folk-artsy Berea, home to weavers, instrument makers, and other artisans.

CANOPY CREW

Wigwam Village CAVE CITY

PHOTOS COURTESY FOREST WOODWARD AND BY HALEIGH BROWN

3

2–4

$55+

This arc-shaped arrangement of 15 tepees is a national landmark, open since 1937 as No. 2 in a nationwide series of tepee villages. Only three of the seven villages remain. Each wigwam is a freestanding motel room with one or two double beds, a private bathroom, and cable TV. Furnishings are made of the village’s original hickory wood. 270.773.3381 NEARBY

KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL

Mammoth Cave National Park, eight miles west, is the world’s longest cave system underneath 53,000 acres of forest. Hike for miles, above or below ground. Kentucky Bourbon Trail, whose 18 stops include distilleries within an hour north, shows how deeply the liquor is rooted in Bluegrass State heritage.

Paris Landing PARIS

1+

2

$140–$145

On four acres are four elevated canvas tents with king-size beds amidst a blend of antique and vintage furnishings. The tents share two privies that have flushing toilets. Book time to bathe or shower leisurely in a private but open-air enclosure that has a lounging area. Cook over charcoal grills or a fire pit. Elsewhere at this resort are cabin rentals and watercraft to explore Stoner Creek, usually 10 to 12 feet deep and good for fishing or bird watching. parislanding.us NEARBY

Two miles away are tours of century-old Claiborne Farm, former home to Secretariat. Or, think four wheels with a weekday tour of Toyota’s largest U.S. plant, 20 miles west of home base. NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 51


MICHIGAN BERRY GOOD CHOICES AT FRUIT FARMS Wild Cherry Resort

LEELANAU PENINSULA WINE TRAIL

LEELANAU

1

3

$125+

Like camping but just want a real bed with a mattress? The resort’s sole yurt has a queen-size bed, twinsize day bed, dresser, and small dining set. A short walk away is the shower and porta potty. For electricity, head to the clubhouse of the property, which also rents cabins, tent sites, and RV sites with water, sewer, and electricity access. wildcherryresort.com NEARBY

Two dozen venues on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail are within 10 miles. That includes Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor, whose 200-some cherry products include bakery, candy, salsa, jam, ice cream, and beverages. Sandy beaches extend for miles 25 miles southwest at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which turns 50 this year.

THE FIELDS

Rocky Top Farms ELLSWORTH

1–3

2–6

$85+

Keep it rustic with an off-the-grid tent or yurt with bed, or go lofty with a two-bedroom treehouse (as in second-story cabin) that sleeps six and comes with a kitchen, radiant heat, private bathroom, and shared hot tub. Nestled within a cherry orchard with a pond and hiking trails is a farm shop that sells products made with cherries and other fruits. Add time for disc golf, yoga with goats, or the farm’s occasional music events. rockytopfarms.com

The Fields SOUTH HAVEN

3+

2–4

$309+

At a 30-acre heirloom veggie-herb-blueberry farm is tent lodging with wood stove, king bed, bathroom, and electricity—but no Internet access. That’s intentional: The goal is to unplug without sacrificing lifestyle quality. Here, happy hour includes pie made with locally grown fruit. Rates include a chef-made dinner and breakfast. Bike the area’s trails, book a private sailing charter on Lake Michigan (three miles away), or simply enjoy peaceful surroundings. thefieldsofmichigan.com NEARBY

Explore lakeside landscapes and towns, especially artsy Saugatuck (20 miles north) and its Oval Beach. Climb the town’s one-mile Mount Baldhead trail; ride the 1838 chain ferry—the only one remaining in the U.S. Thousands visit South Haven for National Blueberry Festival, Aug. 6–9, usually at peak harvest time. 52 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

BAY HARBOR GOLF CLUB

PHOTOS COURTESY LP WINES, CHICAGO TRIBUNE/TERRI COLBY AND BY EVAN SCHILLER

NEARBY

Golf 10 championship-level courses on three resorts—Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain, and Bay Harbor Golf Club—within 30 miles of the farm. The 90th annual Venetian Festival, July 18–25, brings a mix of music and boat and street parades to Charlevoix, 15 miles north.


