Page 1


Where to sip, savor and listen to live music PAGE 30


JUNE 2018


50 WAYS to enjoy the outdoors PAGE 8


Spotlight on lesser-known state parks PAGE 46


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8 SUMMER BUCKET LIST Fifty ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Kane County

30 AL FRESCO OUTINGS Ten outdoor patios to savor the sounds (and tastes!) of summer

12 MOTORCYCLE DIARIES Three wheels, two pals and the adventurous tales of Batavia bar owner Melissa Monno and her sidecar sidekick, Dante the dog

36 CREATIVE COCKTAILS Best bars for mind-blowing mixology

HEALTH & WELLNESS 16 RECOVERY ROUTINE How therapy helped elite gymnast stay competitive

FASHION & BEAUTY 20 BIKINI READY Geneva trainer offers tips to getting that summer body

BUSINESS & CIVIC 21 ‘COMMUNITY INFLUENCER’ Theoni Limouris inspires women to contribute to local causes



Local artisans keep ‘handmade’ at the heart of their businesses Photos provided


22 LOST TRADES NO MORE Local artisans keep ‘handmade’ at the heart of their businesses


HOMES & LIFESTYLE 38 ARTSY ENCLAVES Inspiring spaces for creative souls 40 LAW OF THE LAND The ‘right plant, right spot’ philosophy

TRAVEL 46 ILLINOIS EXPLORER Lesser-known state parks for outdoor adventures

OUT & ABOUT 50 SLIP SLIDIN’ INTO SUMMER Otter Cove Aquatic Park gets turbocharged for season 52 ARTIST SHOWCASE Sugar grove metalworker Kai Schulte 54 CALENDAR See what’s happening in Kane County this month!

28 CAT AND THE FOX: The overbooked child 29 SUBURBAN SUPERDAD: Seize the day! But there’s always tomorrow, too…

Editor's Note Nature soothes the soul. It smooths out the rough edges of the human condition, quieting our inner unrest and paltry desires. It reminds us of the delicate and miraculous balance of life. Its grand simplicities and infinitesimal complexities demonstrate the connectedness of all living things. Its beautiful grandeur shows us the meaning of grace and mystery in a physical, tangible form. But, lately, it has been difficult to think about the great outdoors, our national parks and monuments, the countless other living creatures that share our home – the rugged America we all know, love and deeply cherish – without fearing for the future of our public lands and what could become of our wide open spaces. In case you didn’t already know, since December, two million acres in Utah alone have already been stripped of their national monument status and opened up to mining and drilling. Worth noting – this is the largest reduction of land monuments in history. This is just one of the many regulation rollbacks and revoking of protections that have been made at the detriment of the environment and our public spaces since last year.

I’m not going to burst into an in-depth political discussion about conservation of land and species versus commercial exploitation of natural resources, but I want to use this space to say that it’s important that we pay attention. Now more than ever. As citizens, it’s our duty to stay informed. Outside magazine and National Geographic are in the trenches on this topic, closely monitoring the cuts to protections and EPA standards – some of which will affect the very air we breathe and the water we drink. That’s a good place to start. No matter what end of the political spectrum our allegiances lie, we don’t all have to agree on every single detail, every facet, every policy bestowed upon us by our chosen political party. Somehow, we have an easier time cherry-picking religious dogma than we do party-affiliated political issues, but we have to remember that we are ALL Americans, and our land, and air, and water are in need of our protection. If not for ourselves, then for future generations. Thanks for reading,

Since the June edition is the outdoors issue, I wanted to use what little bit of confined white space I have in this magazine to briefly write about something that affects us all, though seems to be flying under the radar.

Kara Silva, Editor

PUBLISHER DAILY CHRONICLE & SUBURBAN WEEKLY GROUP Laura Shaw 630-427-6213 EDITOR Kara Silva 630-427-6209 DESIGNER Carol Manderfield 630-427-6253 LOCAL SALES MANAGER DAILY CHRONICLE & NICHE PUBLISHING Jaclyn Cornell 630-845-5234 ACCOUNT MANAGERS Sandra Petti 630-313-0251

on the

Tricia Walter 630-845-5272

Melissa Monno, owner of River’s Edge Bar and Grill in Batavia, is a true lover of the great outdoors. She and her dog, Dante, have traveled all over the country via motorbike, soaking up American culture and its natural wonders. Read more about their adventures, on page 12.

CORRESPONDENTS Allison Horne, Jonathan Bilyk, Kelsey O’Connor, Melissa Riske, Aimee Barrows, Shonda Dudlicek, Cat Battista



Published by Shaw Media 333 N. Randall Road, Suite 2 St. Charles, IL 60174 Phone: 630-845-5288


Kane County Magazine is available by subscription for $24 a year. If you would like each month’s edition mailed to your home, send payment information and address to Kane County Magazine, 7717 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 or via email at

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The time of year we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived! After being cooped up during the long winter, it’s time to get outside and spend some quality time making memories with the family. Kane County has so many fun and exciting things to do in warmer weather, so we’ve created a “summer bucket list” of 50 experiences, events and activities fit for families, friends and individuals. Get those calendars ready; it’s time to plan for an actionpacked, fun-filled summer.






Catch a movie in the park. Batavia will show “Wonder” after the River Rhapsody concert on July 25 at 8:30 p.m. on the Batavia Riverwalk. Geneva will feature “Wonder” on June 7 at Moore Park, “Emoji Movie” on July 5 at Wheeler Park and “Justice League” on Aug. 2 at Island Park. Movies begin at dusk.


Sleep under the stars at Big Rock Campground and Forest Preserve. The park has 96 campsites with fire rings and electric and water hookups for $20 a day for Kane County residents, and nine “primitive,” tent-only sites for $12 a day for residents. The campground is located at 46W499 Granart Road in Big Rock. ...........................................

Batavia Riverwalk Pet Parade. Bring your furry, or notso-furry, friend to downtown Batavia at 10 a.m. July 14 to compete for prizes in several categories, including best costume, best trick and more. Registration begins at 9:15 a.m. ........................................... Batavia Craft and Vintage Market. After the Pet Parade, head over to the market, also located along the Riverwalk. The event features 30 booths, featuring crafts, art and vintage goods from local artisans and small businesses. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 14, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 15. ...........................................


First Fridays in Aurora. Aurora hosts free evenings of art, music and Attend Free Concerts in more in the city’s vibrant downtown area. the Park in Downtown St. Twenty venues and businesses will have Charles. Bands will perform at the gazebo extended hours and activities for the entire in Lincoln Park at 7 p.m. Thursday nights from family, and free trolley rides will take place June 7 through Aug. 16. Enjoy music from a from 6 to 10 p.m. Event dates are June 1 and variety of genres each week. Aug. 3 at 5 p.m. ........................................... ...........................................



Second Fridays in Batavia. Visit downtown Batavia from 6 to 9 p.m. June 8, July 13 and Aug. 10 for food, art, music, book signings, craft demos and more. Downtown businesses stay open late and will have free activities for the whole family. ...........................................

9 4

Margaritaville Night at the Kane County Cougars Game. A Jimmy Buffet tribute band will kick off the evening in the music garden before the Cougars take on the Quad Cities on June 30. Stick around after the game for fireworks and to run the bases. If you’re looking for something more kid-friendly, check out “Nickelodeon Night,” featuring SpongeBob SquarePants on June 29, which also will also include a performance by the Jesse White Tumblers, and post-game fireworks. On July 21, American English, the Midwest’s premier Beatles cover band, takes the stage at the music garden at 4:45 p.m. before the Kane County Cougars face South Bend. Concerts are included in the ticket price. OUTDOORS

Downtown Aurora Magic Festival. Head to the city’s downtown area dressed in your favorite witch or wizard costume from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 9, to learn how make some magic of your own. The event features games, contests and many more magic-themed activities. Tickets cost $10 a person and proceeds benefit local nonprofit organizations. ...........................................


Geneva’s Got Talent. See some of the best local singers, dancers, jugglers and more at the Swedish Days competition that features performers of all ages. The semi-finals are June 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Third Street Main Stage. The finals will take place at 6 p.m. June 23.


Geneva Arts Fair. Visit this award-winning art fair where you’ll find quality fine art from 40 of the best artists from across the country. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29, at 100 Third St., Geneva. ...........................................




Steel Crazy Steel Band Performance. Enjoy an evening of Caribbean-inspired music with Dave Seagren and his 10-piece steel band. The performance is part of the River Park Concert Series, which is sponsored by the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission, and showcases a different genre of music every Sunday evening in July at 6 p.m. ...........................................


Shakespeare in the Park. Grab your chairs and blankets and head down to Island Park in Geneva on July 21 for an evening of free theater. The 90-minute play will begin at 6 p.m. ...........................................

Cocktails in the Park. Sip your favorite cocktail, munch on small plates and enjoy live music in Batavia’s Appleton Park. The popular adults-only event will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, July 21. Tickets cost $25 in advance and $30 the day-of. ...........................................


Farmers Markets. Buy locallygrown produce and other goodies at the Batavia Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays along N. River Street between Wilson and State streets. Geneva will host its French Market from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays at South and Fourth streets. The St. Charles Farmer’s Market will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays at Fourth Avenue and Main Street. ...........................................


Wander Through a Meadow. Visit St. Charles’ Ferson Creek Fen Nature Preserve to walk along the Fox STC Live! Bring the entire family for River shoreline and marvel at rare native plants free live entertainment at 5 p.m. every and flowers. The Fen is located on Rt. 31, north of Ferson Creek Park. Wednesday and Friday evening throughout the summer in downtown St. Charles. Each night will . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . feature something new and exciting. Visit the Experience Japanese Facebook page for more information. Gardening. In 1910, George and ........................................... Nelle Fabyan installed a Japanese garden on


Blues on the Fox. Catch Elle King, Aaron Neville, Sonny Landreth and more renowned blues artists at this two-day festival at Aurora’s River Edge Park on June 15 and 16. Rock legend George Thorogood and the Destroyers will make an appearance at River Edge Park on Aug. 4, One Republic will perform Aug. 11, and Gladys Knight and the O’Jays will perform Aug. 18. ...........................................


Mid-American Canoe and Kayak Race. Watch as hundreds of canoers and kayakers of all ages and abilities race down the Fox River from St. Charles or Batavia to Aurora on June 3. ...........................................



Women’s Wine and Ride. Round up your best girlfriends for a unique ladies’ night out with Prairie Path Cycles in Batavia. All ages and abilities are welcome on the 75- to 90-minute rides, which are held every Thursday night. The ride departs at 6 p.m. from the shop and ends at Bar Evolution in Batavia. Prairie Path Cycles hosts several other group rides each week. ...........................................


Wine Tasting in the Vineyard. Sip some exquisite, award-winning wines made at Maple Park’s 40-acre estate Acquaviva Winery. The winery and restaurant offers tours and tastings on the beautiful outdoor patio that overlooks the vineyard. ...........................................


Cycle or Hike the Fox River Trail. Enjoy the great outdoors and one of the state’s most beautiful trails. The trail begins in northern Kane County and ends south of Aurora. Bike rentals are available at multiple outfitters along the Fox River, such as Mill Race Cyclery in Geneva and All Spoked Up in Batavia.

their Geneva property. And now, the public can discover the uniqueness of Japanese gardening and relax in the peaceful atmosphere, at 1925 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva. ...........................................


Wednesday Night Concerts in the Park. The Batavia Park District sponsors the River Rhapsody Concert Series at the Riverwalk on Wednesday evenings. Bands representing different musical genres will perform each week. Geneva also hosts free concerts at River Park on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. New this year, Deane’s Market and Deli and Graham’s Fine Chocolates and Ice Cream will have food for purchase on site. ...........................................


