All photos by puroticorico

Nestled in the northwest suburbs just 40 minutes from Chicago, Long Grove offers small town charm in a historic setting. With over 70 ultra-cute shops and restaurants, you can spend an entire day shopping and dining in this friendly town. Everything is within walking distance, and a handy-dandy map will help lead the way to a ton of boutiques, antique shops, art galleries, wineries, candy shops, spas, jewelery shops, furniture stores, pastry shops, pet boutiques, and even Peruvian and Brazilian specialty stores.

Start your day off shopping at one of Long Grove’s many art galleries or antique shops, such as the Emporium of Antiques. The 30-year-old shop specializes in antiques, collectibles, and jewelery. Looking for some gourmet food, gifts, or wine? Check out the Farmside Country Grocery and Winery, where you can find everything from old-fashioned candies to gourmet sauces to cheese and jams. Elvis fanatics can visit Nifty 50’s for Elvis and other rock and roll memorabilia, Coke collectibles, and more blasts from the 50’s past. Even if you’re not Irish, Paddy’s on the Square is a fun place to visit. The two-floor shop is full of Irish gems, including clothes, gifts, music, and books. Spruce up your deck or back yard with a wind chime or bird feeder from The Back Porch.

Getting hungry? For folks who like to eat their dessert first, make your first stop the Long Grove Confectionery Co. Handmade chocolate treats and chocolate works of art line the walls of this shop. You’ll have a tough time choosing from an array of chocolate delights. Whatever you decide, make sure to include the out-of-this-world chocolate-covered strawberries. The strawberries stay surprisingly fresh, which proves to me that these folks really know what they’re doing. Chocolate Factory Tours are available nearby at their Buffalo Grove location.

Long Grove has several restaurants to choose from, including American, Italian, and Mexican fare. Victoria’s Mexican Grill offers Americanized Mexican dishes, so if that’s your thing, knock yourself out. I strongly recommend lunch or dinner at the Long Grove Cafe located next to Mill pond. I discovered this place by following the trail of “quacks” from the restaurant’s famous resident ducks. The ducks even know the feeding schedule and come in swarms at lunch and dinner time. A glass wall faces the pond, letting you get a close-up glimpse of the spectacular sight. Besides the fantastic view, the food is simply great and the service is friendly.

For something to munch on or sip, grab some apple cider, apple pastries and pretty much apple-anything at the Apple Haus. Tea and java drinkers can visit Beans & Leaves cafe. Popcorn crunchers can enjoy popcorn in tons of different flavors, including delightfully spicy Cajun, at the Long Grove Popcorn Shoppe.

While small towns are fun to visit, remember that they also close early. Long Grove businesses are open Monday through Saturday from 10 to 5 and Sunday from 11 to 5. Some restaurants stay open late on Fridays. For more information visit their site or call the Visitor’s Center at (847) 634-0888.

Chocolate connoisseurs: Don’t miss Long Grove’s Chocolate Fest from April 30th through May 2nd.

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