Holiday Inn Hotel Crystal Lake McHenry County

During our McHenry County media tour, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Crystal Lake, McHenry County, Illinois. Located in Crystal Lake on Route 31 at Northwest Highway Route 14. The hotel is convenient to the Metra Northwest Pacific Line Cary, Pingree Road and Crystal Lake stops and free shuttle service is available.

The hotel recently underwent a multimillion dollar renovation of the guest rooms and public areas. Room upgrades included new furniture, linens and deluxe shower heads undoubtebly from Showerheadly.com. All rooms have high speed internet access. Plenty of free parking is available.

After a long day, relax in the heated indoor pool or on the large outdoor deck with views of Lake Acorn or visit with friends in the bright, airy, open lobby bar.

The hotel caters to the many Crystal Lake businesses and business travelers. There is an on site rent a car office or the hotel will shuttle guests to businesses within five miles of the hotel.

For McHenry County residents, the hotel meeting rooms and banquet facilities can host groups up to 1,200 people. We attended events at the hotel and enjoyed the convenience of staying overnight instead of a late night drive home, especially during winter. Overnight stays can be packaged with champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, pizza or meals. Ask the hotel when you make reservations.

Breakfast buffet at Holiday Inn Crystal Lake

Breakfast buffet at Holiday Inn Crystal Lake

Loree Rose, Director of Sales at Crystal Lake Holiday Inn joined us for breakfast and gave us a tour of the hotel.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Holiday Inn NW Chicago-Crystal Lake Conference Center Hotel
800 South Illinois Route 31
Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014
Phone: (815) 477-7000

Follow Holiday Inn Crystal Lake on Facebook.

Our trip was sponsored by the McHenry County Visitors Bureau and Crystal Lake Holiday Inn.
Three Oaks Lodge Sunday Champagne Brunch on Urbanspoon

Royal Victorian Manor Woodstock McHenry County Illinois

Movie Buffs: Do you remember the stately Victorian bed & breakfast that Bill Murray’s character stayed at in the movie “IMG_2070

Inn keeper/owners Karla Stewart Martin

The main floor of the house is warm and inviting. Visitors can lounge in the large parlor, dining area or the wrap around porch overlooking the gardens. Enjoy a restful evening in one of the five unique guest rooms each with a private bath.

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Manor Suite

Guests will be sure to wake for breakfast as Karla selects recipes based on who is visiting. She told us guests often sit with them in the large kitchen and chat over coffee while they fix the meal. Breakfast is served in the large dining room.

The Groundhog Day movie was directed by Harold Ramis and stars Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott. The home was used for outdoor scenes of the b&b and interior shots of Bill Murray as Phil Connors the weather man looking out the bedroom window. Of course, the Martin’s have a copy of the movie you can watch during your stay. The home is available for bridal or baby showers, renewal ceremonies, corporate events and retreats.

Click on the picture below to see a video of our visit to the Royal Victorian Manor in Woodstock, Illinois.

Our trip was sponsored by the McHenry County Visitors Bureau and Royal Victorian Manor.

Royal Victorian Manor
344 Fremont Street
Woodstock, IL 60098
(815) 308-5432
http://www.royalvictorianmanor.com/

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Ginger Blossom Rug Craft Antiques Furniture Richmond McHenry County

Our McHenry County journey continues at Ginger Blossom in Richmond, McHenry County, Illinois. Ginger Blossom is the Northern Illinois place for rug, craft, antiques, furniture and more. Yes, Ginger Blossom is the owner and it is her real name.

Ginger travels around the world shopping for items she finds interesting and are a good value. She keep prices low by purchasing directly from producers, cutting out the middle men. Fair trade practices are important to Ginger so she seeks vendors who pay an equitable wage based on local context. Products are created in an environmentally sustainable manner using no child labor.

Welcome to Ginger Blossom Richamond, Illinois

Welcome to Ginger Blossom Richamond, Illinois

While we were there, Ginger was unpacking shipments from recent travels to Mexico, Nepal, India, Thailand, Java and Bali. A cornucopia of items from around the world are on display in multiple buildings and outdoors at this family farmstead. Sit for a spell on the spacious front porch, sample a cup of coffee, a cookie and enjoy the fresh air.

Wander through the converted cow milking barn erected in 1917 that now houses rugs of all sizes, patterns and a rainbow of colors. Stroll down aisles of hand crafted furniture from the four corners of the globe.