Host a Private Party on the St. Charles Paddlewheel Riverboat. Make your next formal, or informal, celebration more memorable as you cruise along the Fox River on a 65-foot paddlewheel riverboat. Check out for more information.


Picnic at Fabyan Windmill. Visit Deane’s Market and Deli in downtown Geneva to grab some artisan meats and cheeses, French baguettes, craft sodas and more before enjoying the afternoon sunshine in Fabyan Forest Preserve. The windmill is open for tours on weekends from 1 to 4 p.m. ...........................................


World of Faeries Festival. Enjoy a day of whimsical mysticism at the 14th annual festival from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, at Vasa Park in South Elgin. Visit www. for more information. ...........................................


Take a “Mastodon Express Tour” at Phillips Park in Aurora. Hop aboard the “Mastodon tram” for a three-mile tour of the park. Afterward, meander around the Phillips Park Zoo and take in the beauty of the Sunken Garden. Tours run on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

-Continued on page 10 OUTDOORS


-Continued from page 9


“Live and Uncorked” at Blackberry Farm. Bring your blanket and favorite beer or bottle of wine to the Aurora farm for a night of great live music. Different performers will take the stage each Thursday night from 7 to 9 p.m. during the summer. The series begins on Jun. 21 with “Piano Man,” featuring the music of Billy Joel and Elton John, and is open to adults-only. ...........................................


LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve. Take a self-guided hike, pack a picnic or go on a scavenger hunt at the Creek Bend Nature Center at this beautiful St. Charles forest preserve. ...........................................


Horseback Riding in the Pingree Grove Forest Preserve in Hampshire. The preserve has almost three miles of mowed trails, which are perfect for riding. The area also is a great place for bird-watching, as it’s the home of many species of wetland birds. ...........................................


Yoga at Healing Gardens at Stone Hill Farm. Enjoy a yoga class, or try Tai Chi or QiGong in the tranquil gardens on the second Sunday of each month at Healing Gardens at Stone Hill Farm, 37W249 Dean St., St. Charles. Visit www. for a complete schedule of classes. ...........................................


Honey and Beer Farm Dinner at Heritage Prairie Farm. The outdoor family-style dinner celebrates the August honey harvest, using honey from the farm’s bees. Enjoy a craft beer pairing and live music at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16. The event is open to adults over age 21. ...........................................




Elgin Civil War Experience. Travel back in time to the days of the Civil War on June 9 and 10 at The Elgin Civil War Reenactment Site, located at Routes 20 and 31, adjacent to 600 S. State St. Battle reenactments are at 2 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. Sundays. ...........................................


Sand volleyball at Mastodon Island and West Recreation Area in Aurora. Gather up your friends and family for a competitive or not-so-competitive game of volleyball inside this section of Phillips Park, which also has a pavilion, playground and horseshoe pits.


Chili Cook-Off. The 26th annual State Championship Chili Cook-off will take place July 28 at the Batavia Riverwalk. Tastings are from 2 to 3 p.m. and awards begin at 3:30 p.m. The events is free, but tasting spoons will be available for $5. ...........................................


Paddleboard the Fox River. Rent a board from Mill Race Cyclery in Geneva and enjoy an afternoon on the water. Canoes, kayaks and bicycles also are available for rent. Visit Early Light Café at the cycle shop for coffee and a breakfast sandwich or a protein shake before heading out. ...........................................


Yoga + Beer or Wine at the Plank Road Tap Room. First, relax with some yoga and then enjoy a delicious meal from a local food truck while sipping on your favorite craft beer or wine from 10:30 a.m. to noon Sunday, July 15, or Sunday, Aug. 12, at Plank Road Tap Room, 39W149 Plank Road, Elgin. ........................................... An Evening of Soul Music on Wednesdays in the Plaza in Downtown Aurora. Soul Krave and Rebel Soul Revival will perform at Millennium Plaza, right along the Fox River at 5 p.m. June 20. Other performance dates will be July 18 and Aug. 15. ...........................................


Amazing Animal Encounters. Get up close and personal with all sorts of animals from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at Primrose Farm, 5N726 Crane Road, St. Charles. You’ll experience working and wild animals. Guests can touch a turtle, pet a chicken and learn about bees. ...........................................


Bull-Riding at the Kane County Fair. Marvel at professional riders at one of the fair’s most popular events at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles. ...........................................


Sugar Grove Corn Boil Singing Competition. Ten singers battle it out in front of judges at this annual festival. The first round will take place Thursday, July 26, and the final round will be Saturday, July 28, at Volunteer Park, 61 Main St., Sugar Grove. ...........................................


Live Southern Rock in West Dundee. Hear the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, ZZ Top and more at this free concert at 7:30 p.m. July 6 in Grafelman Park, located at Fifth and Main streets. The show is part of the West Dundee “Concerts in the Park” series that runs throughout the summer. OUTDOORS


Chip a Golf Ball onto a Floating Green in the Depot Museum Pond. Participate in the Windmill City Festival’s golf challenge in downtown Batavia along the river. The fest, which runs from Friday, July 13, through Sunday, July 15, also will feature live music for kids and adults, local food vendors and more. ...........................................


RiverFest Express 2018. The 22nd annual South Elgin festival will feature a car show, live entertainment, games, carnival rides, a craft show, fireworks and plenty of food. The event runs Friday, Aug. 17, through Sunday, Aug. 19, at Panton Mill Park across from the Village Hall. ......................................


Play Mud Volleyball at Elburn Days. Win some money while getting down and dirty at this annual tournament at 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 19. Registration opens at 10 a.m. at Lions Park.


Alley Art Festival in Downtown Aurora. Check out the work of more than 60 local and original artists from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at Water Street Mall. It’s a day of fun, music and art. ......................................

Sweeten Someone’s Day 48

Go Back to the 1950s at the Geneva Classic Car Shows. Travel to a bygone era from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays during July and August at the Kane County Courthouse. Vote for your favorite car while listening to music from the 1950s. ......................................

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“Back to School” Fest at Peck Farm. Celebrate the end of summer and the upcoming school year from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18. Bring the entire family for games and activities at the farm’s athletic fields, located at 4038 Kaneville Road, Geneva. ......................................

• Sugar Free Chocolates • Large Variety of Caramel Apples

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Taste of Batavia Block Party. Wrap up summer and celebrate Labor Day with an old-fashioned block party featuring live music, a classic car cruise night, pie bake-off, lawn games and more. The festival will take place from 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2, on the Batavia Riverwalk.

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Motorcycle diaries

Three wheels, two pals and the adventurous tales of Batavia bar owner Melissa Monno and her sidecar sidekick, Dante By ALLISON HORNE Photo by RON MCKINNEY

What do you get when you combine three wheels, two pals and one tail? The numerous adventures of Batavia bar owner Melissa Monno and her dog, Dante, as they travel across the country via motorbike – a trio best known on Instagram as 3Wheels2Pals1Tail.

when she got there. That’s when Monno spotted Dante.

Monno, a lifelong Chicago area resident, owns River’s Edge Bar and Grill in Batavia and spends every spare second she has traveling with Dante as her sidecar sidekick while documenting the journey for everyone to enjoy.

Monno wasn’t ready to commit on the spot. So, she and her boyfriend decided to take some time to decide, and headed to a nearby establishment for food and margaritas. The TV show “Jeopardy” was on in the background of the restaurant, and the final clue was “Animal World.”

Dante, full name Dante Valentino (or just Valentino when he’s in trouble), first came into Monno’s life 10 years ago on Valentine’s Day. “He was my first dog,” she says. “I wanted one my whole life.” But at first, she wasn’t sure if Dante was the one. Monno originally went to the Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society to see another dog she had found online, but she was already adopted 12 | JUNE 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


“There was this beautiful German shepherd that had ‘experienced dog owner only’ on the tag,” Monno says. “I said, ‘what am I going to do with 50 pounds of bad dog?’”

“I told my boyfriend if the question had anything to do with German Shepherds, I’d bring him home,” Monno says. The clue was “Familiaris, it has one of the largest size ranges, from a two-pound Mexican variety to 200 pounders” – which was referring to Canus Familiaris, or dogs more simply put.

Since then, Dante and Monno have been inseparable. Through moves, various jobs and buying a bar, her dog has been by her side. As lovers of the great outdoors, Dante and Monno are constantly hiking and camping. What started as close-to-home adventures when Dante was a pup slowly began turning into longer backpacking trips. Monno, who began riding motorcycles around the same time she got the puppy, decided she wanted to combine all of her passions. “I love motorcycles; I love camping; and I love my dog,” Monno says. “I wanted to put them all together.” She began the search for a motorcycle and sidecar, which aren’t easy to find. She wound up buying a 1996 Ural motorcycle, which had twowheel drive and a nice spot for Dante. “It started smoking on the way home,” Monno says. “But there’s really nothing like it.”

Photo provided

Rocky and dusty roads are definitely in the duo’s repertoire. Monno doesn’t like to go over 55 or 60 miles per hour on the bike, which doesn’t lend well to major highways. She generally does around 300 miles a day while traveling, taking the side roads and stopping along the way to enjoy the scenery.

“I couldn’t even get him to sit in it at first,” she adds. “I used to give him raw filet mignon to get him to even sit in it.”

“I don’t want Dante to be in the sidecar all day, so if there’s a forest, we’re going to muck around,” Monno says. “It’s not just the motorcycle experience – it’s about feeling alive and connected and stopping to actually take in what the place is and who the people are there. It’s all a part of it.”

After almost three months of training him and sitting with Dante with the bike in neutral, she finally did an overnight trip with him in it.

So far, she’s been to 25 states and two Canadian providences on her travels with Dante; but she never sets out with a final destination in mind.

“He’s a shepherd mix so he loves to have a job,” Monno says. “I think the sidecar is kind of another version of that. He’s got a cute little proud face; he just owns.”

“I pick a direction,” she says. “Part of it is that you don’t know when you’re going to arrive.”

Getting Dante to sit in the sidecar was about as difficult as getting it home.

Monno has since purchased a brand new bike, which she described as a “giant Russian Christmas box” when it was delivered to her doorstop in a crate in 2014. Dante’s new sidecar comes complete with a bed, harness and goggles. “We’ve been through about 10 pairs of the goggles,” Monno says, adding that she really only makes him wear them on rocky and dusty roads.

