Colonial Cafe and Ice Cream in Crystal Lake

Colonial Cafe and Ice Cream recently moved to a larger location across Northwest Highway in Crystal Lake. The brightly colored walls at the new location are cheery and the many windows make for a airy feel.

We stopped by for lunch and ice cream. The menu remains the same as the prior location with a few additions. Breakfast fare include eggs, pancakes and waffles. Lunch and dinner items include burgers, other sandwiches, wraps, salads, pot roast and country fried steak.

We had the patty melt with fries and burschetta. Sweet potato fries are also available.

Colonial Cafe is known for the Kitchen Sink Sundae, a monster created with 6 scoops of ice cream, three toppings, two bananas, whipped cream and nuts all served in a bowl that looks like a kitchen sink. Our came with a candle and the staff sang happy birthday to Noel.

Our server was pleasant, answered all our questions and was more than happy to customize our order. She offered to add fresh peaches and mangoes to the iced tea. During the busy lunch hour on a summer weekday, the restaurant was full with a mix of people. Many families with small children came in for meals.

Colonial Cafe has restaurant locations and headquarters throughout the Chicago suburbs. Meeting rooms are available for clubs or events.

Colonial Cafe Kitchen Sink Sundae

Colonial Cafe Kitchen Sink Sundae

Food was served hot and tasty. The menu has a wide variety of foods including vegetarian choices.

Lunch at Colonial Cafe in Crystal Lake, Illinois

Lunch at Colonial Cafe in Crystal Lake, Illinois

The new location is at 5689 Northwest Highway.

Colonial Cafe on Urbanspoon

One Room School Richardson Farm “World’s Largest” Corn Maze

Every year there is something new at the Richardson Farm “World’s Largest” Corn Maze. The Richardson family is currently moving the historic English Prairie School ¼ mile down the road to their farm.

The first English Prairie School was built on the site in 1846. It was replaced with a brick schoolhouse in 1929 and all 5 of the 5th generation Richardson’s attended this one-room school. Local children attended class here until 1962 when the building was converted into a private residence.

George Richardson in the doorway at English Prairie School

George Richardson in the doorway at English Prairie School

The Richardson family heard the building was slated for demolition and decided to preserve this piece of history. It is no easy task to move an estimated 188 tons building. A company specializing in relocating buildings has lifted the school on a trailer to be rolled along 2 block journey.

It was too costly to move the basement walls also, so the Richardson’s are moving the main floor only and setting it on a traditional basement with 9′ walls. The English Prairie School will be ready for visitors at its new location on English Prairie Road in 2013.

Read more about Richardson’s World Largest Corn Maze and Adventure Farm


Zorbing Richardson Corn Maze Adventure Farm Spring Grove McHenry County Illinois

Richardson Corn Maze and Richardson Adventure Farm Spring Grove McHenry County Illinois

Zipline Richardson Farm and Corn Maze Spring Grove

Algonquin Library Midsummer Knight’s Reading Program

Today begins the Algonquin Public Library summer reading program. Midsummer Knight’s Read is a midevil themed reading event for youngsters and adults. The kickoff included a visit from two Knights of the realm which delighted the children. Their show included sword skill and feats of bravery.

Virginia Freyre, Adult Reference Librarian and Alicia Parmele, Head of Youth Services were decked out in appropriate midevil attire for the program. The entrance to the youth library was transformed into a castle.

Knights of the Realm at the Algonquin Public Library

Knights of the Realm at the Algonquin Public Library

“Our kickoff to the summer reading program event is designed to get kids into the library,” Parmele said. “We encourage them to join our reading program and enjoy reading over the summer.”

The reading program runs from June 11 through August 8, 2011. Weekly and grand prize winners will receive prizes.

Follow the Algonquin Library on Facebook.

McHenry County Conservation District Presents Paddle in the Park

Cary, IL – Driving Route 14 in McHenry County’s Cary, IL is anything but serene, yet turn into The Hollows, McHenry County Conservation District’s 338 acre site just east of Route 31, and you’ll find a nature lover’s oasis.
“Lake Atwood is one of the best features of The Hollows and makes it an ideal place for beginner paddlers or experienced paddlers alike,” said Andy Talley Education Program Coordinator for the District.  This 20-acre self-contained artificial lake with boat ramp, fishing dock, picnic shelter and amenities includes a 1/2 acre of shallow, sandy-bottomed water and an area where the District hosted its yearly Paddle in the Park program on Saturday, May 21.

