Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Little Traveler in Geneva, Illinois: A Treasure Trove Found

The Little Traveler is a unique gift shop in Geneva, IL

If you ever need an excuse to visit Geneva, Illinois, The Little Traveler is it! Ok, Geneva is adorable and has plenty to do so you probably don't need an excuse for a visit. But, if you ever need a little more motivation........


The Little Traveler began in a lovely Italianate Victorian mansion that has since grown to incorporate 36 rooms full of treasures from around the world. In a way, The Little Traveler is a department store of sorts featuring clothing, jewelry, beauty items, home decor, dishes and even lighting. However, the Geneva gem is full of more intriguing versions of department store finds as well as truly unique pieces.

Unique lamp collection part of the wares of The Little Traveler in Geneva, IL.
Unique lamps light up part of the home decor area of The Little Traveler--they are for sale, too!
The Little Traveler was originally founded by Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Raftery who purchased the Victorian home. In 1922 one of Mrs. Raftery's closest friends, Lucy Calhoun, moved to China when her husband was appointed as an emissary of the US government. Lucy would send unique items from China including festival lanterns, pewter ducks and deer, Imperial Tribute silks and more. Kate Raftery knew others would be interested in these fascinating items so she asked Lucy to send more. Soon, Kate would hold a tea and a sale featuring the treasures from China. The tea was a success. More teas were held and more friends abroad sent curiosities.

Intricate little village set ups delight within The Little Traveler.
Intricate village setups for both Christmas and Halloween add whimsy.
Eventually, a formal shop opened. The store gradually expanded into a cache of arcades, Victorian corridors, green gardens and more. Kate continued to serve lunch and tea to guests and even served light fare to carriage drivers in the courtyard which lives on as the Atrium Cafe today.

Tea cache at The Little Traveler in Geneva, IL.
Tea corner at The Little Traveler!
As you can imagine, The Little Traveler feels a bit like a maze at time. Fortunately, friendly staff members float around to help any wayward travelers navigate! A trip to The Little Traveler provides an adventure like no other. Of course, the haven is ideal for shopping for gifts. A Christmas room, natural beauty products, jewelry with many selections crafted in the U.S.A, an array of tea and accompanying items, giftables for the dog lover and more will inspire you to fill out those gift lists!

Hadley Pottery Made in Louisville and found at The Little Traveler in Geneva, IL.
Adorable Hadley Pottery made in Louisville!
In addition to serving as a home for unique gifts, The Little Traveler also stands as a source for made in U.S.A. and Fair Trade items. During our excursion, we enjoyed noting all of the made in U.S.A. brands we could identify including Hadley Pottery from Louisville, Kentucky. The Little Traveler is also the largest Fair Trade purveyor in Chicago--an amazing distinction! Such a great place to shop sensibly!

Toys, toys and more toys at The Little Traveler in Geneva, IL.
Of course, there are toys!
As you can see, we thoroughly enjoyed our first expedition to The Little Traveler! On our next visit, I have my eyes on the Atrium for a light bite and perhaps some tea. Of course, more exploring as well! This is definitely one of those places that will provide a different adventure every time!

**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.




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