One of her more notable adventures was to British Columbia, when she spent more than a month and a half living on the road and camping every night. During that trip, she originally started off with just a direction in mind – West. “I usually will pick up a regional map anywhere I’m going just to have an idea,” Monno says. “Sometimes they’re reliable, sometimes they’re not. But I can’t say I’ve ever been lost, for the most part.” Often, she’ll meet people along the way and stay with anyone who offers, which has led to some unique friendships and encounters. Just in case OUTDOORS

Photo provided

she does get lost or her bike breaks down (which it often does), she always has at least three days of emergency gear with her. Cooking and showering are often a day-to-day task. “I try to eat as healthy as I can, but I’ve definitely lived off trail mix for three days,” Monno says. “I’ll often find campgrounds that have showers, or a motel or hotel, but I’ve also gone a week without a shower. You’re just camping and riding, camping and riding.” While her heart and her mind are always adrift and dreaming of mountains, she always returns home to Batavia and her bar. The best part? She’s got her four-legged friend with her all of the way. “We’re both just wild, independent spirits,” Monno says. “We’re in our element out at a forest preserve or in nature.” KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE | JUNE 2018 | 13

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Recovery routine How therapy helped elite gymnast stay competitive By NORTHWESTERN MEDICINE Curran Phillips has been doing flips and other tricks for as long as he can remember, so when the athlete started experiencing hip pain, he was concerned about finding a care team that would fully understand his love of competing. The 17-year-old elite all-around gymnast trains 20 hours a week, most months of the year, and competes on a national and local level. He has placed nationally in floor exercise and high bar. This fall, he will attend Stanford University, where he will compete on the men’s gymnastics team. “When I felt the pain, my initial thought at the time was, ‘I’m only 14. I’m too young to have this type of injury,’” says Phillips. After a few appointments with other specialists, Phillips landed at Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics in Warrenville where he worked with Jim Beitzel, ATC, CI, PES – clinical athletic trainer and clinical coordinator for the Athletic Training and Sports Performance Clinic. Using strengthening exercises and other functionalbased therapy, Phillips was able to overcome his injury. Hip injuries are common among gymnasts, but Phillips says the care he received at Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics was unique. “Northwestern Medicine is different than any 16 | JUNE 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

other place. They take the time to get to know me as a person, and to really understand the problem. They know and support my goals as an athlete,” says Phillips, who is a Naperville resident. Since his initial injury, Phillips has returned to Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics for the treatment of other injuries, ranging from knee inflammation, wrist pain, a broken finger, a cyst, shoulder pain and two concussions. Under the supervision of Athletic Training and Sports Performance specialist Beitzel and Brian M. Babka, MD – a board-certified sports medicine physician at Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics – Phillips has been able to maintain his tight competition schedule and training regimen. HEALTH & WELLNESS

“Curran [Phillips] is one of the best studentathletes I’ve come across so far in my career,” says Dr. Babka. Phillips trains at Prairie Gymnastics Club in Batavia with his primary coach Devin Halliday. Outside of the gym, Phillips spends a lot of time mentally preparing by visualizing his routines and building his confidence. In addition to mastering his tumbling, dismounts and vaults, he also ices, rolls out his muscles and follows a strict nutrition plan with the help of his mom, Debbie. “The anticipation really starts to build in your mind before a competition, but Dr. Babka and Jim understand what I’m going through, both physically and emotionally, and work with me to

“Curran [Phillips] is one of the best student-athletes I’ve come across so far in my career.” – Brian M. Babka, MD, a board-certified sports medicine physician at Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics

know when I can safely push through the pain to keep competing,” says Phillips. As former athletes themselves, Dr. Babka and Beitzel relate to the emotional toll an injury takes on an individual and the void that it creates when you can’t train. “We believe an athlete needs to have an active recovery and rehabilitation,” says Dr. Babka. “We work closely with the athlete to make sure they can tolerate the activity, get them back to the sport pain-free and give them the strength and biomechanics needed to be safe.” Phillips says this level of understanding has enhanced the relationship and trust that he has developed with both his physician and his athletic trainer. “I don’t think an athlete should be told to never compete again. I think there’s always a way,” says Dr. Babka. The experience has been so impactful that Phillips wrote about it in his college application essays. It has also sparked Phillips’ interest in pursuing a career in the medical field. For the gymnast, the personal relationships have made his care different and better, and he hopes to carry this philosophy forward.

THE PATH TO BE T T E R O RT H O PA E D I C C A R E STA RTS H E R E . Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics offers specialized care, close to where you live and work. Whether you need care for common injuries or complex issues, we offer a complete range of orthopaedic care including nonsurgical and surgical treatment options. From back pain to hand conditions to joint replacement, our nationally ranked orthopaedics program* combines innovation and expertise to get you back on the path to living a better life. To schedule an appointment, call 630.938.6100 or visit

“Everything in life happens for a reason, and my injuries and my experience at Northwestern Medicine have inspired me. I could help a lot of people,” says Phillips.  For more information on Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics and the Athletic Training and Sports Performance Clinic, visit or call 630-315-8764.

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Geneva trainer offers tips to getting that summer body By SHONDA DUDLICEK

Get your body ready just in time for summer with these tips from Hank Ebeling, owner, coach and personal trainer at H4 Training in Geneva and Wheaton: SHONDA DUDLICEK: You offer training and classes in [Total Resistance eXercise or TRX], dumbbells, kettlebells, ViPR training [combines movements with strength training], sandbags, sleds and tires. What are the advantages and benefits from each of these types of training? HANK EBELING: The key with training is to use different types of resistance, which can have a different effect on the body. Equipment, like pushing the sleds, can use numerous muscles which helps you burn more calories. Tools, like the ViPRs and sandbags, can help you engage your core more in a specific movement. TRX is unique because of all the exercises that can be done with it, ranging from lower body, upper body and core. 20 | JUNE 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

DUDLICEK: How can food help get your body summer ready? EBELING: Nutrition and eating the right foods should be your No. 1 priority when it comes to getting the body you want for summer or any time. Like they say, you can’t out-train a bad diet. Without proper nutrition you will not get lean and shed body fat. Eating the wrong foods will cause you to store body fat and not burn it. DUDLICEK: You’re a former football player and track athlete. What exercises and training did you do in football and track that you’d recommend for non-athletes? EBELING: Everyone can train like an athlete no matter who they are or what abilities they have. The most important thing is to adjust to meet the clients’ individual needs. We incorporate many of the conditioning type drills and agility drills into our training at H4 Training.

as make sure you are using the correct weight. Another benefit is the accountability knowing someone is there waiting for you and contacting you if you don’t show. DUDLICEK: Do you recommend targeted exercises or sports to get in shape? EBELING: Both can help you get in great shape. For most people doing a circuit-type strength training program will help them the most in both maintaining muscle mass but also dropping body fat. DUDLICEK: How important is it to stay committed and consistent to a fitness regimen?

EBELING: We are always telling clients that you must be consistent to get the results you want. It is great if you get in a few workouts and eat really well but if you are not doing it for a prolonged period of time, you simply won’t DUDLICEK: What are the benefits of oneget the results. If you at first don’t see the on-one personal training? results you want, you need to continue and stay EBELING: We do small group personal training committed to the program before bailing out of it. It has been shown the difference between with a one-on-one feel. Meaning, we keep our getting results and not is being consistent. groups small so we can provide more attention to our clients. The benefits are having a coach to help teach and correct proper form, as well FASHION & BEAUTY

‘COMMUNITY INFLUENCER’ Theoni Limouris inspires women to contribute to local causes By MELISSA RUBALCABA RISKE | Photo by RON MCKINNEY


he group may be called 100 Women Who Care, but chairwoman Theoni Limouris is just fine with the fact that membership is actually closer to 150 women. The more who care, the more they can make a difference in the community. In September 2015, Limouris co-founded a Fox Valley chapter of 100 Women Who Care, a charitable Geneva-based group that meets four times a year. At each meeting, members donate $100 each and may nominate a non-profit organization serving the Tri-Cities area that they think would benefit from the collective donations. “I’ve been involved in volunteering and giving back, and when I heard about the 100 Women Alliance, I thought the concept was so easy,” Limouris says. “It’s a great way to bring women together to make an impact.” The first year, there were 40 women in the organization. They raised $4,000, and it was donated to Mutual Ground. In the following years, membership has grown and so has the amount of money the group has given back to the community. “People love it because we don’t fundraise; we don’t need to collect items for silent auctions,” Limouris says. “When you give $100, all of that $100 goes directly to the charity. It’s the best donation you can give.” The group isn’t all business, Limouris says, admitting that while the quarterly meetings are efficient and to the point, there is still plenty of time to socialize. She’s found a great camaraderie among members who share a passion for supporting the community. In 2016, the group allocated funds to Cal’s Angels, an organization dedicated to supporting patients of pediatric cancer through granting wishes, raising awareness and funding

research. The groups selected for receiving funds are nominated by members who give a brief overview of the organization. As Limouris listened to the presentation and learned more about Cal’s Angels, she says she was very impressed by the overall services they provided to children. “It was a charity that pulled at my heart,” Limouris says. She decided to do more and became more involved in the Cal’s Angels organization. Today, she serves as a member of the board of directors. “It’s such an amazing organization, and what it’s been able to do for kids in our area is unbelievable,” Limouris says. Cal’s Angels recently committed to fully funding a pediatric cancer clinical trial, committing more than half a million dollars in funding. “It’s a huge undertaking, and we’re committing to the entire project,” Limouris says. One of the organization’s big fundraisers will be the July 14 concert featuring the Goo Goo Dolls and Gavin DeGraw at Arranmore Farm and Polo Club in Oswego. As daunting as the project may seem, Limouris is energized by the possibility of helping more people learn about the organization and the commitment to helping young cancer patients. Ken “Bucky” Buckman, chairman of the Cal’s Angels Board says Limouris is a natural leader. “Theoni is a community influencer,” Buckman says. “She makes valuable connections with people.” Limouris, a busy mother of two, says her focus is helping others. The daughter of Greek immigrants, she says, growing up, her mother was always the first to visit someone in need.


“I feel like we all should feel some type of social responsibility for those in our communities,” Limouris says. Last year, she started 100 Kids Who Care, with a focus on community. The group has volunteered for the Northern Illinois Food Bank, packed boxes for hurricane relief efforts and will be supporting Anderson Animal Shelter later this year. “I love it because many of the kids are in grade school and middle school,” Limouris says. “I have a handful of high school students who help lead the group with great leadership skills. Volunteering and helping others becomes just a natural part of growing up. It’s great to be able to provide opportunities for the next generation of philanthropists in our community.”


LOST TRADES NO MORE Local artisans keep ‘handmade’ at the heart of their businesses By KELSEY O’CONNOR


here’s something uniquely satisfying about creating something with your own two hands. It can be a creative outlet, a diversion to pass the time and, sometimes, a source of income. Kane County Magazine writer Kelsey O’Connor chatted with three local artisans about their craft, what inspires them and how they turned a hobby into a small business.


 Cake and Flower Paper

Deanna Matyskiel was searching for an artistic outlet when she picked up a set of paints and discovered a hobby that would grow into a small business. Today, Matyskiel runs Cake and Flower Paper, a Geneva-based stationary and paper goods shop that features hand-painted illustrations. The artist also hosts watercolor workshops. KELSEY O’CONNOR: How did you get started working with watercolors? DEANNA MATYSKIEL: As a graphic designer and a mom of two, I needed to do something creative that was just for me. I was attracted to the magical quality of the paints. I started by painting in a sketchbook and learning from videos. I took a local painting course at DuPage Art League and a workshop in Chicago with one of my favorite artists, Jenna Rainey. BUSINESS & CIVIC

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O’CONNOR: How would you describe your artistic style? MATYSKIEL: Whimsical, energetic, cheerful and vibrant.

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MATYSKIEL: Cake and Flower Paper officially started in July 2016. Before that, I hosted my first craft event and pop-up shop at Land of Nod. My friends attended the event to support me and it was so exciting. I felt encouraged and thought, “this is the start of a small business.”

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O’CONNOR: Did you come across any challenges turning your hobby into a business?

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MATYSKIEL: Yes, too many to list! A major challenge for me is creating new products. I have so many ideas, and I have to edit it down. I’ve learned from doing markets what sells and what doesn’t. Also, keeping up on social media. Instagram has been a great platform for my business – connected me with so many supportive people and brand collaborations. O’CONNOR: What’s the most rewarding part of running your own artisan business? MATYSKIEL: Having my own business has given me confidence and new friendships. I have connected with so many amazing talented small business owners. We share ideas and keep pushing ourselves to do our best work. Also, my daughter told me when she grows up, she wants to be an artist. That’s the best compliment I could ever receive.  Cake and Flower Paper products are available online and at Floral Wonders in downtown Geneva. The next Floral Watercolor Workshop is June 16. For more information, visit or email to host a workshop.

