Shopping Geneva's Picturesque Third Street

Chicago is surrounded by an intricate web of suburbs. Lots of these burbs are busy mini-metropolises packed with box stores, mega-malls and chain restaurants -- the stereotype that keeps many city dwellers from striking out to explore.

Geneva, on the very outskirts of the suburban spread, is one of those hidden gems well worth a trip. At just 40 miles from Chicago's center and right on the Metra West Line, it's perfect for a girl's day trip to wander the boutique-lined downtown. Or for a romantic getaway, the Herrington Inn & Spa within walking distance to the train offers a quaint stay for a quiet couple's retreat.

The Herrington Inn is an all-season escape, but in warmer weather there's a fantastic gazebo for romantic dining. Chris and I actually considered this venue for our wedding before we ultimately decided on a space in Lake Geneva, WI. Source:  Facebook

The Herrington Inn is an all-season escape, but in warmer weather there's a fantastic gazebo for romantic dining. Chris and I actually considered this venue for our wedding before we ultimately decided on a space in Lake Geneva, WI. Source: Facebook

A few weeks ago, I was in Geneva with my mom and sister, who just happens to live there, for a relaxing day of girls-only shopping. We started off our trip with a quick brunch at Egg Harbor Cafe and then spent the afternoon wandering from boutique to boutique on popular Third Street -- including a few stops for chocolate and cupcakes, of course.

Near the end of our shopping trip, we stopped in for cupcakes at  The Latest Crave . That's my mom and sister enjoying our chocolate peanut butter and chocolate  selections -- delicious!

Near the end of our shopping trip, we stopped in for cupcakes at The Latest Crave. That's my mom and sister enjoying our chocolate peanut butter and chocolate  selections -- delicious!

Geneva has something for everyone, with a variety of clothing, home decor and stationery shops, among many others. Below are some of my favorite stops on Third Street to check out next time you're in the area.

If you're looking for even more ideas off the main drag, check out my Geneva Jauntful Guide for a full weekend's worth of places to try!

Denise's Adornments, 221 South Third Street

This is a relatively new shop in Geneva, and it's by far one of my favorite places to visit. Anyone who loves a monochromatic color scheme of grays and whites will have a field day in here. Denise's features French-inspired home decor along with an eclectic selection of frilly clothing. I fell in love with a faux fur vest and their understated glam jewelry collection. The storefront looks small, but the store goes on and on -- make sure you make it all the way to the sale rack in the back.

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Graham's Fine Chocolates & Ice Cream, 302 South Third Street

Graham's is a Geneva staple. In the entryway, there's a large glass viewing window where you can watch the confectioners molding, dipping and icing the chocolaty treats. I like to visit this shop to buy individual truffles or chocolate-covered pretzels for carry-out. For a cafe environment, just down the street is Graham's 318 Coffeehouse, where local espresso enthusiasts gather over fancy hot chocolate and pastries. 

Source:  Facebook

Source: Facebook

Cocoon, 212 South Third Street

I've never left Cocoon empty-handed. This shop has so many great home accessories, along with a huge stationery section with cute notebooks and journals to fit every personality. This is my go-to gift store, with so many can't-find-it-anywhere-else specialties. Upstairs, there's a huge children's section, along with a row of Little Miss Sunshine-themed mugs and books -- a great way to express your feelings to your significant other. Mr. Perfect, anyone?

Source:  Chicago Now

Source: Chicago Now

Source:  Facebook

Source: Facebook

Anastazia Treasures for the Home, 447 South Third Street

Anastazia's home decor collection is seasonally driven, and when we were there in late winter they were already thinking about Easter and spring -- something very welcome in my book. Most notably, they stock my favorite soy candles from Sugar Mint Candle Co., a natural candlemaker based in nearby Montgomery, IL. They smell so fresh, burn cleanly -- and were recently featured in an Oscar party swag bag this year!

