North Shore Views
Archive for the 'Wilmette' Category
I find that people always seem to want real estate data on the most granular level they can get it. In particular, people want to know about the schools and how they compare, not only academically, but also in terms of home values. So I prepared this chart showing how Wilmette’s home sales break down by elementary school. Central School, being the biggest of the four schools, naturally has the most sales and the most active listings. It’s also the most expensive part of town, with the highest median sale price.
Home Sales by Elementary School District: January – September 2010
If you’re an antique lover Wilmette’s Antiques Row is your destination for an afternoon of serious browsing. Although not an official name, the stretch of Ridge Rd between Lake and Wilmette Avenues has become known locally as Antiques Row because of the collection of stores clustered in those few blocks. Now we have a new one to cement the moniker. Collector’s Corner has moved in to the location at the corner of Lake and Ridge Roads, making it the northernmost stop on the Row. Here’s a rundown of the six shops:
Heritage Trail Mall Antique Emporium
Heritage Trail is the oldest antiques store on Ridge Rd. It was opened in 1993 by owners Joan and Jerry Carlson, who still manage the mall with the help of daughters Lisa Chrisopoulos and Kirsten Carlson. The mall has over seventy dealers and sells just about everything: furniture, jewelry, artwork, light fixtures, glassware, porcelain, books and silver. The dealers’ stalls are packed to the gills with their finds and you can get lost in here for hours (and I have) poking around. Heritage Trail also has a flea market twice a year, the first Sunday in May and October. (This year’s fall flea market is coming up on October 3rd from 9-5). You can get great bargains directly from dealers in the parking lot and there is also merchandise on sale inside the store.
Pandora’s Box is a two-story treasure trove right next to Heritage Trail. Jenny Zervas opened the store in 2006 and characterizes her merchandise as “domestic eclectic”. She buys her stuff at estate sales or on Craig’s List and she is always on the lookout for unique or unusual pieces. Most of it is antique or vintage but she’s open to having a few new things if they fall into the unusual or interesting category. She also has a fondness for frames, so there are lots of them displayed around the shop.
There is something about a tent circus that makes me nostalgic. Not that I ever went to a tent circus when I was a kid. By that time Barnum and Bailey was a three-ring extravaganza you had to drive all the way downtown to the Civic Center to see. It didn’t arrive on a train in the dead of night (at least I don’t think it did). There was no tent. And you had to drive 40 minutes and pay to park in some big underground parking garage. Not exactly small town Americana.
But I did see movies about how circuses used to be in the good old days. My favorite was a Disney one called Toby Tyler about a kid who runs away from home to join the circus. He starts out with a job peddling concessions and then (somehow) manages to work his way up to being a bareback rider (within about a week of joining the circus!). I willingly suspended my disbelief and imagined myself as Toby doing acrobatics on the back of a horse to the cheers of the crowd.
So, I’m looking forward to indulging my childhood fantasies once again when the circus comes to Wilmette. The Kelly Miller Circus is a traditional tent circus with elephants, horses, a dog act, clowns, trapeze artists and jugglers as well as a midway. The proceeds from the circus will go to support the District 39 Education Foundation, which provides funding for enrichment activities and programs for the District’s six schools. (Full disclosure: I am on the board of the Foundation).
Not to be missed is the elephant-powered raising of the big top at 9:00 am on the morning of the circus. This is sure to be a kid-pleaser and there is no charge to attend.
Two performances will be held on Saturday, September 25 at 2:00 and 5:30 pm. Tickets are $25. They can be purchased at Lad & Lassie, Fuel, The Noodle, or Depot Nuevo in downtown Wilmette, at Nail Art on Ridge Rd. or at the Mikaelian Center on Locust Rd. They can also be ordered online at www.D39Foundation.org.
For those who are not into the circus (or are afraid of clowns), you can still support the District 39 Education Foundation by buying raffle tickets. They are $10 apiece or $25 for three tickets. First prize is $1000 cash, second prize is $500 and third prize is $250. Raffle tickets are available at the same outlets where circus tickets are sold (or you can buy them online).
Summer may be coming to a close, but there are still lots of opportunities to get out with the family and enjoy some fun fall festivals on the North Shore. Here’s a round-up of festivals in September and October 2010:
Cruise the Backlot
Village Green, 5201 Oakton, Skokie
September 15, 6-9 pm
Browse 75 classic cars and enjoy food, fun and entertainment on the Village Green.
Village Green Park, 1320 Shermer Rd., Northbrook
Enjoy an old-fashioned day at the park, with an antique car show, music and children’s activities.
Highwood Last Call Art Fair
Intersection of Sheridan Rd. and Highwood Ave., Highwood
September 25-26, 10 am – 5 pm
Live music, food and activities for the kids. Free admission. Call 847-926-4300 for more info.
