With over 70 different sites across the country, The Local Moms Network has dozens and dozens of moms working to give their followers the gift of time. The best part? Each mom has a different perspective, story, and expertise on their unique suburb. That’s why we’re sharing our interviews with them in these Monday Meet-a-Moms! A perfect example? Ellie Ander, the mom of three (9 and 3-year-old sons and a 7-year-old daughter), behind Chicago North Shore Moms (which incorporates Evanston, Wilmette, Northfield, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Lake Forest and Lake Bluff).
She’s reinvented herself not once, but numerous times, from earning her BFA in Interior Design at the Design Institute of San Diego and working as a commercial interior designer, to finding what she called “the perfect part-time gig” with a Chicago nonprofit called Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN) after becoming a mom. While there, she sold advertising and event sponsorship but six years later, like many of us, she reprioritized and changed her course once again, becoming a stay-at-home mom.
Now two years later, she joined The Local Moms Network and launched Chicago North Shore Moms—something she is passionate about because she remembers well what it was like to move to this area in 2011 without knowing anyone, and trying to integrate her family into their new life (sound familiar?!). “I am dedicated to helping both established and new families with the resources they need here in the North Shore,” says Ellie, who we spoke to about her vibrant part of the Midwest. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about visiting this popular Chicago area.
Where do you love to go out to dinner?
Without kids? Abigail’s, Longitude 351, Deerpath Inn, Hole in the Wall and El Buren Caribbean Cuisine. With kids? Walker Brother’s, Slice Pizza, Real Urban BBQ, Backyard Grill, Michael’s Red Hots and Deer Franks.
Sounds like a lot of great options! Where do you recommend visiting family and friends stay (if not with you!)?
Deerpath Inn, Lake Forest and The Westin Wheeling
And where do you find yourself going out for drinks? And coffee?
For drinks, Abigail’s, Ravinia Brewing Company, Disotto, Cellar Wine and The Art of Beer. And for coffee, Reprise Coffee Roasters, That Little French Guy, Coffee Speaks.
Nice! What’s on your shortlist for entertaining kids?
We love to spend time outdoors, including at Rosewood Beach, Highland Park; Gilson Park and Beach, Wilmette; a trip to Maggie Daley Park in Chicago, a baseball game at Wrigley Field, Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, a bike ride along the Green Bay Trail, Paddling at Skokie Lagoons, Windsurfing from Park Avenue Beach, ghost walks by the many historical societies in the North Shore, Great America, Millennium Park and Grant Park.
Amazing—so much to do! And if people are booking a trip now (aka when outdoor fun seems like a long time away!)?
Indoors, there’s also a ton to do. We love going to Bolero for bowling and laser tag, Wilmette Children’s Theatre, Children’s Theatre of Winnetka, Northbrook Children’s Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company of Highland Park, Marriott Theatre, any of the world-class museums in Chicago like Adler Planetarium, Field Museum, Science & Industry and Art Institute, Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee, Medieval Times in Schaumberg, children’s productions at the Rosemont Theatre, Shopping and dining at the Rosemont Outlets and I-fly Rosemont.
This story originally appeared on The Local Moms Network.