Spring is coming, but why wait until March 20 to emerge from our hibernation? After this long, hard winter it’s time to get a change of scenery.
The city of Geneva may feel familiar in many ways, but this charming community is full of surprises.
“Geneva has always been open for business, just in modified ways since COVID happened,” says Laura Rush, communications manager for the Geneva Chamber of Commerce. “We welcome everyone to come and experience Geneva again or for the first time.”
In these crazy times, businesses big and small are taking precautions to make sure their spaces are clean and people feel comfortable returning – even if that means a curbside pick-up.
Community events are a favorite in this city, and with a little creative adaptation the fun continues this spring. When the Coffee Crawl returns April 10, it’s sure to be a sell-out event, says Rush. Thirteen local businesses join in the fun and offer unique coffee creations. Buy an event ticket and enjoy as many cups as you can – and bring your souvenir Coffee Crawl cup, for fun.
“Let me tell you, if you’re a coffee drinker, this is a really cool thing for you,” says Rush. “We did a Cocoa Crawl with hot chocolate in December and we sold out. People are ready to get out and do things again, and we hope this will be able to kick things off right.”
It’s a big hope because the city’s annual Swedish Days festival – a celebration of the city’s deep Swedish heritage – is scheduled for June 22-27. While it’ll most likely look different from years past, Rush says it’ll remain faithful to tradition.
Of course, Geneva remains open and inviting for day-trippers, too. The Geneva Chamber is a go-to stop for downtown maps and information to plan a day anywhere in Geneva.
Visit the area around Third Street and State Street (Illinois Route 38) and browse women’s fashion at Artemisia or find home goods at Haven Interiors, Geneva Design House and Cocoon. Stock up on sweets at Graham’s Fine Chocolates and Hey Sugar, and scout for unique antiques at the Berry House. When a bite to eat is in order, downtown restaurants are ready to go, including places like Patten House and FoxFire, a steakhouse on State Street that remained open for indoor dining all winter long.
“The City of Geneva assisted businesses in many ways, allowing outdoor seating for all restaurants who wanted it and making Geneva a perfect place to dine al fresco,” says Rush. “Customers continued to come all year long and utilize options created by restaurants. Some shops bought outside heaters for those who waited in line. It was truly a group effort.”
Shopping aside, there are many attractions for the family.
Peck Farm Park, a 385-acre natural retreat, is open year-round, with several miles of hiking trails, a 19-acre wetland and an environmental educational playground. The 1869 farmhouse has an indoor discovery room for kids. Once it warms up, the butterfly house reopens to the public, providing a chance to interact with hundreds of non-native butterflies.
Let the kids get out their wiggles at the Geneva Public Library’s brand-new digs. The children’s zone is filled with all kinds of books to check out, and the STEAM Station encourages younger children to develop their creative and literary skills on special monthly exhibits.
Warm days encourage lots of time spent at Geneva’s park spaces, including Wheeler Park, where you’ll find mini-golf and disc golf courses. The Fox River Trail passes through downtown on its way from Wisconsin to south of Aurora. Places like Mill Race Cyclery can help you to hit the trail or the water.
“Spending a day in Geneva isn’t nearly enough time to do it all, so spending the night at one of our three lodging establishments should be added to the list,” says Rush.
Herrington Inn & Spa takes advantage of its position along the river, in the heart of downtown, and it provides a luxurious retreat. Oscar Swan Country Inn is set a few miles outside of downtown in an historic estate. Meals are served daily at this quaint bed-and-breakfast, where each room is lavishly decorated. The Comfort Inn & Suites is a AAA Three-Diamond hotel that’s also earned accolades from the likes of Trip Advisor. It’s located east of downtown and a stone’s throw from several attractions.
Who knows? You may just love it enough to set down some roots.
“Judging by the amount of people who have chosen to raise their family here – and many of them were raised here themselves – there’s proof that this is not only a great place to visit but also to live,” says Rush. “I feel fortunate to have lived here my whole life and I’m now a cheerleader for my hometown.” ❚
Drop in at the Chamber’s office, located at 8 S. Third St., Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pick up a visitors guide or get more information online at genevachamber.com.