MISSOURI ON, NEAR THE RIVERS KOA Campground ST. LOUIS WEST

3

4

$99+

Spend the night in a converted railroad caboose along historic Route 66—it’s big enough for a queen bed and two singles with a bathroom tub and shower. Outside is a fire ring that overlooks a playground and swimming pool at the campground of tents and RVs. koa.com NEARBY

One mile away is Six Flags St. Louis, the mega amusement park that introduces the Catwoman Whip this year (riders fly 164 feet at 50 mph). Two hours north is Hannibal, the riverside town that gave author Mark Twain lots of fodder for writing; National Tom Sawyer Days are July 2–4.

GATEWAY ARCH

River of Life Farm DORA

3

2–6

$259+

Treehouse cabins peek out from thickets within the Ozark Mountain farm’s 500 acres. Expect fine craftsmanship, inside and out, and modern amenities. In the Treetop Hideaway are stained glass windows, a stone fireplace, a hot tub, and aking-size bed. Treetop Cedar Crest, with a queen bed, is slightly smaller. Both look onto the North Fork, one of the nation’s best trout fishing spots (access is included). Or hike in neighboring Mark Twain National Forest, 1.5 million acres filled with trails, horseback riding, and mountain biking. riveroflifefarm.com NEARBY

Ninety miles west are the theaters, music, and family fun of Branson, where a celebrity lineup draws a big crowd for Country Music Days, Sept. 11–20. Cool off with water parks and thrill rides at Silver Dollar City.

SILVER DOLLAR CITY

Glamping St. Louis ST. CHARLES

PHOTOS COURTESY EXPLORE ST. LOUIS, SILVER DOLLAR CITY

2

2–4

$325+

Two of three safari-style tents sit on a floating dock in a Mississippi River channel, and the third overlooks a private pond. Each tent contains a king-size bed plus futon or sofa sleeper, tables with lamps, and a mini frig. Walk to the bathroom cabin for toileting and showering, or use an outdoor covered cooking area (with microwave, sink, burners). Overnights on boats (clipper sailboat, cabin cruiser, houseboat) or an Airstream are possible, too. glampingstl.com NEARBY

Check the view atop Gateway Arch, the glistening beacon of St. Louis, and see how the new St. Louis Aquarium has transformed historic Union Station. Music fills Laclede’s Landing during Big Muddy Blues Festival, Labor Day weekend.

NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 53


PACKING HEAT

LOCAL EXPERTS EXPLAIN THE PROPER WAY TO BUILD A CAMPFIRE By Karen Wojcik Berner There’s more to building a safe, environmentally responsible campfire than just stacking up some wood and lighting it up. A solid fire that will burn anywhere from two to six hours requires the right components.

1 RESEARCH Before building a campfire, be sure to check if there are any daily burn bans in the area at weather.gov, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at NOAA.org, or your state’s department of natural resources. Wisconsin, for example, has a map on its website, dnr.wi.gov, that features posts on fire dangers, wildfires, and prescribed burn activity. If you don’t want to leave it to chance, the state also has a free burning permit that can be obtained online. “Though burn bans don’t often occur in our area, as our fuel types are not as susceptible to largescale wildfires, caution should always be taken when high wind and dry conditions exist,” explains Daniel Hebreard, president of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

54 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

2 GATHER Many campsites provide or sell firewood. If not, usually stores close to your campsite will. It’s important to use local wood, so new insects are not introduced into the campsite’s ecosystem. A two-hour fire requires one to two bundles, or four to 10 sticks of wood. Three to five bundles of wood (12 to 25 sticks), will last about four hours. For a six-hour fire, use five to seven bundles 25 to 35 sticks).

3 LOCATE First, ensure the campsite doesn’t have any low-hanging branches or excessive brush and that your living space is far enough away from the campfire to prevent ignition from heat or sparks. Clear away any flammable materials from the pit area. Sand or gravel are best for the bottom, alongside a metal device called a fire ring, which is used to contain campfires and prevent them from spreading and turning into wildfires.


