Village of Frankfort
Farmers Market peaches
My favorite “undiscovered place” is hidden in plain sight. It’s Breidert’s Green, a park in downtown Frankfort that serves as the town center for many of the community’s outdoor events. It's not exactly a best-kept secret: It’s used as the main staging area for Frankfort’s annual Fall Fest, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year the first weekend in September; it's the site of a weekly farmers market and antique car show; and it hosts outdoor movies, concerts, fine arts fairs, and year-round special events. So it is well visited, especially by in-the know “locals” from the south and southwest suburbs and Will County. It also serves as a beautiful stopping ground/rest spot along the scenic Old Plank Road Trail, a 21-mile hiking and biking path that runs right through downtown Frankfort. Breidert’s Green (and Frankfort) graciously accommodates the many weekend warriors, hardcore cyclists and strollers out with the family dog who want to stop for a cool drink, use the clean public restrooms, or just sit a spell at a shaded picnic table or bench. So welcoming, the park itself is almost a destination in its own right.
But I like it at its undiscovered best: when it’s nearly deserted late at night or early in the morning. When, out with my family dog, I can observe how the park serves as the traditional town square for the historic downtown area,
Photo by Kristi DeLaurentiis
much like town commons of old. Vacant, or nearly so, it’s easier to absorb how this community asset frames quaint shops, restaurants and eclectic boutiques, and links neighborhoods, embodying all the aura of a community big on small town charm and opportunity. I’m able to take note of the ongoing enhancements the village has made to ensure it’s an inviting place for residents, business owners and visitors, seeing them as investments in the community’s success. And I reflect how my time spent volunteering as part of the Downtown Frankfort Partnership helps to strengthen the historic business district and park area.
The Farmers Market in Frankfort at Breidert's Green
Yes, I like to experience Breidert’s Green without the hub-bub—especially when I can intercept a country marketer setting up a stall with fresh pies on a Sunday morn. Following an early morning romp with the dog, where else can I beat out the hordes flocking to the farmers market and find an all-time favorite Michigan peach pie or homemade jar of salsa? You know there’s something truly special about a park that serves as an attraction, anchors a town, provides a sense of place and gets me up at dawn.
So, if I could have, I’d have nominated Breidert’s Green for the Metropolitan Planning Council’s (MPC) and Chicago Architecture Foundation’s (CAF) “What Makes Your Place Great? Your Secret Corner of Chicagoland” contest. And, unfortunately, as staff, I can’t vote on the places that were nominated—but you can! There’s still have time to cast your vote for one of two dozen nominees, now until Sept. 10. Make your preference known—and leave a comment on my post to share information about other hidden-in-plain-sight spots that are worth a visit.