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-Continued from page 23

 Watershed Soaps and Lotion

A watershed moment typically marks a turning point or milestone. For Mari Fasshauer, that moment was discovering she could make her own soaps at home. She founded her company, Watershed Soaps, in 2010. Her handcrafted soaps, lotions, candles and bath bombs have been a hit at Batavia shops and farmers markets ever since. KELSEY O’CONNOR: What’s your process for making soaps? MARI FASSHAUER: The soap is handmade in small, 22-pound batches, using a traditional cold processed lye soap method, cut after 24 to 48 hours, and then left to cure for four weeks. O’CONNOR: How did you get started selling your soaps? FASSHAUER: I started at the Batavia Farmers Market way back in 2010. I nearly sold out that first day and I just remember being amazed and thinking maybe I was on to something.

O’CONNOR: What are your most popular products? FASSHAUER: Bar soap definitely, but wickless candles, liquid soaps and lotions are close behind. In the bar soap, my yearround bestsellers are wasabi lilac, seaside retreat, oatmeal milk and honey, and vintage summer. O’CONNOR: What local ingredients do you use in your products?

 Redhead by Design FASSHAUER: Definitely the connection with people. I know it’s just soap, but people share with me the most heartwarming stories. My favorite [story] is [about a] young woman, home from college, who made a beeline to my table, picked up a familiar bar to smell and said, “This smells like my childhood.” The opportunity to play even the smallest part in any of these stories – what’s better than that?

FASSHAUER:I’ve used many local ingredients over the years: local honey, beer, spices, coffee and olive oil. Olive oil has been one of my favorites. I do a private label range for The Olive Mill shops  Watershed Soaps are available using their olive oil in place of the at the Batavia Farmers Market and at Anastazia in Geneva, The Tea almond oil I usually use. Tree in Batavia, The Olive Mill in O’CONNOR: What’s the Geneva and other local shops. For best part of running your more information, visit facebook. own artisan business? com/watershedsoapsandlotion.



When she first started selling handcrafted jewelry, Kelley Klaman-Ritsche’s customers would remember her as “the redhead with unique designs.” The name stuck and Redhead by Design was born. Klaman-Ritsche crafts her beaded earrings, keychains and charms in Sugar Grove and sells them on her Etsy page to customers from all over. KELSEY O’CONNOR: How did you turn beading into a business? KELLEY KLAMANRITSCHE: I originally began making braided hemp necklaces as a way to connect with my then 8-year-old stepdaughter. I discovered I really loved it and began making gifts for friends and family, who started


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requesting custom orders and suggested I search out shows to sell in. I officially opened my business in 2005. O’CONNOR: What’s unique about your brand?

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KLAMAN-RITSCHE: My style changes regularly since I like to experiment so much. If I had to land on a description, I would call it eclectic. I like to experiment with different textures and patterns so that my pieces stand out.

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O’CONNOR: Where do you find inspiration? KLAMAN-RITSCHE: My process is organic. I usually have beads scattered over my work space and will find inspiration from one or several. My mood can also help determine what piece I work on.

-Continued on page 26

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KLAMAN-RITSCHE: Someone gave me a large stash of wine corks, and I wanted to come up with a creative use for them. I’ve since began making beaded keychains, window chimes and bracelets that incorporate wine corks. The window chimes and keychains have been my biggest sellers. O’CONNOR: What’s the biggest challenge of running this business? KLAMAN-RITSCHE: I work full time at an ad agency, so it’s a challenge to find the time to keep my Etsy shop updated and get my name out there. I did have to take a few years off when my son was younger, but I have just recently began putting more time in to get it back up and running. It’s helpful to have a supportive and encouraging family. O’CONNOR: What advice would you give those looking to turn a hobby into a business? KLAMAN-RITSCHE: Definitely network at shows and online. You’ll find that most other small business owners are a great support and resource, even if your work is similar. We all want to see each other succeed!  Redhead by Design is sold online and at craft shows around the area. For more information, visit redheadbydesign.

Handcrafted... JewelryHandbagsScarvesUnique Gifts 226 S. Third St. • Geneva • 630-457-5606 26 | JUNE 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE


Cat and the Fox:



am the mother of three schoolaged children, and I do not have my kids enrolled in extracurricular activities. Let that sink in for a minute. Three kids, no extracurricular activities. Zero. Zilch. Nada. My husband and I receive mixed reactions when we share this information. Some people are horrified. Many are intrigued. Others? Jealous! And, no, I am not some supermom who makes all of her kids’ food from scratch and dresses them in sustainable clothing. My husband, Jeff, and I are normal people who work regular jobs and live in a typical Kane County neighborhood. We epitomize ordinary.

 Cat Battista is a wife and mother of three children. She celebrates faith, family and friendship in the Fox Valley, and writes about food, DIY, entertaining, home decor and style. Follow her on Instagram @FaithFamilyFete or visit


and strong character should be taught at home first. Recreation must complement what is learned in the family home – not supersede it. And while I think coaches are incredible people, the most important coaches are parents. More important to me than enrolling my children in activities is creating opportunities in the community where our kids can learn directly from my husband and me what a healthy person looks like.

Lazarus House is always willing to educate visitors on their mission and the incredible community of men, women and children they serve. You want to broaden a child’s world view? Take them for a walk around Mount Saint Mary’s Park and let them look at the sculptures. Treat them to a cup of hot chocolate afterward at Arcedium Coffeehouse, ask them what they thought about the artwork and explore how it made them feel.

For example, we go outside a lot – even when it’s cold.

You want to teach a child a healthy lifestyle? Bring them to the French Market in Geneva Last year, our family invested on Sunday and let them pick in a birdfeeder. It’s a weekly out fruits and vegetables. Then, tradition to fill the feeder and track what animals we see. We let the kids help prepare a all have tennis rackets and visit family meal using the produce parks to volley back and forth. purchased at the market. (None of us are very good, but My point here is that there is After we had kids, I found that isn’t the point.) There are nothing wrong with deciding myself having a strong reaction wonderful hiking trails in Kane not to jump headfirst into the to parents frantically running County. Our family adopted a deep end of the extracurricular kids from one activity to the “secret” spot along one of the pool. My kids are fine and seem next. I observed friends feeding trails that we clean every time to be progressing on track. kids from the car and spending we visit. Me personally? I’d rather not thousands of dollars on fees We bake cookies and deliver be “sitting on the bench” and sporting equipment. I surprise “care packages” to watching my kids play and nearly lost my cookies when I friends and neighbors. The kids learn. I’d rather be a part of it. heard a father confide that he love seeing people light up And I am. You can be, too. installed a $5,000 gymnastic when they deliver the cookies. studio in his basement for his Unless, of course, your kid is Plus, it teaches them the daughter. She was 6. the next Kyle Schwarber of reward of a job well done. the baseball world. Then feel No thank you. You want to teach kids free to nurture that talent as Proponents of extracurricular character? Have them pack much as you can. I want to see activities have told me that lunches for Lazarus House another Cubs’ World Series in recreation is “healthy” and and deliver them personally my lifetime. it “shapes character.” I don’t to the shelter. The team at disagree. But a healthy lifestyle FAMILY in FOCUS


SEIZE THE DAY! But there’s always tomorrow, too … By JONATHAN BILYK

Playing chauffeur can be one of the driest parts of any dad’s life. Yet, this duty also can have its rewards, such as the moment the young person in the back seat suddenly decides to either break their sullen silence, or silence their stream-of-consciousness monologue about this friend or that random event and “oh-my-god-can-you-believe-it?” long enough to mention something you may have wanted to hear for some time, even if you didn’t realize it. For me, this came while driving my eldest child home from a late dance class, when she suddenly announced that she had been thinking, for the last few days, that she’d like to study birds more, but couldn’t quite figure out how to get past the problems of A. spotting a bird to survey, and B. observing the bird before it flew away in sheer terror at the prospect of being stalked by a human. Aside from the weird, writer-dad pleasure of having the opportunity to add the word “ornithology” to her vocabulary, this statement brought a smile to my face for a different reason, as the mind kicked into gear, processing the new possibilities for shared summer recreation presented by this seeming afterthought.

want to avoid turning on a light, and pray quietly that some little urchin or furry creature hasn’t left a Lego, doll accessory or something else pointy or wet and squishy in the middle of the floor for your bare foot to discover. But there also are the mental maps of the community and neighborhood in which you reside, and the greater maps allowing easy, autopilot navigation to the same familiar places – like your daughter’s dance school, for instance. And when traveling to such a familiar place from a new starting point for the first few times, you may find your mind is suddenly sharpened, bookmarking landmarks and other navigational aids by the boatload, preparing you to resume the brainless autopilot so valuable when playing chauffeur. It was on one of those early mental map resetting trips to the dance school that I first noticed the small gravel parking area tucked off to the side of an otherwise non-descript back country road, where, beyond the trees lining the parking area, was a public trail leading to what may offer some good birding opportunities.

To that point, however, and to my knowledge, I was the only member of the family for whom that held a modicum of interest. So, it got filed Like most, when we relocated to a new home away in my mind. Yet another local point of about a year ago, the first few months were interest within spitting distance of my house spent rewriting mental maps. There’s the internal – the wonders of which I may never uncover, map of the home itself – the one used when despite the proximity. navigating in the dark, late at night, when you


It’s an interesting phenomenon, one I first really took note of while working not far from Starved Rock State Park. So many people living so close to exquisite natural wonders, yet so many treating the familiar as the mundane, and never seeming to be bothered enough to take a morning, an afternoon or a day to explore them. While nothing around my home community remotely compares to the canyons and bluffs of Starved Rock, I know there are local hidden gems, and, yet, I find myself struggling to find the time to explore them. And, here, my daughter’s request for help in studying birds presented me with the perfect opportunity. But have I taken advantage of it yet? No. But the season is still young. And the opportunities for new discoveries are endless, in forest preserves, parks and quiet, natural spots all around us. So, this summer, let’s go exploring locally.  Jonathan Bilyk writes about the triumphs and travails of being a modernday dad who legitimately enjoys time with his family, while tolerating a dog that seems to adore him. He also doesn’t really like the moniker “Superdad” because it makes it sound like he wants to wear his undergarments on the outside of his pants. (Also, the cape remains on back order.) KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE | JUNE 2018 | 29

Al fresco




t’s finally warm – and patio season is upon us.

One easy and fun way to soak up the summer sun is listening to music while dining al fresco with a cold brew, glass of wine or a cocktail. With a prime location centered on the Fox River, many Kane County restaurants and bars have transformed their patios into entertainment hot spots fit for outdoor enjoyment.  GALENA WINE CELLARS

The Galena Wine Cellar also carries wine slushies an expansive patio, separate outdoor bar and covered seating. One regular to expect this and sangria – the perfect complement to summer is Drift Away, a cover band bringing to sunshine and music. life all of the hits from Tom Petty and more.


227 S. 3rd St., Geneva 630-232-8888 | WHEN TO GO: Various times, but generally from 8 to 10 p.m. every Saturday

 PUB 222

Since 2013, Geneva Wine Cellars has been a hot spot for both wine and music under the direction of owner and general manager Al Buchanan, who quit his law firm job to share his passion for wine and music with the Fox Valley community.

Most Irish pubs are known for being cozy and dark, but Pub 222 has a bright and cheery patio that is the perfect spot to enjoy some live music every Saturday. With music by regulars Mike Hayes, Brian Allison and Brent Brown and $2.50 Miller Lite bottles, there’s no better (or more affordable) way to spend a sunny afternoon or evening.

“Our outdoor patio is as unique as our wine cellar,” says Liz Kowal, Geneva Wine Cellars assistant wine buyer and marketing manager. “New customers mingle with regulars and become old friends quickly while enjoying wine and music.”