STUFFED FRENCH TOAST

This Fresh Off the Grid recipe will make a tasty and easy breakfast. Add some bacon for a double delight. Yield: Serves 4 Prep time: 25 minutes 1 3 4 1 1 12 1

pound strawberries tablespoons sugar, divided eggs cup milk teaspoon cinnamon slices Texas toast stick of butter mascarpone cheese maple syrup

1

Hull and quarter the strawberries and place in a bowl with 2 tablespoons sugar; stir to coat. Let sit at least 10 minutes until the berries begin to turn syrupy. 2 In a separate bowl, beat eggs with milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and cinnamon. 3 In a nonstick pan over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of butter. 4 Dip the bread in the egg-milk mixture, letting the bread absorb the liquid for a few seconds, then flip and soak the other side for a few seconds. Lift out of mixture and let excess drip off. 5 Place coated bread slices in the pan. Once toast is golden on one side (about 3 minutes), flip and cook the other side for an additional 2 minutes or so. Remove and set aside. 6 Heat a second tablespoon of butter and repeat the process until all the toast is cooked. 7 To serve, spread mascarpone cheese over the top of a slice of toast, spoon some of the berries and their syrup on, then repeat with another slice to “stuff” the French toast. Drizzle on some maple syrup and enjoy.

4 FUEL UP “Every fire needs three things to burn: fuel, heat, and oxygen. We call this model the fire triangle,” says Hebreard. “Without any one of these components, your fire won’t ignite.” For fuel, some sort of kindling is required, such as leaves, small twigs, paper—even dryer sheets. To build a campfire you can cook on (see recipe above), arrange your wood in the shape known as the log cabin: Place two larger pieces of wood parallel to each other with some room in between them to form the base, then turn 90 degrees and place two slightly smaller pieces on top and perpendicular to form a square. Add tinder inside the square and continue adding a layer or two around the outside. Finish with a layer of kindling across the top. The kindling needs to be dry or it will take away the next element in the triangle—heat—that usually comes from a match or a lighter. Don’t use flammable liquids, like lighter fluid, to start a campfire. The fire will get too large too quickly. “The final component is oxygen, which is present in the air as long as you don’t smother the fire,” Hebreard says. “Make sure there are some gaps in your logs to allow air flow or your fire will struggle to get going.”

5 EXTINGUISH Putting out a fire is extremely important, but not always done properly, Hebreard notes. By having water and a shovel nearby, you can completely extinguish the fire right away and ensure it stays out. When it’s time to put the fire out, dump water on it, stir it with the shovel, then dump more water on it.

BE SMOKE SAVVY

Nearly nine out of 10 wildfires nationwide are caused by humans. For information on preventing wildfires, visit the USDA Forest Service website, smokeybear.com.

NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 55


OHIO FAMILY FRIENDLY OR ADULTS ONLY The Mohicans GLENMONT

3

2–6

$230+

Tucked into a lush green Ohio forest are seven treehouses, two designed by Pete Nelson of Discovery’s Treehouse Masters. Expect unusual architectural features—stained glass, loft bedrooms, spiral staircases, wraparound decks—and no two treehouses are alike. All contain modern furnishings and an indoor toilet, at minimum; most have full baths. Also on the 75-acre property: ground-level, Amish-built cabins, and a barn for events. themohicans.net NEARBY

For hiking, mountain biking, and swimming head eight miles northwest to the 1,110-acre Mohican State Park. Or explore Hollywood connections in Mansfield, 30 miles northwest, on the Shawshank Redemption Trail of film sites.

CLAY'S PARK RESORT

Nomad Ridge at The Wilds COLUMBUS

MOHICAN STATE PARK

2

$325+

Bring binoculars and sample a safari-like scene without flying to Africa. Decks of hillside yurts at the adults-only property are next to fields where animals roam the Columbus Zoo grounds. Inside each yurt is Asian-style decor—think bamboo flooring—and a private bath, one/two beds, and temperature controls. Rates include a zoo tour, dinner, breakfast, and concierge service. thewilds.columbuszoo.org NEARBY

Summer parties in Columbus include the three-day Jazz and Rib Fest, July 24–26. The new National Veterans Memorial and Museum honors all branches of military service and major military conflicts.

SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION FILMING SITE 56 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

NOMAD RIDGE AT THE WILDS

PHOTOS COURTESY COMPELLING PHOTO, SHAWSHANK TRAIL, VISIT CANTON AND BY GRAHM S. JONES

3+


Clay’s Park Resort NORTH LAWRENCE

1

5

$112+

The 500-acre resort with a 10-acre water park makes room for tents, RVs, cabins, and glamping. Atop wooden platforms are canvas tents outfitted with Amish-built log furniture. Cook on a charcoal grill or fire ring. Bathrooms and showers are a short walk, as is a lake stocked with fish and access to kayaks, canoes, miniature golf, and an indoor swimming pool. clayspark.com NEARBY

Pay homage to gridiron greats at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 15 miles southeast in Canton, also home to the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum. An hour north is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland; concerts Oct. 29–30 celebrate the site’s 25th anniversary.

OUTDOOR ED LEARN NEW SKILLS AND STRATEGIES BEFORE AN AMAZING ADVENTURE By Karen Wojcik Berner From Mother’s Day kayaking tours to hardcore wilderness survival, REI has classes and events for all levels and interests. “We know that people look for connections outside, but often don’t know where to go or what to do. That’s where we come in,” says Theresa Salus, Chicago market manager for REI Co-op Experiences. “Our workshops help connect people to the right gear that is needed for the experience they want to have and showcase some of the best places to go.” To register for these and other ongoing classes and events, go to rei.com/events.

PHOTO COURTESY OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

THRU-HIKE TRAINING HIKES May 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Get in shape for glamping hikes while learning about hydration, nutrition, and basic navigation. Available for ages 12 and up. Sag Valley Forest Preserve, Teason’s Woods, Palos Hills

PAINT CREEK STATE PARK

Ohio State Parks VARIOUS LOCATIONS

1–2

2–6

$45+

Sleep on futon beds at yurts in Delaware, East Harbor, Harrison Lake, Hueston Woods, Kelleys Island, Maumee Bay, Mosquito Lake, and Paint Creek State Parks. Some sites are rustic (as in no toilet/ shower); others include a private bath.

BACKCOUNTRY NAVIGATION WITH A MAP AND COMPASS May 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Understand your map, the proper use of your compass, and how to put the two together. You’ll learn about magnetic north, true north, and magnetic variation (declination). Bullfrog Lake, 9600 Wolf Rd., Willow Springs LEARN TO KAYAK CLASS May 30, 9 a.m. to noon Learn proper strokes and paddling techniques, as well as water safety, trip planning, and how to launch. Skokie Lagoons, Tower Rd. west of Forestway Dr., Cook County NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 57


A GLAMPING EXPERT EXPLAINS THE APPEAL By Mark Loehrke You don’t have to love the portmanteau (a blend of “glamorous” and “camping”) to love the notion behind “glamping”—that is, finding a way to enjoy the outdoors with a little more comfort and style than the typical pup tent and pit toilet. While the concept had already somewhat peaked in its home base of the UK by the time 2016 rolled around, it was just starting to gain momentum here in the States when Amy Gillespie decided to get in the game with the Campfire Experience. Founded in the Midwest but recently relocated to Southern California, the company focuses on designing upscale camping experiences for weddings, parties, corporate events, or even just groups of friends or family members looking to reconnect with nature and each other—but maybe with a few more of the niceties and amenities of civilization. 58 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

“We’re seeing more and more people looking to experience and explore nature as an antidote to unplug from our many modern distractions,” Gillespie says. “Millennials, our primary audience, remember camping from their youth, and glamping allows them to revisit those memories and make new ones without a lot of hassle. With glamping, the stress of planning, preparing, and purchasing is off of their shoulders, and the simple joy of hiking, reading in a hammock, or laughing by a fire becomes much easier to attain. They plan their days, they make their fires, and they make their meals, but at night we give them a beautiful and comfortable place to rest their heads.” Gillespie says a good glamping adventure can unfold in almost any location, from a forest or desert to wine country or the grounds of a music festival—or even a simple backyard.

