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.



Apples, Cider & Donuts…Oh My!

‘Tis the season when the weather changes, scenery changes, clothing changes, and our appetite changes.  I know you will agree that here in the 815, we love fall, the change in season and… a good apple orchard.  Though I know many of you have already ventured to your favorite orchard, I wanted to give you, what I believe, is a solid list of orchards in the area.  Certainly, you will notice some common themes–picking apples, hayrides, pumpkins, and donuts, donuts, donuts!

Edward’s Apple Orchard, 7061 Centerville Rd., Poplar Grove, IL

Patrons come from near and far to enjoy what is the largest orchard in the area, Edward’s Apple Orchard and is home to everyone’s favorite donut.  While the apples are delicious, I would say the main attractions have become the apple pie, sandwiches, apple cider, DONUTS, play area for children and the wide selection of festive home decor and seasonal food.  If you can, I recommend going during the week as the weekend seem to be (do)NUTS.




Edward’s Apple Orchard West, 8218 Cemetery Rd., Winnebago, IL

If you are craving the Edward’s donuts, but want a smaller version of the orchard, head on over to Edward’s Apple Orchard West.  This orchard is another great place for families as the lines tend to be a bit smaller and they have an excellent petting farm.  Enjoy picking your own apples, pumpkins and raspberries!

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Curran’s Orchard, 6385 Kilburn Ave., Rockford, IL

Choose your favorite in-season pumpkins and enjoy some apple donuts, award-winning cider, fresh baked apple pie, caramel apples, honey, maple syrup, jams, salad dressings, craft items, hay wagon rides, farm animal corral, straw bale mini-maze, climbing bales, apple launcher, & more!


Valley Orchard, 811 E. State St., Cherry Valley, IL

You all know by now that I LOVE the Valley Orchard in Cherry Valley.  In fact, I have already been there twice this season to pick apples.  With a small child, the size of this orchard is perfect.  We can walk to the apples we would like to pick, mix and match varieties and get as little or as much as we would like.  The apples are delicious and I love the small, homey atmosphere.  Not only did we pick apples last week, but we also picked raspberries and they were so good that they only lasted a day in our house. In addition to the great apple picking situation, I also love their GLAZED apple donuts (yes, I said it!), and everything else they offer in there little store.



Are there any other apple orchards in the area you like to visit?  We are always looking for more fun, fall activities!


Eight in the Eight-October 2016


Fall is off to a busy start this year, and our day-to-day work and life activities are no exception. Excuse our tardiness with this month’s 8 Things to do in the Eight (one five) post this month!

Fall ArtScene @ Various Rockford Venues                                                                                                       When: Friday, October 7, 5:00-9:00PM & Saturday, October 8, 4:00-9:00PM

The Rockford Area Arts Council is back at it with the Fall ArtScene. This is one of our favorite Rockford events. Extremely talented local artists displaying their work at various local studios, churches, restaurants and businesses all around town. Grab a group of friends and make a night of hopping around to check out different artists.

Scarecrow Harvest Festival @ Midway Village Museum                                                                             When: Saturday, October 8, 11:00AM-4:00PM

For some fall fun with your whole family, check out the Scarecrow Harvest Festival at Midway Village.  There is something about Midway Village that screams fall and is the perfect place for a scarecrow fest.  With general admission, you can enjoy scarecrow making, wagon rides, apple and pumpkin games, craft projects, scavenger hunts, dancing, and cooking demonstrations.  What fall yard is complete without a homemade scarecrow?

Head of the Rock Regatta  @ Rock River near YMCA log lodge                                                               When: Sunday, October 9, 8:00AM-4:00PM

Being former rowers (Liz much more serious than Emily), we LOVE the regatta.  Teams from across the country take over the banks of the Rock River, and we get the privilege of watching them row.  This decades-old race draws more than 2,000 rowers from across the country and more than 5,000 spectators annual.  On a nice day, this is a free event you won’t want to miss.

Hot Diggity Dog Festival @ Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden                                                         When: Sunday, October 16, 10:00AM-3:00PM

If you are a dog lover, you won’t want to miss this year’s dog event at Klehm!  They have added a lot of new features to the usual line-up of vendors and dog adoption groups, including; live music, demonstrations by dog trainers, kids craft activities, best trick contest and more. For every dog adopted at the festival you will receive a free family membership to Klehm. To quote the event’s Facebook page, “Come…Sit…Stay…all day!”

