MC_Mag June 2018

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SUMMER bucket list 50 ways to enjoy the outdoors

Luxurious living

A look at Suran Built’s spa-like design page 21

It’s patio season!

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

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THE OUTDOORS 7 SUMMER BUCKET LIST Fifty ways to enjoy the outdoors in McHenry County 10 EPIC RIDERS McHenry bike shop serves as conduit for passionate cyclists 14 IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME Country’s top wakeboarders, international stars to descend on Quarry Cable Park for WWA national tournament in August 16 WALK THIS WAY McHenry County Conservation District incentivizes outdoor exploration with Century Hikers Club

HOMES & LIFESTYLE 21 BIG LUXURY, SMALL SPACE A look at Suran Built’s spacious, spa-like design 24 DESIGNERS’ TOUCH Quick and easy ways to boost your home’s curb appeal

FAMILY IN FOCUS 26 SAFETY FIRST Five dangers that parents with young children need to know 28 SUBURBAN SUPERDAD Seize the day! But there’s always tomorrow, too

DINING & ENTERTAINING 30 AL FRESCO OUTINGS Outdoor patios to savor the sounds (and tastes!) of summer

34 ILLINOIS EXPLORER Lesser-known state parks to visit for outdoor adventures

BUSINESS & CIVIC 32 MARKETING MAVEN Through Think Big Go Local, Bobbi Baehne helps nurture the growth of small businesses

TRAVEL 34 ILLINOIS EXPLORER Lesser-known state parks to visit for outdoor adventures 39 THE GLASS-HALF-FULL GUY: Backpacking tips for beginners

OUT & ABOUT 40 ARTIST SHOWCASE McHenry photographer Kelsey Adams shares piece, entitled ‘Raindrop Daisy’ 42 CALENDAR See what’s happening in McHenry County this month!


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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 wild, beautiful grandeur shows us the meaning of grace and mystery in a physical, tangible form.

about conservation of land versus commercial exploitation of natural resources, but I do want to use this column 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. Those two media outlets are a great place to start to learn more.

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 – No matter what end of the political spectrum without fearing for the future of our public lands our allegiances lie, we don’t all have to agree and what could become of some of our wide on every single detail, every facet, every policy open spaces. bestowed upon us by our chosen political In case you didn’t already know, since party. Somehow, we have an easier time December, two million acres in Utah alone cherry-picking religious dogma than we do have already been stripped of their national party-affiliated political issues, but we have monument status and opened up to mining to remember that we are ALL Americans, and and drilling. Worth noting – this is the largest our land, and air, and water are in need of our reduction of land monuments in history. This is protection. If not for ourselves, then for future just one of the many regulation rollbacks and generations. revoking of protections that have been made at As always, thank you for reading! the detriment of the environment and our public spaces since last year. Since the June edition is the outdoors issue, I wanted to use what little bit of confined empty space I have in this magazine to briefly write about something that affects us all, though seems to be flying under the radar. I’m not going to break into a political discussion

McHenry County Magazine Published by Shaw Media 7717 S. Route 31 Crystal Lake, IL 60014 Phone: 815-459-4040



Kara Silva, Editor

Kara Silva 630-427-6209

DESIGNER Allison McCaleb 815-526-4485


CORRESPONDENTS Jonathan Bilyk, Kelsey O’Connor, Aimee Barrows, Allison Horne, Kevin Druley, Melissa Rubalcaba Riske and Peter Stadalsky

PHOTOGRAPHER Ron McKinney and Nancy Merkling

on the

COVER Quarry Cable Park in Crystal Lake is just one of the must-visit places on our summer bucket list. Find out what local spots, activities and events made the list, on page 8.

McHenry 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 McHenry County Magazine, 7717 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 or via email at


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50 ways to enjoy the outdoors in McHenry County By AIMEE BARROWS

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. McHenry 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 action-packed, funfilled summer.






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1. Concerts in the Park. Enjoy free live music at several communities in McHenry County all summer. Crystal Lake’s concert series runs every Tuesday night, June 5 through Aug. 7, at 7 p.m. at Main Beach. The Cary Park District’s concerts in the park will take place Thursdays, June 14 through July 19, at 7 p.m. at Lions Park. Algonquin’s concert series will take place Thursdays, June 21 through Aug. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at Riverfront Park. Huntley will feature Beatles tribute band “American English” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, at the Huntley Town Square.

7. Boat on Lake Defiance. Fish or just relax on this 48-acre lake, located at the center of Moraine Hills State Park (1510 S. River Road, McHenry). Bring your own boat, or rent one there. 8. ‘Taste by the Lake.’ Try some of the best of local restaurants during this Lakeside Festival event at Lakeside Arts Park at the Dole in Crystal Lake. The festival takes place July 4 through July 7, and features family-friendly activities and live entertainment, as well as delectable samples from some of McHenry County’s finest establishments. 9. Farmers Markets. Several McHenry County communities host weekly farmers markets 2. Hike through Moraine Hills State throughout the summer. Cary’s farmers market Park. McHenry County is full of breathtaking takes place every Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., in parks and forest preserves, and Moraine Hills is the Cary Metra lot, 100 W. Main St. The Marengo just one of them. The 2,200-acre park, which is located three miles south of McHenry, has 10 miles Community Farmers Market is held every Saturday, of crushed limestone trails. The park is also located from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Calvin Spencer Park in downtown Marengo. The Crystal Lake farmers near the Fox River and McHenry Dam. market takes place Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., in Depot Park. The McHenry farmers market takes 3. Enjoy a Meal at the Snuggery on place Thursdays, from 4 to 7:30 p.m., at Veteran’s the Fox River. This McHenry favorite boasts Memorial Park. Woodstock’s farmers market a beautiful deck that overlooks the river for dining happens twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and live entertainment. Host a private party at from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the historic Woodstock the venue, or on one of its luxury party boats. The Snuggery is located at 801 N. River Road, McHenry. Square. 10. Sleep under the Stars. Reserve a 4. Go Berry Picking. Pick the freshest campground at Thomas Woods in the Marengo strawberries, raspberries and veggies at Stade’s Ridge Conservation Area. The forest preserve Farm and Market. The market also has fresh-baked offers both electric and non-electric sites. Grounds goods, gift items and more. Open from 9 a.m. to 6 are open for camping Friday and Saturday nights. p.m. daily, the farm is located at 3709 Miller Road Reservations for all sites should be made online. in McHenry. 11. Swim and Play on the Beach. 5. Visit a National Natural Crystal Lake’s Three Oaks Recreation Area (5517 Landmark. Volo Bog State Natural Area earned Northwest Hwy., Crystal Lake) offers a plethora national recognition because it has the only of outdoor, family-friendly activities. Swim in quaking bog in the state. The preserve also includes open water, scuba dive, boat or throw a party at one of the pavilions at this Mecca of outdoor marshes, prairie restoration areas, woodlands entertainment. and a visitor center (28478 W. Brandenburg Road, Ingleside) housed in an old dairy barn that offers 12. Drive-In Movie. Pack the entire family several educational programs. into the car for a classic movie-going experience at McHenry Outdoor Theatre (1510 Chapel Hill 6. Old-Fashioned City Band Concerts. Stop by the historic Woodstock Town Road, McHenry). Two of this summer’s biggest Square on Wednesday nights, from June 6 through blockbusters, “Incredibles 2” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” will play at the theater. Guests July 25, at 7:30 p.m. for free performances by the can see two movies for the price of one. Woodstock City Band, which is one of the oldest community bands in the country. OUTDOORS

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18 13. Run (or Walk) Along the River. Get your exercise while enjoying the fresh air and nature at the McHenry River Run at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 14. The 5k, chip-timed race starts at the McHenry East High School campus and follows a course along the Fox River. 14. Play in a Basketball Tournament. Guys, grab four of your closet friends, and get ready for McHenry’s 5-on-5 Outdoor Men’s Basketball Tournament on Aug. 4 and 5. The double elimination tournament kicks off at 11:30 a.m. at Freund Park.

