3 French Hens

A wonderful place to find treasures!

A wonderful place to find treasures!

Hi Friends!

What a lucky break in the weather! After a week of rainy days, we woke up early on Saturday morning to delightfully dry weather. All week we had been looking forward to a relaxing day in the country. We were on a treasure hunt and my husband and I each had one small thing on our ‘wish lists’ for the day. Oldies on the radio, sunshine, and blue skies made the hour-long drive fly by. By 8 o’clock, we arrived in the small, friendly town of Morris, Illinois.

This pretty park sits along the peaceful, historic waterway.

This pretty park sits along the peaceful, historic waterway.

It was time for the 3 French Hens French Country Market. This popular event is held on the second Saturday of each month, from May through October, in Canalport Park along the banks of the historic I & M Canal. It’s always one of our favorite antiquing destinations!

Vintage Ball jars line the stairs of an old step stool.

Vintage Ball jars line the stairs of an old step stool.

Saturday’s market was bustling with happy shoppers and friendly vendors when we arrived for the 8 o’clock opening. There were 143 booths filled with antiques, vintage treasures, flower-filled baskets, farm fresh vegetables, artwork, and repurposed one-of-a-kind items.


An unusual upcycled bench caught my eye at one booth.

There were several growers selling flowering plants.

Of course, I couldn’t walk by without stopping to admire the colors of summertime!


These hanging baskets were filled with showy annuals in lovely combinations.

Painted furniture of all kinds filled the park that morning.


A chippy door supported this repurposed piece of furniture.

I love looking at all of the vintage tins and wooden boxes.

Oh, my! Take a close look at these boxes. (I guess there is something for everyone here.)


Vintage wares fill a primitive shelf and a quilt-covered table.

Red, white, and blue were definitely trending

on a hot, June day in the Midwest.

Here are just a few of the patriotic displays that caught my eye.







After looking at all of the displays, I walked back to buy what I had come in search of  that morning.

I bought a vintage, enamelware colander. It’s exactly what I need for a special project!

Can you guess how I will use this old colander?

I promise to show you soon…

My husband was happy to find some old Greek drachma coins.

He made a very unexpected discovery that morning, too!

He took a walk down the wooded path (while I took one more walk past the vintage treasures).

Right there, in the middle of the path, he spotted two very large hens meandering ahead of him!

Perhaps they were on their way to the French Country Market, too!

It certainly was a good morning to hunt for treasures!


The shady, wooded path along the I&M Canal was cool and welcoming on a hot, sticky morning.

It was time to explore the path along the peaceful canal.

DSCN5319The I&M Canal, in Morris, has an important history.

While today this sleepy canal is a quiet, peaceful place, for many years it was the busy 96-mile long Illinois & Michigan Canal. Irish immigrants, working under very dangerous conditions, dug the canal by hand from 1836 to 1848 to create a water highway. Water was pumped into the canal from rivers in the area. Towpaths were constructed on both sides of the canal to allow mules to walk along and pull barges through the canal.

The I&M Canal helped to connect the The Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and on to the Gulf of Mexico. This made Chicago a great inland shipping port and helped agriculture flourish in Illinois. Later replaced by larger man-made waterways, railroad tracks, and highways, the I & M Canal closed in 1933. Although much of the canal has been filled in, portions of the canal have been preserved in this historic corridor. Today footbridges and the walking path along the canal remind us of  the canal’s long history.

We walked beyond the canal to see the fast-moving water of the nearby Illinois River. Recent heavy rains have made the river swell beyond its banks. Trees surrounded by water showed the flooding conditions on Saturday morning.


The Illinois River, at Morris, overflowed its banks engulfing trees in its raging water.

We walked through downtown Morris exploring the shops and had a picnic lunch nearby. Then it was time for the next part of our adventure. We drove to the small town of Wilmington, on historic Route 66, to visit a big antique mall. As we wandered amongst the antiques and vintage treasures, we saw so many memories of our childhood. Have you noticed that your childhood toys and family housewares now fill the antique malls? We have become very trendy ~ Mid-Century Modern!

Dark, threatening skies overhead soon told us that it was time to end our adventure and head for home. Saturday evening, rainstorms brought over 5 more inches of rain to the Morris area! Flooding along Illinois River has grown much worse since our visit yesterday. We are thinking of the people living in all of the small towns along the swollen rivers. I really wish we could send them some dry, sunny days!

Hope you enjoyed a nice weekend filled with some of your favorite activities!

I’m looking forward to another busy week in the garden, in between the rainstorms.

Can’t wait to get started on a fun project using a vintage colander!!

Think sunny thoughts!

