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Best Toy Stores on the North Shore

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As the holiday shopping season kicks into full gear, do you find yourself in state of panic about what to buy for the kids in your life? Don’t fret! The North Shore has many unique, independent toy stores that can help you find the perfect gift for children of all ages. If you’d rather skip the big box store madness, then this list is for you!

 

Beanstalk
654 Central Ave, Highland Park, 847-432-8300

Beanstalk has all the toys, games, crafts, and books loved by newborns through 8 years. The also carry a great selection of baby essentials including strollers, bassinets, car seats and bath care. Known for the customer service and free gift wrap, customers delight in the store’s unique offerings and magical ambiance.

Village Toy Shop
807 Elm St., Winnetka, 847-446-7990

Owned by a mother/daughter duo, the Village Toy Shop is a beloved treasure in Winnetka. They provide exceptional customer service, awesome gift wrapping that includes fun little treats and are always loaded with great suggestions. Choose from a wide variety of board games, science kits, crafts, magic kits, books and more.

Hip Hip Hooray
840 Willow Road, Northbrook, 847-272-7459

With an emphasis on the creative and innovative, Hip Hip Hooray is a children’s toy store that also sells gift items, costumes, dress up, personalized items, party favors, a diverse selection of children’s clothing for newborns to tweens and more! From the same owners that brought you Hooray Array in Northfield; this new reincarnation continues to delight children of all ages. Free gift wrap.

Children’s Gift Shop
310 Happ Rd., Northfield, 847-441-5975

From classic to trendy, to infants to teens, the Children’s Gift Shop is your one stop shop for indoor and outdoor toys, books, games, crafts, construction, brain puzzles and more. Their toy experts have real hands-on experience that will help you find the perfect gift. Free gift wrap.

Snickelfritz Toys
208 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills, 847-918-8160

A family owned and operated toy store offering thousands of products that engage, educate and promote creativity. Having trouble finding an item, chances are you will find it. Plus tons of other unique items that will not find anywhere else, and free gift wrap to boot!

Becky & Me Toys
620 Grove St., Evanston, 847-492-1030

Becky & Me Toys is committed to encouraging play that is real (not virtual), that is active and creative, and that is focused on the concerns, ideas and interest of children. All of the merchandise is hand-picked by the owners, a mother and daughter duo who both have backgrounds in education. They carry a wide selection of toys, books, games and more for babies through teens and happy to assist their customers in selecting developmentally appropriate toys.

Just Kids Store
798 S. Buffalo Grove Rd., Buffalo Grove, 224-676-1250

Geared more for babies and toddlers, this store has got it all. A huge selection of infant gear and essentials as well as educational toys, puzzles, crafts and did we mention shoes?

If we omitted one of your favorites, or there is a certain topic you would like to see covered, please leave us a comment! Additionally, we are happy to point out any of these locations as part of our Tour of the Shore, a must do for anyone considering a move to the North Shore. It’s a stress free way to familiarize yourself with the communities, schools, house values and amenities in the area. Call us at 847.881.6657 to find out more.

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Fun Things To Do on the North Shore: Nov. 21 – Nov. 23, 2014

wilmette tree lighting

The holiday season officially kicks off with some area tree lightings, holiday wine tastings and shopping opportunities. In addition, Evanston welcomes a new brewery and Suzanne Vega performs. And if that’s not enough, Barnes and Noble caps off a Discovery Week with two great parent workshops with tips on how to raise multilingual and global citizens! What a great weekend!

Wilmette Holiday Family Celebration
Nov. 20: Tree Lighting at Village Hall @ 7 pm
Nov. 21: Holiday Parade 10:30 am,
Visit with Santa & Sleigh Rides 11:15 – 1 pm
Starts at 4th and Linden and travels to Village Center, Wilmette

Celebrate the holiday season with the annual Tree Lighting and Wilmette Holiday Parade. Thousands of friends and family gather along the parade route to watch bands, classic cars, clowns, performers, school groups, businesses, community and civic organizations and more. For more information: holidayparade.wilmettechamber.org

Sketchbook Brewing Company Grand Opening
Nov.21, 4 pm – 8 pm
Sketchbook Brewing Company, In the alley behind 825 Chicago Avenue, Evanston

One year after Cesar Marron’s Grätzer recipe won the Sam Adams “Longshot” award, he and co-founder Shawn Decker will celebrate the Grand Opening of Sketchbook Brewing Company, offering up to six different times of brew at a time, including a gluten free option. For more information: sketchbookbrewingcompany.com

Suzanne Vega
Nov. 21: 7 pm & 9:30 pm
SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston
Widely regarded as one of the most brilliant songwriters of her generation and a leading figure of the folk-music revival, Suzanne Vega comes to town for two special performances.
For tickets, click here.

