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  • Kelli

Friday TryDay: All New To Me: Aurora Edition

My idea for a fun outing/date/excursion/if-we-leave-the-house-we-can't-see-the-laundry is to pick three new places you've never been in your own city and GO! Isn't it funny how we get stuck in our routines and patterns even in the places we go to? Which is why I challenge myself to find a new local store or restaurant to go to -just to change things up! (And there's an aspect to it where I believe learning to go to new places and try new things in areas that aren't as "important," help us build up the ability to learn to walk into other new places and situations. For those who struggle a bit with walking into a new room, you'll understand. For those of you who don't - you won't get it. Just carry on with your bold self.)

A couple weekends ago, my husband and I went out and found three new places in our own city of Aurora. Here are those recommendations:

Gillerson's Grubbery - Gillerson's is located in downtown Aurora. It has a great atmosphere with the decor and hardwood floors. We each had burgers - he had fries, but I had tator tots - which are my top recommendation to you. Order the tots! The burgers were average, but they had other options on the menu, including tacos and appetizers like stuffed mushrooms and soft pretzels. We rate it a 7/10 and would recommend for the atmosphere and man,those tots.

Branch Gardens - Across the street (sort of) from the public library, you'll find Branch Gardens. It's an eclectic store selling vintage items and plants. When we went, it was a little too cold for outdoor plants, but I believe in the warmer weather, they'll have an area outside for pretty outdoor plants as well. Indoor plants, including succulents, and various dark green little new friends for you to take home were located throughout the store. The vintage items for sale were very cool and random. We rate this store a 8/10 and would recommend for you to find a new green friend.

Moka - Moka is a new coffee place on Rt 31 (Lake St). This is not a sit-down coffee shop, just a drive thru and a walk up window. There is a small space outdoors where it looks like they will have picnic tables set up in summer, however. There is parking and a bathroom you can enter from the outside of the building (again, no indoor space here). Moka has only a few locations in the Midwest, and this is the first one in Illinois. They have smoothies, hot drinks, cold drinks and they also sell a few bakery items from Harner's. Cons: No indoor space. You have to turn in off of Lake Street (bad location). The barista takes your order then goes inside and tells them what to make you and honestly, I don't think any of them have gotten those right so far - but hey, they're brand new and I'm giving them a chance. Pros: New coffee place! I love their drinks - probably our favorite of the non-Starbucks kind around here - and the baristas are super friendly. We rate this coffee shop an 8/10 and would recommend you get a double (medium) vanilla latte.

Other places to try in Aurora:

-Endiro Coffee: Get the avocado toast.

-Tredwell Coffee: Nice location. Nice place to eat outside in summer (right on the river).

-Wyckwood House: Cute cute cute shop. They have various vendors selling their homemade home decor, cards, clothing items. I always pop in - right next door to Tredwell.

-The Venue: A new place opening in June that will host various bands and events. Super excited about this and my husband is enjoying helping out a little bit with the opening of this space!

And don't forget! Event coming up in June - my first annual BookSmarts Party! Register here: BookSmarts Party

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