You’ll feel at home here

15. Create Art in the Park. Join other artists at the Crystal Lake Park District’s “Mindfulness Through Art” at Main Beach from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 21. Learn how to make different types of art using various styles and media. People of all skill levels are welcome.

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16. Play Sand Volleyball. Get three of your friends together and form a sand volleyball team for McHenry’s 4 vs. 4 Beach Volleyball Tournament on Saturday, July 7, at Petersen Park. The cost is $75 per team, and games start at 11:30 a.m. 17. Woodstock Folk Festival. Enjoy an afternoon of folk music by several local and regional folk bands and artists from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 15, on Woodstock Square. In addition to the music, there will be an open mic, children’s activities and a workshop. 18. Movie in the Park. Woodstock is featuring “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” at Emricson Park on Friday, July 20, as part of its “Summer in the Park” festival. Families can munch on free popcorn while enjoying pre-movie entertainment by RC Jugglers. Lake in the Hills will show the classic ’80s flick “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 30, at Sunset Park. 19. Rock the Routes. This popular Fox River Grove summer celebration returns from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at the Stone Hill Center. Check out live music from a variety of bands, craft beer and food from some of your favorites. 20. Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social. Take a step back in time to 1858 and enjoy freshly scooped ice cream, yard games and chat with historical characters at Glacial Park Conservation Area (6201 Harts Road, Ringwood.) from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 10. The event is sponsored by the McHenry County Conservation District. - Continued on page 10

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- Continued from page 9 21. Play Disc Golf. Enjoy a round of disc golf at the Lake in the Hills Park District’s 9-hole course, located at 5962 Grafton Farm Drive. It’s an afternoon of fun for the entire family where players throw a plastic disc into metal baskets situation along the course.






22. Art on the Fox. After your Father’s Day barbecue, bring the family to Riverfront Park for this popular fine arts festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 16 and 17. Enjoy hands-on activities and demonstrations, and live entertainment in the park’s central gazebo (201 N. Harrison, Algonquin). 23. Ride the Prairie Trail. Bike from Algonquin to the Wisconsin state line on the 26-mile trail. The mostly-flat trail goes through Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake and more communities. The trail is paved from Algonquin to Ringwood, and is suitable for all ages and abilities. 24. Rock Out While Eating Ribs. Enjoy ribs and live music at “Rockin’ Ribfest,” a fundraiser for Lake in the Hills Rotary. The event, which features some of the best barbecue from across the country, will take place July 12 through July 14 at Sunset Park (5200 Miller Road, Lake in the Hills). 25. Participate in a Water Skiing Competition. Crystal Lake’s annual Water Ski Club Slalom tournament will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Main Beach. The event is open to skiers of all ages, but some experience is required. 26. Tour Historic Woodstock. Take a walking tour of the Woodstock Square to view all of the buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Pick up a free walking guide at Woodstock City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry or the Woodstock Opera House. 27. Yoga on the Beach. Bring the family for a peaceful, relaxing yoga class for all ages at Crystal Lake’s Main Beach at 6 p.m. June 15. The class blends classic poses with meditation.

6:30 p.m. in Lions Park and the second on July 27 at 2:30 p.m. at the Community Center pool.

33. Stroll Through the Gardens of Woodstock. This serene oasis not only features plenty of lush greenery and unique flowers, but waterfalls and ponds scattered throughout. Marvel at the natural beauty while you stroll along brick paths. Gardens are located at 5211 Swanson Road in Woodstock. 34. See a Water Ski Show. The Wonder Lake Water Show Ski Team, which has 160 members between the ages of 5 and 65, performs on most Friday nights at 7 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The free shows are located at Center Beach in Wonder Lake. 35. Wakeboard at Quarry Cable Park. The park (5517 Northwest Hwy., Crystal Lake) is located on the 32-acre North Lake in the Three Oaks Recreation Area, where adventurers of all ages and skill level can wakeboard without a boat! The facility features a halfmile full loop cable course with jumps for experienced wakeboarders and two straight courses for beginners. Guests can rent wakeboards, vests and helmets. 36. Take a Twilight Bike Ride. The Luminary Bike Ride, sponsored by the McHenry County Conservation District, will take place from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, June 8, at the Fel-Pro RRR Conservation Area. Luminaries will guide cyclists way on a moderately hilly trail that is less than one mile. Ride one lap, or several before relaxing around the campfire.

39. Sip Beer on a Hike. The McHenry County Conservation District is hosting the Great Outdoors Beer Trail from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at Fel-Pro RRR Conservation Area, 1520 Crystal Lake Road, Cary. Walk the one-mile trail while sampling beer from regional breweries along the way.

40. Live Art Competition. The Plein Art Live Art Competition returns during the 11-day McHenry Fiesta Days celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 21, along the McHenry Riverwalk. Bring your own 31. Rent a Paddleboard. Standup paddleboard supplies and compete, or just marvel at the artists in lessons and rentals are available through Alpine action.


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32. Family Canoe Trip. Paddle seven miles of Nippersink Creek from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 23. You’ll journey through undeveloped areas of beautiful Glacial Park. Meet at the Keystone Road landing for a basic safety course prior to the trip.

37. Blues and Brews in McHenry. Enjoy 28. Algonquin Founder’s Days. Don’t miss some of the Chicago area’s best blues bands at the McHenry Rotary’s Blues, Brews and BBQ (Petersen some of the city’s best talent in the “Algonquin’s Got Park, 4300 Petersen Park Rd., McHenry) weekend, Talent” competition at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 28, during running Friday, Aug. 17, through Sunday, Aug. 19. Vote this annual four-day festival. The event also features live music, children’s activities, fireworks and more. The for your favorite beer in the home-brew competition. event will take place Thursday, July 26, through Sunday, 38. America’s Cardboard Cup Regatta. Build a life-sized cardboard boat and race across the July 29, at Spella Park, 2550 Harnish Dr., Algonquin. 200-yard course at Crystal Lake’s Main Beach during 29. ‘Bagnificent’ Bags Tournament. This double-elimination tournament pits teams of two this popular event July 28. The competition is open to individuals, families and companies, and awards are against each other for a game of bags. The Cary Park given out in several categories. District sponsors two tournaments, one on June 14 at

30. Cook Pizza Under the Sun. Learn how to make pizza using the sun’s energy at this class sponsored by the McHenry County Conservation District from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25. Participants will make a pizza box solar cooker, and taste treats that were made under the sun. Free for residents.


