2017 Bucket List

Happy 2017 Everyone!  We first want to thank you for providing so many positive vibes and words of encouragement for State & Eight!  It’s hard to believe (for us at least), that we started this blog almost a full year ago, and with the new year, we feel re-energized and excited to continue State & Eight.  With that, we thought it would be fun to share our individual Bucket Lists for exploring and experiencing the 815 (we will spare you our exercising, work, home improvement goals, etc.) this year.  Here goes…

Emily’s 2017 Bucket List

Take a class through Rocktown Adventures                                                                                                   Both Liz and I had fully intended on taking a snowshoeing class through Rocktown adventures during our time off over the holidays.  But, the funny thing is, is that snowshoeing requires snow.  With the lack of snow, we were unable to get it done!  So, my goal for this year is to take either a snowshoeing class (might become more difficult as I get further along in my pregnancy), a paddleboarding class, or a kayaking class.

Subscribe to a CSA box                                                                                                                                             Last summer, I really enjoyed visiting the North End City market and every time I would get a bit envious of those that had signed up for the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box.  You may remember Liz posted about her experience with her CSA and it had me jealous.  Here is to a summer of truly, fresh produce!                                                                                                                                           

Finally visit Taylor + Max                                                                                                                                         You may have noticed in our most recent gift guide, that we mentioned a great Children’s Boutique in Rockton, Taylor + Max.  Truth be told, I have only looked at their merchandise online and would like to change that!  This year is the year!

Treat myself to coffee more often                                                                                                                         Often I hear friends and co-workers saying the exact opposite statement.  However, with places like Wired Cafe, Meg’s Daily Grind, Rockford Roasting Company, Katie’s Cup, etc., there are SO MANY wonderful, local, coffee shops to choose from, so I am attempting to visit them MORE this year.                                                                                                        

Explore new walking routes                                                                                                                                 You will see that Liz is planning to do more biking and running, but this mama is going to be happy with getting out on a daily walk once #2 joins us.  With that being said, we have written about our love for The Loop and the Midway Village Museum bike path in the past, but I want to venture to explore some more walking routes.  Does anyone have suggestions?                                                                                                                           

Family photos                                                                                                                                                               What I have noticed recently between looking at wedding photos, baby photos, family photos, etc. is that Rockford is FULL of talented, well-priced photographers.  With Baby #2 coming this Spring, I would love to have professional photos taken of my family.  This. Must. Happen.  The only hard part will be deciding which photographer to choose!

Tour The Standard                                                                                                                                                        While I have visited the businesses in The Standard downtown (Arch Apothecary, London Avenue Designs, and Tique Furnishings), I am LONGING for an in depth tour of the entire building, event space, and the future Taco Betty’s.  I most likely won’t be planning a large event anytime soon, but I have always loved the space and I want that “Wow, I love what you’ve done with the place,” conversation.  Hook us up!

Try at least five new restaurants                                                                                                                         Do you know what Izakaya 88, Cucina Di Rosa, Tavern On Clark, Kate’s Pie Shop, and Clara Bo all have in common?  They are all restaurants I have yet to visit!  While I love our “go to” places, my goal is to branch out and try more restaurants I have never been.  Any takers?                                                                                     

Attend a Yoga Tot class at Namaste Studios                                                                                                    I am lucky enough that when I do my seldom “workout” at home, my daughter likes to join in the fun.  “Mom, we are doing yoga!” Because she seems so excited about yoga, I thought I would look into a class of sorts that she and I could do together.  Low and behold, Namaste Studios downtown has a class named Yoga Tots geared towards 1-5 year olds and their parents.  You better believe I will make this class a priority in 2017!


Liz’s 2017 Bucket List

If you caught our article in 815 Magazine, you will remember that one of our ideas for being a tourist in our own town included an outdoor adventure. Snowshoeing has been on my bucket list for years, so a class through Rocktown Adventures is on my 2017 list.

Stand up Paddle Boarding
Along the same lines, a long time bucket list item of mine has been to do a standup paddle boarding class out at Rock Cut State Park. When I do this, I certainly hope there is no video or photo evidence.

Woodworking Class
We moved into our house last May, and I have been longing for the perfect dining room table for our kitchen. A friend of mine told me about Rock Valley College’s Woodworking Community Education course at South Beloit High School, and I would love to attempt to make my own table.

