Daytripper: Memorable McHenry

daytripper-mchenry-leadNestled along the Fox River, McHenry cherishes the past with its treasure trove of antique and vintage shops lining the historic downtown’s three block stretch.

Yet McHenry looks to the future with many new retail boutiques, many of them independent, women-owned businesses. So grab the girls and head just 35 miles northwest of Chicago where you can spend the day at some of our favorite finds.

Windhill Pancake Parlor
Originally a 1930s hitching post and filling station, this homey little pancake parlor is known for its elaborate holiday decorations. It can be found right as you come over the Fox River Bridge into town. Start your morning off right, with breakfast served by a model choo-choo train rolling around a 14-foot counter delivering up a wide variety of pancakes, Belgian waffles and egg dishes that are sure to delight. 3307 W. Elm St., 815-385-1172


Black Orchid Boutique
A new addition to the shops along Green Street, this French-inspired chic boutique features on- trend women’s fashion and accessories straight from NYC and California designers. Owner Carol Chrisman believes in supporting local vendors by selling an array of homemade soaps, jewelry and candles made by area women crafters. The shop also offers an exclusive line of private label gourmet food products. 1226 N. Green St., 815-322-2624

Owner and avid golfer Sue Leineberg and her daughter Amanda showcase their original design, “Pufferflys”—a magnetic leather braided necklace that doubles as a fashionable golf ball marker. Designed with genuine Swarovski crystals, the necklaces have been a hole-in-one seller for pro shops and golf tournaments around the country, and can be custom designed to order. The shop also sells unique hand bags, scarves and accessories. 1240 Green St., 866-508-8290

White River Junction
Breathing new life into your vintage furniture and flea market finds is the specialty of this Green street storefront. Cottage, beach or vintage painting styles can be custom designed and will give new purpose to your treasures. Owner Mary Moerdick thinks “McHenry is a goldmine” for those looking for fairly priced resale and antiques. The store also offers dried floral décor that can be created specifically for your home décor needs. 1242 N. Green St., 815-344-4746

Vinyl Frontier Records
Vinyl is cool again! If you’re looking for vintage and reissued vinyl records, tapes and CDs look no further than the this hip independent record store. They buy, sell or trade music in all forms, including instruments and turntables. 1326 N. Riverside Dr., 815-363-8230

A Peek Into the Past Vintage
“Where Laughter is Required” is the motto at this fun vintage—and as owner Kim Cannon describes as—“whatever else tickles our fancy”  shop featuring odds and ends reflecting many eras including everything from funky vintage style signs to retro hats, accessories and furniture. 1245 N. Green St., 815-344-9488,

Prized Possessions
The deceiving “Little Boutique” storefront sign is the actual location of this Elm St. shop that is perfect for those who value true antiquity, and features furniture, artwork and accessories found at auction and estate sales. 3321 W. Elm St., 815-363-9999


Blooms and Rooms Design Studio
Garden lovers and interior designers alike will love strolling through the greenhouse entrance into the main studio set in an original 1936 Sears catalog designed home with eight beautifully appointed rooms showcasing new and antique décor for the home. Owner Joyce Miller-Konstantinow adds interior design, holiday decorating and custom silk floral arrangements to her services, while partner Bob Novak builds custom furniture and hand paints signs made from reclaimed barn wood. 3301 W. Elm St., 847-759-5959

Green Peapod Thai 
Savor a simmering cup of hot and sour Thom Yum soup as you take a shopping break to lunch on authentic Thai fare such as traditional noodle dishes such as Pad Thai or the Basil Rice with Ground Pork, a house favorite. Voted “Best Thai Restaurant of the Fox Valley” for the last five years in a row, this family-run restaurant features recipes straight from the homeland, and is open for lunch and dinner. 1225 N. Green St., 815-578-9999 

Vickie’s Place
Jimmy Buffet fans will rejoice at this A-framed riverfront tropical bar and restaurant where you can waste away dockside to watch the sunset, unwind with a signature Mai Tai or Margarita, and enjoy a burger piled high with a range of beach-themed toppings. 1211 N. River Road, 815-385-2014

Riverside Chocolate Factory
You can’t leave town without a stop at this retro chocolate emporium with its hard to miss iconic cone shaped roof on the corner of Rte. 120 and Chapel Hill Rd. The 27-year-old family-run business draws in customers year-round for their giant chocolate hand-dipped strawberries and famous frozen fruit kebobs. The old-fashioned ice cream parlor, penny candy store and rows of homemade fudge and toffee are sure to tickle your sweet tooth! 2102 W. Rte. 120, 815-344-6040  


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