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41. Witness a Meteor Shower. Visit the Marengo Ridge Conservation Area (2411 N. Route 23, Marengo) from 8 to 10 p.m. Aug. 11 to watch the Perseid meteor shower and learn about the Hercules and Perseus constellations. 42. Celebrate the 19th Century in Crystal Lake. Spend the afternoon of Sunday, July 15, at the Colonel Palmer House while learning about farming and transportation during the Civil War era. 43. Sample the Best from Local Food Trucks. The “Truck-Off” is a new event at this year’s “Pub in the Park” at Lake in the Hills’ Sunset Park from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 23. 44. Go on a Nighttime Treasure Hunt. Find hidden treasures as you go geocaching through the Pleasant Valley Conservation Area in Woodstock from 8 to 10 p.m. July 20. You’ll receive a list of the coordinates where you can find hidden prizes in the park. 45. Take a Family Adventure Hike. Collect bugs and butterflies on the hike through the Fen Conservation Area from 10 to 11 a.m. July 5 in Lake in the Hills. Insect nets and collection equipment will be provided. 46. Dine on the Patio at First Fridays. Bring a picnic dinner to enjoy on the patio at the Lost Valley Visitor’s Center in Glacial Park while listening to a free concert from The Stingrays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. July 6. 47. Kayak after Dark. Paddle seven miles down the Nippersink Creek from Keystone Landing to Pioneer Landing from 7 to 11 p.m. July 27. Trip leaves from the Keystone Landing in Spring Grove. 48. Spend the Day in Deicke Park. Bring the whole family for an all-day adventure at this 28-acre unique park that has picnic shelters, several playgrounds, an aquatic park and ballfields. 49. Play Family Games on the Beach. It’s Family Game Night at Crystal Lake Main Beach at 6 p.m. July 19. Enjoy backyard games and an all-youcan-eat ice cream bar. 50. Take a Hot-Air Balloon Ride. Celebrate Labor Day weekend at the Harvard Balloon Fest from Aug. 31 through Sept. 2 at Milky Way Park, 300 Lawrence Ave., Harvard. The festival will have kids’ activities, food, music and more.

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EPIC RIDERS McHenry bike shop serves as conduit for passionate cyclists By KEVIN DRULEY

Mike Mrachek and wife, Maggie, are bicycle enthusiasts who own Epic Cycle and Fitness in McHenry. Photo by Ron McKinney

Channeling his inner cyclist, Mike Mrachek swears he arrived before the rest of the pack. “Epic,” was far from the mainstream, willy-nilly adjective it is today, Mrachek asserts, when he and his wife, Maggie, opened Epic Cycle and Fitness in early 2012. Back then, in mountain bike parlance, “epic” simply signified a special, redeeming trail. “We kind of hit it right before the word really blew up,” Mrachek says. “I don’t know whether that’s good or bad.” A steady stream of riders suggests the former for the bike shop, located at 909 N. Front St. in McHenry. The Mracheks sense a bond with customers and strive to build it with each visit. The connection is twofold. Whereas avid trail rider and racer Mike Mrachek appeals to more seasoned


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practitioners of the sport, his wife – a self-described “recreational bike rider” – serves as liaison to the hobbyist lobby. “What’s really nice to see is that a lot of our customers are word-ofmouth and, you know, there’s a lot of families that ride bikes,” Maggie Mrachek says. “So, we cater to our friends, and their friends bring their parents, and parents bring friends. So, that’s kind of nice to see that we have a reputation where everybody trusts us where they bring other people to us.” Both 38 and married for 11 years, the Mracheks met after college through mutual friends. By then, Mike Mrachek had completed his degree in construction at Illinois State University in Bloomington, where he also had worked at a bicycle shop. A job at Bloomington Cycle and Fitness under owner Lehr Hemenway afforded him the opportunity to explore both frontline and behind-the-scenes work, including management and mechanic

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responsibilities. Mike Mrachek also expanded his competitive racing portfolio in the meantime. Leisurely riding a 10-speed around campus, this wasn’t. “All of a sudden,” Mike Mrachek says, “biking became life.” After about a decade in construction, Mike Mrachek felt compelled to make the sport his career, joining his parents as business owners. Robert and Darlene Mrachek operate Colonial Funeral Home & Crematory in McHenry, where Maggie Mrachek serves as funeral director. At Epic, she predominantly handles financial duties. In addition to the Mracheks, the shop has one full-time employee and several parttimers. The shop routinely expands its reach through neighborhood and community events. One of its most prominent projects is Epic Riders, which offers group rides for all interest and skill levels. Racing opportunities are available, as well. Because McHenry County lacks designated mountain bike trails, Mike Mrachek says, Epic Riders typically frequents Raceway Woods in Carpentersville or various sites in Wisconsin. “It might be a family going out for a ride, just enjoying a bike ride,” Mike Mrachek says. “It might be a serious road rider going and hitting the road for 30, 50 miles, or just another mountain biker wanting to go hit some dirt trails. It’s a release for them or it’s a hobby to them that they’re able to go out and enjoy it. So, it’s kind of nice to feed that release for them. Be their support person for it.” The Mracheks figure to have their own stable of in-house riders soon. The couple recently welcomed its second son, Gavin, who joins big brother, Dylan, 8. The eldest Mrachek brother has shown an early affinity for the trails.


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“I’m guessing he’ll probably be a bike rider like his dad,” Maggie Mrachek says. “Definitely not like his mom.”

IF YOU GO EPIC CYCLE AND FITNESS 909 N. Front St. | McHenry 815-679-6334

• For more information about Epic Riders cycling group, email epicriderscycleclub@ or stop by the shop.

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If you build it, they will come Country’s top wakeboarders, international stars to descend on Quarry Cable Park for WWA national tournament in August By KEVIN DRULEY


rystal Lake’s Quarry Cable Park at Three Oaks Recreation Area passed an eye test from World Wakeboard Association officials with flying colors this past winter.

With that, the venue earned the distinction of host site for the 2018 Nautique Boats World Wakeboard Association Wake Park nationals, continuing its ascent through the sport’s circles – both in the Midwest and beyond. Set for Aug. 2 through Aug. 5, the event, which is traditionally reserved for the southern United States, will host top wakeboarders from throughout the country, as well as other international stars. Park co-owner Pat McGinnis anticipates several hundred spectators each day, and expects they will like what they see. “There’ll be music down here; there’ll be vendors down here. Sponsors will be down here handing out stuff,” McGinnis says. “Spectators can expect to watch anything from [beginner] up to a professional wakeboarder. … So, it’s a good string of riders.”

attribute that put Quarry Cable Park, foremost, in WWA’s mind during an offseason tour was its diversity of offerings. Sure, the park accommodates a full-size course that’s nearly a half-mile long. But that’s just the beginning, especially considering the new infrastructure planned for nationals, including stands and areas for judges, bands and other performers.


Aug. 2 - Aug. 5 Quarry Cable Park at Three Oaks Recreation Area

Whether they’re new to the park or the sport or have a more advanced eye, McGinnis figures onlookers will arrive at the same conclusion of his recent WWA visitors. “We were asked to host [nationals], which is just an honor to host this type of event,” he says. “They looked at the top parks, and we were one of the top parks, and we got picked to host nationals. So, it worked out pretty good.”

Action is abundantly evident during a wakeboarding competition, but McGinnis and Co. feel that one

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McGinnis also notes the looming economic benefit of the park for Crystal Lake and McHenry County, as visiting riders, their families and wakeboarding enthusiasts will descend on the park this summer. For more information about nationals and tickets, visit or nationals.

Now in its third year of operation, Quarry Cable Park, 5517 Northwest Highway, Crystal Lake, offers opportunities for cable wakeboarders of all experience levels. Daily, multiride and season passes are available, and a seasoned stable of staff and coaches help keep things safe – and moving.