Escape Quest Beloit
Escape rooms are becoming all the rage lately, and there is one not too far away in Downtown Beloit. At Escape Quest, you and your friends are locked in an escape room and must find clues and solve puzzles to be the first team to escape. Bring. It. On.

More Bike Riding
The extent of my bike riding last year was the Tour de North End bike ride, which is super sad because I love cycling. This summer I vow to explore new bike paths and to pedal around to my favorite summer events, such as City Market and Dinner on the Dock.

Class at the Angelic Organics Learning Center
Angelic Organics in Caledonia offers some cool classes in the warmer months. From cheesemaking to campouts on the farm, there is a little something for everyone. My inner Joanna Gaines is longing to spend some time on the farm this summer.

Visit Two Local Breweries
There are two local breweries that are on my 2017 bucket list. Generations Brewing in Freeport and & Wishful Acres Farm & Brewery are both on my list. Both have tasting rooms and picturesque properties which make me long for lazy summer Saturdays.

Pec Thing
Confession: I have never been to Pec Thing, the mega antique and flea market at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds. The 2017 dates have been released, and I plan to explore on either May 20 & 21 or September 16 & 17.

Literacy Council Half Marathon
Finally, this is a repeat, but worthy of documenting it on my official bucket list. The Literacy Council Half Marathon at Blackhawk Springs County Forest Preserve is a gorgeous run, and you can receive great pre-race training through the Runner’s Image running club prior to the race.

What is on your bucket list for 2017, both local and elsewhere?

Cheers to a great year!



Giving Back

Happy Holidays All!  We hope you all have been enjoying the festivities leading up to the Holidays in the 815.  When Liz and I decided to start this blog back almost one year ago (eek!) our whole focus was to bring a positive light to the place we call home.  We attempt to take advantage of local events, restaurants, activities, shops (check out our local gift guide), etc., and we know you do too.  In that spirit, we feel it’s also important to give back to our community and to the organizations who make a positive impact in our region day after day.  So, if you are looking for ways to contribute this holiday season, consider these local organizations before the year’s end.  This is not a comprehensive list, and we certainly don’t intend to leave anyone out, but we are hopeful this gets your giving juices flowing.  Every dollar and hour of time helps and is greatly appreciated!  Here are some ideas:

Fine & Performing Arts                                                                                                                                         

Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Rockford Dance Company, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford Area Arts Council

Social Service Organizations

United Way of Rock River Valley (full disclosure, my husband works for UWRRV), Carpenter’s Place, Milestone Inc., Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Rockford Rescue Mission, Shelter Care Ministries, Stepping Stones

Women & Children

Crusader Community Health (full disclosure, Liz is on the Special Events Committee), Kids Around the World, Girl Scouts of America, Boy Scouts of America, Pregnancy Care Center

Additional ideas could be your alma mater, media you value, you children’s school or other programs, your religious place of worship, or just your neighbor down the street.  Whatever it may be, there are so many wonderful doing good things in our community and they could use our help!  If you have any other organizations we should know about, let us know!  In the meantime, Happy Holidays and enjoy the season!


Meet Your Barista – Leslie Erickson


Emily and I have a long-standing love for Meg’s Daily Grind. Our love began in high school, and continued as a must-visit when we were home for breaks from college. We still love Meg’s, especially on these frigid winter days!

Leslie Erickson is an owner and manager of Meg’s Daily Grind. She’s the smiling face behind the coffee bar who everyone seems to know. When I stopped in to meet with Leslie, the next customer in line said good morning to her by name. to which she responded that his mocha would be right up. This friendly, welcoming relationship with customers is what made us want to interview Leslie as our first Meet Your Barista.

Name: Leslie Erickson, Owner, Manager and Barista @ Meg’s Daily Grind

Age You Feel: It depends on the day. Some days I feel like I can keep up with the high schoolers that work here, and other days I want to go to bed at 7pm.

What time do you wake up? My alarm goes off at 4:15am, and I usually get out of bed at 4:30am.

Drink that gets you going: During the cold months it is a White Chocolate Peppermint Latte. An Iced Vanilla Americano is another go-to.

Favorite Drink to Make: A cappuccino. They are labor intensive, but are a quality drink.

What is the best tool or piece of equipment we should have at home to make good coffee drinks? A good quality coffee maker is good for entertaining and serving coffee made from Meg’s beans.

