Your summer Lake County tour: Highland Park

My husband and I have a long history with Highland Park.

Well, I should say my husband has a long history with Highland Park.

His dad was a Highland Park police officer for 30+ years before retiring in 1998. Honorable, yes. But it also meant he got into Ravinia for free a couple of times, which was all he and his friends really cared about when he was a teenager.

His dad also got to work security for many John Hughes movies during his career, which is all I really care about.

Yes, I realize he was protecting the public sector and it was so brave and I am proud of him.



John Hughes Tour

For those who don’t read my regular blog, you may not know that I am a huge John Hughes fan/stalker and possibly related to him.

Thanks Rhiannon, wink wink.

Highland Park offers some amazing places to look for movie homes that you may have seen in such movies as “Weird Science,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Ferris Bueller.”


Proud parenting moment – a few Friday nights ago, they played “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles at the local football game.

Without missing a beat as she was carrying her nachos up to the stands, our seven-year-old said, “That’s from ‘Ferris Bueller’.”

She is my soul mate.


You will have to go a little farther south to see the “Home Alone” house but trust me, it is so worth it.

Head here to check out a great John Hughes movie tour with restaurant selections and even an ice cream place thrown in for good measure.

Beanstalk Toy Store


Downtown Highland Park has been a favorite place for our family for years.

My husband and I used to come here every year on our anniversary to eat lunch and take in the shops.

I have brought my girls here for a fun day of walking around and eating ice cream.

It is just a great bucolic village to meander and spend some time when you want to get away from it all.

Beanstalk Toy Store is a huge part of the whole hometown feel.

From the gigantic gumball machine at the front of the store, to the cool reading area with a playhouse where kids can curl up and read a book, this place is magical.

The people who work here are so friendly and they offer free gift wrapping!

I would totally get something fun gift wrapped, even if it wasn’t a gift.

Just because it is a Tuesday and life it just too short, you know?

Beanstalk is located at 654 Central Avenue.

Orphans of the Storm

Technically, this animal shelter isn’t located in Highland Park, but rather in nearby Riverwoods. They often have drop-in shelter events in the downtown area on weekends.

In all the years we have been coming to Highland Park we have seen the animals from Orphans of the Storm so often. We always look for them and on the day we were here, we weren’t disappointed.


Orphans of the Storm are a no-kill shelter that takes in every animal that is left at their doorstep, and their doorstep is amazing.

When we went to the facility recently, it smelled amazingly like pine cleaner and was so beautifully kept.

There was opera music playing in the kennel area which made me smile.

I guarantee that if you make your way to Central Avenue on any given weekend afternoon, you will see some wagging tails hanging out just waiting to say hello.

Orphans of the Storm is located at 2200 Riverwoods Road in Riverwoods (Deerfield).


This is my last tour of the summer.

It has been so much fun sharing this county with all of you.

I can’t believe summer is almost over and we are back to school!

I hope you have enjoyed exploring with me and I hope I can do something like this again next summer.

Or we can just rent a bus and go on a John Hughes tour.

Yes, that sounds much better.

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