Cornucopia Holiday Gift Show 2014
Nov. 21: 5 pm – 9m; Nov. 22: 10 am – 5 pm, Nov. 23: 12 pm – 4 pm
Woman’s Club of Evanston, 1702 Chicago Avenue, Evanston

Annual gift show featuring nearly 60 local and regional artisans selling apparel, accessories, home décor, gourmet food and more. New this year: a young artisan fair featuring products from children ages 10 -18. Proceeds benefit local charities. Purchase tickets at the door. For more info. and to see a list of vendors: http://cornucopia.wcofe.org/

8th Annual Thanksgiving Grand Cru Wine Tasting
Saturday, Nov. 22: 1- 4pm
Grand Cru Wine Merchants, 840 S. Waukegan Road, Suite #104, Lake Forest

Join Kurt from Cream Wine and Sean from Wilson Daniels who will be pouring wines perfect for your holiday table. A representative from GlenRothes Scotch will also be on hand for those who prefer something a bit stiffer. As in years past, they’ll have turkey and all the trimmings to snack on. Visit gcwines.net for more info.

Highland Park Holiday Tree Lighting
Nov. 22: 3 pm – 5 pm
Port Clinton Square, 600 Central Ave, Highland Park

Join Mayor Rotering and other city officials as they kick-off the holidays and officially light up downtown Highland Park for the 2014 holiday season. There will be plenty of family friendly activities including the Holiday Scavenger Hunt, where participants have a chance to win great prizes, plus live entertainment and a visit from ‘Ol St. Nick himself! Click here for details.

Raising Children to be Global Citizens
Nov.22 @ 3 pm & Nov. 23 @ 3 pm
Barnes & Noble, 728 Waukegan Rd., Deerfield

Join Language Stars staff and Chicago Now bloggers for two informative workshops that will teach you how to raise multilingual children who are also global citizens. At the same time, kids can partake in a Chinese story time during the workshop on Saturday. Fore more info, click here.

North Shore Views is the most comprehensive online source for North Shore Chicago real estate and community information. Whether you are looking for market statistics, homes for sale or local events, North Shore Views has it all at your fingertips. Browse information regarding our communities, market data, luxury homes, lakefront property, schools and what you should know about making the move to the North Shore

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Fun Things To Do on the North Shore – Nov. 14 – Nov.16, 2014

wizrd of oz

Prepare to be entertained this weekend with a wide range of performance offerings, including a crowd pleasing mentalist, a beloved family classic and acclaimed classical music. And for those looking for a little indulgence for the home and self, check out the Vintage and Design Weekend Market.

The Wizard of Oz
Nov. 14, 10 am; Nov. 15, 10 am (playing through Jan. 3)
The Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire

Relive the classic tale of four unlikely friends on the adventure of a lifetime! Join Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow (and little Toto too) as they journey down the yellow brick road to the magical Emerald City. The Wizard of Oz will remind you that there really is “no place like home”. A special one-hour presentation for kids (and parents) of all ages! Followed by a Q&A session with the cast. For ticket information, click here.

Best Friends and Mind Mysteries of Bill Gladwell
Nov. 15; 7:30 pm – 10 pm
Mohr Student Commons at Lake Forest College, 555 N. Sheridan Road, Lake Forest

Experience the mind blowing talent of Bill Gladwell, a master manipulator of thoughts, behavior and brain-based improv, during a special appearance as part of the 11th annual Brain Awareness Week at Lake Forest College. Free event.

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Fun Things To Do on the North Shore – Nov. 7 – Nov. 9, 2014

Lots of good ‘ol fashioantiques logon family fun going on this weekend. However, those seeking a little more sophistication should definitely consider a stop at the Winnetka Community House for the Antiques + Modernism Show. Enjoy!

Honk Jr. 

