Daytripper: Highwood

Tucked behind Highland Park, Highwood is a small, but vibrant town, replete with ethnic eateries, groceries, antique shopping and festivals. Featuring a convenient train stop, bicycle paths in neighboring Fort Sheridan, and colorful storefronts that might make you think you’ve arrived in Italy or Mexico, Highwood is well worth a day trip.

La Casa de Isaac

Feel like you’ve been transported to Mexico at this authentic cantina. Sample  flavorful guacamole and try Isaac’s mother’s famous enchiladas. And don’t forget the killer margaritas, made with freshly squeezed lime juice and just the right amount of kick. 431 Temple Ave., Highland Park, 847-433-5550

The Bent Fork Bakery

Take it from someone who’s tried Whoopie Pies throughout the country—these are the best. Made with a marshmallow/buttercream filling, they are light and rich at the same time. If Whoopie Pies don’t tempt you, try one of the fruit pies, cupcakes or specialty cakes. All smack of homemade goodness. 335 Waukegan Ave., 847-926-4438

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The Find

Visit this exquisite enclave for unique home accessories and furniture pieces. Find wall art, knick-knacks and statement pieces that many from the design trade covet to give homes that one-of-a-kind look. 9 Highwood Ave., 847-266-1700

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Cellar Gate Wine Market

This beautifully designed bar and restaurant offers an outstanding wine collection and tapas menu. Come in the summer, when the patio is glowing with strings of white lights, or in the winter to cozy up in the welcoming seating areas designed for lingering conversation. 524 Sheridan Road, 847-748-8086

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The Curry Hut

For some of the best Indian food north of Devon Avenue, head to The Curry Hut, where you can indulge in the value lunch buffet or the family-style dinner. The palak paneer, Nepalese momo dumplings and piping hot naan will please even the least adventurous eaters in your family. 410 Sheridan Road, 847-432-2889

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Poeta’s Italian Food Market

My family swears by the brick chicken and handcrafted Italian sausage at this Italian butcher and market. While you’re there, make sure to pick up a loaf of delicious Concetta bread, made with love by a local carpenter. It sells out quickly, so come early! 520 Green Bay Road, 847-432-3037

Highwood Bocce Club

No day in Highwood would be complete without a game of bocce. Players from across the nation visit this locale, famed for its fine facilities and as host of the 1996 and 2003 World Cup Championships. 440 Bank Lane, 847-926-8118

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Maria’s Bakery

Step into the old-school Italian world at this bakery and café. Owned and run with pride by Maria, the menu is packed with family recipes for prepare lasagnas, calzones and specialty sandwiches. The espresso drinks are also sure to kick-start your day, with aromas that will have you exclaiming, “Ciao amici!” to the friendly Italian residents who start their day here. 410 Sheridan Road, Ste. 2, 847-266-0811 

Anna’s Mostly Mahogany

After you’ve eaten your way through the town, head to this upscale furniture consignment shop, and browse through rooms of lightly-worn high-end pieces at a fraction of the original retail price. 531 Bank Lane, 847-432-9151