Find out where to take a hike in Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles

Find out where to take a hike in Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles

  • A woman jogs past the changing colors at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles. The preserve is one of columnist Dave Heun's favorite local places for a fall stroll.

      A woman jogs past the changing colors at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles. The preserve is one of columnist Dave Heun's favorite local places for a fall stroll. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted10/25/2019 6:00 AM

The fall colors on display and distinctive chill in the air tells us winter is lurking. Yet, right now it equates to the best time of year to take our long walks.

A few years ago, I wrote about Geneva resident Barbara Bond and her book "Take a Hike Chicago." In that book, Bond shares numerous great hiking trails throughout the Chicago area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

My thoughts here are much less extensive, though I do recommend anyone fond of scenic hikes to check out Bond's book.

For my wife and me, it's usually just a matter of taking advantage of the excellent walking patterns that can be enjoyed in the Tri-Cities area. We're walkers, but these routes certainly work for joggers and, in most cases, bike riders.

Our first recommendation is LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve on Dean Street in St. Charles. Making the loop around LeRoy Oakes on its blacktop path is nice, but you can also slip into the forest preserve and walk trails that end up behind the Pioneer Sholes School. It should also be noted that by crossing Dean Street, a loop through LeRoy Oakes could lead to an extended hike on the Great Western Trail.

If nature and pastoral settings bring you comfort, LeRoy Oakes is your walking site.

We have similar enjoyment walking along the Fox River Trail in Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva and Batavia. You can walk from the Depot Pond in Batavia to Island Park in Geneva, or you can cut across the footbridge along the trail and go all the way back to Depot Pond.

Of all of our walking choices, this is the one in which you must be alert. You are sharing it with many bike riders.

Our dog tends to like urban settings as much as nature. Why? You'd have to ask her. But it did force us to create some walks that were a mix of our downtowns and some park settings.

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We do four of these loops. One starts us in Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles and takes us north into downtown St. Charles. We just walk as far as we feel when going through town.

Another starts at the Municipal Center in St. Charles and along the Freedom Walk into Pottawatomie Park and through those St. Charles neighborhoods. Or, we cross the footbridge over Route 31 and walk around downtown, and maybe into neighborhoods as far west as Thompson Middle School.

The other two start in Geneva. One is at Wheeler Park, where we make that loop and then go into the neighborhoods, and maybe even into downtown Geneva along State Street. To mix things up a bit, we sometimes start in Wheeler Park and take the short path on its north side that hooks into the walkway, across Route 31, into Mount St. Mary in St. Charles.

Our usual Sunday morning walk starts near the Kane County Courthouse on Third Street in Geneva and loops us to the east along State Street and through Island Park, across the footbridge and back toward Third Street in Geneva.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Happy walking!

Looking to the hearts:

After its much-publicized, massive success with a fundraiser the McHenry VFW called the Queen of Hearts raffle, it is becoming common to see other organizations, agencies and schools hop on this bandwagon.

St. Peter School in Geneva is touting one at this very moment, encouraging those interested to purchase a $5 ticket to be part of a weekly drawing at Nobel House restaurant in downtown Geneva.

Basically, those who buy a ticket are eligible to have their ticket drawn from "the hat," or whatever sort of device might be used to mix up tickets.

The holder of the drawn ticket gets to pick a card off the raffle board in which 54 sealed numbered cards are posted. If that person picks the Queen of Hearts, he or she is declared the winner.

If the Queen of Hearts doesn't turn up, that spot on the raffle board remains exposed and you move onto the next week with one less card spot to pick from. Needless to say, the winning pot to split with the school grows each week.

The St. Peter School drawings are held at 9 p.m. Mondays at Nobel House. Tickets are available to purchase at Nobel House, the St. Peter parish office or after some masses at St. Peter Church and school events.

Those Halloween creations:

The number of interesting Halloween decorations dotting our neighborhoods, as well as the various haunted houses, festivals and costume parades and contests, certainly get you in the mood for the big fright night of the season.

But sometimes an interesting Halloween creation unfolds right in your neighborhood, and that's what the folks around 234 S. 15th St. in St. Charles are saying about a Halloween maze that Keith Rowan and his family put together on the front lawn.

It's apparently a free, fun thing for kids. We're told that more than 700 kids made their way through it last year, and it is twice as big as last year.

Batting balls around:

For years, Batavia had an indoor baseball-training center on Raddant Road, but now it has one at 812 Main St.

Owner Brian Krolo has opened his Dawg Pound baseball/softball facility for those seeking batting cage and pitching lane rentals.

He's still piecing together the schedule for the site, so those interested in having individual or team practices, or obtaining professional training, may want to keep an eye open for how this place develops.

More information is available by calling (630) 217-8330, or emailing Krolo at krolotraining@gmail.com.

New to the area:

It gets hard to keep track of the new restaurants coming and going, but we have heard some good things about Chime & Stave restaurant and bar in the Campton Crossing retail strip in Campton Hills.

At this place, there has been talk about the Parmesan crusted chicken dish being off the charts.

Also, Oak & Swine in downtown Batavia at the corner of River and Wilson streets, is drawing some attention as an excellent barbecue joint.

Someone mentioned getting delicious barbecue in a taco shell. Sounds good to me. Both of these places are on the "have-to-try" list.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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