477 S. 3rd St., Geneva 630-232-9463 | While Buchanan’s original vision focused on WHEN TO GO: 5 to 7 p.m. most Fridays; 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. most Sundays, running through classical jazz, the concept has since changed to add pop and rock into the mix. Kowal says October While in the winter, the cozy, indoor wine barrel some of their performances this year include saxophonist Randy Ream, Genevieve Jazz, Dina tables are the ideal setting, summer begs for Bach and Jim Perona. Galena Wine Cellars’ unique patio, which is located in Dodson Place near the Fox River bike trails. With wine and cheese to delight the taste buds, Summer Sips, which features mostly jazz and acoustic performers, is a great way to spend an afternoon. “We have a beautiful courtyard right by the store,” says Ellen Schlaman, tasting room manager at the Galena Wine Cellars’ Geneva location. “You can purchase wine by the glass, bottle or flight and sit on the patio and enjoy it. We have it all.” Performers this summer include Noah Gabriel, Frankie Smiles, Genevieve Jazz and many more. 30 | JUNE 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

222 W. Main St., St. Charles 630-584-4222 | WHEN TO GO: Times vary, every Saturday

 EDEN ON THE RIVER 1 Illinois St., St. Charles 630-945-3332 | WHEN TO GO: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays; and 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

With a 100-seat patio located on the Fox River, this Mediterranean restaurant offers views, vibes and fun live music. (Owner Omar Musfi has been known to jump in and play with the performers, While there is no cover, there is a $15 minimum too.) There is no cover with a dine-in food purchase during live performances. In addition to purchase or two drink minimum. an extensive wine list, Geneva Wine Cellars now  FOXFIRE serves craft beer, as well. 17 W. State St., Geneva  FIORA’S 630-232-1369 | 317 S. Third St., Geneva WHEN TO GO: Various Fridays 630-262-1317 | It really doesn’t get much better than killer WHEN TO GO: Times vary steaks, a large patio and live music to go along Fiora’s may have just undergone a recent with it all. Don’t miss performances by The Ron remodel on the inside, but the outdoor patio Porter Trio, The Wind Gypsies and Dennis O’Brien is where it’s at this summer. Live music all summer long. completes the outdoor package, which includes DINING & ENTERTAINING

Dine With Us On Our Patio!

 HERITAGE PRAIRIE FARM 2N308 Brundige Road, Elburn 630-443-5989 | WHEN TO GO: 5 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday As if Heritage Prairie Farm’s Pizza Nights weren’t a big enough success on their own, their talented lineup of musicians makes the weekly events even better. Tickets must be purchased in advance for the pizza dinners, and this summer’s lineup includes performances by Pat Otto, Tennessee Slim and the Whiskey Hounds and Pickin’ Pear.

306 W State Street Downtown Geneva 630-208-7070

Join us for Sunday Brunch 10am to 1pm

 TWO BROTHERS ROUNDHOUSE 205 N. Broadway, Aurora 630-264-2739 | WHEN TO GO: 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

Daily Handcrafted Beer Specials for $3.50

The Two Brothers Roundhouse patio is what outdoor dreams are made of, and that coupled with handcrafted beer and live music (they offer it year-round indoors as well) is a must-stop spot for summer.

 RIVER’S EDGE BAR AND GRILL 12 N. River St., Batavia 630-406-9200 | WHEN TO GO: Most Fridays and Saturdays, various other days Located in historic downtown Batavia, the River’s Edge Bar and Grill has a hometown feel with an unbelievable (dog-friendly) patio overlooking the Fox River. Listen to the sounds of Jake Mack and the Lesser Stags, Pine Travelers, the Frizz and many more while enjoying one of more than 100 different beers.

 THE CLADDAGH IRISH PUB 1702 Commons Dr., Geneva 630-208-0337 | WHEN TO GO: 7 to 11 p.m. Saturdays Fire pits and overhead string lights accentuate the Claddagh Irish Pub’s patio, which overlooks the a pond in Geneva Commons. Don’t forget to grab a $5 Moscow mule or margarita to go along with the tunes.

NOW OPEN IN GENEVA hand crafted pasta • fresh baked bread seasonal menu • italian wine • local beer NOW SERVING LUNCH AND DINNER! tuesday through saturday 11AM to 9PM closed sunday & monday


HAPPY HOUR Dine in only TUESDAY - FRIDAY • 2PM - 5PM 1/2 Price Pastas*

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WEDNESDAY - FRIDAY • 2PM - 5PM $4 Glass house red & white wine & $5 glass sparkling rosé


1/2 price bottles of wine*

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630-402-0597 317 w state st. geneva il 60134 DINING & ENTERTAINING


Design Installation Maintenance

48 W 811 Melms Road Hampshire, Illinois 60140 847-683-993 F: 847-683-9991 St. Charles: 630-584-1989

PATIO Perfection Village Squire

480 RANDALL ROAD | SOUTH ELGIN | 847-931-0400 125 WASHINGTON ST. | WEST DUNDEE | 847-428-4483 WWW.VILLAGESQUIRE.COM Village Squire Restaurants have been a part of the Fox Valley since 1974, family owned and operated. The Squire is an English pub style casual dining restaurant featuring live music Thursday through Saturday and a cozy atmosphere with a great outdoor patio for enjoyment in the warm weather months. Some of their specialties include

BBQ babyback ribs that fall off the bone, charbroiled steaks, juicy prime rib and a wide variety of gourmet burgers, salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, pizzas, pasta and fresh fish. Famous for their house drinks, Mai Tais and Rum Barrels are made in house and are an all time favorite. For a casual drink or dinner, Village Squire is a great place to be!

Puebla Modern Mexican

51 S. FIRST ST. | ST. CHARLES 630-945-3408 | WWW.PUEBLAMODERNMEXICAN.COM Puebla Modern Mexican offers a unique menu and a casual, contemporary atmosphere specializing in creating the fiery aromatic cuisine of Puebla, Mexico. Although Puebla embraces the traditions of classic Mexican cooking, they add a fresh modern twist that kicks the natural flavors and intensity up a notch. You can cool your taste buds with one of our unique

margaritas, any of our signature drinks, or try one of over 50 tequilas. Puebla has a wide selection of traditional and original Mexican fare, so there is something for everyone. Join us on Wednesday evenings June - August as you can enjoy your dinner and cocktails out in the plaza as you listen to live entertainment, or relax and dine on our patio any day or night of the week.

Wildwood Restaurant 477 S. THIRD ST. | GENEVA 630-377-8325 WWW.WILDWOODSTEAK.COM

Enjoy outdoor dining this summer in our Dodson Place courtyard patio with waterscape or on our Third St. lounge patio. Featuring oak-grilled steaks and chops, fresh fish and seasonal specials paired with the Fox Valley’s most awarded wine list!



Spotted Fox Ale House

3615 E. MAIN ST. | ST. CHARLES 630-584-2239 | SPOTTEDFOXALEHOUSE.COM The Spotted Fox Ale House features upscale American contemporary cuisine and 30 craft beers on tap. Diners can enjoy a meal while relaxing on the outdoor patio overlooking a pond. Menu options include a variety of salads, black angus burgers and entrees made from scratch – such as fresh Atlantic salmon, chicken limon, Cajun chicken and shrimp pasta. Visit the restaurant’s website for daily specials. Spotted Fox Ale House is conveniently located at Route 64 and Kirk Rd., across from Charlestowne Mall, on the east side of St. Charles.

Galena Cellars Winery

477 S. THIRD ST. | GENEVA 630-232-9463 | WWW.GALENACELLARS.COM Its Wine Time at Galena Cellars Featuring more than 50 varieties of award-winning wines, the Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery Geneva Tasting Room offers tastings, flights, and wine by the glass or bottle. Pair your wine with a wide selection of specialty gourmet cheeses, crackers and chocolate. Enjoy the Summer Sips Music Series outside on our newly expanded patio located on 3rd Street and the beautiful Dodson Place courtyard select Fridays and Sundays this summer. Browse the gift shop for a variety wine accessories and glassware as well as many fun and unique gifts.

Claddagh Irish Pub

1702 COMMONS DR. | GENEVA | 630-208-0337 At Claddagh Irish Pub you will enjoy a fabulous dining and drinking experience, whether it’s a quick lunch, happy hour or a romantic dinner. Our outdoor wrap-around patio, with seating for one hundred, includes its own full-service bar, overlooking a pond which is home to our in-house ducks and turtles;


the patio also features an outdoor fireplace and cozy couch area, perfect for cool summer nights. We host a variety of events including weddings, receptions and rehearsal dinners on our patio, so make your reservation today and enjoy the best of Geneva at Claddagh Irish Pub.


Livia Italian Eatery

207 S. THIRD ST. | GENEVA 630-402-6444 | WWW.LIVIAITALIANEATERY.COM Livia Italian Eatery’s culinary team creates chef-crafted, locally sourced and organically driven seasonal menus. Its weekly features include lunch specials, happy hours held from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday in the bar lounge area, half-priced bottles of wine Tuesdays, and weekend brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Dining al fresco on the restaurant’s patio is the perfect way to enjoy Third Street ambience in beautiful downtown Geneva. To view the restaurant’s menu, visit its website.

Gia Mia

13 N. THIRD ST. | GENEVA 630-405-5544 | WWW.GIAMIAPIZZABAR.COM The GIA MIA menu concept was built for sharing. Its food is Italian-inspired, locally crafted and chef-driven. The focal design element of GIA MIA is the custom-built, redtiled, wood-fired brick oven. Its weekly features include lunch specials, half-priced pizza Mondays, lasagna Tuesdays and happy hours from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday in the bar area. Outdoor dining day or night also is an options for visitors to GIA MIA.

Salsa Verde

SALSAVERDERESTAURANT.COM ST. CHARLES LOCATION | 1850 LINCOLN HWY. | 630-444-0673 BATAVIA LOCATION | 107 N. BATAVIA AVE. | 630-425-3521 Salsa Verde redefines the concept of modern, fast-casual Mexican food by offering dishes prepared from authentic recipes in a friendly and vibrant environment. Tamales, tortas ahogadas and traditional street tacos are among the specialties diners love to order. No reservations needed. Dine in and try Salsa Verde’s one-of-a-kind salsa bar, which features different salsas and garnishes prepared fresh daily. In a rush? The restaurant also has a drive-thru for those on the go. Salsa Verde also offers catering, where clients do the planning and Salsa Verde takes care of the cooking. For updates and promotions on popular catering packages, visit the website.



cocktails Creative

Best bars for mind-blowing mixology By KELSEY O’CONNOR




BOURBON MILK PUNCH 1 AT BARREL AND RYE | Geneva The heart of Barrel and Rye’s cocktail program

POP AT ALL CHOCOLATE 4WhenPRIMO KITCHEN’S PRIMO | Geneva the weather warms, head to Primo for

is whiskey, and the Bourbon Milk Punch is a standout. The sweet and creamy concoction includes Bulleit bourbon, milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, a vanilla wafer cookie topping, and it’s served in a miniature milk jug.

summery (and Instagram-worthy) sips. Topping the list is the Primo Popsicle, a glass of Bivio Prosecco with a blueberry and gin popsicle for a fun way to keep cool.

Luckily for local cocktail connoisseurs, bars and restaurants throughout the area have embraced the mixology trend and are serving up an array of inventive, and delicious, concoctions.

REVEREND STIGGINS AT THE FINERY AND BLACKSMITH BAR | St. Charles The Finery’s spring craft cocktail menu includes the Reverend Stiggins, a blend of Plantation pineapple-infused rum, turbinado sugar and tiki bitters, garnished with a bruleed pineapple. The drink is named for a Charles Dickens character known for his love of pineapple rum.

he craft cocktail scene is booming – and evolving. Gone are the days of premade mixes and watered-down drinks. Today’s cocktails are all about creative combinations, locally sourced ingredients and photo-worthy presentation.

Here are 10 creative cocktails (in no particular order) found on the menu at bars and restaurants in Kane County:



ALL YOUR MULE 3 ARE BELONG TO US AT PRESERVATION | Geneva It’s tough to find a bar menu nowadays that doesn’t feature a Moscow mule. But Preservation is changing up the well-known formula with their Tokai plum sake and hibiscus-infused ginger soda twist on a typical mule.


