Our Daffodil Tradition

Now is the time to pick up some free bulbs at Village Hall, to plant for springtime beauty!

Now is the time to pick up some free bulbs at Village Hall. Plant them this fall for springtime beauty!

Long Grove has a long-standing tradition with the daffodil, and if you’ve lived in the Village for more than a year you’ve seen them. Every spring, the roadsides are lined with thousands of yellow blooms signaling the end of the winter season and bringing the promise of warmer days ahead. Each year the Village of Long Grove offers free daffodil bulbs to our residents for planting in the public right-of-way. And I’m happy to announce that the bulbs have now arrived! They can be picked up now while the supply lasts, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For a little background on this tradition, we reached out to Long Grove Park District Volunteers Jane and Ken Wittig to do some research and I would like to thank them for providing the following history:

Where and when did the Long Grove daffodil tradition start? It has been going on for a long time–this year will mark what may be the 45th anniversary of the daffodil planting practice. No one knows exactly how many bulbs have been provided by the Village over the years. The Village Board allocates a fixed dollar amount to the project annually, and buys as many bulbs as possible with the budgeted funds. Last fall we provided 4,200 bulbs for residents to plant. If that number was consistent over 45 years, about 190,000 daffodils would have been available to beautify Long Grove. 

The daffodil idea came from a group of civic minded women who were the founders of the Long Grove-Kildeer Garden Club in the early 1970’s. The moving force at the front of the idea was Betty Coffin, whose husband, long time Village President and Trustee Robert Parker Coffin, convinced the Village to agree. The project launched as a community effort, with volunteers from the Garden Club, Park District, and Scout troops planting the bulbs. Among the enthusiastic participants were Timmie and John Clemetsen, Lee Bassett, and Barbara Turner. Funding came from the Village and from builders who donated bulbs for planting along the right of way in areas where they were developing homes. The idea was popular, has continued through economic ups and downs, and is still going strong today. We now depend on individual homeowners to carry on the tradition.

Stop by Village Hall now and pick up your bulbs for planting this fall. You will be thankful (and so will your neighbors) this coming April!

First Day of Fall

Better get in line for all of the fun happenings this Fall in Long Grove!

Better get in line for all of the fun happenings this Fall in Long Grove!

Even though we enjoyed summer-like temperatures in Long Grove today, it also happens to be the Autumnal Equinox, which signifies the official first day of Fall. The blooming goldenrod in my conservancy is another sign, as are the leaves in the trees that are just starting to come down. I love the smell of burning leaves this time of year, and today was a perfect day to have the top down in my convertible and take in the scent of the season.

I’m excited about the many community activities we have planned for the Fall season in Long Grove, starting with the Apple Festival this weekend! Don’t miss all the fun kids activities, musical entertainment, and apple treats in this annual celebration in our historic downtown, September 23-25. I can already taste that caramel apple now! For a full schedule of events visit http://longgrove.org/

The Long Grove Park District is sponsoring a Build Your Own Scarecrow event (with prizes!) on Saturday October 1st at Reed-Turner Nature Center. Check out http://lgparks.org/ for more details.

Now through October 9th is Oktoberfest at the Village Tavern. The beer tent is up and running and for more information visit their website at http://www.villagetavernoflonggrove.com/

And I have to give a plug for my personal favorite community event of the Fall season, the Historical Society Ghost Walk. In it’s fourth year, this fun family event just keeps getting bigger and better. The spooks are planning another spectacularly scary event this year on Friday night, October 28th. To register your desire to be haunted, visit their website at http://longgrovehistory.org/

Long Grove is a beautiful place to be in the Fall. However you choose to partake of the season, I hope it creates enjoyable memories.

Historical Society volunteers painting the farmhouse (L to R) Back Row: Chris Campbell, Aaron Underwood. Front Row: Amy, Maddie and Alex Gayton, and Mike Dvorack.

Historical Society volunteers sprucing up the farmhouse in preparation for the upcoming haunting: (L to R) Back Row: Chris Campbell, Aaron Underwood. Front Row: Amy, Nikki and Alex Gayton, and Mike Dvorack.

Artists and Authors

Long Grove resident Barbara English showcases her paintings in her "Back Seat Gallery," the original inspiration for the event.

Long Grove resident Barbara English showcases her paintings in her “Back Seat Gallery,” the original inspiration for the event.

If you are looking for something fun to do in Long Grove on Saturday, September 17th, I have a good suggestion. The Long Grove Artists Guild (part of the Arts & Music Council) is sponsoring an “Artists and Authors” event on Towner Green, to showcase our homegrown talent.  The idea first got started last year with an informal “Back Seat Gallery & Trunk Show” and has been expanded this year to include local authors, who will be present to sign copies of their books and meet with the public.