But putting the “glam” in the experience demands a few essentials, including camping staples like headlamps, lanterns, and mosquito repellent, of course, but also heightened necessities such as dry shampoo, face and body wipes, maybe some Yeti glasses for adult beverages, a classic Pendleton blanket, and some solid camp stools. While the Campfire Experience supplies its clients with all of these amenities and more—plus Bell Tents outfitted with actual queen beds on frames with unique and trendy furnishings— Gillespie believes a DIY glamping trip can take just about any form. At the end of the day, what one takes away from the experience is more important than what he or she brings to it. “For some, glamping can run the gamut from staying in a lodge in nature to tent camping with a disco ball and a rose,” she says. “But whether it’s a family glamping weekend, a friends’ trip or even a ‘staycation’ in the backyard, these are milestones in peoples' lives. And for the ones that we help plan, we couldn’t be happier to be a part of them.”

PHOTOS COURTESY CAMPFIRE EXPERIENCE

UPSCALE OUTDOORS


WISCONSIN FROM SECLUDED TO LIVELY Namekagon Waters Retreat

LUMBERJACK WORLD CHAMPIONS

TREGO

2

6

$110+

Inside the lone, four-season and 20-foot-wide yurt are two beds, a futon, homey furnishings, electricity, and a wood burner. A well-kept outhouse is a few steps outside. Walk the outdoor labyrinth, hike, ski, golf a nine-hole chipping course, or rent a canoe to traverse Namekagon River from the property. End the day in a Finnish sauna, or book a massage (one owner is a certified masseuse). 715.635.2027 NEARBY

Take a scenic ride on an historic Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad train in Spooner, eight miles south. The Hayward Musky Festival, 25 miles northeast, honors the muskellunge state fish from June 26–28. Stay for the Lumberjack World Championships, July 30–Aug. 1 to witness the Olympics of sawing, chopping, log rolling, and more.

Wagon Trail Campground ELLISON BAY

1+

5

$92

Yurts have indoor and outdoor electricity and sets of bunk beds, but no indoor plumbing. The 75-acre resort has campsites, cabins, and travel-trailer rentals too. Use an outdoor fire ring to cook. Wooded sites are next to Mink River Estuary, a key location for fish spawning and bird migration; it’s accessible by canoe or kayak. wagontrailcampgroound.com NEARBY

DEVIL'S LAKE STATE PARK

Door County is Wisconsin’s answer to Cape Cod because of its waterfront parks, charming towns, boutiques, and indie-owned restaurants. Board a ferry to visit remote Washington Island, at the peninsula’s tip. The Door County Lighthouse Festival, June 12–14, pays attention to all 11 of the area’s historic beacons.

Smokey Hollow Campground LODI

PHOTOS COURTESY TURNER PR,

2

5-12

$40+

Book a bus, replica Conestoga wagon, gazebo, or yurt for a unique overnight at this 40-acre getaway with a priority to make kids happy (inflatables in the manmade swimming pond, miniature golf, giant shopping cart rides, and more). Expect electricity and running water; some choices have a bathroom, too. Dozens of campsites and traditional cabins are on the premises. smokeyhollowcampground.com NEARBY

Thirty miles north is Wisconsin Dells, awash with indoor/outdoor water parks in a beautiful area with sandstone cliffs that tour boats find along the Wisconsin River. Rock climbing, hiking, and swimming at Devil’s Lake State Park is 25 miles west.

DOOR COUNTY NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 59


TO-DO LIST

DIGITAL LIFE Kudos to these organizations streaming artists, trainers, and teachers into our living rooms

ALIVE CENTER Free virtual drop-in events for teens in sixth to 12th grade are offered via Zoom each week day from 3 to 4 p.m.: Makerspace Mondays, games on Tuesday, art on Wednesdays, creative fun on Thursdays and fitness Fridays. alivenaperville.com AMERICAN MARTIAL ARTS ACADEMY This south Naperville facility is offering online classes six days a week via Zoom. Join the Facebook group to receive the meeting ID and password. amaanaperville.com ARRANMORE ARTS The “Artist-a-Day” series includes performances from musicians, actors, singers, and artists for both adults and children. arranmorearts.org