Nov. 7 @ 7 pm, Nov. 8 @ 2 pm & 7 pm, Nov. 9 @ 2pm
Community Recreation Center, 3000 Glenview Road, Wilmette

Children of all ages will learn that it’s okay to be different when they take in this musical based on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved story, “The Ugly Duckling.” More than 30 fourth-through-eighth graders round out the cast in this Wilmette Children’s Theatre production. Click here to purchase tickets. $8.50 per ticket.

Antiques + Modernism Show
Nov. 7 – 9
Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave, Winnetka

This highly anticipated event, presented by the Woman’s Board of Winnetka Community House, will feature esteemed dealers from across the country showcasing fine examples of American, British, French and Asian antiques, as well as pieces from the Arts and Crafts, Art Nou¬veau, Art Deco and Mid-Century design movements. The exhibition and sale offers furniture, silver, ceramics, jewelry, garden antiques, lighting, rugs, textiles, fine and folk art, architectural artifacts and more. For more info. and to purchase tickets visit winnetkacommunityhouse.org.

Old-Fashioned Campfire
Nov. 7; 6 – 7:30pm
Heller Nature Center, 2821 Ridge Road, Highland Park

Take a short hike with a naturalist along the trails, play games with family and friends and enjoy marshmallows roasted over the campfire! Children two and under are free. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. $8 per person. Click here to register.

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Best Tailors on the North Shore

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Have you ever purchased a fabulous new item then never get to wear it because the alterations went astray? Or have you spent hundreds on altering a bridesmaid’s dress that still does not fit you right? When it comes to picking a tailor, it’s all about trust and craftsmanship. Luckily, we found several tailors throughout the North Shore that you can rely on to deliver the goods.

Haute Couture
1920 Waukegan Road, Glenview, 847-724-0262

Yes, it is a bridal shop, and Joanna is fantastic with bride and bridesmaid alterations (whether your purchased the dress from her or not). However, she also offers alteration services for any type of clothing, including men’s, and designs custom pieces, all at reasonable prices. By appointment only.

Anthony’s Tailoring
2226 Green Bay Road, Highland Park, 847-926-9440

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It’s Pedal Power Time Again! Donate Your Old Bikes To A Good Cause

Pedal Power 2010 logo

For the seventh year in a row Pedal Power will be collecting gently used bikes to donate to kids in in the Chicago Public Schools as a reward for good grades.

Nicole Basil

Nicole Basil

Pedal Power was founded by Nicole Basil of Wilmette who, at the age of eight, tried to find a charity to donate the bikes that she and her brother had outgrown. Not finding one, she decided to start her own, and with the help of her Dad, Mike Basil, she contacted the Jane Adams Hull House, who connected her with the Chicago Public Schools. She started asking friends and neighbors in Wilmette for their old bikes and Pedal Power was born.

Every year the bike drive has grown and each year Nicole and her supporters collect over a hundred bikes.  After seven years Nicole continues to be a passionate cheerleader for her charity, which has expanded beyond Wilmette to surrounding North Shore communities.

If you have bikes your kids have outgrown please bring them to one of the seven drop-off locations next Saturday, November 1 from 9:00-12:00. Just think, by doing this you can reap three benefits: 1) make room in your garage for your car this winter (which is supposed to be very cold!) , 2) get a tax deduction and 3) motivate and reward a deserving child. What’s not to like about that?

Bring your bike(s) to one of these donation spots:

WINNETKA – Green Bay Cycles, 999 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, IL 60093

NORTHBROOK – George Garner Cyclery, 1111 Waukegan Road, Northbrook, IL 60062

HIGHLAND PARK – Alberto’s Cycles, 661 Central Ave, Highland Park, IL 60035

WILMETTE – McKenzie Elementary School, 649 Prairie Avenue, Wilmette, IL 60091

PALATINE – Mike’s Bike Shop, 155 N Northwest Hwy, Palatine, IL 60067


GLENVIEW – Glenview Cycle, 1011 Harlem Avenue, Glenview, IL 60025


EVANSTON – Home Depot, 2201 Oakton, Evanston, IL 60202

For more information about Pedal Power, please visit www.gopedalpower.com.

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Best Hikes on the North Shore

fall-hiking-chicagoGet your water bottles filled, snacks packed and lace up your sneakers. Fingers crossed, the weather is supposed to be fantastic this weekend, so it’s a great time to take in the beautiful fall foliage. Of course, all of these hikes can be enjoyed any time of year with each season bringing its own unique charms and none are super strenuous so they are suitable for all ages!