♡ Dawn


31 thoughts on “3 French Hens

  1. Dear Dawn,
    Loved the trip to the antique fair! I could have done some serious damage in just the few pictures you posted! Nothing like the mid-west for antiquing. Looking forward to the colander project!
    Chris from West Texas

    • Good Morning, Chris! Thanks so much for saying ‘Hi’ today. I’m overjoyed to meet so many SB Girlfriends here! I always try to have one or two things on my ‘wish list’ before I set off on an antiquing adventure. I can’t tell you how many times I asked my husband, “Where could we put this cute little table?” on Saturday morning. Cute, little painted tables kept catching my eye! Over the years, most of my antique furniture came from larger antique flea markets. I treasure the memories of each piece, where it came from, and who I was with (to help carry it!). Chris, how you are doing with all of the terrible flooding in Texas? The scenes on the news are so scary! Wishing you a sunny week ahead! ♡

  2. Well, now, I am curious as to what that old enamel colander will bring; something for the garden, I suspect.
    We also enjoy the Three French Hens market. It is one of those special kids of outdoor monthly fairs that grabs the attention of both men and women and it has been awhile since we’ve been to it. Your photos are so enticing, Dawn. Well done.
    We awoke with quite a downpour Saturday morning here on the Cutoff.It’s amazing how weather can be different just a few miles away. My phone even alerted me Friday night of a flash flood watch. I hope that the Illinois doesn’t rise much more.
    Have you been to the restored prairie in Morris? It is worth a visit, especially early fall when it is in its high glory. We stopped after a visit to the French Hen Market a few years ago and keep wanting to go back.
    From one Baby Boomer to another, have a good, and dry day. Pouring like mad here right now. 🙂

    • We are truly kindred spirits, Penny! Our paths might have crossed in so many places over the years. We have been going to the 3 French Hens Market for about three years. Although it’s small, it’s just lovely. I often feel like I’m walking through my Pinterest boards there! I grew up going to the Kane Co. Flea Market and later the Sandwich Antique Fair. We didn’t even know about the restored prairie in Morris! Many thanks! We will definitely check it out in the Fall. On Saturday evening, we were looking forward to the open-air Jazz concert on the college green. The heavy downpour at that time kept us home and dry. I always look forward to that evening of great music! We still have a dry morning here. I would be so grateful to have two hours to pull some ‘galloping’ Charlie before our rain arrives. Thank you for all of your kind words, Penny! Cheers for all the Baby Boomers!

      • Indeed, we are, Dawn.
        Sorry you missed that concert on the green; always a good one.
        You really might want to see the prairie. I wrote about it back in October, 2011 and we still haven’t gone back. Must do that late summer. It is in the Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area. It is vast and walking in it gives a feel of what it must have been like living in the prairie. There are a few cabins/schoolhouse etc. Bring sunscreen and a hat. 🙂
        Yeah for Baby Boomers. We are big James Taylor fans here and just enjoyed his NBC spot.

      • Oh, Penny! We will definitely visit the Goose Lake Prairie. Thanks for the details. I will check out your post! It sounds like a “Little House on the Prairie” kind of place that I would love. My husband will be curious to see all of the insects and butterflies there! We LOVE James Taylor, too! Celebrating Kindred Spirits and Baby Boomers today!! ♡

    • Good Morning, Judy! We had a wonderful time at the 3 French Hens. It’s small enough that it’s not overwhelming. I try to look at everything before I decide! Throughout the fair, I spotted three enamelware colanders. So, I was able to find my way back to my favorite one. Our larger antique flea markets do charge an entrance fee. We are very fortunate that this fair is free! It’s set in a lovely, little park and everyone is so friendly. Vendors come from far and wide with such interesting things. Have you ever been to the Brimfield, MA Antique Show? I always loved to read about it in Country Living magazine. It sounds like my kind of place! Antiquing in New England must be the BEST of all! Wishing you sunny days in the garden this week, Judy! ♡

  3. Dawn,
    Your Saturday sounds ideal. I enjoy strolling through an antique fair or multi-vendor mall. I have noticed that many of the items in the stalls are items I grew up with. Ha! Does this mean we’re getting older or are shoppers just getting wiser to wanting some of the timeless treasures of our era? 🙂
    Enjoy your week in the garden.

    • Good morning, Karen! We would have lots of fun walking through the antique fair together sharing our ideas! I wonder if we would choose the same things? Since we only have room for small things now in our little home, whatever I choose must be useful, as well as charming! Or it must be for the porch. deck, or yard! (Hmmmmm…good hints about the enamelware colander!) You said it perfectly, Karen ~ “Shoppers are just getting wiser to wanting some of the timeless treasures of our era!” It’s such fun to see all of the things that I had completely forgotten we had while growing up! Lots of smiles every time! How is your garden managing in the terrible CA drought? I truly wish we could send you some rain. The skies are darkening and thunder is rumbling as I type. Unbelievable weather… everywhere! Wishing you a nice week, too, Karen! ♡

  4. What an interesting market there in IL. I don’t know of any like that around here. Glad you had the sun. we have had sun but also very high humidity which makes it feel even hotter. Not conducive for gardening or being out at all. More rain today.

