A town full of rural charm and preserved history just outside of Chicago.
A tall, cold traffic light has replaced the warning red stop sign at the center of town to improve the flow of rush hour. Workers have paved over the once charming cobblestone sidewalks which lined the two main roads, attractive rough stone now flat grey concrete.
These are the minor changes the town of Long Grove has made in recent years, and to most, they probably seem practical and beneficial. While partially true, these modifications have also slowly chipped away at the town’s core value, preserving its history and authenticity.
Hidden just 35 miles outside of Chicago in the northwest suburbs, Long Grove is a quaint hidden gem of under 10,000 residents. Founded by German farmers in 1838, the village keeps its roots by retaining its original architecture and appearance. Strict building ordinances prohibit sidewalks, fences, and residential streetlights across town to maintain the suburb’s rural charm and authenticity.
The same two-story structures built in the mid-1800s still proudly stand paint peeling off the restored wood paneling. Black streetlamps rest in front of them, faintly illuminating the air. They are the only streetlights allowed in the entire suburb. Concrete sideways border the roads, however, just behind the buildings and into the center of town are curving brick walkways, rust red and weathered.
They lead to a beautiful circular stone fountain of shooting water streams that dance to the center. Around the fountain is a stunning congregation of flowers, a vibrant display of red, pink, orange, and yellow petals that stand out against the pale stone.
The buildings which line the streets now bear plaques to commemorate their significance to the village’s history. While the exteriors might be the same, these old homes and businesses are now occupied by a new generation of family-owned ventures.
Restaurants like Joanie’s Pizzeria, famous for its broasted chicken and Detroit-style deep dish, and Enzo and Lucia’s, the pinnacle of fine Italian food, keep the upscale dining scene alive and thriving.
Visitors can shop for small trinkets and beautifully crafted clothes at the many small shops across town. After some souvenirs are purchased, sit, and enjoy exquisite wine at Corked with its spanning green grassy lawn or Broken Earth Winery with wine directly from the vineyards of Paso Robles, California.
The historic downtown of Long Grove offers activities for everyone. There is something for the entire family to enjoy or spots to steal a quick romantic moment with a significant other. The village’s rural charm has not been lost to urban development throughout the years. The town, although small, has fought and won to keep its history alive. Residents are reminded of the people that came before and the places which brought life to the once fields of nothing. There’s something to be said for preserving the memory of what came before.
Have a relaxing moment amid Long Grove’s historical charm. It’s rare to find a place separate from the daily stress and bustle of everyday life. Everyone deserves a moment to wind down and enjoy themselves.