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13 Small Town Things That Had Better Be Cute

Mom-and-pop. Celebrate the kitschy offerings we expect from our small towns, and roll out to these Illinois spots for the relaxing vacation you crave.

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1. The ice cream parlor.

chicagogeek / CC BY-ND http://2.0 / Flickr: chicagogeek
Crystal / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: crystalflickr

One shop worth sampling is Capannari Ice Cream in Mt. Prospect, which exports everything from eggnog to Chocolate Chili Pepper.

2. The old-timey movie theatre.

Wayne Wilkenson / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: waynewilkinson

At York Theatre in Elmhurst, moviegoers can enjoy a Baby Barton Pipe Organ performance on Fridays and Saturdays.

3. The traffic signs.

Peter Van den Bossche / CC BY-SA http://2.0 / Flickr: lhoon
Natalia Wilson / CC BY-SA http://2.0 / Flickr: moonrat

This sign describing a bridge on "Old Dad Joe Trail" in Princeton limits congestion over the bridge. "Duck crossing" is a familiar site to Galena residents.

4. The street sports.

Greg Schechter / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr: gregthebusker
Greg Schechter / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: gregthebusker

Every Labor Day weekend in Arthur, you'll find crowds rolling cheese wheels at the town's Cheese Festival.

5. The transportation services.

A ride down Main Street is a must for any small town visitor, especially taking the trolley in Galena.

6. The creepy house.

The City of Alton is a hotspot for paranormal activity, but the creepy house in the small town is cute as long as you don't go inside.
Black.Doll / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: blackdoll

The City of Alton is a hotspot for paranormal activity, but the creepy house in the small town is cute as long as you don't go inside.

7. The pranks.

Gemma Billings / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: gemmamei

This Lincoln statue outside the Bloomington Farmers Market can usually be spotted wearing something festive.

8. The buy-in-bulk store.

Richie Diesterheft / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: puroticorico
Richie Diesterheft / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: puroticorico

No membership required at The Old General Store or any of the other antique stores in Galena.

9. The security forces.

Anne Hornyak / CC BY-SA http://2.0 / Flickr: anneh632
Anne Hornyak / CC BY-SA http://2.0 / Flickr: anneh632
Anne Hornyak / CC BY-SA http://2.0 / Flickr: anneh632

The scarecrows at the annual Scarecrow Fest are intimidating and precious enough to keep order in St. Charles.

10. The cheesecake factory.

Richi Diesterheft / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: puroticorico
Thinkstock

No shade to the actual Cheesecake Factory (it's incredible), but a tiny bakery with a secret backdoor like Main Street Cheesecakes in Galena is the type of cake we demand from our small towns.

11. The history lessons.

Tina / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: capturedsomewhereintime
Graham Milldrum / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: gmilldrum

In Dixon, they reenact the days of our greatest generation, complete with a few All-American Girls Professional Baseball Players. Major Civil War Days reenactments take over Naperville and Wauconda every year as well.

12. The shopping centers!

Marc-Anthony Macon / CC BY-SA http://2.0 / Flickr: city_of_dis
Jim Larrison / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: larrison

The honey vendors tell it like it is at the Gordyville auction and flea market, and combs are only 10 cents at the Kane County Flea Market in St. Charles!

13. And the town drunk.

Jokes aside, the squirrel is neither dunce nor drunk in Olney, where they hold an annual White Squirrel Count every October.
Wayne Wilkenson / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: waynewilkinson

Jokes aside, the squirrel is neither dunce nor drunk in Olney, where they hold an annual White Squirrel Count every October.