“The actual size of our park, the features, the beach, the volleyball,” McGinnis says, adding that nearby hotel accommodations and ample parking also added to the list of offerings. “Just how there’s a lot of amenities. … It was just kind of the right fit for the venue.”


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MAKE A WEEKEND OF IT: Nearby camping spots

Group and individual camping sites within the McHenry County Conservation District typically are teeming with avid outdoorsmen and women throughout the summer. “It definitely can be busy,” district community relations specialist Lora Petrak says. “We have people that are regulars, and then we have people who are discovering us for the first time.” Visitors from both categories may opt to call these and other nearby campgrounds (a temporary) home when Crystal Lake’s Quarry Cable Park hosts the 2018 Nautique Boats World Wakeboard Association Wake Park nationals from Aug. 2 through Aug. 5. Whether you’re traveling from outside the region or simply looking for a staycation, consider these camping options to make the weekend experience an outdoor enthusiasts dream.


Discover the nature just outside your door! We carry high quality bird seed, suet, feeders, houses, baths, & pole systems fo for the perfect backyard. Binoculars too!

The McHenry County Conservation District accepts online reservations for group camping for up to three nights. Campers must have a valid credit card at the time of reservation and make reservations at least one week in advance. Costs vary by location, size of party and county of residence. To book, visit www. or call 815-338-6223.

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Options include The Hollows (3804 Route 14, Cary), which offers fishing, hiking and picnicking; and Marengo Ridge (3100 Route23, Marengo) features hiking, picnicking and wildlife viewing. Thomas Woods, a weekends-only venue within Marengo Ridge, occasionally has space open for those dropping in without secured reservations. “You take your chances with that, but it might be a good, last-minute option,” Petrak says. Looking for something a bit cozier? Beck’s Woods (5940 N. Pagles Road, Chemung) can accommodate parties of up to 25 people and offers peaceful, up-close views of the Piscasaw River, which runs through the site. Nearly 300 sites await visitors to Lehman’s Lakeside RV Resort (19609 Harmony Road, Marengo). Full hookup sites for water and electric are available, and campers also have access to swimming kayaking, canoeing and paddleboating in the ponds and lakes on site.

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• Prospective campers should note that the McHenry County Fair, headquartered at 11900 Country Club Road, Woodstock, will operate concurrently with WWA nationals. The fair runs from July 31 through Aug. 5.



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Walk this way McHenry County Conservation District incentivizes outdoor exploration with Century Hikers Club By JONATHAN BILYK


imberly Kobos can’t say for sure how many miles she, her husband and their dogs have covered on the hiking trails she’s discovered not more than a stone’s throw – or quick drive – from her home in the last two decades.

attaining certain “milestones,” Greninger says.

For example, according to the club’s page on MCCD’s website, participants receive a T-shirt and pocket field guide for hiking 100 miles; a nature journal and club patch for clearing 250 miles; a “According to what’s on the plaques, it’s at least plaque engraved with the hiker’s name for 1,000 4,000 miles,” says Kobos, a Cary resident. “But miles; a walking stick for 1,500 miles; and another that’s just what we’ve logged and reported, officially. entry on the club plaque for 2,000 miles, plus a feature photo recognizing the hiker’s achievements “Really, by now, it’s got to be, maybe, 8,000 or in the district’s “Landscapes” newsletter. more,” she adds, with a laugh. Since moving to Cary in the early 1990s, Kobos and her husband, Salvador Islas, have found much to love about their town. But among the best of those joys, she says, has been the delight they experience in discovering and hiking the trails in the preserves operated and maintained by McHenry County Conversation District. To recognize the miles they’ve hiked, MCCD has honored them, as among the highest achieving members of the district’s Century Hikers Club, with plaques mounted at the district’s headquarters at the Prairieview Education Center in Crystal Lake.

Kobos and Islas and their dogs have all had their names engraved on the 2,000-mile plaques, twice. “It’s all on the honor system,” says Greninger. “Nobody’s checking in on you. “But we have people turning in some fairly sophisticated reports, with spreadsheets, you name it. It’s amazing how people run with this – so to speak.” For Kobos, membership in the club began as she and Islas discovered more and more of the district’s preserves and trails, hiking “religiously” twice a day to combat stress from their jobs.

“Everyone’s lives nowadays, we all have so many more issues and problems than we seem to have had before,” says Kobos. “It may be just perception, but it feels like it. And hiking, it provides such solace – a quiet respite in nature from those endless problems and concerns.” Many of the preserves seem to remain unknown or at least, untrodden, by a great many who may live so close to “such beauty,” she says. “The majority of them, you can walk and walk, and never meet another soul on the trails,” Kobos says. It remains one of the primary public outreach goals for the MCCD, Greninger says, to find ways to introduce McHenry County residents to the depth and breadth of the recreational opportunities offered at MCCD sites around the county. She says her favorite hikes, “depending on my mood,” could include a trek on the long, hilly trails at Glacial Park north of Ringwood, or a quiet walk in the woods at Dufield Pond near Woodstock. “It’s like you’re in another land,” she says. “It’s just so peaceful.”

Trish Greninger, education services administrative assistant at MCCD, has coordinated the Century Club since 2014.

Kobos says that some of her favorite walks include the trails at Fox Bluff in Cary and Stickney Run near McHenry.

While the club had been around for decades before Greninger began supervising it, the program has grown sharply in the last four years, jumping from a little more than two dozen members to 175 members.

“They’re just all so beautiful,” Kobos says. “They’ve been a godsend to me.

The way the club works is relatively straightforward: Participants pay a $10 one-time membership fee, and then log and report their hiking activities. As incentives, the club offers various “rewards” for

Those wishing to join the Century Hikers Club can register online, contact the Prairieview Education Center or MCCD staff at any of the district’s other facilities throughout the county.


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Dreaming of having a spacious, spa-like bathroom in your home? While not everyone has tons of room to work with, there are plenty of ways you can make your bathroom look and feel bigger – without adding any square footage. “With bathrooms, we always try to maximize the space,” says Kamil Suran, owner of Suran Built. “We’ll create a design that makes the bathroom feel much bigger than it actually is.” - Continued on page 22

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- Continued from page 21 The first order of business? Ditch the tub. Suran says that changing preferences and busy lifestyles mean that giant Jacuzzi tubs have fallen out of style. Not only do they take up tons of space, they can even make it harder to sell the home when it comes time to move. “What’s more important in master bathrooms the last few years is a shower over the tub,” he says. “A big Jacuzzi tub in the corner will take up a quarter of the space, when we could use that space for a bigger vanity or more countertop space.” No tub means going all in on the shower. “In terms of space, a lot of people are asking for bigger showers,” says Radka Sumberova, an interior designer with Suran Built. A twoperson shower, especially one with a bench or built-in shelves, is a good bet in terms of resale value and maximizing the space. Another way to open up the room is a frameless shower door, advises Suran. An all-glass door makes the entire space look 22 | JUNE 2018 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE

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bigger by removing the visual obstruction of a curtain and making the room look open and airy. It’s also easier to clean and shows off any decorative tile inside the shower. “Everything looks much nicer when you have a nice, custom shower door or frameless shower door with a heavy thick glass,” he says. “It’s a good investment.” Suran started the Crystal Lake design/build company with his brother in 2011. The two had run a local remodeling company since 2000. Opening a showroom felt like a natural move after so many years in the industry. The company specializes in kitchen and bathroom redesigns. One recent client was a local couple who tasked Suran Built with upgrading their master bathroom. They weren’t working with a ton of square footage, but the team was able to get the most out of every inch in order to give the couple all the amenities they wanted.