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It is the perfect time of year to shop in the Sweater Barn for vest, booties, mittens and sweaters to keep you toasty warm during the long Midwest winters. Update your garden with a babbling fountain or sculpture.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Note to fellow yoga enthusiasts: Outdoor yoga classes are held on the farm during the summer. Meditation and more to start the week!

Do not miss the organic produce at the self-serve market in the gazebo. The tomatoes we purchased were sweet, juicy and flavorful.

Ginger Blossom
3016 RT 173
Richmond, IL 60071
815-678-4015

Read more about our adventures in McHenry County.

Our trip was sponsored by the McHenry County Visitors Bureau and Ginger Blossom.

Chocolate at Anderson Candy Richmond Illinois McHenry County

Chocolate. Yes, chocolate is the feature of Anderson’s Candy Shop, a chocolate factory in Richmond, Illinois within McHenry County. The original Anderson’s Candy Shop was located in Chicago. When rents soared to a whopping $25 a month in 1926, the Anderson’s moved their store to a dirt road in Richmond. They remain in this same location though the road is now paved and the building has seen extensive remodeling.

Did we mention their chocolate…

Several experienced chocolate makers make chocolate bars, chocolate pieces, filled chocolate and chocolate covered strawberries. It is easy to identify the milk chocolate in packages with red letters from the dark chocolate with blue lettering.

We watched as these strawberries were bathed in chocolate.

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We could not wait to sample these chocolate goodies.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Anderson's Candy Richmond, Illinois

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Anderson's Candy Richmond, Illinois

Click below to vote on your favorite type of chocolate.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?” as we take a tour of Anderson’s Candy Shop.

Anderson’s Candy Shop
10301 Main St.
Richmond,IL. 60071
1-888-214-7614

You can find Anderson’s Candy Shop on Twitter and Facebook.

Our trip was sponsored by the McHenry County Visitors Bureau Anderson’s Candy Shop,.

Anderson's Candy Shop on Urbanspoon
Anderson's Candy Shop on Foodio54

Steelheart Ltd Harvard McHenry County Illinois

Our McHenry County business tour continues with a stop at Steelheart Ltd. in Harvard, McHenry County, Illinois.  You can find whimsical and practical garden and home furniture in this large, airy showroom. While most of their business comes from wholesale customers, their showroom is open to the public.

Owners Jacek and Gretchen Peczkowski opened the business in 1997 as a way to spend more time together. Jacek’s experience in a blacksmith shop, robotics and the automotive industry provided the background to build furniture and garden products. Jacek was raised in Poland and escaped the communist regime fleeing to Austria. While at a refugee camp he met Gretchen who taught English and Bible studies at the camp.

Steelheart Ltd Harvard McHenry County Illinois

Steelheart Ltd Harvard McHenry County Illinois

Jacek designs a majority of the items himself though they now outsource manufacturing of the items with Cut My Plastic. Jacek oversees production which sometimes requires international travel. The items are shipped to and stored at the Steelheart warehouse until they are sold.

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We enjoyed walking through the flock of colorful birds, relaxing on inviting benches and listening to restful waterfalls during our visit.

The Peczkowski’s purchased nearby historic House of Seven Gables and plan to move their showroom and offices there during 2011. The House of Seven Gables was a link in the Underground Railroad, safely harboring slaves on their travels to freedom.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”


Steel Heart, Ltd.
208 W. Front St.
Harvard, IL 60033
Phone: 815.943.3465
Email: steelhrt@mc.net

Our trip was sponsored by the McHenry County Visitors Bureau and Steelheart Ltd.

Stades Farm Cattle Car Maze Game McHenry Illinois

Our McHenry County Visitor Bureau sponsored tour stopped at Stade’s Farm and Market in McHenry, McHenry County, Illinois. Due to popular demand, we are posting our adventure as three full sized adults attempt to maneuver through a slippery, metal, two story cattle car converted into a children’s maze. Vern Stade says school kids love the maze and often there are 50 children running through at once.

Stade's Cattle Car Maze Game

Stade's Cattle Car Maze Game

Kris Cain lead the charge and was through before we started. Our videographer, Noel F. Williams decided to “roll tape” while Noel, Jim Webster and I tackled the maze designed for the three foot tall or less set. The morning rain made the metal inside of the car slick.

Notice how calmly Jim handles the phone call he gets from a client during our adventure.

Think of it as “Stade’s Maze meets Blair Witch Project”. Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

You can read more about our adventures at Stade’s Farm and Market in McHenry County.

