A historic Chicago suburb nestled in between farmland and metropolis, Geneva, Illinois has a lot to offer visitors looking for a unique experience.
Most towns boast large shopping malls, big box stores, and mainstream eateries. Geneva, Illinois, however, likes to let its downtown district speak for itself. About 50 miles west of Chicago, where cornfields and forest preserves begin to pop up, Geneva is nestled comfortably between the two extremes. Their best-hidden gem is Third Street, which is home to the cutest of gift shops and most decadent of desserts. Although every stop is just as wonderful as the next, and each can bring something for everyone, I’d like to highlight three.
Opened 15 years ago by a woman who wanted to sell affordable, unique finds with an atmosphere that felt as if you were walking into her actual home, Cocoon is alive and well. With each room featuring a different theme (home decor, baby, sale, etc.) there is a gift to be found for everyone! My personal favorites are the interesting jewelry pieces that cannot be found elsewhere. I once was looking for a delicate necklace that would match my cobalt heels perfectly. After hours of searching at the mall, Cocoon had exactly what I needed. In addition to the great finds and homey feel, the staff is always super friendly. Definitely must stop in!
Graham’s and Graham’s 318
Established in 1987 and featured in many magazines, Graham’s began as a family business with a dream to create homemade and hand-dipped ice cream and chocolates. In the summer, their andorandeck-ed patio is filled with satisfied customers cooling off with their delicious desserts. A family favorite here is their Italian Ice, which is homemade and melts in your mouth. About a block down is their sister business, Graham’s 318, which features free-trade coffee, homemade pastries, gelato, and incredible chocolate fondue. Completely family-friendly and reasonably priced, Graham’s has gotten delicious dessert down to a science-not stopping in would be a crime.
The Paper Merchant
Located right next to Graham’s 318, The Paper Merchant is the stationary store with so much more. Scrapbookers, card senders, and gift wrappers alike will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of beautiful and unique paper they have stocked. However, not once have I ever walked in this store for any of these items, and I am never disappointed. Their high-end purses, hats, accessories, and scarves are displayed in the first room, and the second room has enough gag gifts to keep any child happy. On more than one occasion have I found a gift for my little brother that leaves him claiming I am the best sister in the world! Not to mention, the backroom offers a wide selection of books on all sorts of subjects from table manners to sorry-looking chairs. There is something for everyone inside The Paper Merchant.
So before writing Geneva off as just another suburb of Chicago, take a look around you will be pleased!