November 3, 2002
I was invited for a cup of tea in the "Mad Hatter Tea Room", a brain-child of Linda and Pat, and a must-visit in Mt. Carroll. A section of the store’s space is outfitted with old high-backed wooden booths and tables. Visitors can partake of such delights as scones, cinnamon streusel bread, cinnamon crunch bagels, cheesecake, Texas crunch almond cookies, as well as ever-popular favorites such as oatmeal cookies and chocolate chip cookies. Different selections are offered daily, and a small but delightful variety of jams, jellies and other food items are offered for sale. Browsers might also enjoy a bit of quiet time relaxing in the "English Library", a small room near the back of the store outfitted with comfy chairs, and row upon row of bookshelves. The musically inclined are invited to take a turn at the piano unobtrusively placed against one wall.
The Andersons view the store as a social and cultural meeting place in addition to a retail business. They offer a traditional "High Tea" on a reservation-only basis, and this has become quite popular, especially around the holidays. They also envision poetry readings, book groups, and other gatherings to appeal to the growing community of artists in the area.
Ideas and Designs is open Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays from 12 noon to 5:00 PM and Saturdays from 12 noon to 8:00 PM. (815) 244-7875
From journal Autumn Weekend in the Country