River Trail Nature Center
3120 Milwaukee Avenue, Northbrook, 847-824-8360
River Trail Nature Center tells the story of native plants and animals that remain in the urban environment. You can hike self-guided trails through the sugar maple woods and see the fall foliage. In addition, it is a refuge for wounded wildlife that would otherwise not survive on its own, enabling visitors to get a close up look. Check their schedule for presentations or just explore on you own. Known to be buggy in certain spots, so pack bug spray especially in warmer months.

Captain Daniel Wright Woods
St. Marys Road at W Everett Rd, Mettawa/Libertyville, 847-367-6640
This peaceful oasis among the bustling suburbs offers 4 miles of scenic trails; a short loop for hikers, bicyclists and skiers that circles a pond, and a longer 3-mile loop for hikers, bicyclists, skiers and horses. A footbridge spanning the Des Plaines River links Wright Woods to Half Day Forest Preserve; together they offer some of southern Lake County’s most scenic outdoor recreation opportunities. The Des Plaines River Trail passes through both preserves for additional hiking and biking opportunities.

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Best Burgers on the North Shore

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With so many options to choose from (gourmet, classic, chain etc.), it was quite hard to narrow down the list to just a few. We are sure that this list will spark some debate. However, the good news is that wherever you are on the North Shore, there’s probably a pretty good burger place nearby. And yes, we’ll take fries with that!

Prairie Grass Café’s Top Sirloin Burger
601 Skokie Boulevard, Northbrook, 847-205-4433

An award- winning gourmet burger that is served with mild Amish blue cheese topping, grilled beefsteak tomatoes and grilled onions sans bun! The burger is that good that you do not need one!

Charlie Beinlich’s
290 Skokie Boulevard, Northbrook, 847-291-0420

Two words sum up the Charlie Beinlich’s experience, old school! Known for their simple hamburgers and cheeseburgers, Charlie Beinlich’s is a no frills dive with a limited menu, and limited toppings for your burger (we’re talking cheese, onions and bacon). They keep it simple but fresh and people continue to come back for more. A Chicago classic. Closed Sunday and Monday. Cash only, don’t say we didn’t warn you!

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Fun Things To Do on the North Shore – Oct. 17 – 19, 2014

Calling all ghosts and ghouls. Halloween festivities are kicking into full gear on the North Shore and there is something for everyone – even the four-legged members of your family.Highwood pumpkin festival

Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival
Oct. 17-19
Highwood Avenue and Sheridan Road, Highwood

This annual festival is one of the most anticipated of the season. Tons of activities and events throughout the weekend including a pet costume contest, Light Up the Night Parade, 5K Pumpkin Run, Walk & Kids’ Dash, onsite carving, nightly pumpkin wall lighting ceremonies, hay rides, pumpkin bowling, pony rides, petting zoo, carnival rides, kids crafts, live entertainment, pumpkin beer tasting, and seasonal food and beverage vendors galore. For more info: http://highwoodpumpkinfest.com

Things That Go Bump In The Night
Oct. 17, 18; 6:30-8 pm
Emily Oaks Nature Center, 4650 Brummel Street, Skokie

Meet some of the fascinating but often misunderstood critters of Emily Oaks! This popular event is intended to be fun and informative – NOT frightening. This year you’ll investigate the cases of several creatures known as the Un-Touchables along the Nature Center trail, finding out what makes them special and why they shouldn’t be touched. Your visit will end at a campfire featuring snacks and songs. For all ages. Tickets $5 per person. For more info: http://www.skokieparks.org/node/5318

Spooky Pooch Parade
Oct. 18; 11 am – 1 pm
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe

For two very special hours only, dogs are allowed in the Chicago Botanic Garden. Cleverly costumed canines march the parade route to celebrate Halloween. Spectators are invited to line the parade route for a barking good time. In addition to the parade, activities include the costume contest, judging, and an awards ceremony. For more info: http://www.chicagobotanic.org/dog

Corn Harvest Festival
Oct. 18; 10 am – 4 pm
Wagner Farm, 1510 Wagner Road, Glenview

Experience harvest time from an earlier era! Activities include wagon rides, farm activities, harvest food treats and fall arts & crafts. $5 per person, children under 2 are free. For more info: http://www.glenviewparks.org/event/corn-harvest

Golf Glow Ball for Adults (21+)
Oct. 18; 6:30-11:30 pm
Sunset Valley Golf Course, 1390 Sunset Road, Highland Park

Footgolf, a combination of soccer and golf will be played in a golf course setting. Whether you are an experienced soccer player or one that just enjoys kicking the ball around, come try this European sport. Enjoy 6 holes playing Sunset Valley in a glow-in-the-dark event. This is a walking only event. Click here to register.

