Elgin Area will continue to monitor and provide updates related to COVID-19 across our social channels and our website. Learn More

Visit Elgin, Illinois

Discover things to do on an Elgin, Illinois, getaway

Bowdon Explores

Bowdon Explores

art
That’s me!

Hi! My name is Bowdon, and I’m in training to be a therapy dog for Arrow Psychological Services. I just turned one on May 8, 2021, and I’m in training to be a Good Canine Citizen, and then, I’ll move on to more advanced work to be an official therapy dog. I can’t wait to be old enough to help people of all ages in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and in my mom’s practice! Right now, Mom says I’m really motivated by treats (carrots are my favorite!), but one day, in order to be an official therapy dog, I’ll have to pass my tests without any treats at all, which means Mom and I are building a deep bond filled with love and respect. Mom and I are best friends, but I also love meeting new people and giving them love, licks, and making them laugh. In fact, Mom’s nickname for me is Sunshine! She says I bring joy to everyone I meet. The best days are when Mom takes me to the dog park, to my school where I’m training, or for walks where I get to meet new people. Everyone is my friend, BUT I have three cat siblings at home, and I don’t know why, but we’re not quite friends yet. I’m working on making them love me too. I’ve grown a lot in this last year, but one thing has stayed the same—I love to explore my world. Mom and I go on adventures every weekend and exploring Elgin has been the most fun! There’s so much to see, sniff, and chew!

Join me as I explore the Elgin area this Summer!

Keep reading to see my adventures and check in later while I update my adventure log!

Bowdon Explores Elgin’s Historic Homes

Mom and I continued our #ExploreElgin adventures this past weekend by visiting the Painted Lady Homes in Elgin’s historic area! Mom told me the stories about these historically registered homes that are built in Victorian or Edwardian style;  they feature three or more colors with so much pretty architectural detail. Even Hollywood has come to film them, but I loved them because they looked like huge slices of cake! We followed the map of historic homes and had so much fun learning about each one with the audio recordings found on exploreelginarea.com. I learned when the houses were built and who owned them and so much more about Elgin’s history and architecture. I also stopped to smell the spring flowers and nibble on the grass; it was the most fun adventure ever! Look below to see the five houses I loved the most that are SO OLD they go back to the 1800s and early 1900s!

Bowdon Explores Lord’s Park

It was a beautiful sunny day when Mom and I had a big adventure at Lord’s Park! Mom said Lord’s Park is 108 acres, including the Lord’s Park Zoo, the Elgin Public Museum, and more! Even though it was very hot, I ran with Mom through the grass and trees, peeked at the bison through the zoo fence (GULP! They were MUCH bigger than me!), and enjoyed the cool museum architecture. There were other families having picnics and walking their dogs too! Mom said this park once belonged to the Lord family who bought it when it was farmland way back in the 1800s; then, the Lord family gave it to the City of Elgin to be used as a city park, so all families can love it as much as we did. Look below to see all my adventures at Lord’s Park!
P.S. I might have been a tiny bit afraid of those bison, but I gave them my big-girl bark to show them who was boss!

Bowdon Explores the Dundee Farmers & Artisan Market

Mom and I went exploring in East Dundee recently and visited the dog-friendly Dundee Farmers and Artisan Market. The market had cool booths with yummy food, handmade crafts, and more. One booth even helped dogs find their forever homes! There were places for me to sit in the shade, hang out at a picnic bench, and climb up and show off my agility training! Plus, we were very close to the Riverwalk with more tasty food and the Fox River Bike Trail, so there were many more adventures right nearby. Mom said the Dundee Farmers and Artisan Market is open July 11 and August 8 from 10AM-3PM. It’s a blast for pets and pet-parents!

Bowdon Explores Plank Road Tap Room

For our next adventure, Mom and I visited Plank Road Tap Room! We both loved all the ways we could relax at this beer garden. Mom got to enjoy a frosty beverage, and I snacked on warm Auntie Anne’s pretzel bites made just for me without salt and butter (yum)! Twinkle lights shone everywhere and beautiful live music was in the air thanks to the quartet New Vintage Strings. All the while, Mom and I sat back and enjoyed our own picnic bench, where Mom could order right with her phone.  Mom told me that Plank Road Tap Room has won many awards for being the best beer garden and outdoor eatery in the suburbs, and it’s not hard to see why so many people love it. Mom says there are different food trucks and live music each week, so we are DEFINITELY coming back for more good times all summer long; it’s a great way both Mom and I can enjoy weekend nights out together!

Bowdon Explores the Elgin Farmers Market

On a warm Friday night, Mom and I visited Elgin’s Farmer’s Market along Spring Street, and we made new friends, heard fun live music, and I even got to play with bubbles with some of the children who were visiting! On Spring Street, I met my new dog friend, Olaf, who played with me while Mom chatted with his Dad. Then, Mom got a yummy juice drink from one of the open-air vendors, and while she sipped, we walked along with listening to the live music in the air, and I stopped to play with some children who were playing with huge bubbles that another vendor was blowing at her booth. I even popped one with my nose! There were so many booths–food, crafts, and so much more! Mom and I strolled along the closed street as I got to experience a Friday night of new smells and new friends! Mom says you can find Elgin’s Farmer’s Market on Friday nights from 3 PM-7 PM on Spring Street between Chicago and Fulton streets from June to October. We can’t wait to go back; maybe I’ll see you there!

