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.
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.
Travelers follow Jo Daviess County's sprawling fields and undulating hills toward Massbach Ridge Winery’s 18+ acre estate. Founded by the Harmston family in 2003, the winery’s proprietors select grapes grown in Jo Daviess County to concoct their batches of reds and whites. Members of the winery family escort guests on impromptu tours before rendezvousing in the tasting room or on the patio for samplings. The outdoor patio grants a heightened view of the vineyards below, which visitors can wander through on quests for vine-ripe copies of The Grapes of Wrath. In addition to its frequent tastings and tour sessions, Massbach Ridge Winery hosts a number of wine-related events each year.
The certified technicians at Aaron Auto Glass help cars with cars—they have more than 30 vehicles in their mobile fleet, allowing them to travel to clients whose windshields or windows are in need of repair. Once at the scene, they assess the problem and install fresh glass, or patch up chips with high-quality resin. Of course, they perform the same services at their five Chicagoland locations as well. Their impressive stock of vehicle glass all adheres to National Transportation and Safety Board standards, and can replace cracked, chipped, or otherwise damaged glass with both new and used sheets. Most procedures even have a same-day turnaround, preventing drivers from simply switching their shattered windshield with a screen door.
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.
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.
Village Green Home and Garden provides domicile decoration for indoor and outdoor needs, stocking its showrooms with patio furniture, gardening supplies, and plants. Choose from an array of annuals and perennials so dizzying that even bumblebees must pay cartographers for flowerbed maps. Pluck a potted plant ($1.99–$49.99) for use on porch steps, garden paths, or heads during archery practice, or select hanging baskets ($19.99–$49.99) to sway alluringly in sweet spring breezes. Village Green also carries more than 200 varieties of roses to charm princesses and tango dancers and a vast array of varietals for sun and shade, ensuring that every lawn and garden can be studded with colorful, fragrant blooms.