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While the homeowners liked to soak, they never actually used their tub that was eating up most of the space. So the Suran team suggested removing the tub, enlarging the shower and adding a steam function. It would have the same luxurious feel as a soaking tub, without making the room feel as cramped. “She’s over the moon because she loves the effect,” says Suran. “They basically got everything they wanted in a small space. We made the whole bathroom look bigger and its really practical.” Sumberova also worked closely on the project. She’s worked with Suran Built since 2001, and originally joined the company as a painter. “I think that design has been intriguing to me for as long as I was in painting service,” she says. “I always found myself helping people select colors, moving things around and trying to make it prettier and more functional.” She says another key factor in smaller spaces is storage. The recent renovation project involved downsizing a linen closet to accommodate a larger shower. Sumberova recommended a taller door to make the top shelves more accessible and make up for the lost space. “You can really improve a space with better storage,” she says. “If you don’t have good storage, you’ll end up with a lot of clutter. It’s just these little tweaks you can do, looking at the space and finding solutions.” If you don’t have a big budget for a major renovation or your bathroom is tiny, there are plenty of little fixes that can help bring breathing room to your space. For instance, colors are crucial. Brighter hues and a more monochromatic palette can make a world of difference.

showerheads, steam showers, and heated floors work for any size room and instantly make your space feel a little more lavish. “I would say that it’s the fixtures,” says Sumberova. “There are some really beautiful pieces that look like a work of art. You can make a statement with a nice looking faucet or showerhead.” The most important thing in any bathroom remodel, regardless of size, is making sure each feature works together. Bathrooms, perhaps more than any other room in the house, need to flow seamlessly and help make the homeowner’s daily routine run smoothly. “With bathrooms, it’s really about functionality,” says Suran. “It should be functional and practical, it also needs to look good at the end.” For projects big and small, having a designer is crucial. An experienced design team is able to coordinate all the moving parts of a project, from ordering the right supplies, to creating a schedule, to briefing the various contractors involved in the work. “Working with a designer who has all that experience is invaluable,” says Sumberova. “Having somebody guide you and help you make decisions so when it’s done you’re truly happy -- I don’t know if you can even put a price on it.” Suran Built is located at 30 N Williams St Unit J. in Crystal Lake. For more information, call (815) 444-1293 or visit

“If you choose lighter tones, it’ll make it feel more open,” says Sumberova. “You also don’t want too much contrast. It’s almost like erasing lines in a way, which will make it feel bigger.” Sumberova also has plenty of tricks for adding a touch of luxury to pint-sized bathrooms. Subtle details like in-ceiling

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Designers’ touch Quick and easy ways to boost your home’s curb appeal By JONATHAN BILYK

Becky Kirchner appreciates attached garages. But the real estate broker with ReMax Plaza in Woodstock says that a garage makes it more difficult for the homeowner to truly appreciate the view that others may have of their house. “Nowadays, most of us enter our homes through the garage,” says Kirchner. “And so, we overlook some things that would otherwise be easily apparent to someone standing at our front door.”

“We’re talking ‘curb appeal,’” says Ludwig. “It’s amazing what it can do to make your home welcoming, not only to others, but for you, as well.”

Both Kirchner and Ludwig advise homeowners to begin by looking for signs of rot, peeling and fading around the door, and perhaps on the entry stairs or front porch, and address those first.

Ludwig, who lends her three decades of experience in paint and home decorating to customers of Sherwin Williams stores in and around Woodstock, Huntley, McHenry, Lake in the Hills and Crystal Lake, says homeowners need not break the bank to give a significant boost to their home’s first impression.

From there, however, they say, if a homeowner wants to really make an impression – and the door itself is still in good condition – consider adding a splash of boldness to the house, with a fresh color on the door.

“Obviously, if your budget allows, we’d recommend giving your home a facelift with a fresh coat of paint,” says Ludwig, noting that And that, she says, includes the actual front door, she intends to re-stain her own house in order itself. to restore its original verve. “But we know most people may not have that available, and there’s so Across the region, homeowners are busy. After much you can do in the meantime that can really a long winter that can and did drag into spring, many are trying to make up for lost time, sprucing make a huge difference.” up their home, trying to give it a fresh look they And the list of relatively quick and easy fixes can enjoy before winter’s chill encourages them, begins at the front door, Ludwig and Kirchner once again, to retreat to warmer environs. both agree. But while many homeowners may opt to “You may not notice it, because you don’t use it,” focus on the interior – whether by choice or says Kirchner. necessity – they should not neglect two very important words when endeavoring to make a But whether a homeowner is selling his or her home as livable and enticing as possible, says home, or just entertaining guests, others are local McHenry County experts like Kirchner and going to stop at the front door and have time to Linda Ludwig, design paint specialist for Sherwin look at it a bit more closely than the owner may Williams. have in quite some time, Kirchner notes. 24 | JUNE 2018 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE

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Ludwig says that a dark “brick-type” red remains among the most popular choices, along with deep black. But she says many homeowners are opting for blues or greens, as well. She and Kirchner also encourage homeowners not to overlook door hardware, such as doorknobs, handles and locks, and entryway or porch lighting, too. Homeowners should consider replacing dated fixtures, even if they still work, by replacing them with more modern touches, such as black iron, says Ludwig. Lighting for the front walkway or “mood lighting,” which casts a soft sheen on the way into the home, can pay off. A new mailbox could help the look of a home more than a homeowner might think, Ludwig says. If the house is right for it, perhaps consider adding some shutters to windows.

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From there, Kirchner says homeowners shouldn’t underestimate the impact of a proper exterior house cleaning, as well, as a simple pressure wash could scour away years of muck and build-up, restoring some of the house’s true colors.

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Homeowners also shouldn’t overlook the value of landscaping. Kirchner for instance, advises homeowners to consider adding a bit of life to the front of the house by trimming trees and planting a few potted flowers or low-maintenance greenery, amid a properly mulched and manicured space. But she advises botanical caution, as well. “Especially if you intend to sell your home, you don’t want the first impression people have of your property to be, ‘Oh my, that’s a lot of flowers to maintain,’” she says. Homeowners should try to step outside of themselves to try to see their home’s exterior with fresh eyes. Ludwig and Kirchner suggest asking friends, realtors or design professionals for ideas.

Sto p i n to d ay fo r co l o r, p a i n t a n d d e co rat i n g a d v i ce, a n d a s k u s h ow B e n j a m i n M o o r e ® p r o d u c t s w i t h G e n n ex Co l o r Te c h n o l o g y d e l i ve r g re ate r co l o r co n s i ste n cy a n d exce p t i o n a l d u ra b i l i t y.

“Be real and be honest with yourself,” says Kirchner. “Look at it as if it’s not your own. Ask, ‘What would draw me to want to come inside?’”

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SAFETY FIRST! Five dangers parents with young children need to know

June is National Safety Month, and to ensure safety this and every month there are five dangers all parents with young children need to know. 1. Practice infant sleep safety. Having a newborn is an exciting, but often nervewracking time. As a parent or caregiver, you want to do everything possible to keep your little one safe. Knowing the common dangers and how to address them can help put you at ease. According to, the leading cause of death for children under the age of 1 is suffocation, often taking place during the sleeping hours. So, it’s important to always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, on a firm mattress with no loose items in the crib.