RAINY DAY WOMAN 5This smooth AT NICHE | Geneva and spicy drink features Buffalo Trace single barrel bourbon, shishito pepper jam, Peychaud’s Liqueur and lime juice. Adorned with chilli threads, this drink looks delicate but brings the heat. THE SMOKING GUN 6 AT MARTINI ROOM | Elgin Once named the best martini in the suburbs, The Smoking Gun is made with homemade rosemaryinfused vodka, Licor 43, blueberry simple syrup and lemon juice, and it’s topped with a spring of smoked, bourbon-soaked rosemary. AGAINST THE MACHINE 7Belly SAGE AT THE GRANDSTANDER | Geneva up to the bar and order this refreshing and herbal gin-based beverage. The drink features honey, sage, ginger, lemon, absinthe and petite syrah redux.

Worth the trip

For quality, handcrafted spirits head slightly beyond county lines for a one-of-a-kind cocktailing experience. VISIT: Copper Fiddle Distillery WHERE: 532 W. State Rte. 22, Suite 110, Lake Zurich TRY: Creamy Tommy All the cocktails at this Lake Zurich spot are made with its handcrafted, small batch spirits. For something a little different, try the Creamy Tommy. It blends the distillery’s barrel-aged and botanical-infused Tom Gin, cream soda, orange bitters and a fresh orange slice for a drink that’s both original and nostalgic. Cocktails are $8 each, and there is plenty to choose from, including the Bartender’s Challenge, where “you ask” and they create.

THE BLACK AND 8 WHITE AT THE TURF ROOM North Aurora You’ll be able to skip dessert with this indulgent martini. The Black and White is crafted with chilled espresso, Stoli vanilla vodka, Baileys Irish Cream and two types of Godiva chocolate. RON’S ROOT BEER AT CLUB 9 ARCADA SPEAKEASY AND SHOWROOM | St. Charles It only makes sense that this 1920s-era speakeasy-themed lounge serves up cocktails with a side of nostalgia. Ron’s Root Beer is made with old-fashioned root beer, aged bourbon, egg white and grated nutmeg. 53 | St. Charles 10 VINTAGE This wine bar also features a craft

cocktail menu, but vino still makes an appearance as an ingredient. Try the New York Sour, a bourbon-based beverage made with Maker’s Mark, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and a red wine float.

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Inspiring spaces for creative souls By JONATHAN BILYK

As an artist and art instructor, Len Bielefeldt’s life and work teems with inspiration.

Bielefeldt’s ideas about creating a positive work and living space can serve as a handy, quick guide for any aspiring artist or other creative person seeking to design and define their own blank canvas of a space, hobby room or studio.

Allison Thurman – an interior designer and artist, who, since 2005, has owned Art by Allison in Batavia – echoed Bielefeldt’s commitment to promoting positive energy in crafting a space to inspire.

While some may struggle to find theirs, Bielefeldt says that his arises naturally, flowing from the “positive energy” he finds all around him.

In order to conjure such an inspiring space, Bielefeldt says that he has banished television from his home.

“Every inch and corner of a room should be of pleasurable use or view,” says Thurman. “If you have mirrors, make sure they reflect something attractive.”

“Noticing the expression on someone’s face, the color of a piece of fruit in the fruit basket, the interesting texture of the fur on a wet dog eager to go back outside and play, the presentation of the food on our dinner plates,” Bielefeldt says. “Opening yourself up to the beauty that surrounds you naturally feeds your creative spirit.” That, Bielefeldt says, is why he has intentionally laid out both his living space and his work space at The Art Box in downtown Geneva to maximize exposure to both light and life – to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, as much as possible. 38 | JUNE 2018 | KANE COUNTY MAGAZINE

“A productive time-killer,” he says, adding that he made his home and studio as comfortable and full of beauty and life as possible. His home and studio are filled with “original artworks and drawings,” and even children’s art is “wellframed and hung.” Studio furniture pieces are “fine furniture, made of beautiful woods,” and the space is designed “to connect indoor space to the outdoor space as much as possible.” “I’ve always added a lot of plants and positioned easels to face outside so when I’m not looking at the easel, a slight head turn gets me looking at nature,” Bielefeldt says. “I want all my senses simulated.” HOME & LIFESTYLE

She encouraged artists and other people seeking inspiring spaces to rid such spaces of anything that “holds bad memories, or is a foot traffic impediment” or “anything broken, dirty, torn, damaged, stained, chipped or faded irreparably.” However, that doesn’t necessarily mean one should throw away everything that’s damaged. Rather, she says, a fresh, proper paint job, new lighting, slipcovers or any of a number of other renovations and restorations could solve the problem. “Sometimes, a room refresh is all that’s needed,” Thurman says.

TURNS OUT, WE’RE ALSO EXPERTS AT SAVING YOU SOME SERIOUS CASH. She also recommends reducing clutter, through a commitment to storage and organization. Thurman notes that clutter can serve as a major problem for creative souls, who “often have collections of items of some sort.”

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“Even small spaces can hold a lot when stored to the max without being cluttered,” Thurman says. “I enjoy perusing websites for creative storage ideas or coming up with some of my own. The less time spent on the hunt for items frees up more time that can be devoted to creating.”

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Thurman echoes Bielefeldt’s commitment to life and light in spaces for working and living.


She notes that windows are essential. And if a window is not possible, then deploy some creativity for a suitable replacement. “Use metallics and reflective surfaces to bounce around light, or hang a framed window to use as a fake one,” Thurman suggests. “Paint a bird or flower box and sky on the glass. You won’t get to enjoy a pretty snowfall, but it looks great and fools the eye just the same.”


No matter the choice, she and Bielefeldt say that the key to finding a creative sweet spot can be as simple as finding a way to make the space your own. This can be done by filling it with things that regularly inspire you, whether that’s certain pieces, fine furniture, beautiful and complex art, nature or even photos of loved ones. “For me, it’s all about surrounding yourself with beauty and love,” says Bielefeldt.



Thurman agrees. “Bring in what you like,” Thurman says. “My clients have come to see that if they like something, it will usually work. The trick is to know how.”

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Law of the land The ‘right plant, right spot’ philosophy With MEAGAN PROVENCHER


see any number of plant and landscape issues every day: drainage problems, rabbits or deer damage, winter burn, pruning nightmares, neighbor’s “stuff,” too much shade, too much sun, dead grass and grass in groundcover beds. The list of landscape woes goes on and on. But the biggest issue I see is plants located in the wrong spots and then struggling, dying or being butchered by poor pruning. I am a firm believer in “right plant, right spot.” So many landscape issues are caused by plants in the wrong spot. I get it. That cute little River Birch you grabbed on sale at the end of the year needed to be planted. And the only open space you had was 3 feet from the corner of your patio. Flash forward just a few years (often less than 10)


and that cute little River Birch is now 25 feet tall and wide and its root system has made itself at home under your paver patio’s gravel base. Now you have to cut it down and you are angry at the plant when it was just doing what came natural. A little more thought before the birch was planted and, instead, you could have a beautiful Tree Lilac that behaves itself and will cast shade and flower, but stay less than 20 feet full grown. We want plants to do jobs for us. But like any human doing a job, the plant wants to do its job and do it correctly the first time with as little human interference as possible. I always tell folks to figure out what size they want the plant to be full grown. Do you have room for a 20-foot tree? Or only room for a larger shrub like


a Viburnum that will bloom and grow with little maintenance and stay under 10 feet? At least once a week, someone tells me “But I won’t be here that long.” I get that too. You may not live in your house forever. Or you may stay longer than you expect. Do you want the cost of removal down the road? Think in advance of what you are planting and you’ll be rewarded with many years of hands-off maintenance. Plants take care of themselves if they are happy in their spots. You shouldn’t force a plant to do something it doesn’t want to do. If something wants to get to be 6 to 8-feet tall (such as a Dwarf Burning Bush), having to trim it 10 times a year to keep it 3-feet tall isn’t doing anyone any favors. You are damaging the plant’s longevity, as well as wasting

your summer trimming every weekend. Instead, choose a dwarf Weigela or a small shrub rose. They will max out at 3 feet by 3 feet untrimmed. See? No maintenance and lots of color. Making smart plant choices is the easiest way to create a “no- to low-” maintenance garden. There is a plant for every single situation. We are lucky to have so many plants in Illinois working for us. If you need help choosing the right plant for your spot, never hesitate to ask garden center staff. I love to see plants untouched in the landscape and my clients are happy because they don’t have to do anything to it.


 Meagan is the Senior Landscape Designer for Wasco Nursery and Garden Center in St. Charles. She can be reached at 630-584-4424 or design@



KIDS KORNER Instrument Exchange

17 N. RIVER ST. | BATAVIA | 630-789-2815 In Tune with your Music Needs Check us out for your School Band Instruments Whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned musician, Instrument Exchange can help you enjoy making music. Come browse the extensive selection of new and gently used instruments, from acoustic and electric guitars to drums, trumpets, saxophones, trombones, violins, violas and much more. Visitors to the store can test out their favorite instruments and will find a helpful, no-pressure vibe at the store. Relax and explore options at your own pace. Trade-ins are welcome.

Mathnasium of St. Charles

902 S RANDALL ST. | ST. CHARLES 630-945-3147 Mathnasium believes that every child has the ability to be successful in math – it’s just a matter of teaching children a way that makes sense to them. When math makes sense, kids leap way ahead. For more than a decade, the Mathnasium MethodTM has transformed the way kids in grades 1 through 12 understand and appreciate math. We builds upon their existing math knowledge, which helps kids learn quickly and boosts their confidence right away. When math makes sense, grades improve, excitement grows and doors open. Call us today to build your child’s math skills like never before!

Steel Beam Summer Youth Theatre 111 W. MAIN ST. (2ND FLOOR) ST. CHARLES | 630-587-8521

Camps and Classes this summer will include Musical Theatre Boot camp, Disney Musical Camp, Harry Potter 2.0, Grimm: Devised Fairytales, Stomp Percussion, StoryActing for Young Performers, as well as workshops in Audition Practices, Girls Empowerment and Improvisation. Visit www. for information or call 630-587-8521.



Vanguard Gifted Academy

1078 E. WILSON ST. | BATAVIA | 224-213-0087 WWW.VANGUARDGIFTEDACADEMY.ORG WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/VANGUARDGIFTEDACADEMY GIFTED@VANGUARDGIFTEDACADEMY.ORG Vanguard welcomes curious, innovative learners who enjoy challenges. To learn more about Vanguard, bring your child to a free, teacher-led summer adventure and experience learning the Vanguard way. Join Vanguard for a Marble Run Challenge from 1 to 3 p.m. or 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 12. Using only their engineering minds, recyclables and duct tape, participants will attempt to create the tallest, longest, or most stylish structure. Follow Vanguard’s website for future summer events, or call to arrange a school tour for fall enrollment. Gifted children who find typical learning settings understimulating will take root, blossom and soar at Vanguard.


WAUBONSEE COMMUNITY COLLEGE COMMUNITY EDUCATION | 630-466-2360 WWW.WAUBONSEE.EDU/XCELERATE Summer Enrichment Camps for ages 4-14 June 4 through Aug. 3 Registration for Waubonsee Community College’s popular Xcelerate summer camp program for kids ages 4 to 14 is in full swing. Dozens of new camps and new instructors mean there are more offerings than ever before. New Early and Extended Care options fit with parents’ work schedules and allow kids to spend the entire day on campus. The Xcelerate summer enrichment program is developed by the staff, instructors and select partners of the Community Education department at Waubonsee. For more information, visit or call Community Education at 630-466-2360.