What do you love about your job? The interaction is different every day with customers and employees. Different people come in with different drink orders, which is sometimes the hardest, but also the most rewarding. The connections we make with our customers are great. Rockford has been great to us since our start in 2001, even with the addition of other local and chain coffee shops.

What do you love about Rockford? My family is all here (Meg’s is a family-owned business), and that is one reason I love Rockford. I also like the support for local businesses. It’s a big town with a small town feel. I like knowing my neighbors and I love that I can go to Target and even know people. There are a lot of good events happening and people are really trying to invest in our city.

Thank you, Leslie, for making Rockford awesome!


815-Rockford’s Magazine-Winter Edition


Hey friends! We hope you all had a great weekend and enjoyed the beautiful snow.  We are fortunate enough to be a part of this weekend’s edition of the local 815 Magazine in the Rockford Register Star.  If you have yet to pick up an issue, be sure to pick up this Sunday’s Rockford Register Star.  State & Eight was previously featured in the Summer and Fall issues and we are thrilled to be back at it for Winter! Here is a sneak peek at our piece:

This winter, we at State & Eight are challenging ourselves to be tourists in our own city. While life in the Midwest typically gives us cold, dark and snowy days for staying indoors, there are also plenty of bright and sunny winter days great for bundling up and exploring mother nature’s beauty.  Join us on our blog, www.stateandeight.com, as we tour the area in search of the best ways to enjoy winter. Here are some of the ways we plan to experience Rockford this winter season:

Ice Skating Outdoors

Last winter the Belvidere Park District opened the Riverside Ice Arena in Doty Park. Located in Downtown Belvidere, the rink offers skate rental, skating lessons and hockey leagues. Another time-honored outdoor ice skating tradition in the 815 is the Eclipse Lagoon at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens. Use of the rink is free and available on a first come, first served basis. We love driving by here and seeing kids enjoying the outdoors playing pick-up hockey games.

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing

We remember thinking that cross-country skiing was for old people and that snowshoeing was old-fashioned based on the fact that our Kirsten American Girl Dolls came with a set. Now at the ripe old age of 30, we find ourselves eager to learn how to ski and snowshoe while exploring our snow-covered hometown. Rocktown Adventures leads group activities and lessons out at Rock Cut State Park and other parks around town, and allow you to rent or buy your own equipment.

Holiday Lights

Like many of you, we enjoy viewing the holiday lights and are lucky we have so many places to see them in the area.  Our first stop is through the Festival of Lights at Sinnissippi Park.  A leisurely drive through the park has become a tradition for many and is available for viewing through the Christmas holiday.  A new favorite of ours is All Aglow at the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens running now through the first week of January.  The vibrant lights are fun for viewing for all ages.  Lastly, you may have noticed we love all things Downtown Rockford, including the lights.  Enjoy a festive evening downtown and walk along the river to view the beautiful lights; they make being out in the cold worth it.  

Snow Sculptures

Many of us Rockford natives have grown up cruising through Sinnissippi Park to see the snow sculptures at the annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition each January.  We never tire of this yearly event because of the incredible talent we get to witness from area students and community members.  This is the one time of year we hope for extra chilly temps, so we may enjoy the creativity of fellow Rockfordians before the sculptures melt.


One can never be too old to get the sleds and saucers out, right?  As children, it seemed the place you would find everyone sledding was at Twin Sister HIlls Park located between East State Street and Charles Street.  While that is no doubt a great place to sled down the slopes, a location we are looking forward to visiting this year is Aldeen Park as neither of us have ever been.  We thank the Rockford Park District for monitoring the hills and making sure they are safe for all.  

We hope to see you all out and about enjoying all the winter experiences our city has to offer. Be sure to pick up the Sunday paper or visit local hotels, the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau or other local stops to see the latest issue this Sunday and throughout the Winter. Stay warm!



2016 State & Eight Local Gift Guide

A co-worker recently told me that she had not ordered anything from Amazon in three years. Three years?! With the convenience of Amazon Prime, and the the fact that I can order everything from paleo-friendly beef jerky to my wedding shoes, three weeks without an order is more common for me. My co-worker had good reason to not shop on Amazon though. Her goal was to support local businesses and keep her tax money here. While I’m not sure I’m ready to give up my Prime account completely, I have made a goal to buy all of my Christmas gifts locally this year. We decided to put together a local gift guide to share with you some great local finds.