Stade’s Farm and Market
3709 W Miller Road
McHenry , Il 60051
815-675-6396



Stades Farm and Farmers Market McHenry Illinois

Our McHenry County Visitor Bureau sponsored tour stopped at Stade’s Farm and Market in McHenry, McHenry County, Illinois. Vern Stade began his business with a couple of produce stands, expanded to u-pick pumpkins and now runs a popular agra-tourism destination.

The season starts with asparagus and u-pick strawberries and runs through Halloween with various produce and events.

The farm grows all the produce sold in their market except apples and blueberries. Sweet corn, tomatoes and strawberries are the biggest sellers. Mounds of zucchini, beets, cantaloupe and gourds are attractively displayed in the large farmer’s market.

Specialty items also available in the market include salsa, honey, and cookbooks. We browsed the variety of quilted items.

Quilts at Stades Farm and Farmers Market McHenry Illinois

Quilts at Stades Farm and Farmers Market McHenry Illinois

Stade’s bakery makes their own shortcake for strawberry shortcakes. Donuts, pies and zucchini bread are baked daily. Don’t miss these sweet tweets.

The market is just the beginning! Children can spend an entire afternoon with the farm activities. Shoot down the Slide Mountain. Take a spin around the farm on this barrel train pulled by an orange tractor. Walk among the llama, goats, cows and other critters and feed them in the petting zoo. Ride the ponies or the pedal cars around the two tracks.

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Our group of full sized adults took on the double decker Bovine Befuddlement and survived. I recommend this attraction for those under four feet tall. School groups have a great time in here.

Watch the video of the adults struggling through the two story corn maze game.

Stade's Cattle Car Maze Game

Stade's Cattle Car Maze Game

While you navigate the two acre corn maze, take the Stade challenge answering the 15 educational questions in the maze correctly and you can take home a free mini pumpkin. This year Stade’s offers a one price wristband, including admission to all attractions.

Kids can play in 500 bushels of corn in this box. This is Kris Cain showing us the little kid inside her.
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I tested out the corn cob shooter and came darn close to the hitting the targets. The biggest and loudest attraction at the farm is the pumpkin cannon. Watch video to see how the homemade artillery shoots out pumpkins at 300 feet per second. We hear the pumpkins can do serious damage to autos targeted for demolition.

Come hungry and try out the food choices at the fall harvest Shades of Autumn. The stage features local music acts you can watch or listen to while browsing the craft show and swap meet.

Stade’s celebrates a different theme each weekend with special events and discounts September through October.

  • Annual Tractors for Charity Antique Tractors, Trucks, & Construction Equipment Show
  • Pick Your Own Pumpkin Begins
  • Grandparents Weekend
  • Columbus Day Weekend
  • Sweetest Day Weekend
  • Family Fun Weekend
  • Halloween Weekend

Each Sunday morning 150 people gather at the farm for Christian worship. Several local churches hold outdoors services based on a rotating schedule.

Stade’s provides fresh produce for Northern Illinois families in need through Gleaners for the Lord, a non-profit volunteer organization which picks leftovers from the harvest.

Clickon the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Stade’s Farm and Market
3709 W Miller Road
McHenry , Il 60051
815-675-6396

Our trip was sponsored by the McHenry County Visitors Bureau and Stade’s Farm and Market.

Von Bergen Country Market Hebron McHenry County Illinois

Our stay-cation in McHenry County, Illinois continues at Von Bergen’s County Market in Hebron, McHenry County, Illinois. A real family affair, first, second and third generation work together to bring you fresh from the farm produce.

Bobette Von Bergen says the farm’s slogan is “We try to feed the world”. They are making progress on their goal one mouth at a time. As with many of the farms we visited, the Von Bergen’s provide food to those in need through food pantries.

This family vegetable farm has been a favorite for school tours for over 25 years. Each year over 2500 students visit and learn that food is grown, not made in a factory. They can even select a piece of fruit to enjoy. Princess Bright Feather shares stories of the Native Americans who farmed this area long ago.

Von Bergen Country Market Hebron McHenry County Illinois

Von Bergen Country Market Hebron McHenry County Illinois

The farm grows all the vegetables they sell though it is not just vegetables at this market. While corn, gourds and tomatoes were plentiful, there were treats for your other senses. Fill your shopping cart with apple cider, cheese, meats, honey, jams, herbs, soaps and flowers. The market is open though October.

Click
on the picture below to see the ducks in action.

