We can't think of a better way to get acquainted with the heart and soul of this city than by starting with a walking tour. The Geneva History Center offers four different options (downtown, east side, north side, and art) for just $10 each. It covers everything from gorgeous Victorian homes and landmark buildings to public works of art. Of course, for added depth, you'll learn about some of the immigrants, pioneers, businessmen, and crooks that had an impact on the city over the years. Strip malls be damned!
Geneva History Center, 113 South 3rd Street (at James Street); 630-232-4951.
If you haven't already had your morning cup of Joe (and who couldn't use another one?), this adorable family-run spot is a great alternative to the commercial big boys on campus. Grab a Metropolis espresso or coffee and treat yourself to a fresh pastry for breakfast, or grab a salad or sandwich (on homemade bread) come lunchtime. Something we can eat any time of the day? A dish of the house-made gelato or chocolate fondue. The owners support local artists by showcasing a different exhibit each month, and as soon as patio season hits, it will be time for outdoor live music.
Graham's 318 Coffeehouse, 318 South 3rd Street (at Franklin Street);630-845-3180.
Yes, we know there are hoards of antique stores in Geneva — all of which bring something different to the table — so by no means would we dare limit you to just one. But, if there's one we'd like to make sure is on your list, it's Mr. Cromwell's Attic. This English gentleman really does exist, and almost all of the upscale antiquities and curiosities in his shop are from overseas. What's really cool is how the goods are showcased: Each of the six rooms in the shop is dedicated to a different time frame, movement, design, or period in fashion, so you'll find everything from old English antiques and hunting memorabilia to modern art and '60s fashions. Don't miss the porch where you'll find a rotating display of seasonal pieces of all kinds.
Mr. Cromwell's Attic, 219 South 3rd Street (at Campbell Street); 630-230-7227.
Photos: Courtesy of the Geneva Chamber, Graham's 318 Coffeehouse, and Mr. Cromwell's Attic.
Just because we love Geneva's old-world charm doen't mean we don't appreciate its modern gems, too. Take for instance Fuschia Boutique, a treasure trove of well-curated clothing, shoes, jewelry, and accessories from designers like Alice + Olivia, Citizens of Humanity, Tracy Reese, and Rebecca Taylor. The space is ultra-hip and clean, too. In fact, you just may forget you're not shopping in Chicago — until you step outside, that is.
Fuschia Boutique, 9 North Third Street (at Lincoln Highway); 331-248-0528.
Your wardrobe isn't the only thing that should get a refresh this spring, so to help you spruce up your pad, you've got to stop by 610 Home. This gorgeous shop is a bit on the pricey side, but all it takes is a few new throw pillows, fresh linens, a few vintage accessories or two, or an accent piece of furniture (midcentury perhaps?) to make a difference.
610 Home, 610 South 1st Street (at 2nd Street); 630-262-3770.
Shopping, walking...now it's time to chow down and relax with a glass (or bottle) of vino. As the name would suggest, bread is the main influence on the menu and is used in sandwiches (hot and cold), flat-bread pizzas, and crostini with different toppings, like olive tapenade and goat cheese. For those looking to back off the carbs, there is a variety of soups and salads, cheese and charcuterie, and savory bites, like short-rib pie. And let's not forget about the wine...
Preservation Bread & Wine, 513 South 3rd Street (at South Street); 630-208-1588.
Photos: Courtesy of Fuschia Boutique, 610 Home, and Preservation Bread & Wine.