Project: Time Off
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Ben Chauvin - Rockford Roasting Company
8:30 - 9:30 a.m. - Breakfast at Fresco at the Gardens. Love the food and view of Anderson Gardens in the winter. It feels like you're in a winter wonderland while enjoying the warmth of the central fireplace.
10 - 11 a.m. - Take a walk on the beautiful river walk to Nicholas Conservatory. Talk to everyone I pass and enjoy meeting new people.
11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Explore Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens and dream of the beautiful places these magnificent creations come from. Then I continue walking on the river walk to the downtown area.
12:30 - 1:45 p.m. - Lunch: Love the exotic tacos at Taco Betty's and the coconut Margaritas are to die for. Jasmine is a real jewel behind the bar. She engages you in interesting conversation and witty humor.
2 - 3 p.m. - Stop by Rockford Roasting Company for my favorite cappuccino drink.
4 - 5 p.m. - Drive up to Rock Cut State Park for a lovely hike where I can enjoy the serenity of nature.
6:30 - 7:30 p.m. - Dinner: Drive back to Olympic Tavern for some of the best food in town. Love their beer selections and always find someone to talk to if I'm alone.
9 - 10 p.m. - Meet friends at Social Urban Bar & Restaurant for drinks to plan for our next adventure!
Matt Gibbons - CSI Detective with the Rockford Police Department
8:30 - 9:30 a.m. - Breakfast: Lydia's Cafe - Best place for breakfast in Rockford. Huge portions, fresh, good and the staff is always great. You cannot go wrong with "The Bike Path" on the menu. It's just right!
10 - 11 a.m. - Bygone Brand - A trip here to get a nostalgic Rockford t-shirt or hat. They have the coolest designs! Go get a Geri's Hamburger t-shirt and be like the rest of the cool kids! Amy and Keith Watson will take care of your vintage Rockford clothing needs.
11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Culture Shock - Best vintage and new vinyl selection in Rockford. Plus an exceptional selection of vintage audio equipment. If you want it, Skylar and Lauren will find it for you!
12:30 - 1:45 p.m. - Fresco at the Gardens - The view in the spring is amazing and the lunch menu is always fantastic. If you have time after lunch, go through the gardens. They are not to be missed.
2 - 3 p.m. - Option #1 - A tour of the Winnebago County Police Museum at Midway Village Museum. Retired Chief Del Peterson will always give you an outstanding tour of the collection in a period Police Station. This one is a sleeper as very few people know of the exceptional collection of artifacts and research material the Rockford Police have at the museum.
Option #2 - The Laurent House by Frank Lloyd Wright. Get a tour of this amazing and complete Frank Lloyd Wright gem. This mid-century, midwest masterpiece is one of the best of Wright's Usonian Collection. Beautifully restored with all of the original furniture makes this a well-worth tour!
4 - 5 p.m. - J.R. Kortman Center for Design - A staple of downtown art, culture and the coolest gifts around! Go see Doc and Jerry, they are so much fun and know everything and everyone downtown! Plus there is always a great art exhibit upstairs.
6:30 - 8 p.m. - Dinner: Octane Interlounge - This is a must! Great cocktails and food. Chef and staff are the BEST! Get a gin martini, old fashioned whiskey sour to start. Try a nightly special or always fall back to The Bachelor! Everything is fresh, locally sourced and incredibly prepared. Another downtown stalwart, you won't be disappointed.
9 p.m. - The Coronado Performing Arts Center. The Gem of the City. An incredible facility for a show of concert. If you have never been inside you will be amazed. See Beth Howard from the Friends of the Coronado and get a tour!
Honorable Mention: Sinnissippi Golf Course! I refer to it as "The Old Course." Take the afternoon and play 9 at this 9-hole masterpiece. Cannot imagine Rockford without Sinnissippi. It is a gorgeous course that is well taken care of and preserved. The oaks on the course are gorgeous and bring your game as this is a tough 9! But well worth it on a beautiful spring afternoon.
Zina Horton - Zammuto's Drive In and Carry-Out
I would then head over to enjoy a morning walk on a summer day along the bike path or at any of our other parks and recreation paths. There are so many.
Lunch: Drive over to Zammuto's for delicious food and top it off with a Rockford well-known favorite - The Unusual - a combination of granita and ice cream!
Then I would take an adventure to Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens to tour and learn the interesting history of Robert Tinker, one of the first settlers in Rockford, and his family.
I'd head over to Rockford City Market to enjoy some nightlife in Rockford's beautiful downtown. I'd check out several of the vendors and then take a walk to the local shops and eateries along the State Street corridor.
The night wouldn't be complete without checking out a movie during Friday Night Flix at Davis Park just down the way. Love enjoying an outdoor movie under the stars on a warm night.
Then I'd be ready for bed because that's a jam-packed and fun-filled day in the Rockford region!
Pat Alberto - Octane Interlounge
8:30 - 9 a.m. - Breakfast at Gill's Diner. I've been going there for breakfast/brunch for 16 years.
10 - 11 a.m. - Go to Sinnissippi Park for a quick jaunt/walk/stroll.
12:30 - 1:45 p.m. - Lunch: Obviously OCTANE because we have Steamed Buns and coffee (and I am very proud of what we do/serve)
2 - 3 p.m. - Go to Anderson Japanese Gardens and walk around Japan without leaving home.
4 - 5 p.m. - Top Cut Comics because I'm a child and I love reading and collecting comic books.
6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Dinner: Izakaya because they have kick-a** ramen and the Rockford roll.
9 - 10 p.m. - Mary's Place to see amazing local music.
Zak Rotello - The Olympic Tavern
8 - 9 a.m. - Wakeup Call: My house - 2x cups of Rockford Roasting Company coffee, extra cream, extra sugar
9 - 10 a.m. - Breakfast: Walk to Der Rathskeller for grilled sausages, lyonnaise potatoes, eggs & a pint of Hefeweizen
10 a.m. - 1 p.m. - A round of Disc Golf at one of Anna Page Park's three 18-hole courses
1 - 2 p.m. - Lunch: Bike downtown to Sisters Thai Cafe for Panang Curry (extra extra spicy)
2 - 4 p.m. - Naptime
6:30 - 7:30 p.m. - Bike to Carlyle Brewing Co. for a pint of Humulus Lupulus
8:30 - 10 p.m. - Bike to The Olympic Tavern for seared scallops & a pint of pilsner (or three)
10 p.m. - ??? - Bike to Mary's Place to watch some live music and have a nightcap shot of Fernet Branca
Bike home. Rinse. Repeat.