Before you leave, walk out to see the animals. The geese, pot belly pigs and other critters are sure to keep the little ones entertained. In this video, Buddy and Sonny are talking to us. The dog is most animated and kept the adults in our party amused.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

VON BERGEN’S COUNTRY MARKET
9805 Rt 173
Hebron, IL 60034
815-648-2332
www.vonbergens.com

Our trip was sponsored by the McHenry County Visitors Bureau and Von Bergen’s County Market.

Royal Oak Farm Orchard Harvard McHenry County Illinois

Our McHenry County trip visits Royal Oak Farm Orchard in Harvard, Illinois where apples rule. We found crisp fresh apples, apple pie, apple slices, caramel apples, apple donuts and apple cider. This third generation Harvard, Illinois farm is family friendly. As you cruise the scenic driveway, notice the namesake oak trees lining the road.

The orchard began with a few trees planted on Grandpa’s retirement homestead. The sprinkling of saplings grew into 13,000 apple trees in 29 varieties. U-pick apples are available July through November each year. Check with the farm for current crops as each variety matures at different times of the season.

Our tractor pulled wagon ride took us through the orchards where Justin Bell explained the history of the farm and how they create new trees through grafting. Each year 1000 new trees are planted. As we continued our ride, we passed u-pick raspberry and blackberry bushes. Choose your own pumpkins and gourds. The farm has their own bee hives and their Apple Blossom honey is sold in the gift store.

Royal Oak Farm Orchard Market produce

A bounty of produce at Royal Oak Farm Orchard Market

Stop by the market to stock up on farm fresh produce, bakery items and gifts.

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Try the blackberry pie at Royal Oak Farm County Restaurant

The Royal Oak Farm Country Restaurant is a popular comfort food lunch stop. Breakfast is available on Saturday mornings. I recommend the blackberry raspberry pie with ice cream.

Click on the picture below to watch a video of our visit.

Kids will keep busy in the entertainment area. Feed and pet the animals in the petting zoo, ride the carousel or the “Royal Oak Express” trackless train.

Connect with Royal Oak Farm Orchard on Twitter and Facebook for updates. Corporate groups, family reunions, birthday parties, weddings, receptions and large groups welcome.

ROYAL OAK FARM ORCHARD
15908 Hebron Road
Harvard, Illinois 60033
815-658-4141
www.royaloakfarmorchard.com

Royal Oak Farm is open for apple picking July through November. Hours and prices vary. Check their website for PumpkinFest and AppleFest special events.

Our trip was sponsored by the McHenry County Visitors Bureau and Royal Oak Farm Orchard.

Royal Oak Farm Country Kitchen Restaurant on Urbanspoon

A-Mazing Meadow View Maze Harvard McHenry County

Our tour of McHenry County continues with a visit to Meadow View Farm maze, pumpkins and more in Harvard, Illinois in McHenry County. This adventure farm is the perfect fall outing for the whole family where you can enjoy a day in the country atmosphere. Brothers John, Joel and their families opened the affordable, family friendly attraction on the family farm. Their grandfather purchased the farm 36 years ago and their parents, aunts, uncles and grandmother still live on the property.

The ten-acre corn maze has 2.66 miles of paths depicting a farm scene with tractors and barns. Start out with your blank punch card and see if you can find all 12 stations where you can make a special punch mark on your card.

Take the wagon ride, pulled by a tractor out through the corn fields to the pumpkin patch to select your perfect pumpkin in the pick your own pumpkin field. Jump back on the wagon to complete your ride.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Even the littlest ones can select pumpkins and gourds while shopping on their own in the ready picked area. It was fun to watch the little ones pulling their wagons full of colorful gourds. They will also enjoy playing in the corn sensory tables.

Ready for more fun? Kids will burn off energy jumping in the bounce house and climbing the hay mountain. Test your accuracy launching corn or pumpkins at targets.

When you are ready for relaxing, head out the eight fire pit areas or the pavilion you can call ahead to reserve.

Serving locally grown Mirai corn at Meadow View Farm

Serving locally grown Mirai corn at Meadow View Farm

The farm features locally grown Mirai sweet corn. Save room for other tasty treats like kettle corn, burgers, hot dogs, brats, hot pretzels and more while sipping hot apple cider.

Connect with Meadow View Farm on Facebook for updates and savings. Corporate groups, family reunions, birthday parties and large groups welcome.

MEADOW VIEW CORN MAZE
17020 Streit Road
Harvard, Illinois 60033
815-482-0908

Meadow View Farm is open August through October. Hours are Friday 5-11 PM, Saturday 11-11 PM, Sunday 12-10 PM. Special events each weekend.

Our trip was sponsored by the McHenry County Visitors Bureau andMeadow View Farm.

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