The perfect winter day in Lake County

How I feel about winter isn’t a shocker to anyone who knows me.

So I will not be sharing with you a “Perfect day in winter in Lake County” post.


This is my wish list for spring.

This is how I am getting through winter.

This is my “therapy.”

This is how I got through another week of my car reading one on the temperature gauge.

Because my perfect day in Lake County doesn’t exist currently.

Unless there is a sun lamp.

And booze.

And endless supplies of brownies.

I had thought about the idea for this post while I was in the shower a few weeks ago.

Don’t be gross, I think about a lot of my ideas while in the shower.

I had heard, on Pinterest of course, that you should keep a dry erase marker in the shower so that you could write your ideas down while in there.

But wouldn’t they just wash away while you are writing them?

You’re wondering how I got this gig here at Chicago Parent aren’t you?

Be honest.

A perfect day in Lake County for me would be ideally in the late spring, never EVER in the winter.



Maybe in the late summer, possibly in the early fall, but definitely the late spring/early summer.

We will start our day with breakfast at a place that has a place close to my heart.

The White Alps in Lake Zurich.

That is in Illinois, not Europe, to be clear.

When I was very little, we lived in Lake Zurich and this little restaurant was a favorite we used to frequent often.

So, if you are a mathematician, you might want to wager that this place has been around the block a time or two.


Did I say that out loud?

Well fiddledeedee, that is not like me at all.


Anyway, this place has a soft spot in my heart and definitely the first place to stop on my perfect day in Lake County spectacular-a-palooza.

By the way Taylor Swift, I am copyrighting that name, so BACK OFF.

While you are in Lake Zurich, head over to Paulus Park at 200 S. Rand Road which is just around the corner.

They have an amazing beach, park, playground, volleyball court and lots more.

We have gone here to celebrate the Fourth of July a few times, thanks to our friends and neighbors who introduced us to this amazing place a few years ago.

Plus there is a Trader Joe’s across the street so you can get some organic chicken, tulips AND enjoy the great outdoors.

It IS the best of both worlds.

Hannah Montana was such a visionary.

So now your belly is full of brekkie, you have beach hair, and you have organic chicken and flowers in the trunk of your car. And it’s only 10 a.m!!!

On to our next adventure …

Take the back roads to Libertyville, because you are going to get the best sandwich of your life.

We are stopping at Burt’s Deli to get a corned beef.

You can get whatever you want, but I am getting a corned beef and do not forget to get the potato salad.

I love the people who work there so we might eat it at the deli but if it is a beautiful day, we might get it to go and have a picnic at Independence Grove.

Nah, let’s eat it there, it’s much more fun that way.

Burt’s Deli is a Lake County institution, if you have never been, you really do need to go.

The food is so good, like having a city deli in the suburbs.

Trust me, I went to a NYC deli and it was NOTHING compared to this.

The sandwich I had at Burt’s made me verklempt.

Not gonna lie.

My dad used to eat here regularly with his work buddies then introduced his family to it and we were sold from then on.

We would get their homemade potato salad for our cookouts and their lunch meats are to die for.

Go for their “Yummy” sandwich which is a Corned beef, Pastrami, Cheese, Mustard and Horseradish sandwich.

Burt’s is located at 114 Green Tree Parkway in Libertyville.

Call ahead at 847-367-9687 because they are a small business and they might need advance notice.

This you need to know: They are friendly and will talk your ear off.

You will fall in love with them, as did we.

Treat them with love and kindness.

Or I will kick you in the knee caps.

OK, so your bellies are full of brekkie, you have flowers, organic chicken, beach hair and oddly enough, a Brooklyn accent, and now you are walking with a limp.


Let’s go for a walk, well maybe a boat ride.


Before you head to the boat ride, you’re gonna need some ice cream.


We need ice cream!

Dairy Dream is my favorite Lake County ice cream place and we always go out of our way to stop here.


We need to stop here!

I don’t care if we are full.

We need to stop because we can eat it as we are walking around. WHAT?????

OK, we can get it after we paddle boat but before dinner.

Please tell me I am not the only person who schedules ice cream???

Dairy Dream is located at 1229 W. Park Ave. in Libertyville.

Now on to paddle boating.

But don’t forget the ice cream after.

If we decided to do the picnic, then we are already at Independence Grove!

But we need to leave to get ice cream and come back.

This place used to be a quarry back in the day then they had the great idea to turn it into a cool park/beach/dog park/wedding venue.

We have come here many times with the kids and they love it here for the beach. I love it here for the walking. I have also come here to run with friends. But today, we have come here for paddle boating.

You can paddle boat or rent the four person bikes, go horseback riding and even play golf.

You can spend an entire day here if you want and it’s really affordable as well.

Independence Grove is located at 16400 West Buckley Road in Libertyville.


I am exhausted.

All that paddling has made me sweaty and hungry again.

Let’s round up the kids and get something else to eat.

Because really, it’s always about the food, isn’t it?

The Shanty in Wadsworth was featured on “Diners, Drive In’s and Dives with Guy Fieri” years ago and since I have a huge crush on him, I immediately wanted to go.

So we went up there a few years ago with friends and it was all we thought it would be.

Guy wouldn’t lie to me.

The food was amazing. But this is the thing, it’s not fancy, it’s down to earth and loud.

Exactly what we love in a restaurant, especially when you have children.

A couple of tips: Go early or during off hours because the place gets very busy because GUY FIERI WAS HERE and also THE FOOD IS AMAZING even if Guy Fieri never visited in the first place.

Another tip: The food might not be very kid-friendly BUT I am all about having the kids try different things and making it work.

For example, my 7-year-old would rock the pasta dishes and my oldest would rock the steak dishes.

So if your kids only eat chicken nuggets?

Tell them the “alligator” is “chicken” and that “Guy” is “Ronald.”


Make it work.

For the adults, try the Whiskey Shrimp appetizer, our all time favorite. You cannot go wrong with any of the seafood there.

Enjoy my day in Lake County for yourself and your family.

Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Visit “The Alps,” go to the beach, get some chicken, ride through the countryside, get a “Yummy” (don’t make it sound so dirty), go paddle boating, DON’T FORGET THE ICE CREAM and tell Guy I said “hi.”

I would love to hear how you and your family enjoyed “my” perfect day for “you.”

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