Source:  Facebook

Source: Facebook

Source:  Facebook

Source: Facebook

Source:  Facebook

Source: Facebook

Three Midwest Places That Wear Winter Well

Braving snow-covered sidewalks and below-zero temps on my morning commute accentuates the less glamorous side of winter. But in the right setting, snow and ice can bring out the best in some of the Midwest's best gathering spots. Below are three of my favorite winter respites in the region.

Seven Saints - Champaign, Illinois

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As a proud University of Illinois alum, I can vouch that most of the time students don't venture too far away from campus. That said, Seven Saints is a Champaign restaurant well worth the trip -- and I spent a good deal of Sunday afternoons warming up with a cup of soup and sandwich at this cozy eatery on the outskirts of downtown. Seven Saints is especially welcoming for whiskey enthusiasts, with a wide selection ranging from Canadian and Irish whiskeys to bourbon and scotch. 

Boyne Mountain - Boyne Falls, Michigan

The Midwest's ski slopes may pale in comparison to the West and Northeast -- but the buzzing atmosphere at Michigan's Boyne Mountain more than makes up for it. The Mountain Grand Lodge & Spa is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, with downhill and cross country skiing, tubing, snow shoeing, horseback riding and ice skating, just to name a few. Plus, the lodge is a cozy gathering spot with bars and restaurants to gather and indulge your apres-ski appetite. 

Copperstone Inn - Rockton, Illinois

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Just a few miles from my childhood home lies a new, world-class bed and breakfast catering to those looking for a quiet, rustic chic retreat. The Copperstone Inn in Rockton, Illinois, is the perfect respite to seek solitude by a cozy fire as the snow piles up outside. Plus, a jacuzzi and full-service spa adds an upscale touch to a romantic weekend getaway. 

Three Places I'd Rather Be Right Now

From blizzards to below-zero temps, the Windy City is in the throes of winter. Right now, I wish I could be...

1. On this secluded Cozumel beach.

It's hard to believe my honeymoon was already almost two years ago. After a fantastic wedding weekend with friends and family in Lake Geneva, Chris and I escaped the Midwest's unseasonably cold spring for an all-inclusive getaway to Riviera Maya, Mexico

The highlight  of our stay was a day trip to Cozumel. After a harrowing ferry trip to the island, we rented a ruby red Jeep and circled the highway, stopping at roadside outposts and secluded beaches along the way -- including the one pictured above.

We even grabbed pineapple margaritas at a makeshift tiki hut, where we climbed the rocky coastline and pointed out whirlpools circling in the waters below.

Unfortunately, not many pictures made it home after Chris left his phone in the Jeep, which we later tracked via Find My iPhone to a Cozumel neighborhood we figured we shouldn't explore. That said, I remember it like yesterday -- and would go back in a second.

2. At this Charleston rooftop lounge.

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Anyone who knows me knows Charleston is my favorite American city. Last year Chris and I spent New Year's week in the Lowcountry with my parents, eating in the best restaurants and exploring the historic nearby sites.

In the evenings, Chris and I did our own exploring - where we found this sylish bar atop the Market Pavilion Hotel. With the romantically lit pool and the sights of Charleston in the backdrop, we loved this bar's ambiance -- and its mojitos.

3. In this cozy Parisian jazz bar.

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Granted, Paris is probably not much warmer than Chicago right now. But it's Paris -- enough said. After hearing mixed reviews about this quintessential city, I was pleasantly surprised to find it even dreamier than I expected when we made a whirlwind visit last summer.

From my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower as we Uber'ed to our hotel, I was in love. And that love grew even more when we found Le Caveau des Oubliettes, a cavernous jazz bar just south of รŽle Saint-Louis

It's drippy, dim, claustrophobic and utterly fabulous -- the kind of place where everyone's your best friend by the end of the night. We even had the pleasure of meeting the evening's musicians, fellow Chicagoans turned expatriates living their dreams in the city of light.