Zion Banks has made her home in places like Georgia, Minnesota and Los Angeles, courtesy of her husband's frequent job transfers. So the Chicago native was thrilled six years ago when she learned their next move would be back to the old stomping grounds where she grew up.
"I'd been homesick for 20 years," Zion says with a laugh.
When they were trying to decide where exactly in the Chicago area they would make their next home, Zion and her husband, Dennis, decided they wanted an area with diversity.
"My children had always lived in an area where everyone looked like them, but we wanted them to be with people who looked different, too," Zion says. "We wanted people with different values. We wanted them to be exposed to others as much as possible. So we decided Flossmoor really fit the bill."
Recently, Zion took a few minutes to talk about her family's love of living in the far south suburb.
What does your family like to do when you're not working and in school?
My youngest daughter and I find ourselves in the kitchen making cookies and chocolate-covered pretzels. My middle daughter is a reader, so we've mapped out routes to all the different bookstores in the area. My oldest is into cooking, so I'm trying to expose her to different foods and restaurants. …My husband's a big runner. He does the Flossmoor 5K every year in September, and it's a beautiful course through the neighborhoods.
What's the town like?
It was founded in 1924, and it's a village of 9,000, so it's very small. Historically it was a place where the professors from the University of Chicago would come for the summer. They would have summer homes here because the golf courses were phenomenal. … It's since evolved and people live here year-round. … It's a very active and involved community in any season. You can see the community spirit.
What can you find in downtown Flossmoor? What do you like best?
I have a couple of favorites. The Flossmoor Brewery is my favorite; I like to hang out there. There are a couple of consignment stores. I especially love the one called Her Closet. There's a little pastry shop called Sweet Annie's. They're all on Sterling Avenue in downtown Flossmoor.
On the other side of Flossmoor is a restaurant called Flavor. They have an eclectic mix of food: Cajun, Creole, and they put things together. I like salmon croquettes with a side of grits. Or you may get chicken with a side of waffles, so it's a real eclectic blend. They also have a fabulous mimosa.
Anything else we should know about Flossmoor?
There's a park downtown called Sculpture Park because there's always two or three sculptures on display.
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.