On Tap in the Garden @ Anderson Japanese Gardens
When: Saturday, October 22, 1:00PM-4:00PM

You know we love a good beer festival. And a festival among the changing leaves at Anderson Japanese Gardens makes for a delicious afternoon with an Instagram-worthy back drop. On Tap in the Garden will feature over 40 craft beers from local and regional breweries, as well as food from local food vendors.

Spook-tacular Haunts @ Anderson Japanese Gardens                                                                             When: Saturday, October 29, 3:00-5:00PM

Check out this inaugural spooky event put on by Anderson Japanese Gardens, Hoo Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center and Haunted Rockford, that will again, be a great family activity.  Children are invited to come in costume and explore the Garden in a new and spooky way!

Inaugural Roscoe & Rockton BOOtique Trick or Treat @ Roscoe and Rockton
When: Saturday, October 29, 9:00AM-9:00PM

Another first-time event on this weekend is the Inaugural Roscoe & Rockton Boutique Trick or Treat where shoppers can trick-or-treat for great deals at local Roscoe and Rockton small businesses. With over 25 stores and restaurants participating, there will be something fun for kids and adults alike.

Trip to the Apple Orchard 

We are fortunate to live in a climate where we get to experience all four seasons.  For us, fall=apple orchard.  With many locations to choose from, you should have no problem getting your apple orchard fix.  Check back next week for our full breakdown of  our favorite apple orchards in the area and what makes each of them unique!






815-Rockford’s Magazine-Fall Edition


Hello 815! Just in case you missed the second edition in the Rockford Register Star on Sunday, we wanted to get you all excited about the fall edition of the new hyperlocal magazine, 815.  We were pumped to see the fall edition this past Sunday and it had us feeling that we want fall to last all year long.  The fun news for us is that we have another feature in the magazine. It’s always a thrill for us to see our efforts in print. Today, we wanted to give you a peak at what we wrote and encourage you to pick up your own copy of 815 ASAP  Check out Becky Rose’s article in the Rockford Register Star to see how to get your copy.  Here is our piece:

We fell in love with Rockford and we fell in love IN Rockford. Emily met her husband in middle school, and they married in October 2010 in Rockford. Liz met her soon-to-be husband after college in Rockford, and they will marry here this November. Our love stories started in the 815, so it just feels right that the first Fall 815 article will be on weddings.

Sharing the love of our city with our wedding guests was and is extremely important to us, so we compiled a list of ways to share the 815 with wedding guests visiting the area.

Our first suggestion is to greet your guests with hotel welcome bags that have a Rockford twist. Welcome bags have become increasingly popular over the years as a form of hospitality. Adding some local snacks such as individual bags of Mrs. Fisher’s Potato Chips, Chocolat by Daniel and Trident gum made here in Rockford at Mondelez.

Another great option for providing your guests with a taste of something local, is to give wedding guest favors from local businesses. Whether cupcakes from our  favorite Sugarjones, or handmade chocolates from CACAOCUVÉE, tasty treats make for a great favor. You can also opt to have something designed and printed locally by Rockford Art Deli, such as can koozies!

Sharing Rockford with your wedding party is another great way to show the 815 some love. A great option for groomsmen gifts would be a beer carrier or bottle opener hand crafted in Rockford by Rockford Woodcrafts. For the bridesmaids, a nice piece of local jewelry or carrying tote from Urban Farmgirl could be just the thing.

Finally, a nice touch to your wedding website, or to the welcome bag at the hotel, is a map of your favorite local establishments. Be sure to include a breakfast stop such as Mary’s Market or Stockholm Inn, a family attraction such as the Discovery Center or Burpee Museum, and a downtown watering hole such as Prairie Street Brewing Company or Carlyle Brewing Company.

Weddings are a time of love overflow, so why not share your love for the 815, too.  



Guide to Greenwich


TGIF!  This weekend is shaping up to be another beautiful fall weekend in the 815 and the #1 event on my calendar is the Greenwich Village Art Fair, located on the grounds of the Rockford Art Museum. Held rain or shine, the annual two-day outdoor event is set to feature 136 artists from around the region and across the nation. Live music, local and regional vendors at the Gourmet Marketplace, children’s art activities at the Creations by Kids tent – plus food, drink and more at the Village Pub, Kortman Gallery‘s Point Bar, and throughout the fair.  Ticket proceeds ($3 in advance at any Alpine Bank location and Rockford Art Museum, $5 at the door) support Rockford Art Museum throughout the year. We have put together a Guide to Greenwich for you (can you tell we are into guides lately?) and we hope you will find it useful.

