McHenry County is home to an array of unique experiences filled with culture, cuisine, shopping and artisans. Let Visit McHenry County assist you in planning an authentic experience to visit some of our many makers. Indulgent chocolatiers, craft brewers, hand-crafted custards, luxurious soaps and more will leave your group intrigued and excited to return.
4 Unique Experiences on This Trip
- Silver Prairie Natural Soap Company
- Illinois Railway Museum
- Scorched Earth Brewing
- Sanfilippo Estate
Duration: 3 Days
This Itinerary is Ideal For: Adults over 21
Crystal Lake, Woodstock
McHenry County is full of adventures for you to explore. Start your morning at Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters and enjoy a cup of the best economically and environmentally sustainable coffees in the Midwest. Learn from their in-house coffee roaster about how Conscious Cup selects the highest quality coffee beans from the world’s best coffee farms.
Make your way north to historic Woodstock Square. This picturesque, brick-paved square is home to two makers that will leave you feeling indulgent and luxurious. At Silver Prairie Natural Soap Company,
owners Annette and Chrissy and possibly one of their Swiss dairy goats will welcome you into their shop. Annette will give the group an informative demonstration of how she creates their luxurious handmade soaps. After the demonstration the group will have time to explore the other unique shops and experiences throughout the square before lunch at Ethereal Confections. In addition to their bean-to-bar chocolates, groups can enjoy a variety of sandwiches and soups. Following lunch, enjoy a chocolate pairing where the group will be walked through the process in which they make their 100 percent organic fair-trade chocolates, and sample their rich chocolate truffles.
Continue your day of exploration with a visit to the Midwest’s finest steelpan drum band, Potts & Pans. This trio will delight with the sounds of the islands and some of today’s hits on steelpan drums made right in their studio, or enjoy a more interactive experience with a drum circle. Owner Matt spent time in Trinidad learning the unique island instrument with the goal of bringing steelpan back to his hometown.
Your day of indulgence continues with a visit to Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen, known for using local sustainable ingredients to make exceptional gourmet dishes. Enjoy a plated dinner or buffet- style meal with options, ranging from casual bar fare to upscale dining options, to accommodate any budget. Finally, the group will enjoy a nightcap at Crystal Lake Brewing with a tour of the brewery and samples of distinct craft brews that are easy to drink but hard to put down.
Richmond, Harvard, Union, Algonquin
First up is a stop at Ginger Blossom in Richmond. As you arrive at this oasis in the country, you will be greeted by Ginger herself, who will share her experiences of exploring the world and finding treasures that you can find in few Midwest stores. Ginger makes it a priority to purchase fair-trade items, including ethnic and traditional crafts, rugs, furniture and antiques, housed in her barn and outbuildings. All items are for sale and can be shipped home for you.
No trip to Richmond is complete without a stop at Anderson’s Candy Shop. You can taste the history behind this family-owned chocolate shop. They have been making their handmade delights since 1919. Taste a variety of chocolates and take a few home with you for souvenirs.
Enjoy a scenic drive through the winding country roads of northern McHenry County on your way to Rush Creek Distilling. You don’t have to be a spirits connoisseur to enjoy the artfully crafted whiskeys, gins and vodkas created there. When you arrive, indulge in a catered buffet lunch that can be made to accommodate your group’s needs. We suggest the mashed potato bar. After lunch the group will tour the distillery to learn the process of how grains are turned into a glass of your favorite spirits. Following the tour, enjoy samples of the spirits and a question-and-answer session with one of the owners, Jim.
By now your group will be looking for some time to stretch their legs and explore on their own. At the
Illinois Railway Museum they can experience North America’s largest operating demonstration railroad. Feel the rumble of a 1918 steam locomotive, get up close and personal with a sleek Zeyphr or hop aboard a mid-century streetcar. The museum also has trains that have served as the backdrop for films like A League of Their Own, The Babe and most recently, Transformers: Age of Extinction.”
The group has definitely worked up an appetite by now and will make their way to the group tour favorite, Port Edward Restaurant in Algonquin. A local favorite, it has been offering seafood for over 50 years and been named as one of the most unique dining locations in the country. Make sure to save some room for the final stop for the evening. Just up the street you will stop by Scorched Earth Brewing, where the group can enjoy a craft beer and handmade custard pairing with Julie Ann’s Frozen Custard.
No trip to McHenry County is complete without seeing the unbelievable Sanfilippo Estate. The Sanfilippo family may call this home, but they open their doors to group tours to explore their elaborate collection of automated music machines, a European salon carousel and 8,000-pipe Wurlitzer theater organ. This collection is unlike anything you have seen before and may ever see anywhere else. This is a three-hour, docent-led tour, so make sure to leave plenty of time in your schedule for this stop.