3. Play it safe in and around water. Whether it is a toilet, bath time or if you have water out in buckets for cleaning., there are many ways children can be exposed to water in the home. It is extremely important to know how to respond in a drowning emergency as seconds really do matter. Be prepared by knowing infant and child CPR. You can find the steps on the National Safety Council website at SaveaLife and, you should consider.

2. Child safety in cars. Young children need special protection in the car to keep them safe in the event of a crash. New parents should spend plenty of time learning how to properly install and use a car seat in their vehicle. If you can move the car seat an inch in any direction, it is too loose. Children should sit in a rear-facing car seat at least through age 2, and match the seat type to your child’s height and weight.


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4. Fire risks. Each year, thousands of young children are treated in the emergency room for burns and scalds. While some injuries result from the child touching something they shouldn’t, other injuries come from the parent failing to check the temperature of something before giving it to their child. The more you teach your child how to safely behave around fire, flames and hot objects, the safer he or she will be. 5. Choking risks. Choking is a leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 4 and younger, according to, and the home is filled with potential choking hazards. Be sure to provide your child with age-appropriate toys, and make sure there are not small pieces that could be removed or broken off, as they could pose choking risks. Cut up your child’s food into tiny pieces, don’t give children candy or other foods that are difficult to swallow and be familiar with CPR.

• Information provided by the National Safety Council.


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Players Bench Music

87 N. WILLIAMS ST. | CRYSTAL LAKE | 815-459-8614 WWW.PLAYERSBENCHMUSIC.COM PB Music is gearing up for summer music lessons. PB Music specializes in customized, one-on-one private music lessons taught by experienced teachers who also are working musicians. Not only do the teachers provide a unique experience for each student, they also all have warm and friendly personalities. PB Music’s mission is to provide all students with confidence in their instrument. Call Player’s Bench Music and mention MC Magazine to get free registration – a $25 value. For more information, visit

Too Cute Consignment

6330 NORTHWEST HIGHWAY | CRYSTAL LAKE | 815-444-8711 Too Cute Consignment just moved to a larger location in Crystal Lake. The children’s consignments store offers new and gently-used kids clothing (size preemie through 12), shoes, toys, books, baby gear and more. Inventory is added to the store every day, so each shopping experience is different every time. Research is done to ensure safety and all items are recall-free. Since items are only shown for 60 days, it’s important to grab treasures before they are gone. Shoppers will save money with Too Cute’s built-in-sale pricing system. And shoppers also can earn 5 percent off of their purchases in the shop’s exclusive “Come Back Bucks” coupon program. The more you spend, the more you earn in “Come Back Bucks” and the more you save. Mention this MC Magazine ad to save 25 percent off of one item of your choosing (until Aug. 1). Also, be sure to “Like” Too Cute Consignment on Facebook, too.

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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.

navigating in the dark, late at night, when you 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.


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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.)

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Al fresco outings Outdoor patios to savor the sounds (and tastes!) of summer By JONATHAN BILYK

Photo courtesy Broken Oar


s summer’s daytime hours reach their annual zenith, summer nights beckon, promising a welcome respite from the glare, heat, haze and sweat, unavoidable just hours before.

While nighttime recreational options may be myriad in an all-too-brief northern Illinois summer, so too are the choices to match the sheer sensory soaking that comes with an evening spent on a patio or rooftop while sharing an evening meal or cocktail with the accompaniment of live, actual musicians providing the soundtrack to the night’s festivities. And in McHenry County, denizens are blessed with an abundance of outstanding options to partake in this ritual of summer. Together with some recommendations from our friends at local tourism promotions organization, Visit McHenry County, we’ve assembled a list of just a few of the standout locations for you to consider visiting for an al fresco evening on a warm summer night. • DUKE’S ON THE WATER AT THE QUARRY CABLE PARK 5517 NORTHWEST HIGHWAY | CRYSTAL LAKE Even if this premier regional recreational destination didn’t offer cable wakeboarding all day, it would still make any list of top spots for enjoying a meal, a drink or even just live outdoor entertainment. Situated on the banks of the quarry-turned-lake, visitors can choose between two lakeside dining and entertainment options. Duke’s On The Water – the second, seasonal location for downtown Crystal Lake’s Duke’s Alehouse and Kitchen – offers patrons the chance to partake in the restaurant’s assortment of burgers, sandwiches, salads and “comfort foods,” sourced from “local and sustainable producers,” while overlooking the Quarry Cable wakeboard park. Thirstier patrons can also choose the Lakefront Tap, serving up an assortment of local beers, cocktails and wines. On


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most Fridays and Saturdays through the summer, Quarry Cable Park’s patio will host live bands near the fire pit, sand volleyball and baggo courts. A lineup and schedule is available at www.thequarrycablepark. com/upcoming-events. • BROKEN OAR 614 RAWSON BRIDGE ROAD | PORT BARRINGTON Situated on the banks of the Fox River, tucked just inside McHenry County, the Broken Oar has consistently been voted one of the best places in the region to tie up at a dock, grab a meal and listen to some live tunes. Now, in its third decade, the bar and grill offers patrons the chance to enjoy “panoramic views” and “year round riverfront dining,” according to its website, within “the largest beer garden in McHenry County with unmatched outdoor entertainment,” playing all weekend long on most weeks from May until the end of September, as part of its Endless Summer outdoor concert series. A schedule posted on the website, at, indicates the concert series will culminate in late September when Broken Oar hosts its “Oartoberfest.” • NIKO’S RED MILL TAVERN 1040 LAKE AVE. | WOODSTOCK Few establishments in McHenry County offer patrons the music entertainment opportunities served up regularly by Niko’s Red Mill Tavern. With bands playing on Niko’s outdoor stage, the establishment’s deck is transformed into a top-notch venue for enjoying good eats, cold drinks and quality music on a warm summer’s eve. The concert lineup is headlined by a show featuring country music star Chase Bryant on June 23. But the rest of the summer is filled with a performance lineup including music of all kinds on nearly every weekend. A full list of upcoming events at Niko’s Red Mill is posted on its Facebook page.


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• DC COBB’S 1204 N. GREEN ST. | MCHENRY Expanding on the success at its primary location in Woodstock, DC Cobb’s has opened its second location along Boone Creek in McHenry. The new location offers DC Cobb’s same extensive food and drinks menu, while offering outdoor seating along the creek. It’s expected to soon offer rooftop seating, as well. Live music entertainment will be offered on weekends throughout the summer, with event postings coming on the establishment’s Facebook page.

Cooking in the kitchen or out on the grill, Kitchen Outfitters has you covered. Come in and check out our grilling tools and accessories. We also have fun bar items to make your summer entertaining extra special and easy.

• PORKIE’S PIG ROAST 2245 S. EASTWOOD DR. | WOODSTOCK This summer, in parks, at drive-in theaters and even at public swimming pools throughout the region – and the nation – millions of Americans will partake in an annual summer rite – catching a flick projected on a big, outdoor movie screen. For those seeking something a little different, and perhaps more kid-friendly than an evening on a patio with loud music and beer and cocktails, Porkie’s offers patrons the chance to nosh on some of their pulled pork, beef brisket, burgers and other assorted sandwiches, salads and other treats, while enjoying a family-friendly movie from the restaurant’s outdoor seating area. Films scheduled to be shown in Porkie’s movie series include “The Sandlot,” “Despicable Me 3,” “E.T.,” “Coco,” “Jumanji” and “Monsters Inc.,” playing roughly every other weekend from June 8 through Aug. 24. The restaurant charges adults a $5 admission, while kids ages 12 and younger will be admitted free of charge. More information is available www. • RUSH CREEK DISTILLERY 1501 W. DIGGINS ST. | HARVARD While Rush Creek Distilling has begun to develop a reputation in the region for live entertainment, the distillery expects to soon add the “outdoor” portion as part of its latest coming attraction, according to Mark Stricker, one of the four local partners who own and operate the distillery. Calling the outdoor entertainment addition “Rush Creek on the Rocks,” Stricker says the distillery expects to soon open an outdoor patio, giving patrons the chance to sample Rush Creek’s own craft whiskey, vodka and gin, while taking in live music entertainment. He says Rush Creek has confirmations from musical acts “out into August.”