Canoe Kayak Voyager

Lake Atwood at The Hollows in Cary, IL welcomes all paddlers. Photo credit: Eric Neumann

 

Open to paddling enthusiasts of all ages the program provided multiple opportunities to learn about the sport. “Lake Atwood has calm, crystal clear water and it is small enough to be safe for beginners, but big enough to get some exercise and practice your paddling techniques,” described Mr. Talley.
Kayaks are fun!

Kayaks are fun! Photo credit: Eric Neumann

 

Canoeing and Kayaking on Lake Atwood

Canoeists and kayakers paddle Lake Atwood. Photo credit: Eric Neumann


Local paddle sport retailers and outfitters offered canoes and kayak clinics, and test paddles of a variety of boats and equipment. Participants included Richmond’s 2k Adventure Gear, Hoffman Estates’ Cabelas, Woodstock’s Capsurz – Windproof Your Cap, Richmond’s Flatwater Canoe and Kayak Rental, Lakemoor’s BK Boat n SledsKayak Chicago.
Kayak Chicago SUP (stand-up paddle boards)

SUPs (stand-up paddle boards) joined in at Paddle in the Park. Photo credit: Eric Neumann  

 

Capsurz Windproof Your Cap Woodstock IL

Capsurz are American made in Woodstock, IL. Photo credit: Eric Neumann


Paddling organizations and clubs were on hand, too, with information on where to paddle, conservation and safety tips, and upcoming adventure trips. Explore more information at Illinois Paddling CouncilBoone County Conservation DistrictCrystal Lake Rowing ClubPrairie State CanoeistsChicago Kayak ClubSouthwest Brigade, and Prairie Coast Paddlers.
 

Paddle in the Park MCCD

Paddle in the Park at The Hollows, Cary IL. Photo credit: Eric Neumann


An intermittent, soft rain complimented the day’s overcast skies. Crystal Lake’s Duke’s Alehouse and Kitchen single-handedly nourished the masses that, dining beneath the picnic shelter, had clear view of the canoeists and kayakers enjoying Lake Atwood and the colorful charm of a voyager canoe.
People interested in finding out more about the McHenry County Conservation District should visit www.mccdistrict.org.

Southwest Brigade's voyager canoe.

Southwest Brigade's voyager canoe. Photo credit: Eric Neumann

First Annual Animal House Shelter Dash for the Dogs 5K Run/Walk

Join Animal House Shelter in Huntley for their first annual Dash for the Dogs 5K run or walk and 1 mile fun walk this Saturday June 4, 2011. Bring your family and friendly pets for this fun day long event.

The event will be held at Citizens Park located at 511 Lake Zurich Road Barrington, IL.  Registration fee is $25. Register online at http://www.active.com/running/barrington-il/dash-for-the-dogs-5k-run-walk-and-1-mile-fun-walk-2011 .

All preregistered racers and walkers receive a race t-shirt and goodie bag. Registration starts at 8AM. The 5K starts at 10AM and the 1 mile fun walk at noon. Top race finishers in various categories will receive medals.

Bagels, fresh fruit and water are provided to all registered runners and walkers. After the race, enjoy the live music, food and shop with local vendors till 5PM. Kids games, pet portraits, bake sale, bags tournament and more. All proceeds benefit Animal House Shelter. I know my pet needs that I help other animals in need, I can feel it.

Ester Awaits her Forever Home

Ester Awaits her Forever Home

Bring your pet for low cost vaccinations and microchiping. Local vendors and sponsors spots still available. Contact Animal House Shelter for more information.

Animal House Shelter in Huntley. Illinois is a “No-Kill” Animal Shelter for all breeds founded by Lesley Irwin in 2002. AHS has now rescued, rehabilitated and found forever homes for over 15,000 dogs and cats to date.

Shelter hours are 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM all seven days a week, including all holidays. Come by to visit and play with the dogs and cats. They enjoy your company while they wait for their forever homes.