Kids & Teens

Taylor + Max
This children’s boutique in Downtown Rockton, Taylor + Max has the most adorable outfits. These high quality, darling outfits will make for a very special gift. Bonus – they do monogramming! How cute are these pajamas?!


Source: Taylor + Max

Bath & Body Fusion
Teenage girls LOVE exploring new scents – bubble bath, lotion, body spray – they hoard it. Skip the national chains this year, and get the teenage girls (and their moms!) fresh, handmade bath and body scents from Bath & Body Fusion. Their incredible smells and cute packaging and wrapping make your shopping very easy.


Source: Bath & Body Fusion

Gruno’s Diamonds
While Gruno’s Diamonds is more commonly known as the place to go for beautiful diamonds, gemstones, and watches (Dear Santa, I love Shinola watches), they are also the only local source for Alex & Ani bracelets. If you’re not familiar with Alex & Ani, they are the modern day charm bracelet, with each bangle holding a charm. These are perfect for all women, but super popular for teens and college age ladies, and they start at just $28 each.


Source: Gruno’s Diamonds


We featured this gift from Porch in our Mother’s Day Gift Guide, but we will repeat it because it’s a goodie. And I happen to know that this will be for sure gifted in our family this year. The Nora Fleming platters and bowls with their changeable minis are such a great gift. They are high quality and easy to decorate for every occasion.

Source: Porch

Source: Nora Fleming

You know the ladies at Trove are some of our favorites. Perhaps it’s because we LOVE their style. In addition to their fabulous vintage and mid-century pieces for the home, they have selected some awesome items created by regional artisans. These hats and softest leather hand bags are so amazing!


Source: Trove

Arch Apothecary
You met Betsy, owner of Arch Apothecary, in an earlier post of ours, and we are still so in love with her business and her new store front. Give the lady of your life a gift card for a facial, make-up application or blowout. Arch also offers high quality candles, which make for a great hostess gift!


Source: Arch Apothecary


Rockford Woodcrafts
We mentioned Rockford Woodcrafts in our 815 magazine article, and we still think it is a great option for holiday gifts. From bottle openers to beer caddies, these locally handmade pieces are a work of art.


Source: Rockford Woodcrafts

Rockford Art Deli
Give the guy in your life one of those great Rockford t-shrits you’ve seen around town from Rockford Art Deli. Whether it is a Rock River Yacht Club or a Rockford Cubbies t-shirt, the shirts, sweatshirts, mugs and other 815 swag from Rockford Art Deli are the best.


Source: Rockford Art Deli

Rocktown Adventures 
For the adventurous guy, had over to Rocktown Adventures for all of your outdoor gear. From Kayaks and snow shoes to thermal shirts and boots, the knowledgeable staff at Rocktown Adventures will help you find the best gift for your guy.


Source: Rocktown Adventures


Artale Wine Co.
One of our favorite gifts we have received was a copper tin filled with a variety of craft beers from Artale Wine Co. The brilliant staff at Artale is so helpful when it comes to picking out beer and wine for gift giving, and for a small fee, they will put it in a basket and wrap it up for you.

Source: Artale Wine Co.

J.R. Kortman Center for Design
Every year, I get my (now) husband an ornament for the tree. This was a tradition both of my grandmothers and my mother started for me, and now I have a beautiful tree full of ornaments. J.R. Kortman has the coolest Rockford themed ornaments this year. This might just be a gift I get myself this year. 

15319160_10154756331981499_416273648763641873_nSource: J.R. Kortman

What are some local gifts on your list this year? Share on our Facebook page!

Happy Shopping!


All Aglow Express

Happy Winter!  I have to say that normally, I am not a huge fan of the cold weather and darkness (who is?), but the snow on Sunday seemed to brighten my mood and make me look forward to all of the great things winter brings…the Holidays, various celebrations, snow angels, the festive lights, winter sports, greater excuses to eat sweets, and spend more time with loved ones.  This past weekend, my family was able to take advantage of, what I hope will be, a new holiday tradition, the All Aglow Express at the Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens.

When our golden tickets and map arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago I thought, “Well isn’t that a cute idea?” and then put the tickets in my desk until the big day.  Then, the cuteness just kept on coming.  When we arrived at the All Aglow Express, we were greeted by the conductor who stamped our tickets and guided us towards the trolley all decked out with lights, wreaths, and blankets.  Having never been on the downtown trolley before (I know, shameful…), my 2 1/2 year old was quite excited about the prospect.