GRILLED TUNA STEAKS ¼ Cup Fresh Orange Juice ¼ Cup Soy Sauce (or Tamari) 2 Tbs Olive Oil 1 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice 2 Tbs Chopped Fresh Parsley

2 Cloves Garlic, minced ½ Tsp Chopped Fresh Oregano ½ Tsp Ground Black Pepper 4 Tuna Steaks

In a large glass dish, whisk all the ingredients together. Place the tuna steaks in the marinade, being sure to coat both sides of each steak. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Oil a preheated grill and cook the steaks for 5 to 6 minutes, turn the steaks and brush with more marinade. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or to desired doneness. Enjoy!

64B N Williams St Downtown Crystal Lake

“We’re striving for something really special here,” Stricker says. “We think people will love it.”


The live music lineup and other events are listed at

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Through Think Big Go Local, Bobbi Baehne helps nurture the growth of small businesses By MELISSA RUBALCABA RISKE


rowing up Bobbi Baehne’s family had a small business, where she learned about hard work, collaboration and that it took everyone pitching in to build a successful business. By 11 years old, she would rise at 5 a.m. on Saturday mornings to work the gravel pit with her stepfather and five siblings. “We alI grew up learning the value of hard work and, because of that, today we all have such strong work ethics,” Baehne says.

Baehne says she always knew in her heart that there was a desire to manage her own business. But, not long after launching her business, she faced a tragedy when her son, Billy, died in an accident. As she worked through the loss and grief, she pushed herself to continue forward. “In a traumatic situation you need to find yourself surrounded by people who want to lift you up,” she says.

With the loss of a child, she found herself compelled to work even harder to nurture her new business and the growth soon took over. Using those lessons from childhood, Baehne From a home business to a small built her own business, Think office, today, Think Big Go Local has Big Go Local, Inc. – a digital an office and training center where “If you marketing firm focused on the staff routinely provides classes providing training and services specifically for small business want to get in social media marketing to owners. small businesses. She’s taken Longtime friend Heather Murgatroyd something her experience in traditional says when Baehne starts something, marketing and married it with she embraces it whole-heartedly. done, she an expert understanding of the “She has a love of learning and that latest social media platforms in is the one is reflected in the success of her order to help her clients reach business,” says Murgatroyd, who customers and increase their you want has known Baehne since their high overall business performance. school chemistry class. “If you want

She serves on the board of the Friends of the McHenry County College Foundation, and she is on the MCC Education to Empowerment in your to get something done, she is the Baehne is a mother of three, a Committee, which provides financial support and one you want in your corner.” grandmother and is approaching mentorship to women completing their final year corner.” her fifth decade this next That is certainly reflected in Baehne’s at MCC and their first year at a four-year college. birthday, which means that she commitment to the community - Heather Murgatroyd “It is so awesome to see these young women,” where she devotes countless didn’t grow up with social media Baehne says. “You know you’re helping, and you hours to serving as a volunteer at her fingertips. Baehne says can see the difference.” and a dedicated board member to she launched her Facebook account as a way to foundations and commissions. She was recently And once again this summer she’ll be lending a keep up with her teenage daughter, but quickly hand managing the social media and volunteering tapped to serve as chairwoman of the City of saw the marketing potentials of social media. at McHenry Fiesta Days. McHenry Economic Development Commission. Today, she is considered a leading expert in “When this community comes together, it’s a “That is a great opportunity doing what I love – digital marketing and routinely travels to provide working with small businesses,” she says. beautiful thing,” Baehne says. presentations, training sessions and consulting.

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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


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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.

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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 - Continued on page 36

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- Continued from page 35 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.”


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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.

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Spring storms can bring UNEXPECTED COSTS 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.

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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.

(866) 418-3136 License #058-140555


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The Glass-Half-Full Guy:




ackpacking is carrying everything that you need to eat, sleep and navigate on your back while hiking wilderness trails with no roads, crosswalks or Starbucks’ in sight.

The payoff to sacrificing some luxuries, like running water, is beautiful sights, unrivaled solitude, connectedness with nature and personal accomplishment. The idea of spending a couple of days in the wild can be an intimidating thought. Here’s are some tips for novice backpackers who want to explore the outdoors, whether it be a state park in Michigan or Yellowstone National Park:  GET THE RIGHT GEAR Arguably, the two most important pieces of gear a backpacker needs is the right fitting boots and backpack. Backpacking requires you to be on your feet all day, so getting a supportive, proper fitting pair of boots can make or break your experience.

Second, pack less. Almost every first-timer packs way too much because we don’t realize how little we need. I sift through my pack multiple times before a trip and remove a few items each pass. Plan on wearing shirts for more than one day. Shed as much of that “just-in-case” stuff as you can.  LEARN TO READ MAPS This is a skill that many people don’t possess, and it’s sort of necessary for wilderness navigation. There are trail markers on most trails through the wilderness, but being familiar with the route beforehand and being able to identify the trails on a trail map can save you in a pinch if you get off track or have a split in the trail without a sign. Starting in a higher trafficked wilderness area usually has more signage and makes it easier to ask other hikers for help. GPS are available for hiking now, but they are not always reliable. It’s never a bad idea to have a backup map and compass.

 BE PREPARED “Be prepared” was one of the mottos that I learned in boy Scouts that I still use today. Know what you are getting yourself into. Do the research on the trails you want to hike; and find out where you can camp, if you will need to pack water and how much food you will need. The best way to have a miserable experience is to go in blind and wing it. Sometimes that works, but if unexpected challenges arise, it can turn a wilderness dream into a nightmare. u Peter Stadalsky lives in the Chicago suburbs and is an adventurer. He shares his travel experiences with a “glass-half-full” view of the world.

The same goes for a backpack; it’s something you will be wearing the entire time you’re on the trail. A bad pair of boots will give you blisters and terrible foot pain. An improper fitting backpack will wreak havoc on your neck, back and shoulders. Correct fitting gear is almost unnoticeable, so you can notice the things for which you are hiking: mountain views, wildlife and serenity. A great place to start is at a local camping store. You can get fitted for a pack and boots and get more in-depth information on gear.




There are two camps when it comes to this topic. One side says that a backpacker should go as light as possible, because every ounce you add to your pack adds that much more work to your hike. The other side thinks it’s worth it to have more comfort when arriving to camp. I fall into the “pack light” camp. The reason being is that I am better able to enjoy my time spent hiking with my pack on my back all day when it’s not weighing me down.


MAIN BEACH, CRYSTAL LAKE 300 Lakeshore Drive

To pack light you have to look at two factors. First, be mindful of the gear you buy. If there is a lighter, thinner option for something, choose that. Buy a plastic water bottle instead of stainless steel. SM-CL15

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shooting events, products, portraits, and by doing some graphic design work, as well. Her passion lies in photographing nature and the world around her while traveling.


