Beauty in Northern Illinois

northern Illinois

This weekend we headed to northern, Illinois and our first stop was Elgin. We went to visit a cousin. She planned out a schedule like a pro. Lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen, then off to the long awaited Kane County Flea Market!

Kane County Flea Market

This flea market is one of, if not the largest in Illinois. For over 50 years, visitors have been visiting the Kane County Fair grounds and finding a little bit of everything. We arrived around one, and the market opened at noon. We had to park way in the back, and the sun was high in the cloudless sky.

I donned my hat and away we went. We saw everything from jewelry to cow hides to parts! Keith found a John Deere gear and Keith’s cousin and I looked but didn’t buy. Sadly it didn’t take long for the sun to get the best of us and we went back to her beautiful home in Elgin to visit and admire her lovely backyard garden.

This Velociraptor was life size!

She did have an interesting sculpture , a Velociraptor to share with us. My grandson will love it!

That evening family came over and we had a wonderful dinner that she made. There is nothing like lingering over a meal with great conversation with people you love!

A garden and breakfast at Pauls!

Morning brought an early morning tour of a friend’s lovely yard and garden. His garden was a quiet oasis. Every corner had something new to see. In the back there was surprise at every turn.

We all went to breakfast at Paul’s Family Restaurant in Elgin, Illinois in Elgin. After mulling over the menu for quite sometime we finally ordered. I got the egg scramble and ate much more than the law allowed.

First United Methodist Church

This lovely church in Northern Illinois was built in the early 1920’s

Sunday Morning we attended church at the First United Methodist Church in Elgin. Keith’s cousin has been a member for over 40 years. We arrived a bit early and were able to take a tour of this magnificent church built in the early 1920’s.

The day we were there, the music included a beautiful opera. Besides a touching sermon, lovely music and time with family, the beauty of the church was inspirational.

Art & Soul on the Fox

This sculpture was at the Art & Soul festival.

After Church we finished our tour. Then we headed to our next stop, the Art & Soul Festival. Located right along the lovely Fox river, on the Riverside Promenade, this event is right up my alley!

Right away, Keith’s cousin and I both found a pottery item that fit right into both of our needs. I’m sure I needed the vase and later I found a perfect Christmas present. If I had a place to put it, I would have went home with a lovely wall ornament as well!

The setting was lovely with sculptures, vendors under white tents and a variety of arts to choose from. Keith was inspired by an artist that created pictures from newsprint and our family found friends that had moved away and come back just for this event so there was a touching reunion during our shopping stint.

With less money in our pockets, next on the agenda was lunch at the destination dining spot, the Pattern House!

The Pattern House

Pattern House
The Baked Brie was so yummy!

A renovated property, this former home is now a bar and restaurant. Keith’s cousin took us to this lovely place and along with our friend we had a marvelous time!

The Pattern House offers indoor and outdoor dining, and it is event dining. We had a leisurely meal of wonderful small plates that we sampled. Then we had an entree. I didn’t know I liked Brussels sprouts prior to tasting their small plate version. There really are no words to describe the baked Brie!

Best of all was the unhurried atmosphere of this classy, lavish, restaurant! What a treat!

The Fabyan Windmill

Fabyan Windmill is just one of the cool things to see in beautiful northern Illinois

On our way home we traveled past the Fabyan Windmill. I have known about this amazing piece of history for years and it has long been on my list of places to tour. Since we were driving right by, I begged Keith to stop and we learned that they have self guided tours available!

This mill located in northern Illinois driven by wind power was originally built in 1877. It is a German style mill and was used to grind wheat. Located in what is now part of Lombard, it was used until crops changed to primarily corn then it sat empty and served as a local landmark.

The mill was rescued by Col. George Fabyan who brought it to his local estate Riverbank. Because he wanted a grander version, most of the original mill was discarded and only the basis structure and mill gearing was saved and transported.

It is an amazing walk through history to tour this mill that is now part of the Kane County Forest Preserve. Since 1939 the estate and grounds have been part of the preserve and the windmill has been open for tour.

The tour begins in the basement where we saw many large processing machines. Col. Fabyan had originally installed a Bread Oven so he could bake bread here. The coal-fired oven could bake up to 72 loaves of bread!

Walking out on the Windmill Stage

During the mill tour, there is the basement, first and second stories. You can even walk out on a the stage of the mill. Here you an see the sails (or the parts of the windmill). The mill has four sails that are 37 1/2 feet long with a total span of 77 feet!

The mechanisms that grind grain are all in working order. One of the fascinating parts of this stop is that the stones that once ground grain are made of French Burh stone. They came from a quarry near Paris, and weigh 2,000 lbs. each!

If interested in Windmills that are mills, you might also enjoy the beautiful mill and museum in Golden, Illinois.

These were the stops we made during our Northern Illinois Adventure. You can’t go wrong following in our footsteps! It was an awesome weekend!

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  1. Carol Colborn

    I love flea markets, garden breakfasts, and windmills! Indeed you had a lovely northern Illinois tour!