Tour Your Home & Review Your Calendar

Similar to what our guide mentioned last week, take this opportunity to walk through your house or apartment with a friend or significant other and take note of blank walls and empty shelves. For example, I would like to find a great piece of art for the wall above the couch in her living room. Think about what kind of things could fill those spaces. Knowing what you are looking for will help keep you focused at the fair. Also, Greenwich is an amazing place to find gifts, so review your calendar for upcoming special occasions.  I have purchased several pieces of jewelry for family and friends over the years and because they are usually one of a kind, they are especially great presents.

Wear Comfortable Footwear & Plan Parking


If my family and friends know anything about me, they know that I am a planner.  I would highly recommend taking a peek at this parking map to see where to park and where not to park.  During peak times at the fair, parking can be at a premium, so be sure to bring your walking shoes so you are able to enjoy your entire time at the fair.  In addition, the Rockford trolley will be running free rides to and from Churchill’s Grove.

Check Out The Artist Directory

Rockford Art Museum has provided an incredible artist directory outlining every artistic vendor, their primary medium, and location.  Be sure to take a look at the list and if you have time, look at the artists’ websites.  Five artists have generously donated works of art to be raffled off ($5 per ticket, $10 for three) throughout the fair. The drawing will be at 4 PM on Sunday and If you won one of these pieces, it would be a steal!

Arrive Thirsty and Hungry

There are several options to satisfy your thirst and hungry.  Get ready for this list: Java Mania Coffee Roastery, Woodfire Brick Oven Pizza, We-B-Popp’N Kettle Korn, Hey Brothers Ice Cream & Waffle Cones, Pig Minds Brewery, Annette’s Italian Cookies, Cacaocuvee, Dip’ N Good Dips, Wind Ridge Herb Farm, and there will be brunch items offered both Saturday and Sunday mornings, which include omelets, crepes, baked goods and MIMOSAS.

Bring Your Kids (both human and K-9)

Rumor has it, the Creations by Kids AKA the “Superhero Station” is going to be better than ever with several art activities for kids.  Plus, children under 12 receive FREE admission.  Also, be sure to bring your (leashed) pup to with you as you walk around the fair.  The dogs are welcome too!

Stay Late

The fair technically closes at 6 PM on Saturday, but the party must go on.  Stay afterwards for drinks, dancing, and dining at the Point Bar.  You won’t regret it.

See you all there!



Guide to Main Street Market


Grab your friends and a good pair of walking shoes! It’s time for another Main Street Market hosted by Urban Farmgirl. This one-of-a-kind, enormous event, draws attendees and over 125 vendors from all over the Midwest. Not only is it a great shopping opportunity, but it is also an opportunity to explore the Victorian Village at Midway Village Museum.

As any good local, lifestyle blogger would do, we have put together a guide to the market to ensure maximum enjoyment!

Tour Your Home
Walk through your house or apartment with a friend or significant other and take note of blank walls, empty shelves or rooms where you have always wanted a cool piece of furniture. Liz, for example, would like to find a nightstand to replace her clunky file cabinet where she rests her phone and glass of water every night. Emily, would like to find items for her daughter’s “big girl” room. Think about what kind of things could fill those spaces, and then start to visit the websites, Facebook pages and Instagram feeds of those vendors who will be attending the show. Knowing what you are looking for will help keep you focused at the market.

Review Your Calendar
Take a look at your calendar for the next few months. Are there any birthdays, weddings, showers or other special events approaching for which you might need to bring a gift? The market will be full of unique, handmade gifts.

Think BIG
Do not worry about borrowing a friend’s pickup truck or minivan to bring home furniture. Two Men and a Truck will be available to bring your large treasures to your home! If you live within 20 miles, they will bring home your items for just $25 per piece! If you live further than 20 miles away, they will still bring it, but regular rates apply. This is an awesome, new service that could change the way we shop!

Be Early. Be Patient. Be Kind.
Like we said, this event draws a HUGE crowd. Whether or not you have your tickets, there will be a long line in the morning to get in, so grab your coffee and your Instagram feed on your phone, and wait patiently. And remember, while this may feel like survival of the fastest at times, the event is meant to be enjoyable, so be kind to your fellow shoppers and to the vendors!

Bring Your Appetite                                                                                                                                                   About a dozen local food and drink vendors will be onsite to keep you hydrated and well-nourished.  With items like coffee cake, popcorn, sandwiches, flavored ice, roasted corn, and refreshing beverages, you and your friends are all bound to find something that suits your tastes.