The inspiration for this event can be credited to Long Grove artist & author, Barbara English. She stopped by the home of Artist Guild Founder Georgia Cawley after an art class one afternoon, to share her recent paintings. With the framed pieces propped up in the back seat of her car, Georgia teased her about her “back seat gallery,” and the idea was born.

This year, several artists will have their cars parked along Towner Green, with a variety of art in all mediums available to admire and purchase out of backseats and open trunks. The event is a gathering of artist friends, invited by Artist Guild members, to share art with each other and with the public. Stop by downtown Long Grove for a look!

The Cutest Town

Enjoying downtown Long Grove during Irish Days on September 4, 2016.

Enjoying downtown Long Grove during Irish Days on September 4, 2016.

Those of us who live in the village already know this, but this past week we received verification that indeed, Long Grove is the cutest town in Illinois.  PureWow.com, a popular lifestyle website, just dropped their list of “The Cutest Town in Every U.S. State” and…wait for it…Long Grove took top honors for Illinois! There are many reasons that we might rank high on the charm factor–historic buildings, beautiful open spaces, a century old church and village tavern in continuous operation, and of course, the covered bridge. According to the website, one of the attributes that set us apart from the rest is our tradition of festivals celebrating our agricultural roots, such as the upcoming Apple Festival to be held on September 23, 24 and 25. The vintage tractors (pictured above) currently displayed along Old McHenry Road remind us of our farming heritage, and help set the tone for the Octoberfest celebrations kicking off this month as harvest season approaches.

My personal love affair with Long Grove began in 1985 when as newlyweds, my husband Aaron and I decided to take a drive outside of Chicago and discovered the village on a Strawberry Fest weekend. It reminded us of the small Central Illinois farming community where we both grew up, and when we had children of our own this is where we chose to raise them, amid the nature, top-notch schools, and yes…cuteness. This Labor Day weekend featured Irish Days celebrations including such diverse pleasures as: bagpipes, Irish dancing, outdoor Mass in Fountain Square, Irish bands, Guinness, “Best Men’s Legs in a Kilt” contest, and an Irish dog competition. Serving as Village President these past several years has brought a whole new level of appreciation to me about what makes our village unique and special, and through it all I still have an affection for our town and our residents that will endure. In the past week I have attended two Grand Openings of new businesses–How Impressive (personalized stationary and gifts) and Primrose School (early childhood education). There is a positive momentum going on right now in this cute little town, so make it part of your fall season to delight in the character and ambiance that only Long Grove has to offer.

Hayrake Trail

Grovetrotter walking group member Jane Primack at the entrance to the Hayrake Trail.

Grovetrotter walking group member Jane Primack at the entrance to the Hayrake Trail.

Thanks to the hard work of a Long Grove Eagle Scout, one of our neighborhood pathway trails was recently extended and restored. Known as the Hayrake Trail, this path along Indian Creek starts on Port Clinton Road and runs north, just to the east of the Com Ed right of way. This path is attractive for a variety of reasons:  it contains woodland wildflowers, winds alongside a lovely creek, features benches on which to rest, and a vintage artifact (old hayrake salvaged from the creek) as a point of interest. But my personal favorite feature of this trail is that it is entirely in the shade. And on the hot and humid August day that I recently hiked it along with my fellow Grovetrotters, that shade was most welcome!

We have Stevenson High School Senior William Jacob to thank for this, as he was the most recent local Boy Scout to choose the Hayrake Trail as his Eagle Scout project. William and his crew of volunteers spent several workdays this summer hauling mulch and clearing brush to restore the front section of the trail, and then extended the trail further north towards an eventual connection to Oakwood Road. In addition, William added a wooden entrance sign to the trail (pictured above) which is visible from Port Clinton Road so that residents can more easily access this community path. William was thanked for his service to the Village and the Park District at the August 9th Village Board Meeting, pictured below.

Long Grove is a community that depends on volunteers to step forward when needed to maintain and improve our many beautiful open spaces. Congratulations to William for gaining some valuable leadership skills, and at the same time giving all of us one more shady spot to appreciate the wonders of nature.

Honoring students at our August 9th Village Board Meeting: (L to R) Ted Tapas, Stevenson High School State  Championship Men's Bowling Team Captain, Dave Lothspeich, Village Manager, Angie Underwood, Eagle Scout William Jacob.

Honoring students at our August 9th Village Board Meeting: (L to R) Ted Tapas, Stevenson High School State Championship Men’s Bowling Team Captain; Dave Lothspeich, Village Manager; Angie Underwood, Village President; Eagle Scout William Jacob.