Last weekend I set out on foot, with our Innkeeper David, to attend the grand opening of a new real estate firm in the neighborhood, Touchstone Group at1425 W. Belmont. The walk was just under a mile, but it was rather cold outside that day. So we did a little shopping along the way. This combination of walking and shopping is a favorite defense mechanism for me in the winter. I get out and enjoy my walks while stopping in places I might, under warmer circumstances, miss.
We left the Inn and headed west on Belmont, stopping to warm up at one of my favorite Lakeview stores Uncle Fun. Its bright and quirky hand-painted exterior is just the beginning of the “fun.” True to its name, this little shop is a delightful indulgence for the kid in all of us. From vintage postcards and party favors, to plastic miniature toys held in old library card catalogue drawers, every inch of space is full of stuff. I never walk out of Uncle Fun empty handed! It’s a great place to take children ( but not very young ones due to the small size of many items) who will be entertained by the assortment of oddities. And it won’t break the bank to indulge them in a few purchases! If you stop in to Uncle Fun’s don’t miss the small book department in the back. It’s worth a look. Coffee table books, humorous tomes and art catalogues are frequent finds. I often stumble on the perfect gift here, and always put this spot on my list when I ‘m looking for unique seasonal party decor. This time I purchased vintage Valentines cards and paper lace heart doilies.
Shopping bags in hand, and warmed, we proceeded on to the grand opening where we met operations manager, Blake Townsley . Blake explained their expertise in landlord services and leasing and their other specialty, residential real estate. Even if you’re not in the market, if you happen to walk by their office, take a look at the large canvases of Chicago landmarks on their bright periwinkle walls. After refreshments and chatting with other neighbors and well wishers, we were on our way back to the Inn.
This time we chose Suburban Secrets, at 1117 W Belmont, as our warm up shopping stop. Suburban Secrets is new to the neighborhood having opened in the fall of 2011. Part antique store, part vintage clothing shop, this is a great place for those with eclectic tastes. The antique selection is carefully displayed without clutter and items are rotated seasonally. For example in December a large “Christmas tree” made of seashells graced the storefront window. On my last visit a four foot tall Mardi Gras face was propped up against a wall. They have a nice selection of costume jewelry all in very good condition and an interesting assortment of ladies clothes, shoes and other accessories. Since Valentine’s Day is coming up I bought a heart shaped broach before heading back outside.
So for our guests staying with us this winter, don’t be afraid of the cold, just do some warm up shopping along the way. Your visit will be richer for it.