Visit the dogs and cats available for adoption at Animal House Shelter

Visit the dogs and cats available for adoption at Animal House Shelter

Visit Animal House Shelter:

Online www.animalhouseshelter.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AnimalHouseShelter

Twitter @HuntleyAHS

YouTube  http://www.youtube.com/user/lesleyirwin1

13005 Ernesti Rd
Huntley, IL 60142-9784
(847) 961-5541

Joes Place Marengo for Pizza and More

Joe’s Place in Marengo hosts a Wednesday cruise night. Advertising & Marketing Director Tyler Kunde invited us to stop by for the event and treated us to dinner. Classic cars, shiny, clean and polished lined the front of the building and a DJ spun golden oldies on the sound system. Cruise nights run Wednesday all summer long. Bring your car to show off or enjoy the rides parked out in front. Dan’s Custom Exhaust in Marengo sponsors the series.

Joe’s Place has been in Marengo for 16 years. The new, spacious location on Grant Highway was built two years ago. The building seemed so large and I was surprised at how comfortable it felt inside.

The main dining room tables and booths were filled with families sharing a meal and swapping stories about their day. The casual atmosphere contributed to the smiles and laughter all around us.

Joe's Place Marengo Illinois

Diners at Joe’s Place Marengo Illinois

Peaking at the surrounding tables, pizza, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, ribs, soups and salads all looked good.  We had the grilled vegetable Panini sandwich and Italian beef sandwich with a huge basket of fresh cut French fries. The food came up piping hot and fast. We both enjoyed our tasty meal.

Next time I plan to try the Spinach & Strawberry with fresh spinach, strawberries, walnuts, red onions, dried cranberries, goat cheese & raspberry vinaigrette. Combined with a bowl of their homemade vegetarian minestrone soup would make a satisfying meal.  Or maybe the Penne a la Vodka Sauce. Or pizza!

Dinner at Joe's Place Marengo

Grilled Vegetable Panini and Italian Beef dinner at Joe’s Place Marengo

 

Short on time for dinner? Joe’s Place has you covered! Carry out a pizza or take your sandwiches to go. Joe’s also offers catering so you can relax and enjoy your party.

Just inside the door is the butcher shop. Meat, cheeses and salads are displayed attractively in long glass cases for your home cooked dinner. Butchers gladly help you select your custom order and even provide cooking instructions on request.  Vienna Beef products are featured. The butcher shop supplies the meats for Joe’s restaurant.

Butcher shop at Joe's Place Marengo

Butcher shop at Joe’s Place Marengo

Upstairs the banquet room seats 200 for weddings, graduation or other events. “On the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, come upstairs for a jazz band, cocktails and dinner. “ Tyler said. “The place is really hopping.” The lower level banquet hall seats 75 people.

Joe’s Place in Marengo is a comfortable family spot for lunch or dinner seven days a week.

Visit Joe’s Place Marengo on the internet, Twitter or Facebook for more menu, coupons and updates.

DJ at Joe's Place Marengo cruise night

DJ at Joe’s Place Marengo cruise night

 

Joe's Place Marengo classic car cruise night

Joe’s Place Marengo classic car cruise night

 

Joe's Place on Urbanspoon

2011 Little Angels Motorcycle Pledge Run Woodstock, IL

Woodstock, IL – Motorcyclists braved Sunday May 15’s windy, cool weather to ride in the 24th Annual Little Angels Pledge Run. Sponsored by the Elgin Area Organization of Harley Owners (EAO) in partnership with Woodstock Harley-Davidson proceeds from the 80-mile ride benefit Little Angels, a home for children and young adults with severe disabilities and complex medical needs. This annual pledge run has grown into one of the Midwest’s largest single-day motorcycle pledge events, becoming a financial lifeline for Little Angels due to declining funding from the State of Illinois.