COMMUNITY PARK FITNESS The Lisle Park District fitness center is now offering members virtual instruction for its normal GroupX fitness classes, including yoga, Zumba, senior fitness and more. Visit the website for a full list of classes or to register. lisleparkdistrict.org/cpf DUPAGE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM The museum’s creative team is producing “Play to Learn at Home,” a new online community of programming and support that will provide a daily dose of DCM. The program aims to share playful learning activities with isolated families. DCM public programs manager Cassie Coffey delivers story time weekly via Facebook Live. The team has more in development that will be shared throughout the coming weeks including family yoga, book making, sensory bags, bilingual story time, and more. facebook.com/ DCMFanPage GENTLE LEARNING PRESCHOOL The preschool run by the Lisle Park District is offering at-home instruction for both residents and nonresidents. The remote curriculum includes phonics, literacy, math, art, songs, and science activities taught by coordinator Mrs. Jehs. gentlelearningpreschool.org NAPERPARKS2YOU Content from community partners encourage residents to stay active, engage imagination, learn new skills, and connect online. From youth arts and sports to party ideas and virtual trips, the website is updated often with ideas for activities at home or on-the-go. napervilleparks.org/ naperpark2you NAPERVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY While library buildings are closed, residents with library cards can still access online services, including research, e-book/audiobook/movie rec-

60 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

Lisle Park District

ommendations, Creativebug arts and crafts video classes, and World Book online distance learning resources. naperville-lib.org PARAMOUNT THEATRE Billed as a “virtual concert series to help artists and audiences connect,” the Aurora theater has launched Connection: A Social Media Concert Series. Singers/songwriters are encouraged to create songs each week according to a scheduled theme, such as connecting to school, home, essential workers, and the passage of time. Videos will be assembled into a concert posted on its Facebook page each Saturday at 8 p.m. paramountaurora.com PINOT’S PALETTE The Naperville paint-and-sip studio is offering take-home paint kits with curbside pickup, as well as virtual classes where you can use the day’s supplies to create a unique painting. pinotspalette.com/naperville WHEATON PARK DISTRICT Have some extra time to ramp up your personal and professional skills? The Wheaton Park District offers a fee-based online instruction center. Learn sign language, photography, coding, or real estate law with instructor-led courses at your own pace. ed2go.com/wheatonpd

PHOTO COURTESY PINOT’S PALETTE, LISLE PARK DISTRICT

360 FIT NAPERVILLE Virtual classes are available through the YouTube channel of this central Naperville fitness studio. Search for traditional classes—like yoga, barre, stationary bike, and HIIT—as well as some inventive stay-at-home offerings like a stair workout and meditation (for those new homeschoolers). 360studiosnaperville.com


Loaves & Fishes volunteer Marian Stricker

HELP WANTED The COVID-19 crisis has created an abundance of local volunteer and donation opportunities By Kathy Aabram

PHOTO COURTESY LOAVES & FISHES

I

n his appeal for blood donations on March 18, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said, “Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.” In fact, volunteer engagement is more critical during this time of crisis. Local organizations with a mission focused on housing, food, and seniors are experiencing a large decrease in their donations and regular volunteer base, while demand for their services has greatly increased. What follows is a list of local organizations that desperately need donations of both time and treasure. Keep in mind that under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), taxpayers can take a deduction in the 2020 tax year for up to $300 in charitable donations even if they don’t itemize. Donors who make large contributions can also deduct the value of charitable contributions up to 100 percent of gross income in 2020 and aren’t subject to customary limits, capping the amount of the deduction at 60 percent of adjusted gross income. This applies only to cash gifts made to public charities.

CATHOLIC CHARITIES Catholic Charities is seeking donations and volunteers to help prepare food boxes, which are distributed twice weekly and are offered in lieu of the regular soup kitchen meals. Also, the organization needs monetary donations to help with the cost of hotels and food to relocate the homeless. Cover a night of shelter for $60 and a day of food for $15. catholiccharitiesjoliet.org DUPAGE PADS Urgent items needed for homeless clients include single servings of nonperishable canned or microwave meals, chips, fruit cups, ramen, meat sticks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and underwear. Curbside drop-off boxes are in the parking lot at 703 W. Liberty Dr. in Wheaton. The nonprofit also has developed an Emergency Response Fund to maintain shelter, food, and essential services to clients. dupagepads.org NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 61


LOAVES & FISHES COMMUNITY SERVICES To help newly struggling families in need, Loaves & Fishes is hosting a Virtual Food Drive. With just a few clicks, donors can purchase healthy food products at discounted prices that are most needed by their clients. Another Gift Cards for Good program includes purchases of Mesón Sabika and Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House gift cards, with proceeds benefiting the food pantry. loaves-fishes.org A Hesed House staff member sweeps the warehouse to make room for more residents.