We got all “cozy” on the trolley and enjoyed the AWESOME lights at the conservatory while on our way to the “The North Pole.”  When the trolley arrived at the North Pole, the walkway was lined with gumdrops, candy canes, and greeters waiting to give us our marshmallows to make our own s’mores.  Once the s’mores were made, we entered the North Pole (inside) and were given hot chocolate while the kiddos got comfortable for the reading of The Polar Express.

(Sorry in advance about the photo quality.  Dark + toddler + gloves + phone…you get the idea).


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And what happened at the end of The Polar Express?? That’s right, SANTA came out delivering small gifts and some holiday cheer.  The kids were all surprised and was just. the. cutest.


Then, back on the trolley we went to the NCG for more time with Santa, an optional craft project, and time to explore the BEAUTIFUL All Aglow exhibit in the conservatory.

img_3653 img_3651

I have to give a big “You guys rock!” shout out to the Rockford Park District and NCG, for putting together a truly unique, special, and wholesome, holiday experience.  There are still LIMITED tickets available for this weekend, December 9, 10 and 11.  Be sure to get tickets by calling 815-987-8863.  This is the perfect holiday event for the little kiddos and families.


Eight in the Eight-December 2016


Happy Holidays everyone! We hope your Thanksgiving weekend was everything you wanted it to be.  Liz and I are thankful for so much this year.  Between the two of us and our families we have a new marriage, a new home, a new job, and a new baby on the way (for Emily!). These big changes and all of the simple daily things make us grateful for where we live and what we do.  Our Eight in the Eight was especially challenging for us this month because there are so many great things happening in the area. If there is an event happening you think we should check out, let us know!

Songs & Suds (& Santa) @ Katie’s Cup
When: Tuesday, December 6 from 6:00-8:00PM

Enjoy Saint Nicholas Day, some Holiday songs, and some suds at Katie’s Cup.  This is a free event and just a time to socialize and get in the Holiday spirit.  While there, be sure to pick up a copy of the Katie’s Cup Christmas CD featuring many favorite, local artists.

LOCAL Holiday Market @ Rockford University
When: Saturday, December 10 from 10:00AM-4:00PM

As you may have noticed, we LOVE to shop local in the 815.  Check out the LOCAL Holiday Market sponsored by Winnebago Buy Local at Rockford University.  This one time Holiday Market is filled with completely LOCAL vendors.  Support and shop local businesses all in one spot.

Movie Night at the Farm @ Williams Tree Farm
When: Friday, December 16 @ 6:30PM

Bring your little ones, PJs and blankets, and get comfy at Williams Tree Farm while watching Arthur Christmas inside in the Keeping Room.  Snacks and treats will be available and admission is free, but donations are welcomed to support Kids Around the World.  

12 Bars of Christmas @ Downtown Rockford
When: Saturday, December 17, from 3:00-9:00PM

Check out the 2nd Annual 12 Bars of Christmas Pub Crawl and enjoy DJs, food & drink, prizes and fun.  Tickets are $28 and include a 12 Bars t-shirt, drink ticket and a goodie bag of surprises.  Every bar will offer a $5 Holiday Drink and complimentary hot chocolate &/or coffee.  Downtown and North End bars will be included!  Must be 21 years old to participate and there IS a shuttle!  Buy tickets here.

Rockford Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops @ Coronado Performing Arts Center
When: Saturday, December 17 @ 7:30 PM, Sunday, December 18 @ 3:00PM

Nothing gets us in the Holiday spirit like some incredible music performed by the fantastic Rockford Symphony Orchestra.  Celebrate all the season has to offer with the largest holiday musical celebration in the area and enjoy your choice of an evening or matinee performance.  Buy tickets here.

All Aglow @ Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens
When: Now through January 8, 2017

Between the beautiful lights inside the Conservatory, the All Aglow Express, and Breakfast with Santa, there are no shortage of great, family friendly activities at the Nicholas Conservatory this month.  Enjoy a random evening walking around the NCG campus, or be sure to call ahead for tickets to the All Aglow Express (tickets are limited!).  Breakfast with Santa will take place December 3, 4, 10, 11 and 17.   

