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One Fine Day in McHenry

Sue Dobbe reveals the hidden treasures of this scenic riverside community.

Sunrise over the Fox River will start your day with a serene, natural lift. McHenry residents enjoy the early morning, whether gazing out their windows, biking, jogging or just walking along the riverfront parks. Tee off early at Boone Creek, Chapel Hill, Pistakee or any one of the area golf courses, where emerald green grass surrounds challenging hazards and hills. (

Breakfast at the Windhill Pancake Parlor on Elm Street offers a full compliment of homemade favorites such as waffles, chocolate chip pancakes, egg dishes and hot, fresh coffee. Goldie’s Coffee Café on Front Street will make your espresso drinks to order and serve up their nationally-famous scones in cherry almond, cinnamon chip, chocolate chip and berry flavors. Goldie’s has indoor and outdoor seating and is a favorite of bikers, cyclists and road warriors who travel through McHenry. Green Street Café serves delicious meals all day. If your work takes you to the Corporate Center, Street Eats Café on Ridgeview Drive has homemade meals and delicious desserts. Lunch and dinner choices abound from Village Squire’s Greek-American menu, Warsaw Inn Polish-American smorgasbord, Fox Hole Tap & Pizza, Bacci Pizza, Green Peapod Thai, Plum Garden Restaurant and Fernando’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant. McHenry hosts the flavors of the world served with a friendly, neighborly smile. (

Witness nature preparing itself for winter at Stickney Run Conservation Area on West State Park Road off Green Street, part of the McHenry County Conservation District. Enjoy acres of unique, unspoiled beauty. See big bluestem and other prairie grasses turn beautiful colors as they bloom through the fall. Golden amber, practically purple and feathery yellow are peacefully pretty. Visit with your binoculars or without and see the white-footed deer mouse, 13-lined ground squirrel, wooly bear caterpillar and dark-eyed junco. Hike, bike, ride horses, camp and canoe to experience nature. (

Time to connect on the Internet? Visit the McHenry Public Library, and access their network for email and Internet services. (

Now it’s time to shop! Riverside Drive is home to many quaint antique shops, Corkscrew Pointe Wine, art boutiques and great pastries at Riverside Bakery. More to see on Green Street — Wrinkled Pages Book Store, McHenry’s Favorite Sports Center and The Cottage Consignment for designer duds at a fraction of the designer price. Main Street shopping includes a visit to Harbor Wallbanger for antiques and resale with style. Their two display windows change weekly, giving ideas for refreshing home décor with new knick-knacks, color and splash.

On the corner of Route 31 and Main Street, you will notice historic-landmark signs addressing the original name of McHenry as Centerville back in the 1860s. Don’t miss the Veteran’s Memorial Park on Pearl Street where many gatherings are held at the beautiful gazebo.

One of the last remaining drive-in, outdoor movies can be found in McHenry. The McHenry Outdoor Theatre is open through October. (

Chocoholics can’t miss a quick trip to Route 120 and Chapel Hill Road where Riverside Chocolate Factory produces premium quality hand-dipped chocolates daily. You can find custom candy and candy treats from the past — Mary Janes, Bottle Caps, Smarties, Dots and so much more. Homemade fudge is available in diverse recipes, chocolate peanut butter, mint fudge, strawberry fudge and more. You will be delighted by the creativity and variety of sinful sweets to eat right out of the bag or bring home to your sweetheart.

Cocktails, fine dining and dancing will finish your day from the deck of Vickie’s Place, Joey T’s on the Fox, Bimbo’s Italian-American Cuisine and Nicolino’s. Enjoy ice-cold drinks, crisp salads, steaks, chops, pasta and more.

You’ll find plenty of friendly faces and exciting places to experience in one fine day. To end your day, watch the sun set in the western sky over the playful, peaceful city of McHenry, Illinois.

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