Ridge Road Fall Fest
Ridge Rd. between Lake and Wilmette Avenues, Wilmette
September 25, 10 am – 1 pm
Held in conjunction with St. Joseph Parish Oktoberfest, the Ridge Road Fall Fest features free pony rides, moon bounce and other children’s activities. The Oktoberfest (corner of Ridge Rd. and Lake Ave.) goes til 4 pm with an antique market, games, contests and entertainment. At 6:00 pm there is an adults-only party with German food and beer, oompah music and dance music by PopRocks.
Deerfield Historical Society Fall Festival
517 Deerfield Rd, Deerfield
September 26, 12-4 pm
A family-friendly event with a classic car show, book sale, craft demonstrations, food and live entertainment. Call 847-948-0680 for more info.
WFamily Harvest Festival
Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie (near L.L. Bean and Crate and Barrel stores)
October 23, 12-5 pm
Pumpkin Patch, corn and hay maze, games, rides, crafts and entertainment, including an appearance by Curious George.
Driving west on Lake Avenue from downtown Wilmette, you can’t miss the majestic facade of St. Joseph Catholic Church . St. Joseph Church is the oldest religious congregation and one of two Catholic churches in the Village of Wilmette (the other is St. Francis Xavier in east Wilmette). It was founded in 1845 by German Catholic farmers who settled in the area once known as Gross Point, on the western edge of Wilmette.
The first church building was a log cabin built in 1843 on the northwest corner of Ridge Rd. and Lake Ave., near the site of the present cemetery. The log cabin was replaced by a frame church in 1850 and this was replaced by a large brick church in 1869. Due to poor construction, that building only lasted sixty years. The current Art Deco style church was built on the southeast corner of Ridge and Lake and dedicated in 1939. After World War II an annex and convent was added.
St. Joseph School, which is located across the street, was built in the late 1930′s but was forced to close its doors in 1986 as a result of post-baby boom demographic shifts. It was reopened ten years later starting with the preschool. By 1998 the entire school had been renovated and updated to serve children from preschool through 8th grade.
If you’re not Catholic the most notable thing about St. Joseph (besides its imposing structure) is their annual Oktoberfest, held on a Saturday each fall in conjunction with the Ridge Road Fall Festival. There’s an outdoor antiques fair, which has great deals (especially at the end of the day) and a family festival with games, contests and entertainment. The adult party starts at dusk with a traditional German dinner complete with oompah music, followed by dancing under the stars.
Summerfest at Beth Hillel Congregation on Saturday, August 22 from 11 am to 4 pm. Live music, food, children’s activities, Israeli dancing and appearances by alumni Blackhawks players. Free admission.
3220 Big Tree Lane, Wilmette. Call 847-256-1213 for more information.
American Craft Exposition. 150 juried craftspeople will exhibit baskets, ceramics, furniture, glass, jewlry and mixed media crafts. Friday, August 27 from 10 am to 8 pm Saturday and Sunday, August 28-29 from 11 am to 5 pm. Tickets: $12 in advance; $15 at the door (good all 3 days). Proceeds benefit breast and ovarian cancer research.
Northwestern University’s Henry Crown Sports Pavilion, 2311 Campus Drive.
Backlot Bash. A summer tradition featuring live music on the main stage at Oakton Avenue, amusement park/carnival, classic auto show, sidewalk sale and teen activities. Friday, August 27 from 6 to 10 pm, Saturday, August 28 from 11 am to 10 pm and Sunday, August 29 from noon to 8 pm. Lincoln at Oakton in downtown Skokie. You can see the schedule of events here.
Port Clinton Art Festival featuring works by 260 juried artists, live music, children’s activities and Taste of Highland Park. August 28-29 from 10 am to 6 pm. Admission free. Port Clinton Square, 600 Central Ave.
Here’s a comparison of home sales activity for each of Wilmette’s four elementary school districts. The data is for the six months February-July 2010 and is for single family detached homes:
Source: MREDLLC- Deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
The Harper School neighborhood is certainly one of the bright spots right now in terms of homes sales. While home sales trends in Wilmette in the first half of 2010 were quite positive (+85% over 1st half 2009), Harper’s trends are even better, with 150% more houses sold this year than last. Even more surprising is the improvement of median selling price. While the median selling price for Wilmette actually decreased by 1%, the median price in the Harper area actually increased 7.4%, from $745,000 to $800,000. We haven’t seen this kind of trend in quite a while!
Before we get too excited, we need to keep in mind that there is still a lot of inventory on the market: 52 active listings in the Harper area alone, and some of them have been sitting for a while. On the other hand, there have been a few cases where the home was in great condition and well-priced and it sold in a matter of days. Yes, it can still happen, even in today’s market.
Harper Neighborhood Home Sales (1st Half 2010 vs. 2009)
Source: MRED, LLC. Single family homes. Deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
If you’d like to find out what your home is worth in today’s market, you can get a free, quick, over-the-net evaluation here or you can call me at 847-687-5957. If you would like more specific data about home sales on your street or in the immediate vicinity of your home, you can email me and I will be happy to send it to you.