DUPAGE SENIOR CITIZENS COUNCIL Due to an increased demand, volunteers are needed to deliver shelf-stable and frozen meals to seniors in DuPage County on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There is a short orientation prior to assignment. Contact Cathy Jordan, volunteer services director, at the volunteer hotline, 630.746.0909. dupageseniorcouncil.org ELMHURST-YORKFIELD FOOD PANTRY EYFP is accepting donations of nonperishable food, toiletry, and paper products. Monetary donations are most helpful to aid in sourcing much-needed inventory. The Elmhurst-based agency is also in need of extra volunteers to provide grocery pickup services in the parking lot. To help, contact Janet Cox, volunteer services, at janet@eyfp.org or 630.782.1066. eyfp.org HESED HOUSE The second largest homeless shelter in the state is open and protecting some of the most vulnerable. Hesed House is requesting nonperishable food including single-serving chips, cereal, granola bars, Pop-Tarts, and bottled water, as well as personal care items, clothing, shoes, art supplies, and monetary donations. See the website for more details and the current needs list; the most immediate are communicated via video diary. Due to a staff-wide focus on its shelter programs, Hesed House is not currently taking clothing or furniture donations. Drop off donations at 659 S. River St. in Aurora between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. hesedhouse.org 62 MAY 2020 / NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

NORTHERN ILLINOIS FOOD BANK The agency serves 71,000 people every week and is looking for 500-plus volunteers to help fill current gaps. Read job descriptions and sign up for a specific date and location on the website, or contact Shannon Thompson, volunteer services director, at volunteer@ northernilfoodbank.org. And financial donations of any size will help support the Food Bank’s operations during this time of increased need. Every $1 donated helps provide $8 in groceries. solvehungertoday.org SENIOR HOME SHARING Providing residential housing to seniors, SHS needs assistance with grocery store trips, pharmacy pickups, and meal donations. Contact Courtney Simek, executive director, at csimek@seniorhomesharing.org or call 630.201.7080.

SERENITY HOUSE The Addison-based substance abuse recovery organization serves clients who have been largely affected by service industry layoffs. Many residents can no longer pay their program fees. Consider a financial donation to provide and protect recovery during this vulnerable period. serenityhouse.com VERSITI BLOOD CENTER OF ILLINOIS (FORMERLY HEARTLAND) Blood donations are vital during times of crisis, but there is currently a severe decline in the availability of blood. Donate through Versiti’s locations in Aurora, Bloomingdale, Geneva, Naperville, Westmont, and Winfield. Additional safety protocols have been put in place to ensure the health of donors and staff. versiti.org WEST SUBURBAN COMMUNITY PANTRY WSCP has experienced a 40 percent increase in clients. The Woodridgebased nonprofit needs volunteers to assist with food sorting and stocking, plus packing and distributing premade boxes and bags of food. Contact Cheryl Toohey, volunteer coordinator, at ctoohey@wscpantry.org or call 630948-8135. If you are unable to volunteer, consider making a cash donation online. wscpantry.org

Volunteers at the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva pack 1,250 emergency boxes for those in need. PHOTO BY LINDA GIRARDI/THE BEACON-NEWS AND COURTESY HESED HOUSE

TO-DO LIST


TRAIL MIX Go ahead and stretch those legs at these hike and bike locales By Kathy Aabram

S

ometimes a walk around the block just won’t cut it—you (and perhaps your homeschooled offspring) need a hike. A real hike. But when state parks and playgrounds are closed, options are limited—especially considering social distancing requirements due to COVID-19. As of presstime, here are five places you can still hike until it hurts. GREENE VALLEY FOREST PRESERVE, NAPERVILLE The 1,388-acre preserve is home to more than 540 native plant species, making it one of the county’s most botanically diverse sites. On weekends May through October, its 190-foot-tall scenic overlook provides a bird’s-eye view of the landscape and the Chicago skyline. It’s a great spot to picnic or look for migratory birds on 12 miles of marked trails. dupageforest.org