SATURDAY, AUG. 18 RED OAK NATURE CENTER, LIPPOLD PARK AND FOX RIVER TRAIL | BATAVIA Insects and the fascinating world of bugs will take center stage from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, when the ninth annual Bug Fest will take place at Lippold Park, Red Oak Nature Center and the one-half mile of Fox River Trail that connects the two. The free, family-friendly (and stroller-friendly) event will feature fun and educational attractions with a swarm of bug-related activities, demonstrations and crafts. Visitors will begin their exploration at Lippold Park, where free guide books will be available, along with T-shirts, pins, lanyards and other bug-related items available for purchase. Children can earn prizes for visiting special Bug Fest stations. For more information, call Red Oak Nature Center at 630-897-1808.

OUTDOOR MAKE-OVERS By Elizabeth Harmon | Photos Provided

When considering improvements that will bring a fresh look to your home, don’t just think outside the box… think outside the house. “Just like people rehab their kitchens or bathrooms, we do the same thing to their outdoor spaces,” says Velma Powers, who owns Foracres Landscape Group with her husband, Randy Conaway. “If your home was built twenty years ago, it’s probably time to think about redoing and updating the outside.” Velma says homeowners are turning their backyards and patios into outdoor living spaces that include water features, fire features, seating and dining areas, kitchens with built-in grills, and more. Plants, bushes and lighting add the finishing touches that enhance the yard’s beauty and create an inviting atmosphere. “It’s not just a flat patio, you feel like you’re in a room,” she says. Professional design can turn any size lawn into an attractive and welcoming space. “A nice curved bed line, good quality materials, vignettes like a small bench under a tree, or little places with statues or water features, all make a difference in how a yard functions and how it feels,” she says.

Soggy, or unusable areas of the lawn or garden can benefit from attractive solutions such as a dry creek bed. “We use grading and rocks to help the water flow. When it’s dry, it just looks decorative, but when it rains it becomes a little meandering stream, that not only solves the water problem but is pretty to look at,” Velma says. She and Randy founded Foracres in 1988, on a four-acre farm in Lily Lake. Now located in Maple Park, the company has a reputation for outstanding quality and customer service, and has received the Kane County Chronicle’s Best of the Fox award for best landscaper multiple times. Velma’s creativity, Randy’s engineering expertise and daughter Tara’s attention to detail mean customers can enjoy a seamless experience, from design through installation. “We take pride in listening to customers and working within the parameters of their yard size and budget,” says Velma. Call to schedule a design consultation, and make the most of summer with a new outdoor living space. It’s a breath of fresh air for your home.

FORACRES LANDSCAPE GROUP (630) 365-2644 48w060 Il Route 38, Maple Park

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ILLINOIS EXPLORER Lesser-known state parks for outdoor adventures By ALLISON HORNE

Illinois has so much more to offer than just the city of Chicago. Whether it’s extensive forests and bluffs in the south, an abundance of lakes in the north, or sweeping views of the Illinois and Ohio rivers to the west, Illinois has so many special places just waiting to be explored. “Illinois just has a lot to offer when it comes to outdoor opportunities,” says Ed Cross, director of communications for the Illinois


Department of Natural Resources. “Whether it be seeing nature through animals, diverse plant life or just through our parks, it has a lot to offer for anybody.” America’s national parks may get a lot of the attention, but with more than 398 state parks (not including historical sites), there’s plenty of close-to-home places to see in Illinois, too; it’s just a matter of stepping outside and making the trip.


GIANT CITY Giant sandstone bluffs dwarf hikers as they explore the six-plus trails – including the 12mile Red Cedar Hiking Trail – while enjoying more than 75 varieties of trees. “When you go to southern Illinois, you get more hills and more cuts into the rock that provide a different feel to the land,” Cross says. “It’s not flat where you can see for miles and miles. It really has a lot of depth.” Waterfalls, fishing, hunting and an archery range also are available on the grounds, while for horseback-ridging enthusiasts, there is an equestrian campground located along the Red Cedar Trail. Other campgrounds, 85 Class A and 14 Class B sites, also can be rented daily.

Ferne Clyffe Photo provided by Illinois Department of Natural Resources

FERNE CLYFFE For more than 100 years, Ferne Clyffe State Park has been one of the most popular spots to visit in Illinois – especially when it comes to unique scenery. Located on 2,430 acres in the Shawnee Hills, its greenery and formations draw 200,000 naturelovers each year. The main features include Hawks’ Cave, a 150-foot-long shelter bluff, and a 100-foot-tall waterfall along Big Rocky Hollow Trail. “You don’t really think of massive gusher waterfalls in Illinois,” Cross says. “These are more like steady streams, but Ferne Clyffe is a good one.”

climbing and horseback riding are other popular activities. There are also plenty of local nearby cabins available for rental if roughing it isn’t in the stars. KICKAPOO What used to be a surface mining operation is now a sprawling 2,842-acre park with every outdoor activity imaginable. After the land was purchased from the United Electric Coal Company in 1939, forested ridges and vegetation grew over the former mined land, leading to crystal clear ponds and lush vegetation.

Kickapoo Photo provided by Illinois Department of Natural Resources

launching ramps available, as well as a boat, canoe and tube rental services.

Other popular activities include camping (there Not only are there 22 deep-water ponds available are 184 campgrounds), hunting, mountain biking for boaters, canoers and anglers, but Kickapoo and wildlife viewing. The 16-acre, boat-free lake is also a great spot for also is known for being one of the only state sightseeing, and fishing, camping, hunting, rock parks that allows scuba diving. There are 12 boat



PERE MARQUETTE Set along beautiful bluffs overlooking the Illinois River, the Pere Marquette State Park is the largest in Illinois. Its prime location by both the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers has made it a popular spot for bald eagle viewing during the winter months. “Illinois hosts the second largest population outside of Alaska due to our rivers and waterways,” Cross says. “It’s a huge thing for us, and it’s a huge success story as far as their population goes.”

Pere Marquette

But that’s not all its known for – its sprawling scenery provides the ideal backdrop for biking, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, hunting, swimming and much more.

Photo provided by Illinois Department of Natural Resources

CAVE-IN-ROCK Right near the Shawnee National Forest lies an unusual rock cave that is 55 feet wide and 110 feet deep. It was formed thousands of years ago from water from the Ohio River. “It’s a big cave that was used by flat boat travelers back in the day,” says site tech James Cowsert. “It’s been used for everything you can think of, including a tavern, store and supply depot.” While it only takes around 10 minutes to walk through the entire cave, the unusual formation makes it a hot spot for a day adventure (there are other trails nearby) or even plan an overnight stay at one of the campgrounds.

Cave-In Rock Photo provided by Illinois Office of Tourism

The site’s unique formation also gained notoriety as the backdrop for Walt Disney’s 1956 film “Davy Crockett and the River Pirates” and MGM’s “How the West Was Won” in 1962. WILLIAM W. POWERS Just along the Illinois-Indiana state line on the far southeast side of Chicago is the William W. Powers State Recreation Area. “It’s Cook County’s only state park,” Cross says. “It’s got a mix of everything, and it’s very popular for fishing and for picnics. For some folks, it’s their taste of the outdoors without getting too outdoorsy.”



Of the 580 acres, 419 acres are water, including Wolf Lake. Six miles of shoreline are available for fishing, which features sunfish, bullhead, carp, walleye, bass and bluegill. Other animals, such as deer, swans and waterfowl, are regular visitors, and landscaped picnic areas make it an easy way to get away for the day without going very far. JIM EDGAR PANTHER CREEK As one of the largest public access areas in Illinois, Jim Edgar Panther Creek encompasses the best of what Illinois has to offer. With grassland, a hill prairie, forest and agricultural land, the 16,550 acres are ideal for all kinds of outdoor activities, including fishing, hunting, camping and more. Muskie are stocked in Prairie Lake, while largemouth bass, bluegill and sunfish are found in the streams. Northern pike can be found in Gridley Lake, as can trout, which are stocked during spring and fall seasons. For those looking to stay on land, there are 24 miles of mountain bike trails, 26 miles of equestrian trails and a three-mile hiking and jogging trail. Camping is abundant, with 84 campsites and nine cabins, in addition to a dedicated equestrian campground with 51 electric sites.


Buffalo Rock Photo provided by Illinois Department of Natural Resources

BUFFALO ROCK Located near Starved Rock State Park, Buffalo Rock is a small, yet unique park that provides views of the Illinois River from an enormous bluff. Not to mention the pair of American bison, Holly and Pebbles, that hangs out at the park. The trails, which are mainly beginner-level, provide outdoor enthusiasts with an easy and less-crowded view of the Illinois River. Other popular activities include camping, geocaching, hunting and picnicking. CHAIN O’LAKES With 6,500 acres of water and 488 miles of shoreline, the Chain O’Lakes State Park is a water wonderland nestled in Northeast Illinois. The park itself borders three lakes – Grass, Marie and Nippersink – as well as the Fox River, which connects seven other lakes to complete the chain. Boating, fishing and waterskiing are popular activities on the lakes, with bluegill, bass, walleye, northern pikes and catfish aplenty. Hiking on four different trail systems also is a great way to enjoy the waterways, which can be accompanied by camping on more than 230 campsites, three cabins and a youth camp. Camping, hunting, archery and biking also are available. HIDDEN SPRINGS STATE FOREST What was once known as a spring used for drinking water for settlers is now a hot spot for hikers, hunters, campers and fishermen. Located on 1,200 acres of land, it got its name from the springs, which have since been covered by natural vegetation. It also is a popular spot for mushroom enthusiasts, as they grow abundantly in these conditions. Basic Class C camping is available, as are five fishing ponds stocked with bass, bluegill and catfish. Songbirds also are prevalent in the forest, and bird checklists are available in the site office for those interested in birding.

VALLEY OF EDEN BIRD SANCTUARY GRAND OPENING WHERE: 5559 E. Rush Creek Road, Stockton WHEN: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 2

VINTAGE ILLINOIS WHERE: Matthiessen State Park, 2500 Illinois Route 178, Oglesby WHEN: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16

With whitewater racing, music and a barbeque, this outdoor two-day festival has everything. Even the beginners can take part in the water action, as there’s a cardboard canoe race on July 13. For more information, call 630-553-4357 or visit

WHERE: Starved Rock Lodge, 2668 E. 875th rd., Oglesby WHEN: 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, and Sunday, Oct 21; and 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22

Plan your trip to an Illinois State Park around these 2018 events and festivals 

Sip back and enjoy Vintage Illinois, the largest wine festival in Illinois. Since 2003, The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation is more than 25 Illinois wineries have taken opening a 405-acre bird sanctuary, which part in this festival, which takes place in a will feature more than 100 different bird flat, grassy area of Matthiessen State Park. species that have been spotted there. Owls, For more information, visit vintageillinois. woodpeckers, pelicans and grassland birds com. are all popular species in the area, and CAVE-IN-ROCK FRONTIER DAY bird experts will be on hand for the grand WHERE: 1 New State Park Road, opening to answer any questions and assist Cave-In-Park with viewings. For more information, call WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 15 815-858-9100 or visit Since the 1960s, the Cave-In-Rock Frontier YORKVILLE RIVER FEST Festival has been a mainstay along the Ohio AND ILLINOIS WHITEWATER River, with music, a beauty queen pageant, FESTIVAL parade and carnival. For more information, WHERE: Riverfront Park call 618-289-4325 or visit hardincountyil. 131 E. Hydraulic Ave., Yorkville org. WHEN: 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, July 13, and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 14 OKTOBERFEST