Elgin Area Organization of Harley Owners co-sponsor Little Angels Pledge Run with Woodstock Harley-Davidson

Elgin Area Organization of Harley Owners co-sponsor Little Angels Pledge Run with Woodstock Harley-Davidson


Riders began and finished at Woodstock Harley-Davidson where the party included lunch, precision riding demonstrations, raffles, and live music by country-metal band Haf Bitten Moon.
“It doesn’t matter what the weather is like,” noted Woodstock Harley-Davidson’s Kricket Jackson, Marketing/Events Coordinator. “Harley riders have the biggest hearts and know how to have fun. And more importantly know where to come for the fun.”
Kricket Jackson, Woodstock Harley-Davidson Marketing/Events Coordinator

Kricket Jackson, Woodstock Harley-Davidson Marketing/Events Coordinator


Fun and great shopping: store customers received a special 15% discount on all motorclothes purchases. I was stationed inside the store demonstrating Woodstock-made Capsurz, the only patented cap saver accessory cord that keeps your hat on your head. “Made in USA? What a great idea! I don’t need to lose any more hats to the wind,” I was repeatedly told.
Beth Norman, EAO’s Pledge Run Coordinator, began the distribution of honors and prizes by presenting a plaque to the McHenry County H.O.G. Chapter. James Prout, accompanied by his daughter, Alannah, accepted the award.
“We had the most riders that signed up and showed up,” Mr. Prout proudly acknowledged.
vJames Prout, McHenry County H.O.G. Chapter, with daughter, Alannah

James Prout, McHenry County H.O.G. Chapter, with daughter, Alannah


Gathered outside in anticipation of the 2011 Raffle winners the crowd applauded the Top 3 Pledge Winners revealed by Ms. Norman.
  • 1st Place – Marilyn Fischer – $5000
  • 2nd Place – Joan Welsher – $4200
  • 3rd Place – Sandra Hodel – $1644
“Thank you for coming out on such a day,” Ms. Norman told the appropriately leather-clad group after announcing the lucky raffle winners.
  • Chad Falstad – 2011 Ultra Classic Electra Glide
  • Jay Bremer – Harley-Davidson Rec Room Package
  • David Kumpula – Hand-Made Harley Quilt
Save the date: the 25th Annual Little Angels Pledge Run will be held the third Sunday in May, May 20, 2012.

Algonquin No Frills Runs for Gambella

I have stacks of shirts collected over the years from fun runs and charity walks. I often wished the organizers funneled the money for these giveaways to the cause the race supported. A found a group that is doing just that.

Come out to Cornish Park in Algonquin, Illinois on May 21 for a “No Frills” 5K run and 1 mile pet friendly walk. Every cent collected will benefit the Algonquin neighborhood’s favorite cause, Gambella. This event is all about raising fund so there are no free t-shirts here.

Algonquin 4 Gambella member Michele Auch told me her neighborhood partners with the village of Gambella in Kenya. In stark contract to the neat McHenry County suburban scene, Gambella families live in huts and struggle to get even their most basic needs met. Entire families live on $0.50 a day.

Children in Gambella, Kenya

Children in Gambella, Kenya

Africa is a world away from Midwest Algonquin though this neighborhood has developed close ties.

Last year Algonquin 4 Gambella raised $6,165 for this small village. A recent garage sale netted over $600. Their Spring 2011 goal is to raise $5000. Here is progress to date toward this goal.

What can your donations do for Gambella? Here is some of the groups accomplishments over the past 2 years:

* Building a school to educate their children

* Growing crops for nutrition and income

* Built a health clinic

* Built homes

* Begun businesses

Very impressive results.

Here is how the “no frills” Race for Gambella works. Algonquin 4 Gambella considers you a partner with them, and want every dollar you give to go to the people of Gambella. The organizers ask you to Bring Your Own:

* T-shirt – we’ll decorate it using Sharpies (but really, who needs another t-shirt from a run anyway?)

* Bib number from a previous race

* Water bottle o`�Gatorade (we won’t have any for you)

* Time piece… cuz we’re not keepin’ track

* If you think you’re going to have a strong run, feel free to bring a medal or trophy for yourself, cuz we won’t have any (and just like time, we’re not keepin’ track of places)

* Bring snacks for everyone to enjoy afterward if you like!

Michele Auch says, “We’re thrilled to be able to work with Global Hope Network International (GHNI) in this partnership, as we come alongside the people of Gambella, helping them reach TCD Sustainability. You can learn more about what a village partnership is at Global Hope’s website.”

Register for the “No Frills” race at http://algonquin4gambella.org/run

 

Algonquin to Gambella from Global Hope Network Int’l on Vimeo.

 

Algonquin to Gambella from Global Hope Network Int'l on Vimeo.