If you’re looking for a change of pace from the usual fare at Panera and Corner Bakery, then you should try Fuel Restaurant at 1222 Washington Court in Wilmette (right next to the Metra parking lot). They have some unique and creative breakfast and lunch options made from locally grown ingredients. And they are quite tasty.
Ed and I stopped in for breakfast the other day and both of us ordered the Savory Strata. I got the vegetarian version with spinach and mushrooms and he ordered the one with Italian Sausage. I had never had a strata before but it was a yummy concoction made with Heavenly Hearth French bread, peppers, Crimini mushrooms, onions, low fat yogurt, Gruyere and Parmesan cheese, all topped by a garlic mushroom sauce and sun dried tomatoes. It was de-lish!
Fuel opened almost a year ago. Its owner, Tim Lenon, is an ex-trader and Wilmette resident, who is passionate about supporting local farmers and local businesses. His concept is “farm to table”, meaning that everything he serves is fresh off the farm and comes from within a 100 mile radius. The eggs are from cage-free chickens and the produce is grown using organic farming techniques. Fuel also claims to be the only green restaurant in town, as the space was built using recycled materials.
You can eat outside or in. The interior of the space has kind of an urban feel, not surprising given that its inspiration was some of the places Tim used to frequent in Bucktown and Wicker Park. It has cool colors and clean lines. I overheard one patron describe it as “small and concise.” And it is.
If you’re trying to make a train, or are otherwise in a rush, you can get “Fast Fuel” to grab and go: smoothies, pastries and muffins and breakfast burritos.
Fuel is open Monday – Friday from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 to 2:00. Breakfast entrees cost $9.00-10.00 while lunch runs $8.50-10.00. Kids’ breakfasts are $5.50-7.50.
Every year it seems like the sidewalk sales along the North Shore get better and better. Now it’s not just about shopping…the sales have turned into veritable street festivals, with food, music, games and other activities for kids. Here’s the line-up for the rest of July:
Friday and Saturday, July 9 and 10
9 am – 4 pm
Shopping, food and family fun, including DJ entertainment, magician, face painting, moonwalk and petting zoo on Saturday.
Call 847-251-3800 or visit www.wilmettechamber.org
Evanston – Central Street
Thursday to Saturday, July 15 to 17
10 am – 5 pm
Bargains from businesses located between the 1900 and 2100 blocks of Central Street. Central Street, located in North Evanston, is chock full of mom and pop run businesses and retains a local and distinctive charm which sets it apart from many shopping districts. There are women’s boutiques, flower shops, bakeries (including one for dogs), restaurants, a renowned spice shop, realtors, and much much more!
For more information visit www.centralstreet-evanston.com.
Friday and Saturday, July 16 and 17
9 am to 5 pm
This year’s theme is “Jazzing Up July”. In addition to shopping, listen to New Orleans jazz while the kids enjoy games, activities and face painting.
Phil Passen and Petra van Nuis will be performing live music during the two-day event. Passen, musician and singer, will perform a variety of traditional American music. Playing the hammered dulcimer, Passen says his music will “capture the essence of old-time music. The beautiful sound and versatility of the dulcimer shine in this captivating performance.” Consistent with the theme of the weekend, Chicago based jazz vocalist Petra van Nuis will perform several songs from her extensive repertoire on Saturday.
And some star power will be added to this year’s sale. Winnetka also will welcome Kathryn Stockett, the author of the best-selling novel The Help to the sale. The novel, set in 1960s Jackson, Miss., deals with the issue of segregation in the South a century after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Call (847) 446-4451 or visit www.winnekachamber.com.
Evanston – Downtown
Saturday, July 24
10 am to 5 pm
Close to 200 Evanston merchants in both downtown Evanston and the Chicago/Dempster district will offer deals on summer inventory, featuring the ideal mix of independent shops and your favorite national chain stores. Expect to find deals on apparel, shoes, one-of-a-kind accessories and decorative arts, including the best in specialty designed, hand-crafted goods. Resale shoppers and antique & vintage hunters will find a variety of shops to explore.
To get to the sale on public transit, take the CTA Purple Line “el” to the Davis, Dempster, or Main stop; or take Metra to the Davis or Main stop.
Call 847.866.6319 or visit http://www.downtownevanston.org
Thursday to Sunday, July 22 to 25
This is your opportunity to get clothing, shoes, jewelry, home décor, and other great stuff at 50 to 75 percent off regular prices. Great back-to-school bargains, too. Of course, early shoppers always find the best one-of-a-kind deals.
And this year, look for a balloonist, magician, face painters, and musicians to entertain the kids while you look for great buys.
To get there, just take the Edens Expressway – exit at Central Avenue East – travel about one mile – and you’re there.
Call 847-432-0284 or visit www.ehighlandpark.com