What’s to Like About Rockford: The Olympic Tavern, Since 1945


When it’s 7 degrees outside, there’s nothing better than meeting up with good friends for good food at a great LOCAL place. If beer is your thing, The Olympic Tavern features a beer menu with 28 beers on tap, 59 bottles and 9 cans, including a brew with the propitious name of SKA Euphoria. If beer is not your thing–since these days I’m a teetotaler too, the food and service are well worth the visit.

My writing critique partner extraordinaire and I like to meet up at the Olympic Tavern because we can easily chat away four hours and the staff won’t kick us out no matter how busy they are. We were just there earlier this month discussing literary and literal loves. I had the crab stuffed sole with champaign cream sauce and had to force myself to savor every bite rather than devour the meal (which is what my taste buds were demanding). Our server was pleasant, attentive, but not intrusive. We could hear each other speak. Always a plus in my book. And I left without spending every dime I earned that week.

The inside has recently been remodeled, but to be honest *I haven’t noticed* I pay attention to the person(s) I’m with, not whether or not there’s new paneling 🙂

On a Friday or Saturday night you’ll definitely need a reservation.

Photograph 1/31/13 Karin Blaski

What’s To Like About Rockford: Edward’s Apple Orchard


My heaven smells like an apple orchard…

Autumn means apples, and no October is complete without a trip to Edward’s Apple Orchard . It’s a family affair and we always leave laden with a few bags of fresh tangy apples (among other things). Lots of fun places for the kids to explore, including a petting zoo, pony rides, wooden train, and several tractors sunk into the earth. One of my daughter’s favorites this year was this cute guy. . .


And just in case you didn’t believe me about the tractors…


Now Edward’s is not the only apple orchard around Rockford and I would be remiss if I did not mention Curran’s Apple Orchard. They have fun things to do too, and *whispers* I like their apple donuts just a little better. The best thing to do is go to both places and decide for yourself 🙂 Continue reading

What’s to Like About Rockford: On The Waterfront


As promised, here is my first monthly post about what makes Rockford a special place to live.

On The WaterFront is an annual music festival that takes place in downtown Rockford over Labor Day weekend. Starting Thursday evening, the festival runs through Sunday night. This year over 80 performing artists were featured on five different stages including: The BoDeans, Creedance Clearwater Revisited, Smokin Gunz, Casey James, Guy King, The Lovehammers, and lots of local groups. In the past, I’ve seen Ted Nugent, Daughtry, Styx, Cheap Trick and Buddy Guy at this festival.

In addition to the music, there are lots of special attractions. Carnival rides (1/2 price before 2 PM), food vendors serving your standard carnival fare (corndogs, elephant ears, BBQ turkey legs, lemon shake-ups) as well as some specialty items (crab rangoons, the walking taco, pulled pork nachos)–this year, The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor from Forest Park, IL was there, the Cupcake Ice Cream was a favorite–and lots of community booths, including the ComEd Kids Castle, where a parking garage is turned into a free game/craft emporium for kids under 12.

The festival has gotten smaller over the last couple years, another casualty of our economy. But it’s still cheap to get in (I paid $10 for a three day pass, even though I only went on Sunday). Kids under 9 are free. The festival advertises $15 for a three day pass purchased ahead of time or $15 for a one day pass at the gate, but there are lots of employers in Rockford who purchase passes in bulk for discounts they pass along, as long as you get the passes ahead of time. Parking is extra of course, but the further away you park, the less you pay. Lazy me parks in the garage across the street for $5.

Less crowded, great music for cheap, beautiful weather, tasty food, and you can throw your kids inside these inflatable plastic hamster balls on a pool of water and watch them try to stand up…


What’s not to like?

Photos by Karin Blaski 9/2/12