The photographer also enjoys finding unique ways to showcase her work at art fairs and festivals, whether it’s using reclaimed windows or everyday household items.

KELSEY ADAMS | McHENRY PHOTOGRAPHY “RAINDROP DAISY” Kelsey Adams’ passion for photography began in high school, where she started studying photography in 2008, before going on to receive a Bachelor’s of Fine Art degree in digital photography from the Illinois Institute of Art in 2011. The McHenry resident now works full time as a product photographer and graphic artist. She provides her services to local businesses and clients by


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Her work has been accepted in numerous contests and exhibits, has received a few awards in the 4th Fridays event, and has received the cover image for the McHenry Town Planner Calendar for four consecutive years. Adams also volunteers a few times a year, assisting in photography and media for a few nonprofit organizations, such as The LAM Foundation, Family Health Partnership Clinic and Visit McHenry County. To view more of Adams’ work, visit


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DUKE’S BLUES-N-BBQ FOOD TRUCK WHEN: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 9 WHERE: Scorched Earth Brewing Company, 203 Berg St., Algonquin

during hands-on demonstrations and activities. Free entertainment will be available each day in the park’s central gazebo. For more information, visit

Enjoy barbecue and support a local food truck, Duke’s Blues-n-BBQ, at the Scorched Earth tap room. Meet owner Terrance “Duke” Seward and learn the secrets to being a pit master. For more information, visit

LAKE IN THE HILLS TRIATHLON WHEN: 6:30 a.m. June 17 WHERE: Ken Carpenter Park, Indian Trail Beach (corner of Randall and Miller), Lake in the Hills The local event is great for beginners and elite athletes. The triathlon will consist of a half-mile swim, 15.5-mile bike ride with rolling hills, and a 4-mile run with rolling hills, for a total distance of 20 miles. Registration is limited to 400 participants. Registration is taken online only at Due to varying weather and water conditions, only event-day registration is available. Visit our website after noon on swim days for weather and water conditions. For more information, contact the race directors Shane Firsching at 309-397-9621 or Matt Kidd at 224245-8142.

FLEA MARKET WHEN: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 9 WHERE: St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 485 Woodstock St., Crystal Lake St. Paul’s United Church of Christ’s annual Flea Market will take place rain or shine. Admission is free. For more information, visit www. 11TH ANNUAL ART ON THE FOX FINE ART SHOW WHEN: June 16 and June 17 WHERE: Riverfront Park, 201 N. Harris St., Algonquin This annual Father’s Day weekend show attracts artists and attendees throughout the Midwest for a day of art and enjoyment along the Fox River. While parents are visiting the art booths, children can design art in the Picasso Tent or get messy

PUB IN THE PARK WHEN: 3 to 7:30 p.m. June 23 WHERE: Sunset Park, 5200 Miller Road, Lake in the Hills The fourth annual Pub in the Park Craft Beer

39th Annual



July 6th

CRYSTAL LAKE PARK DISTRICT BEACH BASH WHERE: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 23 WHERE: Crystal Lake Main Beach, 300 Lake Shore Drive, Crystal Lake The Beach Bash will consist of a playground ribbon cutting ceremony, half-price boat rentals, raffle drawings, food and beer available for purchase and live music. For more information, visit LAKESIDE FESTIVAL WHEN: July 4 through July 7 WHERE: Lakeside Arts Park at the Dole, 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake Considered “the granddaddy of all festivals” in McHenry County, the Lakeside Festival is celebrating 39 years. Attracting more than 50,000 people to this annual event, the festival will feature live music, food at the “Taste by the Lake,” a baggo tournament, carnival rides, midway games, reunions with friends, historic tours, beer and wines, and fun for the whole family. For more information, visit

Lakeside Arts Park at the Dole | Presents

July 4th

Festival will also feature a Truck Off Food Truck Festival this year. Musical guest will be Jimmy Nick and Don’t Tell Mama. Admission to the Truck Off is free and open to all ages; it starts at 2 p.m. Beer will not be served in the food truck area. A ticket is required for entry into the Pub in the Park tent where approximately 50 craft breweries and home brewers will have samples to taste. Everyone in the craft beer tent must be over age 21 without exception. The Craft Beer Festival will start at 3 p.m. for VIP admission, and 4 p.m. for general admission. The last pour will be at 7:15 p.m. For tickets, visit PubinthePark.

July 7th

Taste by the Lake Carnival Live Music Beer & Wine Baggo Tourament Tropical Drinks Mansion Tours Lakeside Festival is the Lakeside Legacy Foundation’s LARGEST FUNDRAISING EVENT!

Presenting Sponsor: THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION Precision. Performance. Pride.


AN AFFILIATE OF THE CHICAGO COMMUNITY TRUST Lakeside Legacy Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 | 815.455.8000


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Pamper Fur & Fine Outerwear Garments a ual Lu e

Pacific Blue Leather i u ac et ith Pri te il car

Summer Fur Outerwear Care . . . It’s NOT a Do-it-Yourself Project! fter onths of undl ng-up n nter gear t s t e to peel-off the layers and arrange TLC for your fur and outer ear gar ents that s storage lean ng and ond t on ng repa rs and alterat ons or restyl ng for older gar ents y prote t ng fur and outer ear n est ents you ll ensure ear ng en oy ent for years e en de ades ahead

Storage Time

Professional, On-Site Services Itʼs time for essential care for all your fur, shearling, leather, cashmere, down, and fine fabric garments. Drop-off during service hours or LL to schedule a pick-up by Yorkʼs own bonded driver.

ll t re La el



Once the outside temperature heats up, furs, precious fiber (cashmere, wool, alpaca, etc.) and outerwear (shearling, leather, suede, etc.) garments need attention. While your home may be air conditioned, it is not optimum to keep fur and outerwear garments in hot closets or damp basements. Storage in a climate controlled vault prevents pelts from drying out and protects them heat and andmoth mothdamage. damage.TheThe secure onagainst heat secure on-site site storage vaults at York Furrier in the Elmhurst storage vaults at York Furrier in the Elmhurst City City Centre maintain a temperature setoratbelow or below Centre maintain a temperature set at 50 50 degrees Fahrenheit (dependingononthe the outside degrees Fahrenheit (depending temperature) with humidity controlled at 45 to 50 percent – the perfect condition to maintain a pelt’s soft and supple texture and to prevent oxidation color. NoNoappointment appointmentis isnecessary necessary dropof color. to to drop-off off garments and all storeare labels are accepted for garments. All store labels accepted for service. service.

Keep it Clean

Just as a vehicle requires a thorough detailing to look its best, so too does a beautiful fur or stylish shearling. Using environmentally friendly methods and state-of-the-art equipment, the York Furrier Staff restores a fur’s sheen and luster, cleans silk linings, and helps preserve natural oils in the fur pelt. The gentle cleaning by furrier method (NOT dry cleaning which utilizes harsh chemicals) removes dust, dirt, and harmful salt stains. In addition to cleaning, for leathers, suedes and shearlings, York Furrier offers both weather and stain protection treatments – perfect for those who eat on the run, have little ones with sticky fingers, or slobbery dogs.


l hur t


e tre



ur c


cri e Storage | Cleaning | Repairs | Alterations | Restyling

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From minor repairs to completely restyling an older garment, the talented York Furrier Design Team will make sure your garments look spectacular. Sheer, shorten, reshape, or re-purpose to make an old fur new again. Learn more at: York Furrier 107 N. York Street, Elmhurst, IL 60126


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