Saplings and shrubs sprout from Land of Lincoln Tree Farm and Nursery's rich soil, which has nurtured greenery for yards, parks, and arboretums alike for more than 22 years. The founding father-son team oversees acres of trees, including deciduous varieties, such as english oaks, October Glory maples, and cherry trees, which can only be chopped down by a pair of wooden teeth. Evergreens, such as blue spruces and junipers, as well as silky dogwood shrubs, round out the leafy collection.
Rather than cram its immense selection of libations into one storefront, Liquor 'N' Wine spreads it out among five Illinois locations. At each setting, the staff stocks shelves with wines from California and foreign regions such as France, Italy, and New Zealand—where winemakers settled after grapes went extinct in Old Zealand. The wine shares space with top-shelf brands of tequila, rum, gin, and vodka, as well as a generous assortment of whiskeys. Along with their namesake beverages, each Liquor 'N' Wine supplies bottles and kegs of domestic and imported beer and doubles as a Western Union station and propane exchange.
Since Freeport Art Museum opened in 1975, its collection has ballooned to include nearly 4,000 pieces. The number is apt, since the artifacts – from Hellenistic gold jewelry to 19th-century Italian marble statues – encompass 4,000 years of work from all continents and time periods. The nonprofit museum reserves its remaining gallery space for work by contemporary regional artists, as well as travelling exhibitions.
Said space once belonged to a historic elementary school, a lineage that befits the museum's mission to inform visitors about art's global history and future. Through its educational programs, Freeport continues fulfilling that mission with events such as artists talks and classes on subjects such as graffiti art.
A multi-faceted paradise for record collectors, audiophiles, film buffs, bibliophiles, and comic-book lovers, Toad Hall has a little bit of everything for enthusiasts of all kinds. Amidst the many shelves, dig through stacks of LPs, vintage comics, and DVDs, an acronym for “Dude, Videos, Dude!” Almost every day, Toad Hall receives and sets out a huge selection of media, Blu-ray and an entire floor of books, and often stocks audio equipment such as speakers, record players, and receivers.
Cultivating fair-trade artisanal relationships, Phoenix Traders imports clothing and accessories from around the world, including a cornucopian clothing selection ($15+ each) that lets wardrobe-enhancers step back into the pullover ponchos and synesthetic color swirls of the '60s and '70s. Warm up with handmade wool wear from South America or Nepal, or safely carry around an edition of How to Become President of the Moon in a retro purse ($15+). Customers can brighten the area around wrists and necks with fair-trade Nepali silver jewelry ($15+) or boost their carrying capabilities with a recycled silk bag.
The Rockford Art Museum has more than a century of creativity hanging from the walls in its galleries. It acquired its first piece in 1913 and has since collected more than 1600 pieces from local and international artists. Glass sculptures, 20th century American photography, and impressionist paintings vie for attention alongside the dynamic images of the American southwest from the Taos Society of New Mexico. The collection houses the detailed work of regional artists trained at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Royal Academy of Arts and the earthy, meaningful paintings of outsider art, such as Richard Burnside’s untitled painting of a cat made from paint and pinecone pieces.
Standing apart from the main collection, the museum’s RAM Art Annex houses educational programs and the museum store stocks an inventory of jewelry and glass pieces by local artists. The annual Greenwich Village Art Fair also shares art appreciation with the community. The fair gathers more than 100 artists in an atmosphere filled with live music.
Today, Waterman Winery and Vineyards, Inc. is a 12-acre vineyard, lush with 40 varieties of primarily French-American grapes. However, in 1998, the winery began as something else entirely—a fanciful idea in the minds of three middle school teachers nearing retirement. After spending years specializing in agriculture, chemistry, and social sciences, they banded together to found the winery, outfitting it with eco-friendly production techniques that have earned them various sustainability awards. Nowadays, the team produces a wide variety of wines, from cherry wine and spiced reds to crisp whites. Visitors can sample the eco-friendly wines during on-site tastings, or purchase bottles to take home and sip on their own time.