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Downtown Woodstock Square

A Living Town Square, Woodstock, Illinois

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Except for some hopelessly square types, everyone who was anyone was at Woodstock either in person or in spirit. But, that’s not the Woodstock the Getaway Guys grooved on. Neil and Alan went out to Woodstock, Illinois where they had some sober fun exploring the town’s square and did a little shopping at Rich’s Foxwillow Pines Nursery ( out on McConnell Road. Neil bought two trees for his dwarf conifer garden while Alan (a Home Depot addict) watched. For those into gardening with exotic material Rich’s is a great place to visit.

woodstock1An enjoyable getaway for a day, Woodstock ( in recent years has become a bit of a traffic challenge to get to. On almost all routes, indiscriminate development of once productive farmland has made travel (about 60 miles from Chicago) to this admirably preserved community in McHenry County convoluted. Currently the least congested route appears to be I-94 north to IL 176 west, or for this destination consider Metra.

The Getaway Guys noticed that almost everything seemed to be happening around the town square. Unlike many other town squares across America, Woodstock’s is unique because it actually serves as an active focal point; not some forgotten patch of grass where things used to happen. Spacious, immaculate and the site of several interesting structures (a Band Shell and an impressive Civil War Monument), the square is used by folks to relax, to grab a bite, to read a book ,or to just sit in the shade and listen to a unique selection of music courtesy of the public address system.

woodstock2Portions of the movie Ground Hog Day were filmed in or around Woodstock’s square. The Dick Tracy Museum is in the old Courthouse Building on the square. The restored and operational Woodstock Opera House (1889) is there, too. Several interesting restaurants, including La Petite Creperie ( 815-337-0765), are on the square, as well as delicious ice cream at Cobblestone’s. Nearby is the Town Square Inn (815-337-4677).

While in Woodstock the Getaway Guys learned that the creator of the Dick Tracy comic strip, Chester Gould lived outside of town (hence the Museum) and not infrequently used locals as characters in his crime busting story line, prompting the Getaway Guys to wonder about the origins of B.O. Plenty and Gravel Girty. They had an excellent lunch at La Petite Creperie and for desert they wandered over to Cobblestone’s where Neil had his obligatory ice cream and Alan, out of deference for his waistline and pocketbook, mooched a glass of water. Afterward they bumped into the proprietor of the Town Square Inn and eagerly accepted a tour of the premises. Pretty nice! Even though no program was in progress and the Opera House auditorium was roped off, they were allowed entry for a leisurely look around. Very impressive! September 2006

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