Nostalgia, hope for downtown's future abound at Long Grove Vintage Holidays

 
Updated 12/23/2018 4:37 PM
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  • Liam Zafer, 3, of Bartlett climbs up into the horse-drawn carriage in Long Grove as Charlie Jackson, 10, of Palatine waits to climb aboard with Jenel Zafer at the annual Long Grove Vintage Holidays festival.

      Liam Zafer, 3, of Bartlett climbs up into the horse-drawn carriage in Long Grove as Charlie Jackson, 10, of Palatine waits to climb aboard with Jenel Zafer at the annual Long Grove Vintage Holidays festival. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Decorations and horse-drawn carriage rides drew visitors to Long Grove Vintage Holidays Sunday.

      Decorations and horse-drawn carriage rides drew visitors to Long Grove Vintage Holidays Sunday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Kelly the horse greets Liam Zafer, 3, of Bartlett and Charlie Jackson, 10, of Palatine along with Jenel Zafer as they wait to climb aboard the carriage at the annual Long Grove Vintage Holidays festival Sunday.

      Kelly the horse greets Liam Zafer, 3, of Bartlett and Charlie Jackson, 10, of Palatine along with Jenel Zafer as they wait to climb aboard the carriage at the annual Long Grove Vintage Holidays festival Sunday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

During a season when people tend to wax nostalgic and enjoy classic Christmas movies and songs, some also seek shopping experiences that evoke an earlier time.

Long Grove Vintage Holidays, presented by the Historic Downtown Long Grove Business Association, filled that niche this weekend.

On Sunday, shoppers such as Michael and Mary Plaza of Elk Grove Village leisurely strolled the downtown, filling shopping bags with such goodies as apple doughnuts from the Long Grove Confectionery & Apple Haus.

Others, like Heather Salerno of Mount Prospect, decided to delay retail gratification and enjoy a carriage ride through the area.

"We got to see a lot of the different stores along the route. It was beautiful. It got us all into the Christmas spirit," said Salerno, who was joined by her husband, Joe, and three children. "Where else can you get a free carriage ride around a town nowadays?"

For Ryan Winn of Mount Prospect, the atmosphere reminded him of small towns where he grew up in New Hampshire. "There aren't too many places in Illinois that have that same type of geography," where "the woods are kind of more on top of you."

Along Old McHenry and Robert Parker Coffin roads were the signs of ongoing infrastructure improvement, indicating, many hope, an emerging renaissance.

Already, there were positive signs, such as the steady stream of clientele into such shops as Epilogue, which sells handmade fine art and gifts.

Seated at a table at the Long Grove Coffee Co., Mary Prekop, director of retail for the coffee company and the Long Grove Confectionery Co., which moved from the current location of Morkes Chocolates of Long Grove, said she sees an upward trend.

"We have seen a definite upswing here in the fall," Prekop said. "For us, we had the construction and the added challenge of the fact that we moved locations after 45 years. But I have to say, we're seeing numbers that are really exciting, because all we keep talking about is when the sidewalks are in, when the lighting is done, when things are really finished here. There is some new interest in investment in the downtown from new business. Very exciting."

For some shoppers, the nostalgia was not only for an earlier time but also an earlier time for Long Grove, when the roads were crowded with tour buses and the shops crammed with visitors.

"I'm just waiting until they finish the construction and I hope that business comes back in this area," said Mary McKenna of Fox River Grove, shopping for chocolates at the confectionery. "Because as a little girl, it was booming here and I have such good childhood memories with my mom and grandma."

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