Algonquin Library Hosts Jacobs High School Student Artwork

The Algonquin Library is the site of the Jacobs High School Art show May 3 – 18, 2011. Algonquin area Freshman to Senior students as well as those in Advanced Placement Art classes recently displayed their art projects at Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee. This morning, students and art teachers moved the artwork to the Algonquin Library for the 8th annual student show.

Young Adult Librarian Claire Ritz organized the show and told us, “The artwork displayed includes drawings, paintings, general art, 2D, photography, ceramics, jewelery and computer designed art. Each year we choose a Staff Pick piece and the student wins an award. This year we also have a People Choice award. The winning artist will receive a gift from the library. Last year several works on display were even sold.”

IMG_1110

AP art student Kristen Schlosser sets up the art show display at the Algonquin Library

AP art teacher Tisha Ellis and ceramics teacher Bjana Lune were on hand to help students set up the 300-400 pieces on  display.

“As part of their course work, Advanced Placement Art class students are required to  complete projects like organizing and setting up the art show,” Ms. Ellis said.

Art was posted on temporary display boards and in display cases throughout both levels of the Algonquin Main library.

AP student Ricardo Cienfuegos was setting up works from Ceramics 1 and 2 art classes in display cases throughout the library. He explained. “These are some that were done throughout the year. We are helping set these up, from jewelry, all the way to bigger sculptures, down to even more three dimensional pieces in which students incorporate stuff from other own lives, to even really big sculptures.

We talked to several students about their artwork.

“This work is inspired by the artwork  from Crusades I have seen and interesting stories I have read,” said AP student Jack Beatty as he showed us his pen drawings. “I read both sides, the Muslim and Christian sides, and found they were both thinking the same things underneath it all.”

Other students installing artwork were Jen Rood, Angela Wyant, Kristen Schlosser and Amber Maag. Visit the art exhibit at the Algonquin Library and vote for your favorite piece.

Click on the picture below to watch this episode of “Where Are You Today?” as we visit to the Algonquin Public library where you can see more Jacobs student artwork.

Chen Newest Chinese Restaurant in McHenry County

If you like Chinese food, check out Chen Chinese Cuisine restaurant in Lake in the Hills, McHenry County. This stand alone site which was once a Bakers Square restaurant has been completely remodeled. If the Chen name sounds familiar, you may have been to Chen’s original location which was in a strip mall across Randall Road for the past 8 years. The original restaurant, opened 16 years ago, is in Crystal Lake.

Throughout our meal we could hear the soothing sounds of the water sculpture in the front entry way. Large windows surround the dining area which is bisected by the bar area. Black lacquered tables and warm brown and red colors complete the atmosphere.

Our meal began with a pot of tea. We choose green tea; Oolong and jasmine tea are also available.

We ordered from the large lunch time specials menu. I had the vegetarian Ma Po Tofu, soft tofu with peas, carrots, dried pepper flakes in a brown sauce. Noel F. Williams had the Mongolian Beef, with beef, white and green onions in a somewhat sweet sauce served over a bed of rice noodles. Noel asked for his meal to be prepared spicy and the dish was not as hot as he would have liked.

Lunch specials come with crisp, fried vegetarian spring rolls and rice. Jasmine rice is served though brown and friend rice are available upon request.

Ma Po Tufu and Mongolian Beef

Ma Po Tufu and Mongolian Beef at Chen Chinese Cuisine in Lake in the Hills, McHenry County

 

We also order soup with our lunch. Noel had a bowl of the egg drop soup. I ordered the vegetable soup with tofu, mushrooms and broccoli in vegetarian broth. My soup came in a large serving bowl with a ladle which I used to fill my bowl.

At the end of our meal the bill was served with a couple of traditional fortune cookies.

“The restaurant opened on January 26” said Owner Ming Chen, “and we have seen a surge in business. This location is more visible to existing and new customers who are driving by or shopping locally.”

Chen Chinese Cuisine Lake in the Hills, McHenry County

Chen Chinese Cuisine on Randall Road in Lake in the Hills, McHenry County

 

Chen Chinese Cuisine is open daily.
270 N. Randall Road
Lake in the Hills, IL 60156
847-458-8000

Chen Chinese Cuisine on Urbanspoon
Chens King Wok Restaurant on Foodio54

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