North Shore Views is the most comprehensive online source for North Shore Chicago real estate and community information. Whether you are looking for market statistics, homes for sale or local events, North Shore Views has it all at your fingertips. Browse information regarding our communities, market data, luxury homes, lakefront property, schools and what you should know about making the move to the North Shore. 

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Best Yoga & Pilates Studios on the North Shore

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The relationship with a yoga or Pilates instructor is very personal and can make all of the difference in how effective your results will be. We hope this list simplifies the task of finding a great studio that fits your own needs so you can focus more time on your health and well-being. Namaste.

Dharma Yoga
1321 Emerson Street, Evanston, 847-418-6464

Truly a yogi lover’s dream. The studio’s devotion to the practice is apparent as soon as you walk in the door. They are committed to creating a welcoming, intimate and spiritual environment while promoting a strong sense of community. The staff, led by owner Luna, is extremely knowledgeable and nurturing and offers clear and informative guidance. All classes are drop-ins. The studio also offers workshops, retreats, birthing classes and wellness services.

Yogaview
1231 Green Bay Road, Wilmette, 847-919-0533

Yogaview is a physically pleasing and spiritually safe environment where people can explore this ancient practice under the guidance of the very best yoga instructors within a supportive and knowledgeable community. Over 50 classes offered weekly; students can learn a wide variety of breathing, relaxation and body techniques. The studio also hosts a plethora of workshops. Acupuncture and childcare services available on-site as well.

Northshore Yoga
2523 Waukegan Road, Bannockburn, 847-607-8581
310 Happ Rd, Ste 216, Northfield, 847-784-8844
1407 Greenleaf Street, Evanston, 847-784-8844

Northshore Yoga is dedicated to helping each individual reach their fullest potential both physically and mentally. With three locations on the Shore, students can choose from a wide variety of classes, including Ashtanga and pre-natal, and class times. The Northfield location has the largest class offering. The studios also offer meditation and integrated healing services and a growing number of classes and workshops for kids and teenagers.

Bikram Yoga Northshore
1926 Waukegan Rd., Ste 1, Glenview, 847-998-6030

If Bikram yoga is your thing (and we know it’s not for everyone), than this is your studio. Beyond, the clean, spacious and modern facilities, this studio gets rave reviews for its instructors’ attention to detail and accuracy. For those not familiar, Bikram yoga is a very disciplined and structured form of yoga performed in a room set to 105 degrees. It is specifically designed as a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, which, completed in sequence, works every muscle, joint, ligament and tendon of the body.

Body Evolve Pilates & Physical Therapy
1770 1st St, Suite #205, Highland Park, 847-926-8490
2101 Waukegan Road, Bannockburn, 847-926-8490

One of the first Pilates studios in the Chicagoland area, the studio offers private and pairs sessions along with evening group reformer classes at its Highland Park location. Combined with their licensed physical therapy services, the studio has helped a vast array of clients optimize athletic performance, rehabilitate from injury and achieve more balanced and conditioned bodies. The owners, Arlene Bass and Sharon Gawin, hold their instructors to high standards as they are at the forefront of continuing education and are sought after speakers at national industry events. The studio also serves as the Illinois Host Site for Balanced Body education and training.

Body Fusion Pilates
2847 Dundee Road, Northbrook, 847-858-2722

Although the studio itself is brand new, owner Lauren Fonseca has been training clients for more than 12 years. A former dancer at The Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, Lauren truly understands the benefits of Pilates training and has studied under the best in the business. Lauren is also certified in The Gyrotonic Method. The studio offers private, semi-private and 3 on 1 sessions.

If we omitted one of your favorites, or there is a certain topic you would like to see covered, please leave us a comment! Additionally, we are happy to point out any of these locations as part of our Tour of the Shore, a must do for anyone considering a move to the North Shore. It’s a stress free way to familiarize yourself with the communities, schools, house values and amenities in the area. Call us at 847.881.6657 to find out more.

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