As many of you know, I relocated to the Bloomingdale area several months ago. Even though I only moved 30 minutes away and I love my new location, one of the main struggles I have is that I don’t know where and what there is to do here. When I’m not running around with work and children’s activities, I try to take time to explore not only my village, but the surrounding locations to see what things there are to do for my family.
U Can Do Island
This past week I spent some time in historic downtown Bartlett and found several local businesses that have quickly become my favorites:
Located on Oak Avenue adjacent to the Chamber of Commerce offices, the BookLady’s Book Attic is a charming store filled with gently used books for all ages. With a warm and cozy environment, little rooms with nooks and crannies to explore, and a children’s section that makes me want to just hand over my wallet when I walk in the door, owner Pam Jaramillo has created an enchanting environment for book lovers old and new. I’ve discovered entirely new series of books that my kids are madly in love with, all from shopping in the Book Attic. The store is also available to host small book clubs after regular business hours, as well as local moms groups that would like a ladies night out in a new location (think 10-12 people total). Right now, she is only accepting cash or checks, but her prices are so affordable that I’ve not found it an issue any time I have shopped there.
Located inside the Banbury Fair complex, U Can Do Island is a hands-on crafting, birthday party and playdate center for kids. Plus, they sell customized children’s clothing. Sound like a lot? It is, and it’s a magical and full of sparkles. Admittedly geared more towards girls, their hands-on crafting centers include things like make your own necklace and bracelets, t-shirt decorating, flip-flop decorating, pipe cleaner crafts, sculpture painting, picture frame decorating, sand art and much more. The options that they have for birthday parties, Girl Scout events, or just playdates is just as expansive: a doll and me makeover, hair wrapping and braiding, glittered hair updos, and manicures are just a few. The space is fun, bright and conducive for a good time for girls. However, owner Janet Reusch is completely open to changing around her entire layout to meet a customers needs for a party. Have a child that is in to sports? Gone is the glitter and tulle and you’ll think you’ve walked into a basketball court. Prices are ala carte or packages are available for parties and groups. They can also bring the party to you – which I loved!
On the same side of the railroad tracks, just off Main Street you can find Delicious Crepes and Roti. In a word, YUM! With an expansive breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert menu of crepes, I found it incredibly hard to choose what I was in the mood for, regardless of the time. (By the way, the difference between a crepe and a roti is that a roti has more Indian flavors, is spicier and burrito rolled, but is just as hefty as a crepe.) The café is warm and inviting, the service was excellent, and their prices are VERY reasonable and include tax. They even have an app where you can place your order online and pick it up in store (plus receive a free crepe when you download it). The only time I’ve had crepes prior to this was walking through the streets of France, and these brought me right back. I can’t wait to start working my way through the desert portion of the menu!
So who wants to bring your kids and come spend an afternoon hanging out in Bartlett with me?