Bowdon Explores Van’s Frozen Custard

I’ve had many frozen treats in my short life, but my tasty frozen custard from Van’s in East Dundee was a special treat! Mom stopped by Van’s Frozen Custard and picked up a treat just for me–a frozen vanilla custard pup cup! I devoured it in a few seconds! Mom also picked up some delicious french fries (I got to try just one!) and her own cup of chocolate frozen custard. Mom said that Van’s is family-owned and has been serving Fox Valley yummy frozen treats and more since 2007! We got to sit together and relax at our own outdoor table and cooled down with our frozen goodies on a warm summer’s night. Van’s was so much fun, and there were more adventure’s in East Dundee and just around the corner in downtown West Dundee; we made it a whole night of family fun!

Bowdon Explores the East Dundee Riverwalk

Exploring East Dundee’s Riverwalk with Mom was so exciting! As Mom and I strolled along the Fox River, I got to see ducks, fish, and other birds! There were beautiful wildflowers and grass to munch on, and as we strolled along the overpass, I could even stop to peek through the wall to check out the scenery at just my eye level. Mom and I practiced some of my training as we walked along the river, and we took in all the amazing scenery. People were fishing along the riverbank, and I chased some butterflies; it was the perfect summer stroll!

Bowdon Explores Raceway Woods

Mom and I had another fun adventure–this time at Raceway Woods trails in Carpentersville. Mom told me that there are 122 acres of open space here, but I only explored just over a mile because I’m still little, and I still get tired a lot. As we hiked around the forest trail, I got to practice wearing my new backpack to hold my tiny canister of water and some snacks. There was a tall tower that Mom said marked this spot as the historic site of Meadowdale International Raceway where REAL races used to take place. While we were walking the outer trail, we could hear and see bike riders still racing around the inner trails.  BUT the coolest part of our visit was when I saw a real deer for the first time. The deer peeked its head out of the woods and then crossed the trail. I’ve never seen a deer before, so I was a little shocked, and Mom said deer are friendly, but I kept my distance just in case. She also said that on the second Saturday in August (this year on August 14) Raceway Woods hosts a 5K race and 3K walk for charity with your dog! Mom said that you can “run with other dog runners in a separate start. Dogs have to be friendly, leashed dogs that are picked up after and up-to-date with shots.” And the best part is “race proceeds raise money to support those in need within [the] community…[as they] partner with the F.I.S.H Food Pantry and Boys & Girls Club of Dundee Township, as well as “Agua Es Vida” water project in Mexico.”  I can’t wait to go back to Raceway Woods and see my *almost* deer friend again!

Bowdon Explores Burnidge Forest Preserve

Fish, horses, woodlands, and a marsh! There were so many pretty places to explore at Burnidge Forest Preserve; Mom and I hiked through wildflowers and cattails, and I saw my first horses, as four horseback riders came down one of our trails. Mom said that there are over 600 acres of wildlife and land and nine miles of hiking trails (with some for biking and horse riding), and we got to see so many animal friends in their natural habitat. I went to the edge of the pier and spied on the fish in the marsh. I got to explore a climbing rock and a hollow stump too! Lastly, Mom packed us a watermelon picnic, and we laid our blanket down in front of a beautiful wildflower meadow, and I got to snack on fresh cold watermelon. I’ll never forget this perfect day of summer fun!

Bowdon Explores the Fox River Trail

My Explore Elgin summer fun ended this year by visiting three really cool places along the Fox River. Mom and I first took a stroll by Pratt’s Castle that was built in 1937 by Medieval history buff Harold S. Pratt.  The tower was so high above my head (50 feet tall), and it was surrounded by a mini-moat and a working drawbridge!  Even though we couldn’t go inside because it’s privately owned, we had so much fun taking in this castle scene from the bike path. Next, we spent some time exploring Walton Island near downtown Elgin. We got to see the Elgin Dam created by the WPA in the 1930s and took in so many beautiful scenes under the gazebo and the pavilion. There’s fishing and walking, and Mom said it’s the perfect place to take photos for special occasions! Lastly, we ended our day at Panton Mill Park that’s right next to Village Hall. Mom told me so many events happen here from Riverfest to family reunions! We enjoyed walking along the river, and on this hot day, many kids were enjoying the splash pad nearby.

Saying goodbye to summer can be sad, but Mom and I are going to keep soaking up the sun on the Fox River for as long as we can. Thanks for following along with all my #ExploreElgin trips this summer; I can’t wait to see where my autumn adventures take me! Until you can follow me on Instagram @BowdonArrow