Festival of Lights @ Sinnissippi Park & Rockford River Lights along the Rock River
When: December 2-25 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 5:00-10:00PM (Festival of Lights) and December 2-31 on Fridays and Saturdays (Rockford River Lights)

Rockford has truly stepped up their Holiday lighting game in the past couple of years.  Be sure to take a drive through the Festival of Lights (a Holiday tradition) and take a walk along the banks of the Rock River between State Street and the Jefferson Street Bridge.  Both events are incredible and we are so glad the Rockford River Lights are back this year!

Holiday Hoopla @ Discovery Center Museum
When: December 26-30, recurring daily from 11:30AM-3:30PM

If you are looking for a fun activity to do with the kiddos while they are on break, we would check out the Discovery Center as they merge hands-on arts and crafts with amazing math and science.  All activities included with museum admission.  



Eight in the Eight-November 2016


Christmas at the Farm 2016-Meyer’s Tails Up Farm
November 4-5, 2016

We know. We know. A Christmas event the first week in November? We couldn’t resist adding Christmas at the Farm to our list. This super cute annual shopping event filled with vintage goods and seasonal decor in a super cute setting.

Carrie Underwood-BMO Harris Bank Center                                                                                                     Wednesday, November 9, 2016 @ 7:00PM

Can we all agree that Country music musicians seem like they are all over the place, all the time? We just saw Carrie Underwood host the CMA’s (well, we didn’t because we were watching the Cubs!!), but Carrie will be gracing Rockford with her presence for what will surely be an entertaining show.

Turkey Trot-Aldeen Park
Thursday, November 24, 2016 at 9:00AM

Lace up your running shoes and burn some calories before your hearty Thanksgiving Day meal at the Rockford Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. Rockford adds a twist to this race by having race contestants guess their completion times. Finish closest to your predicted time for a chance to win turkeys or pies!

Small Business Saturday-All over the city!                                                                                                         Saturday, November 26, 2016-All Day

Small Business Saturday is a nationwide movement to support local businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving by starting your holiday shopping in your hometown. Businesses all over Rockford will be participating, and we challenge you to buy local for the special ones on your list this year, too!

Stroll on State-Downtown Rockford                                                                                                                     Saturday, November 26, 2016 from 3:00PM-9:00PM

Downtown Rockford will transform into a magical, winter wonderland. Stroll on State, a family friendly event is becoming a great holiday tradition that is free and open to the public.  Enjoy the city’s Christmas tree lighting, shop, dine, listen to music, view art, visit Santa, ice skate with your family, etc.  We look forward to see you out “strolling!”

The Nutcracker Ballet-Rockford University’s Maddox Theater                                                                   Saturday, November 26, 2016 @ 2:00PM & 7:00PM-Sunday, November 27, 2016 @ 2:00PM

Rockford Dance Company presents The Nutcracker Ballet. See this holiday classic at a new location, Rockford University’s Maddox Theater and enjoy the magical experience up close and personal.  Tickets available by calling the Rockford Dance Company.

Elf the Musical-Coronado Performing Arts Center                                                                                           Saturday, November 30, 2016 @ 7:30PM

Who else never tires of the holiday classic, Elf? Elf comes to the stage and tickets are now on sale for Elf the Musical at the Coronado PAC.  This will be a great way to get in the holiday spirit and enjoy a night out! Get tickets here.

Rockford Ice Hogs Game-BMO Harris Bank Center

Now that baseball is over, it’s time for hockey!  We are fortunate to have our own minor league team in town, the Rockford Ice Hogs.  The event staff makes the games a really great experience and tickets are reasonably priced.  Check out the Ice Hogs website for a schedule and special events.


Get Spooky in the 815


Greetings!  I must admit that I was never all that into Halloween (don’t hold it against me!).  In fact, when my husband and I decided to get married on October 30th a few years ago (Happy Anniversary, G!), I got questions like, “Are your colors orange and black?,” and “Do you want people to come in costumes?,” I shuttered at the thought and stuck with my generally fall-themed wedding.  Fast-forward a few years and my feelings have changed.  Owning a home has made me love having pumpkins on the front steps, opening the door to the most adorable trick-or-treaters, and introducing my toddler to the joys of dressing up has been awesome.  Once I fully embraced how fun Halloween can be, I realized just how many Halloween-related festivities go on throughout the month of October in Rockford, particularly this upcoming weekend.  So, I thought it might be fun to summarize what fun events we know about and hear from you all if there are any we missed.

