Google+ The Duda Homestead: Where We Call Home - Chicago & Batavia w/Kendra Thornton

Monday, October 21, 2013

Where We Call Home - Chicago & Batavia w/Kendra Thornton

I was contacted by Kendra Thornton, of Thornton Public Relations to collaborate on a Q&A post about why we love our home cities. My husband and I love our home and are so excited to raise our son here. (Ah, "our son," still can't get over saying that!). Kendra was able to travel a great deal during her position as Orbitz Director of Communications, and happily calls Chicago home for herself, husband, and their three children. My husband and I live in Batavia with our little man, about an hour west of Chicago, and love the calm lifestyle we live here on The Homestead. Read our conversation below to find out what Kendra & I love most about our home towns! (Note: A=April, that's me! K=Kendra)
Photo by April Duda - 2011 in Batavia, IL
 Q: How long have you lived in your current city?

K: I have lived in my current city, Chicago, and its greater suburban regions for my entire life. I grew up here, attended college at Northwestern, and never left after college! If the term “lifer” has ever applied, it is with me and my beloved Midwestern city—and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have been to numerous countries throughout the world thanks to my previous job, and while I certainly enjoy it, I always love coming home to Chicago.

A: I feel the same way! We enjoy trips now and then, but are always happy to come home. My husband and I have lived in Batavia for 4 years now. In 2009, we were searching for our own apartment that was cheap, but in a nice area. Luckily, we stumbled across an ad on Craigslist for a small studio apartment in the second floor of a house that had been broken up into 4 units. This house was here in Batavia, right by the river and bike path. Perfect! We lived in that tiny apartment for 2 years and in that time got hitched, obtained our teaching certificates and landed our first teaching jobs. During our job searches, we decided that Batavia was where we wanted to stay and call home, so we narrowed our search. We luckily found positions close to home (I in Batavia, and my husband nearby in West Chicago).  With our new income and saved dough from enduring 220 sq ft for 2 years, we began searching for a home. We looked at one house that went on the market the day we met with our realtor and mortgage broker for pre-approval. We got it, looked at the house that we now lovingly call “The Homestead” and put in an offer that night and haven’t looked back! (Check out photos from our first winter here!)

Q: What are your favorite attractions in your home city?
K: Living in a big city, there is never a dull moment. There really is excitement around every corner, but I will list off a few of my favorite family attractions because I think there is a common misconception that cities are not kid friendly. The Lincoln Park Zoo is an old Chicago treasure that has been around for years. My kids love it here, and it is very well kept making it a delight to attend.

A:  That's great! We enjoy occasional trips into the zoo and agree that Lincoln Park Zoo is a great one! In Batavia, we regularly walk or bike the path along the river in the summers and since having our son, enjoy parking downtown and walking the Riverwalk or attending one of the many festivals hosted there, such as Art in your Eye, BatFest, Green Walk, and our own little “Taste of Batavia” known as our Block Party. (Check out Batavia's beautiful dedication to 9/11 here)We also love our library and all of the kids’ programs they offer. We’re also looking forward to spending time swimming with our little man at the Quarry in summer to come. And last, but not least, as an artist myself I LOVE that we live in such an artful community. The entire tri-city area has embraced the arts and it can be found everywhere! Batavia’s Water Street Studios has offered so much to our community since they set up shop.
Here's us on the Batavia Riverwalk in 2009 after our Engagement!
 Q: What is your favorite thing about your home city?
K: My favorite thing about Chicago is the homely feel this city has. It may seem hard to imagine that a city of millions could feel like this, but our common love of Chicago makes it this way.

A: Sound like we have that in common! We love the ambiance of the town. It has a population nearing 30k but still has that small town feel. I am from a small town (around 3k when I was growing up) and my husband went to college in Idaho and, while he is from the suburbs, knew he wanted to be away from the congestion and traffic. One thing I did not love about my small town is that there wasn’t usually much to do, and shopping wasn’t very convenient. Batavia balances everything we’d hoped we’d find. Randall Rd. offers just about every store you’d ever want to visit and we enjoy our almost weekly trips to our local Goodwill (whether to purge or buy!).
Q: Where is your favorite place to eat?

K: I have tons of different dining options that I love, but one of my recent favorites to bring my kids to is Abigail’s American Bistro. It is affordable, and the menu is absolutely delicious. With something for everyone from kids to adults, this fine dining experience (4.5 star rating) really has it all. I was able to find this restaurant by looking on the site Gogobot, a social site with guides for areas all over Chicago (and every other city in the world) as well as hotels, their primary feature.

A: I'll have to check out that site! We have tried many places in town, and while we are excited to try some of our most recent additions, we absolutely love Pal Joey’s. It is near our lil’ old apartment and we used to go there when it was a different name/owners. We enjoyed it just for the location and their outdoor patio on the river. We go there more often now that Pal Joey’s has moved in. I have yet to taste a better pizza and there is not much more relaxing than sitting on that back patio on a nice day with a slice of pizza and glass of Blue Moon. I also love Limestone Coffee & Tea and was very excited when they reopened!

Q: Would you rather live somewhere else? If yes, why? If no, why not?

K: There is nowhere I would rather be than in Chicago, Illinois. I have called it my home for my entire life, and being anywhere else just wouldn’t feel right at this point! How about you?

A: Before we bought our home, I may have said yes (if I didn’t want to stay close to family). I looove mountains and the northwoods of Wisconsin. I always feel at home there, which makes sense because half of my family lives there. But I never want to leave our home and we are happy that it is here in Batavia where we still get a good dose of nature :)
 What do you love about your home town? I'd love to hear it!
PS - You can follow Kendra on Twitter, here!

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