Brag About Your Finds
Take photos of your finds and tag the vendors. It’s a great way to show them what you love, and it helps support their business so that they can continue to create awesome stuff. Plus, after a day of shopping, finding a treasure is fun to share!

It is going to be a GORGEOUS weekend ahead of us, so we hope you can support these local vendors and attend the market. We’d love to see what you find! Tag us at @stateandeight in your Facebook and Insta photos!



Eight in the Eight-September 2016


Shop the Blocks-Downtown Rockford
When: Friday, September 2, 2016

The last shop the blocks of the year will take place is happening THIS weekend.  Businesses in the downtown area will offer sidewalk sales and alfresco dining. Local businesses are planning to pull out all the stops for the last event of the year.  For updates, check out their Facebook page.

Wings of Wonder: The Lorikeet Exhibit-Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens
When: Begins September 3-November 13, 2016

The Lorikeets are back! The Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens are offering a close-up look at these beautiful, curious, nectar-feeding birds.  The lorikeets are known for their playful personalities, vibrant coloration, and their ability to mimic words and sounds. This would be a great activity for all ages. Entrance to the exhibit is included with admission to the Conservatory.                            

Labor Day Parade-Downtown Rockford
When: Monday, September 5, 2016

Come show your love for our fine country at the Labor Day Parade in downtown Rockford.  With a new route this year, the parade begins at 10:00 am at the corner of 6th Avenue and 7th Street heading north; turns west onto State Street; turns south onto Wyman Street and ends at Davis Park.  Enjoy your long weekend (we hope!) and kick off your holiday at the parade!

A Night of Art and Craft (Beer)-Severson Dells Nature Center
When: Friday, September 9, 2016 6:30-9:30pm

An evening of craft beer drinking and crafting at Severson Dells Nature Center! Each participant will be guided in creating an original nature-themed painting on canvas. Come as you are, no experience necessary for this fun evening of hands-on creativity and celebration. You can participate in A Night of Art and Craft (Beer) for just $30, and you will be provided with all art supplies, great appetizers and two drinks.

Screw City Beer Festival-Downtown Rockford
When: Saturday, September 10, 2016

If you are one of the lucky ones to have scored Screw City Beer Fest tickets, then you could very well be the envy of all your friends.  The 6th annual SCBF is technically sold out, but The Olympic Tavern is doing some SCBF ticket events in the next week where you could get some last minute tickets.  SCBF will host over 50 American craft breweries and pour over 130 different beers to 2500 craft beer enthusiasts. Hope to see you downtown!

Main Street Market by Urban Farmgirl-Midway Village Museum
When: Saturday, September 10, 2016

If you missed the spring market, be SURE to head over to the fall edition of the Main Street Market.  Over 100 vendors from across the Midwest will be displaying goods of all kinds along with food and local music.  Tickets are available for $8 a piece in advance here.

Greenwich Village Art Fair-Rockford Art Museum Grounds
When: Saturday, September 17, 2016 & Sunday, September 18, 2016

Greenwich Village Art Fair is definitely one of our favorite annual events, featuring 136 artists, live music, a gourmet marketplace, children’s art activities, and more.  Not only are the vendors incredible, but the food and drink options get better every year. Admission at the gate is $5 for adults, free for children 12 and younger. Advance tickets are $3 and are available at any Alpine Bank location and at the Rockford Art Museum Store. Ticket proceeds support RAM programs throughout the year.

Picnic En Plein Air Community Dinner-City Market Pavilion 
When: Saturday, September 24, 2016 6-9pm

The River District Association has planned an awesome community dinner downstairs along our beautiful river front. Picnic En Plein Air will feature an  Americana and Rustic/Vintage style evening of outdoor dining catered by  Paul Sletten, owner of Abreo, and bar service will be provided by Prairie Street Brewhouse. Local artists will be creating original artwork throughout the night which will be auctioned off to help with future RDA events and programs.

Happy September!



Aaaaaand we’re back!  We missed all of you last week, but we are back at it and I’m excited to tell you about one of my new favorite breakfast/lunch spots, Magpie.  I have been able to dine there a couple of times now, and feel like I could eat there several times a month and never tire of it.  With daily breakfast and lunch specials, an incredible standard menu, house-made jams, coffee cake, biscuits, etc., delicious coffee, and all meals that are made to order, Magpie is an exceptional addition to dining downtown.

Located at 307 South Main Street in downtown Rockford, Magpie has become a storefront that is hard to miss with chalkboards that provide a personal touch!



