A Guide to Geneva: Where to Eat, Shop, and Play

INSIDER’S GUIDE: Nestled along the Fox River, this west suburban gem is becoming an ideal end-of-summer playground


Clockwise from top left: Canoeing on the Fox River; oatmeal from Nosh; a succulent from The Mossy Twig; inside Scentimental Gardens.
 

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Whether you’re a fleet-footed adventurer or just out for a scenic stroll, Geneva provides the perfect summer sendoff. Spend the day boating on the Fox River, wandering through the Geneva Art Fair, or hitting up one of the open-air markets. And should you find yourself a bit peckish, you won’t be disappointed: This little burg has alfresco dining options that truly satisfy.

A TODA MADRE
[1] This bright new restaurant pays homage to Mexican home cooking. Can’t get a reservation? Hit up sister resto Bien Trucha, which churns out small plates on a first-come, first-served basis. Tip: Savor summer at the 40-seat outdoor bar. 416 W. State St., 630-845-3015

GRAHAM’S FINE CHOCOLATES & ICE CREAM
[2] Step back in time courtesy of this family-owned shop. Watch the chocolatiers work while you wait for your Skallie (turtle candy) or scoop of homemade ice cream (we like the coconut). 302 S. Third St., 630-232-6655, grahamschocolate.com

Small Geneva map
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KANE COUNTY COUGARS
[3] Watching the Class A minor-league team play ball is a ball. Best of all, you don’t have to feel guilty for cheating on your hometown team. Tickets start at $8; on August 15, you can bring your dog and sit on the lawn. 34W002 Cherry Lane, 630-232-8811, kccougars.com

THE MOSSY TWIG
[4] Fortunately for fans of luscious succulents and cloche terrariums, this year-old plant and gift boutique is expanding this summer. 31 S. Third St., 630-208-6677, themossytwig.com

NOSH
[5] This simple spot keeps the focus on food, including the brûléed Irish oatmeal ($8), which got a best breakfast nod from our dining critics last year. 211 James St., 630-845-1570, experiencenosh.com

OPEN-AIR MARKETS
[6] On Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the French Market stocks produce and vintage goods on the corner of South and Fourth Streets. [7] On Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., a weekly organic farmers’ market sets up at 75 North River Lane (genevagreenmarket.org).

PRESERVATION BREAD & WINE
[8] The bread is made fresh and the pastrami is smoked daily—try the latter on a sandwich with dill rye and cornichons ($9). Wash it down with a pour recommended by owner and resident sommelier Lawrence Colburn. 513 S. Third St., 630-208-1588, preservationbreadandwine.com

SANDRA WEBSTER
[9] Sandra Webster Lincheck’s wearable-art concept translates to a selection of sophisticated limited-production apparel from independent designers (Bryn Walker, Susan Kirschner) at varied prices ($60 to $450). 209 W. State St., 630-208-9434, sandrawebster.com

SCENTIMENTAL GARDENS
[10] Designophiles will lose themselves in the meandering rooms of this repurposed Victorian home—a furnishing and garden mecca. (Find sister store SG Grand in Chicago at 1822 West Grand Avenue.) 428 W. State St., 630-232-1303, scentimentalgardens.com

GIBBY’S WINE DEN
[11] Although a little off the beaten path, this popular shop is worth a visit, thanks to a diverse bottle selection and the live music on Fridays. 1772 S. Randall Rd., 630-208-6424, gibbys-wine.com
 

FOUR WAYS TO HAVE AN ADVENTURE
Rent a bike (or a tandem!) at Mill Race Cyclery (11 E. State St., millrace.com; $25 for the day) and take on the 40-mile Fox River Trail. . . . Float the Fox River in a canoe or pedal boat rented through the St. Charles Park District (8 North Ave., stcparks.org; $15 an hour). . . . Hike the Fabyan Forest Preserve (1925 S. Batavia Ave., kaneforest.com), home to the Frank Lloyd Wright–renovated Fabyan Villa and Japanese Garden ($2). . . . Recover with a massage at the Herrington Inn & Spa (15 S. River Lane, herringtoninn.com; $140 for 90 minutes).

ON THE HORIZON
Festival of the Vine, Geneva’s autumn harvest celebration, takes place September 7 to 9 and includes wine tastings, music, activities for kids, and carriage rides (State and Fourth Streets).

 

Photography: (canoeing) Courtesy of St. Charles Park district; (oatmeal) Anna Knott, (succulent) Kurt Tutschek; (Scentimental Gardens) John Showalter

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