Spooky Science-Discovery Center Museum                                                                                                           Friday, October 28, 2016 from 6:00-9:00pm

For a fun, safe and not-too-scary Halloween celebration for youngsters, check out Spooky Science at the Discovery Center Museum. Arrive in costume and bring a treat bag! Special activities include concocting glowing slime, meeting famous “dead” scientists, and science tricks that look like wizardry. Cost is $9 per person for the general public and $4 per person for members and includes all related activities.

Night Sounds-Burpee Museum of Natural History
Friday, October 28, 2016 at 6pm

Check out all four floors of Burpee for different activities, and a trick or treating event like no other.  Arrive in costume and bring a FLASHLIGHT! Cost is $4 for members and $7 general admission.

Spook the Blocks-Downtown Rockford                                                                                                                   Saturday, October 29, 2016 from 11:00am-2:00pm

My family will definitely be “Spooking the Blocks” this Saturday since we have so much fun last year. Trick-or-treating in downtown Rockford is becoming a fast tradition. Participating downtown businesses will be designated by an orange pumpkin poster in their front windows & that’s how you know where the treats are! Kids are encouraged to dress up!

BOOtique Trick or Treat-Roscoe & Rockton                                                                                                         Saturday, October 29, 2016 from 9:00AM-9:00PM

Local businesses in Roscoe & Rockton are inviting customers to “trick or treat” at the inaugural BOOtique Trick or Treat. Trick or Treaters will receive a card that they can get stamped at each participating business to win gift cards.  Costumes are encouraged!

Spook-tacular Haunts-Anderson Japanese Gardens                                                                                         Saturday, October 29, 2016 from 3:00-5:00pm

See Anderson Japanese Gardens in a whole new way.  Anderson Japanese Gardens is partnering with Hoo Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center and Haunted Rockford for a Halloween event that is geared towards the whole family.  Children are invited to come in costume and explore the Garden in a new and spooky way! Enjoy trick or treating throughout the Garden, make spooky treats, and enjoy guest animals.  Most activities are included with general admission.

Boos & Spirits Halloween Gala-The Standard                                                                                                     Saturday, October 29, 2016 @ 6:00PM

The Junior League of Rockford is throwing a Boos & Spirits Halloween Gala to raise money to help fund the Junior League of Rockford and its projects at The Standard. Unfortunately, this event featuring fun adults only activities, such as dancing, gambling, a cigar bar, whiskey tasting, and silent auction is already sold out.  BUT, I am posting it here to remember for next year so we can all get tickets!

Hoppy Halloween-Prairie Street Brewhouse                                                                                                         Saturday, October 29, 2016 @ 8:00PM

Check out PSB for a night of awesome costumes, drinks, and music at their annual Hoppy Halloween. Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts and DJ Briggs will be bringing “it” starting at 9:00PM.  $500 prize for best costume and $100 prize for best Star Wars costume!

A Nightmare on Main Street-The Olympic Tavern                                                                                             Saturday, October 29, 2016 @ 8:00PM

Join the OT for their annual Halloween party on Saturday night! Be sure to wear your best costume to win prizes for best male, best female, best group/couple, and best overall.

Locktoberfest: Costume Party-Lockwood Park
October 29-30, 2016 @ 10:00AM

Visit Lockwood Park this weekend for some great family friendly activities.  Enjoy pony rides, trail rides, the corn maze, crafts, and games.  Admission is free and there are small fees for activities.

We hope you all have spooky, fun, and safe Halloween weekend!  If there are any events we missed, be sure to let us know!



Midway Village Museum Loop

One of our very first posts featured The Loop, one of our favorite walking routes in Rockford, and many of you agreed with us on our Facebook page. Another favorite walking route of ours is the Midway Village Museum Loop, located next to the Midway Village Museum. This 1.4  mile path is nestled away on Rockford’s east side and offers a beautiful and quiet route. It feels almost like you are walking on a path carved through a classic  Illinois prairie.






Many people make this stop part of their daily routine, and with its gentle inclines, it’s a great option for anyone, even those looking for a leisurely stroll. With benches around the path and placards with information about local wildlife and plants, there is a little something for everyone on the path.



Another great thing about the Midway Village loop is that it is close to the Perryville Path, so if you’d like to extend your workout, add some hill work, and change up the scenery for longer workouts, you can easily connect to the Perryville Path. And if you take youngsters, there is a park nearby for some mid-walk playtime or a monkey bar upper body workout.



Enjoy these beautiful fall days while they last, and get out to one of the great local walking paths.