Among myself, my family, and friends we have tried the following breakfast items: bacon pancakes, stuffed french toast (2 slices stuffed with sweet cream cheese and house-made jam!), the Magpie omelet (freshly roasted turkey, bacon, & smoked cheddar), blueberry pancakes (amazing!), and the coffee cake of the day (yes, Stephanie, the owner, makes a new flavor nearly everyday!).  Our food was so good, that I honestly forgot to take photos prior to diving in.  So, I took the liberty of pulling some photos from Magpie’s Facebook page to give you and idea of how great these meals look.



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Hungry yet?  I thought so.  Here is the best part…the specials change every. single. day.  So, be sure to check Magpie’s website or FB page to get the latest on the specials.  OR, better yet, just head downtown and let Stephanie surprise you!  The food is excellent, the service (thanks, Felicia!) is on point and the overall experience just makes me happy.  Rockford is lucky to have a new go-to spot in town.  See you all over some coffee cake and biscuits soon!



Farewell and Thank You – Altamore’s

Six years ago I moved to the near west side of Rockford, close to the North End neighborhood, and was introduced to Altamore Ristorante. Despite growing up in Rockford, somehow this gem had escaped my childhood, but it made a significant impact on my adulthood dining experience.




News broke last week that after 40 years in business, Altamore’s will be closing its doors on September 4th, and I immediately felt I needed to share my love for this west side community pillar with all of you.


If you’re not familiar with Altamore’s, the dining room is open one evening per week (Thursdays), and offers a traditional long, joyful and delicious Italian dinner.  Alberto Altamore stops by the tables to share his specials with patrons, and there is never any rush to turn tables, just a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy with good wine, tasty food and nice company. Six days per week Altamore’s runs a bustling carry-out and delivery business. I can almost guarantee that the delivery guy noticed when I moved out of my apartment due to the decrease in pasta and pizza deliveries to that address.


From birthday dinners and pizza parties to Valentine’s Day meals and retirement celebrations, Altamore’s will be sorely missed by many, but I am very grateful for the time they have shared with our community. Be sure to make those final Thursday reservations at Altamore’s, and place your carry-out orders prior to September 4th!


Rockford Day 8.15


Hello Rockfordians!  Who doesn’t love an excuse to celebrate living where they live?  The fine people at Rockford Community Partners have helped found Rockford Day on August 15 (8.15), to help celebrate the people and places that make up our fair city.  Because it will be my last day before I go back to work for the school year (I know, tear, tear.), I plan to take full advantage of the fun deals local businesses are having to celebrate Rockford Day.  While you can find the entire list here, this is a possible itinerary (one I plan to do), that will take you through the sweet 815 deals.  Let’s get our day started!

Wired Cafe

If you are one that likes to start your day with a little coffee or tea, plan to stop at Wired Cafe and enjoy live music by Mossy Vaughn and Derek Luttrell from “Name the Moon” and Gavin Epperson from “Taboo Blah Blah.” 15% off all coffee drinks from 8 – 9am.

N’Spired Yoga 

After gaining some energy at Wired, check out an N’Spired Yoga class at either N’Spired Yoga or Anderson Gardens for just $8.15. The offer is valid all week!

Village Green Home & Garden

Because one can never have enough plants (is that true?), take advantage of  the BOGO sale at Village Green Home and Garden and buy 1, get 1 FREE on all plant material at both locations   (6101 E. Riverside and 2640 N. Main).

Irish Rose

Tacos anyone? Head to Irish Rose for lunch (or dinner) for some handmade fresh fish street tacos for $8.15. All fresh fish menu items $3.00 off.

Bella Luna Bakery

If you are like me, you could always go for a sweet treat.  So, $8.15 for a dozen Mrs. Fisher’s Potato Chip Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, or Sugar Cookies all day at Bella Luna sounds incredible.

Rockford Art Deli

Don’t have an 815 tee yet? Head on over to RAD for a special, limited edition of the 815 tee.  Bring in a tee, get the print for $8.15. Don’t have a tee? Buy one in the shop for $18.15. Design will be released a few days before the event and will never be printed again. Available from 3-8 p.m.

Olympic Tavern

For dinner (or lunch), The Olympic Tavern is offering great specials.  Burger & Bourbon: Half pound burger, french fries, and a shot of Benchmark Bourbon for $8.15; The Bartenders Dinner: 8oz Ribeye steak, french fries, a pint of Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale and a shot of Benchmark Bourbon for $18.50. 11am – 12am.

We hope to see you out an about enjoying our city on 8.15!  Check out all of the Rockford Day deals here.