I’m happy to inform you that the secret to life has been found.
It was discovered by the whimsical children’s author Roald Dahl, all neatly summed up into one simple quote: “Above all (in life), watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
This week, I decided to take his advice and keep my eyes peeled for local secrets. In doing so, I found my new weekly health shop, a creative escape, and my future wedding shower location (once I have the man, that is). All were found by happenstance in our very own Racine.
The first happened without any expectation. Opening the thick door of the latte-colored chateau resting on Lake Michigan, I planned to enter an “average Joe” bed-and-breakfast. Stepping inside, I swiftly resolved my prior, naive speculation. I had just arrived at an Autumn-themed Hallmark movie set. This Narnia, just a block off Main Street, is known as the Lochnaiar Inn, situated adjacent to Gateway Technical College.
I was there last Friday for an interview with Elizabeth Smart, the woman who was kidnapped 15 years ago for a nine-month span, about combatting human trafficking. Her comments about the inn consisted of: “I think this is the nicest place I’ve ever been as a guest on the road! Can I just stay here!?”
They mirrored my thoughts exactly. With plush love seats begging guests to cozy up with a book and hot tea, exquisite furnishings far surpassing my design skills, and fall decor abounding, it was — for lack of a better phrase — simply breathtaking.
And frankly, I must have had a lucky week, for I discovered two equally as fascinating establishments just days later.
On my daily commute to work, I pass the Molbeck’s Health & Spice Shop at least five days a week. Having run out of my morning vitamin C tablets, I decided to neglect the shop no longer. I pulled to the curb, exited my car, and tried my luck. They had plenty of vitamin C, thankfully, and more — much, much more.
As a health foodie, I was in nutrition paradise. Kale chips, organic protein bars, all-natural frozen meals; needless to say, I bought more than my intended singular mental shopping-list anticipated.
It’s become a ritual of mine to buy a protein powder packet and almond butter pouch to mix into my morning oatmeal at work. There’s something for everybody at Molbeck’s, especially if you’re interested in feeling and looking great (wink, wink)! Maybe I’ll bump into you sometime, although I likely won’t be able to shake your hand with all the products I’ll be carrying to the checkout.
My final Racine discovery was right underneath my nose (as most discoveries tend to be). The bright blue building is on my lunchtime 4-mile run course from Downtown to North Beach, known as On A Whim Creative Collective. My inner Christopher Columbus got the best of me (I need to explore everything), so I knocked on the door and was greeted by a kind gentleman who gleefully gave me a tour.
The decor of the interior screamed imagination, and I could almost smell the creative energy in the air, with shelves of handmade ceramics layering the walls and stained glass creations, paintings and bright colors engulfing every corner. The organization, I was told, is open for both pre-planned parties and walk-ins, and they offer classes on mosaics, stained glass and more. I’ll likely become a regular.
Racine has plenty of hidden finds — I found three in just one week. What secrets can you uncover?