HUMMINGBIRD FESTIVAL WHERE: Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, 1 Lewis and Clark Trail, Hartford WHEN: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 21 The Lewis and Clark State Historic site is teaming up with the Lincoln Land Association of Bird Banders to capture hummingbirds and band them before releasing them back into the wild. All guests will have the opportunity to “adopt” a hummingbird on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 618-2515811 or visit GRAFTON RENDEZVOUS WHERE: Grafton Riverfront, Front Street, Grafton WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 20, and Sunday, Oct. 21 The banks of the Illinois River will be transformed into a pre-1840 river port, complete with rope-making, bead working, woodcarving, tomahawk and knife throwing and more. For more information, call 618372-8672 or email graftonrendezvous@

Celebrate all things German at the Starved Rock Lodge’s annual Oktoberfest. Sample German wine, beer and food, listen to authentic music and enjoy a stein-hoisting challenge. Reservations are required. For more information, call 815-220-7386 or visit TOUR DE SHAWNEE BIKE EVENT WHERE: Shawnee National Forest WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 Experience three different counties in the Shawnee National Forest on this unique 15, 30, 45, 62 or 100-mile bike ride. Free food and drinks are provided to registered riders along the way. For more information, call 618-776-5893 or visit TUNNEL HILL 100/50 WHERE: Tunnel Hill Trail, 302 E. Vine St., Vienna WHEN: 7 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 Take in the wetlands, rock formations and all that the Tunnel Hill Illinois State Trail has to offer in this 50- or 100-mile run. For more information, call 270-556-1679 or visit

Slip slidin’ into summer

Otter Cove Aquatic Park gets turbo-charged for season By CAROL HAGGAS


nyone seeking thrills and chills at the pool this summer need venture no further than the junction of Campton Hills and Peck Roads in western St. Charles. With new attractions – like the Racer Slide, Turbo Freefall Slide and the Sport Spot for water hoops and other games – Otter Cove Aquatic Park is a sweet spot for summer, rivaling any resort waterpark in the area.

surrounding Racer Slides and has a special finish that enhances the free-fall effect. Riders finish up at a short run out – an enclosed canal that allows them to hop out and go back up to do it all over again.

“We know that Otter Cove is a summer daytime destination for families in St. Charles, the entire Fox Valley and even further surrounding areas,” says Jennifer Bruggeman, assistant superintendent for recreation. And with its trio of new, action-oriented amenities, Otter Cove is destined to become the place to go for wild water experiences.

“Competition is an engaging feature and the Racer Slides were just what we were looking for,” says Steve Gard, aquatic supervisor at Otter Cove Aquatic Park. “Moving beyond the idea of friends racing down individual tube slides to see who finishes first, a single race slide has a starting line and timing system so racers can share results at the finish line.”

Visitors can start off at the Turbo Freefall Slide. Built for speed, the water flume allows a single rider to experience the adrenaline rush of a short freefall before plunging down the tube. Riders will hold onto a bar above the starting seat and, when directed by the slide attendant, let go. The slide drops through the center of the

Such competitive and spine-tingling activities are part of a growing trend in aquatic park design, according to industry insiders. But the St. Charles Park District didn’t have to go far to learn what their patrons wanted. Each year, surveys are collected from hundreds of pass holders at Otter Cove, providing valuable input that helps


The Racer Slides are designed for some splashy competition among friends. Up to three people can race side by side with a timing system to track their speed.


the Park District responsively improve features and amenities. “For some time now, patrons have been asking for more amenities that offer excitement and thrills for adolescents and adults,” says Bruggeman. “Those are exactly the challenges we brought to our design firm to help us resolve.” The Park District worked with Schaefges Brothers, Inc., general contractors of Wheeling; Perkins + Will of Chicago for architecture and project management; WBK Engineering in St. Charles for civil engineering and Water Technology Inc. of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, for aquatic design and engineering. In addition to the Racer and Turbo slides, this year, Otter Cove expanded its roped-off, deepwater free space in the Frog Bog Activity Pool to accommodate water sports enjoyed by tweens and teens. Known as the Sport Spot, the addition of a basketball hoop encourages even more water sports play.

Fitness & Fresh Air


for All Abilities Pump Iron in the Great Outdoors at Pottawatomie Park St. Charles A Circuit of Workout Equipment Stations:





• Chin-Up Bar • Incline Bench • Leg Press • Elliptical Machine • Lat Pull & More!


Located in Pottawatomie Park & along the East side of the Fox River Bike Trail

Some fitness stations are wheelchair accessible. This outdoor fitness equipment is made possible by a grant from Greenfields Outdoor Fitness ( and the St. Charles Park District.




SINCE 1911



But never fear. For those who still want a lazy, hazy day at the pool, Otter Cove’s favorite features abound. Float along Turtle Creek Lazy River or come for the popular “Not So Lazy River Walks” offered at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and noon Thursdays.

at Fine Line Creative Arts Center

Feeling a bit more energetic? Try doing laps in the 25-yard lap pool at the Crayfish Canal; play in the Splash Park under Dumping Buckets and Spray Cannons; or try the sand/water play area and sand volleyball court to take a break from fun in the pool. Also, the Dive Concessions can help fuel whatever activities are on deck for the day.

Best kept secret in St. Charles...

“It is important to staff to maintain the quality and appearance of the facility and commit to improvements that will help the Park stay relevant and exciting,” says Bruggeman.

Come out and see what you’ve been missing!

Visit for information about daily admission, group rates and other seasonal deals and activities.


Otter Cove’s opening day is May 26. 37W570 Bolcum Road St. Charles, IL 60175 630-584-9443 Monday – Saturday •10am - 5pm OUT & ABOUT







To submit an entry to Artist Showcase, email artwork, title of piece, name and village of residence of artist, a two- to three - sentence description of the piece, short bio and artist photo to KaneCountyMagazine@, subject head “Local Artist Submission.”



Father’s Day June 17th

Your Local


rtist Kai Schulte forges dramatic art and unique metalwork from his studio in Sugar Grove. The artist specializes in diverse metals and subject matter, and uses his unique vision to create powerful sculptures “designed to move the soul,” he says.


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By blending traditional techniques with modern tools and materials, he is able to create a distinctive aesthetic. “I love the look of flawless lines and graceful curves on pieces I am working on,” Schulte says. “Stainless steel is my favorite material because it is so contemporary. [It’s] difficult to tame but rewarding when accomplished. The finish will last forever.” His passion for metalwork developed in Germany, where he worked as an apprentice under the guidance of master blacksmith K.T. Neumann. When Neumann retired, Schulte brought his mentor’s handmade tools to the U.S. to continue honing his craft. The piece entitled “Allegra,” which is made from stainless steel and stands about 9-feet tall, was the first larger, freestanding sculpture that Schulte created. He made this piece after attending the Art Basel show in Switzerland, where he viewed wonderful stainless sculptures. Schulte submitted “Natures Sounds of Harmony” as an entry in the Wilson Street bridge sculpture competition in Batavia. Nature is the subject of the 9-foot tall piece, and “the cattails are made from stainless steel” and “move with strong wind” to create sounds, he says.

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“I thought that the cattails represent the nature subject well and make a connection with the Fox River,” says Schulte.

(Entrance on 7th Street)


The Saint Katharine Drexel Catholic Church in Sugar Grove commissioned the “Tree of Life” sculpture. The 10-foot tall tree is fabricated from carbon steel, and crystals were used to reflect candlelight. To view more of Schulte’s work, visit


Tuesday - Friday: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Saturday: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Sunday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM We are closed Mondays


Choice Dates Still Available!




FINE LINE ARTS FESTIVAL WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 2 WHERE: Fine Line Creative Arts Center, 37W570 Bolcum Road, St. Charles

TRI-CITY CRAFT BREW FESTIVAL WHEN: 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 9 WHERE: Lincoln Park, W. Main and N. 5th streets, St. Charles

Visitors to the annual festival can create their own art, including pottery glazing and indigodyeing; discover new media during faculty demonstrations; shop for local artist’s work, such as jewelry, pottery and scarves; and grab a bite to eat while listening to live local music. For more information, visit

Back for its third year, the Tri-City Craft Brew Festival will feature more than 80 unique craft brews, live music, a home-brew tent, food trucks and more. New this year is the Hard Cider and Soda Tent. The festival will benefit the St. Charles Breakfast Rotary Club. For more information, visit

BLUES AND ROOTS ON WATER STREET FESTIVAL WHEN: 6 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, June 9 WHERE: Water Street Studios, 160 S. Water St., Batavia

BLUES ON THE FOX WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday, June 15, and 2 p.m. Saturday, June 16 WHERE: RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway St., Aurora

The 2018 Blues and Roots on Water Street festival is a one-day, two-stage, five-act, indoor festival, featuring some of the finest in roots, Americana and blues that the Chicago area, and Austin, Texas, has to offer. The headliner on the Blues Stage will be Alligator recording artist, The Cash Box Kings. Food will be provided by Batavia’s River Edge Bar and Grill and libations will be available for purchase. Tickets are limited to 300, and will be available via Eventbrite online and at Kiss The Sky record store and Water Street Studios in Batavia. Tickets purchased in advance are $25. For more information, visit

Now in its 22nd year, the annual Blues on the Fox festival has attracted music and blues fans from all over the state and even the country. The event features some of the hottest artists singing the blues and up-and-comers destined for stardom. For tickets or more information, visit THE VIKING MIDSUMMER FESTIVAL AND SWEDISH DAY WHEN: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 17 WHERE: Good Templar Park, 528 East Side Dr., Geneva Celebrating its 125th anniversary of the sailing of

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the “Viking” ship from Norway to America’s World’s Fair in Chicago, Midsummer has been celebrated in Good Templar Park for more than 90 years. This year’s event will feature Viking ship tours, a Children’s Kubb Tournament, Viking storytelling, artifact displays, craftsman demos, Scandinavian vendors, Scandinavian food and Maypole dancing. The cost is $10 for adults and active military and children ages 12 and younger will be admitted free of charge. SWEDISH DAYS WHEN: Tuesday, June 19, through Sunday, June 24 WHERE: downtown Geneva Swedish Days, Geneva’s Midsommar Festival, is a popular event fit for the whole family. Visitors will enjoy food, carnival rides, live music and entertainment nightly, plus Sweden Väst – a tent that offers everything Swedish. For more information, visit AN EVENING WITH ‘REAL HOUSEWIVES’ CAST MEMBERS WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, June 23 WHERE: Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles The Arcada event will feature behind-the-scenes stories, escapades and a Q-and-A with “Real Housewives” celebrities Teresa Giudice, Brandi Glanville Ashley B. Darby. For more information, visit BEST OF ST. CHARLES FOODIE FEST WHEN: 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 23 WHERE: St. Charles History Museum, 215 E. Main St., St. Charles The St. Charles History Museum will host its annual 21 and older fundraising food festival featuring local restaurants, small plates, craft beverages, a silent auction, a raffle, live music from 103.9 The Fox’s Eddie Volkman and dancing. Tickets cost $50 a person, and include five food tastings and two drink tickets. Additional tasting tickets will be available for purchase, or attendees can enjoy the all-you-can-eat option. Tickets will be available for pickup at the Museum prior to the event or at the entrance on the day of the event. For more information, visit THE WAILERS WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 28 WHERE: Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles

THE SALT ESCAPE Holistic Healing in Batavia! Restore your mind and body with our Himalayan Salt Cave Helps with: allergies, asthma, skin conditions, detox and more! We offer yoga, reflexology and other special events! Follow us on Facebook to keep up on all of our special events! The Salt Escape 9 N. River Street Batavia, IL 630-708-Salt (7258)

The legendary Wailers, steered by bassist and founder Aston “Familyman” Barrett, returns. From 1973 to 1980, Bob Marley and The Wailers recorded, toured and performed before millions of fans worldwide. Since 1981, “Familyman” and original guitarist Julian Junior Marvin have carried on the mission to “keep The Wailers together,” just as Marley requested. For tickets or more information, visit




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KC Mag June 2018  
KC Mag June 2018