PHOTO COURTESY ILLINOIS OFFICE OF TOURISM

INDIANA DUNES, PORTER, IND. Whether you enjoy scouting for rare species of birds or flying kites on the sandy beach, the national park’s 15,000 acres—including 15 miles of Lake Michigan shore—will continually enchant you. Hikers will enjoy 50 miles of trails over rugged dunes, mysterious wetlands, sunny prairies, meandering rivers, and peaceful forests. nps.gov/indu MIDEWIN NATIONAL TALLGRASS PRAIRIE, WILMINGTON Fifty miles from Chicago, the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie was established in 1996 as the nation’s first designated tallgrass prairie, with ongoing efforts to restore this endangered ecosystem, including the introduction of a herd of bison. There are 29 miles of hiking trails among the “sea of grass,” including the 1.5-mile Prairie Creek Woods Trail. fs.usda.gov/midewin

Shawnee National Forest

SHAWNEE NATIONAL FOREST, HARRISBURG This huge region (289,000 acres) offers a wide variety of hiking options. Popular spots include the Jackson Falls Trail, a 4.5-mile stretch that offers some of the best rock climbing in Illinois. Also consider the short Rim Rock Recreational Trail or Garden of the Gods, featuring sandstone formations that are 320 million years old. fs.usda.gov/shawnee

WATERFALL GLEN FOREST PRESERVE, LEMONT The nearly 2,500 acres of the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve are covered with 11 miles of trails. The main trail is a 9.5-mile loop around the preserve on a limestone surface, with a number of inclines that make it a good workout. At presstime, Rocky Glen Waterfall and the Bluff Road parking lot was closed due to congestion. dupageforest.org

READY TO ROLL

If cycling is more your speed, try one of these bike-approved trails GREAT WESTERN TRAIL Traverse 12 miles of crushed stone between Villa Park and West Chicago on this stretch that follows an abandoned railway corridor through DuPage County. Park at Klein Creek Farm (1N600 County Farm Rd.) at the west end of the trail, but note that the visitor center and buildings are closed until stay-at-home orders are lifted.

COMED GREENWAY This two-mile asphalt trail in Bolingbrook is perfect for small bikers learning to perfect their ride. It loops around the Remington Sports Complex (park there, 811 Remington Blvd.) in the south, and Community Park to the north. Access the 33-mile DuPage River Trail by crossing Lily Cache Lane and head north past St. Francis Park and Boughton Road.

TALL GRASS GREENWAY Popular with south Naperville peeps, this 3.8-mile asphalt path extends through residential neighborhoods and can be extended by over 30 miles into downtown Naperville. Park at a newer lot for the Vermont Cemetery Preserve (9945 Normantown Rd.) or behind Neuqua Valley High School (2360 95th St.).

NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM / MAY 2020 63


ENCORE

MAT SMART As he gets set to debut his latest work in Chicago, the Naperville-born playwright reflects on his 2014 opus to his hometown By Mark Loehrke LOVE FOR THE BURBS [The dramedy] Naperville is my love letter to the suburbs, and a chance to push back against the attitude that they’re all the same. I wanted to show that there’s more to the suburbs than a lot of people think, and that there a plenty of people living rich, interesting, spiritual lives in the suburbs. The best reactions I get are when people from Naperville tell me that the play helped them appreciate their town in a new way—that’s really special to me.

LESSONS FROM THE PAST I find it fascinating to look at our current times through the lens of history. That’s what I was trying to do in Naperville, which ties back to the founding of the town by Joseph Naper, and that’s what I’m doing again with my new play Eden Prairie, 1971, which asks what I think are timeless questions about what it means to be an American. 64 MAY 2020 2019 // NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM NAPERVILLEMAGAZINE.COM

At presstime, the monthlong run of Naperville at McAninch Arts Center was canceled, and the world premiere of Smart’s Eden Prairie, 1971 at Raven Theatre (raventheatre.com) on May 7 will be rescheduled. Check the theater’s website for the latest information.

PHOTO BY MATT SIMPKINS PHOTOGRAPHY

CLOSE TO HOME Naperville was first done in New York City, where everyone thought the suburbs were kind of exotic. So when the play was produced closer to home (at Chicago’s Theater Wit in 2016), it was interesting to see how everyone seemed to have very distinct opinions about Naperville—both good and bad.


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