    • Good Morning, Marcia! We were so thankful for a sunny morning on Saturday. It grew hot and sticky very quickly. I’m sure the lemonade and shaved ice vendors did a booming business that day! I think you would enjoy the 3 French Hens market. Although it is small, there are always interesting treasures… and lots of inspiration, too! How are the mosquitoes in your Maryland garden? Ours are just beginning to hatch here. News reports predict that the Chicago area will have the worst mosquitoes in the nation this summer. We are not looking forward to that honor! It’s pouring here at the moment, too. A perfect morning for reading, with a cup of tea! Sending sunny wishes, Marcia! ♡

  5. Oh Dawn, what a dream. Don’t you just love these outings, where you find such memories? We are currently in Carmel by the Sea, California, and the entire place is rich in natural beauty. The beaches are outrageously aqua blue, the fog that rolls in every morning is mysterious, the cottages are all European style vintage homes, the art galleries are busting with beautiful oil paintings, and just a short drive inland is Carmel Valley. We drove out there on Saturday and found such treasures: wine-tasting, antiques, horse ranches and the most beautiful showroom of French imported antique statuaries.


    • Lucky, Anita! What great memories you are making at Carmel by the Sea! Your words create a perfect picture of the beauty, charm, and fascinations of this wonderful place. Soak up all of the inspiration you find, sweet friend! I think that Carmel by the Sea will be a special part of you forever! Keep in touch with all of your wonderful adventures, Anita! My camera and I would be so happy there! So delighted that you popped in to share this morning! Have fun, fun, fun!! ♡

  6. Dawn, this would have been the perfect weekend for me, sweetie. We love going antiquing! Your venues look especially wonderful! So many beatiful displays. I can’t wait to see what you do with the colander–maybe a flowering basket? I know whatever it is will be lovely.
    Thank you for the I and M Canal tour. I love seeing the old tow paths of long ago. There is one in Georgetown that we always admire. We also have a canal (closed) that meanders through our town. It is a lovely place to walk along and the river beyond. Hopefully the floods have now receded and there is not too much damage for the folks in that area. Enjoy your day! ♥

    • Oh, Martha Ellen! What fun we would have antiquing together! It’s one of my all-time favorite things to do. This is a smaller antique fair, but filled with such creative ideas and inspiration around every corner! That works for me because I enjoy seeing everything before deciding. If you check the tag cloud on my slide-out sidebar, you can see all of the 3 French Hens posts from last year, too! The I & M Canal was so important in the history of Northern Illinois. I’m so glad that some parts of historic canals have been preserved. What is the name of your canal through town? Our rain continues to be relentless this week. The Morris area is under a flash flood warning. We are currently under a flash flood advisory in our area. We must think sunny thoughts! ♡

    • It’s fascinating, Martha Ellen, to think that canals were being built in both areas around the same time! Thanks for the link. It sounds like the I & M Canal was in operation for a longer time than the Rappahannock Canal. Imagine the laborers digging by hand for years and years. I read that the small towns along the I & M sprang up at the distance that the mules could walk along the tow paths in one day. Walking along the canals today is the perfect time to reflect on what life was like in the mid 1800s. Thanks for the good wishes. We can hear thunder again and the rain is coming down in buckets!! We need a break… and a bit of sunshine! ♡

  7. Oh what a fun, whimsical place. There’s a similar market every Saturday in Princeton, Wis. People come from around the country for all the goodies. Wow, I can’t believe the river is that flooded. We’ve had rain here in S. Wisconsin, but not that much!

    • Hi, Beth! Thanks so much for stopping to visit today. There is nothing like a great antique market! Thanks for letting us know about the weekly market in Princeton! Hope we can check it out one Saturday. We have had so much rain. Our gardens are growing like crazy! The rivers and creeks are swollen and there has been a great deal of flooding in Chicagoland this week. Today was a delightfully sunny day, just perfect for gardening. Tonight there will be more heavy rainstorms here. It’s a challenging time for so many people! Fortunately friends and neighbors are looking out for one another. Happy gardening, Beth! ♡

    • So happy that you stopped to visit today, dear Deb! Wouldn’t we have fun exploring the treasures at 3 French Hens together? Wishing you a good week! ♡

    • Thanks for stopping by to visit, Karen! So true! There was temptation around every corner at the 3 French Hens Market. So much inspiration, too! While you are downsizing, you must try to resist temptation for a bit. Wishing you a smooth move from New Hampshire to Florida, Karen! Thinking of you… ♡

    • Hope you can put a few on your calendar this summer, Ericka! I have a few very special favorite antique sthops that inspire me with new ways to use the antiques I already have. Those are the very best shops! The 3 French Hens market is just like walking through a wonderful Pinterest board filled with creative ideas! Hope your July will be wonderful! Thanks for visiting and leaving such a nice comment today, Ericka! ♡

    • Alys, it’s such a fun vintage market! Walking though 3 French Hens French Country Market feels like walking through my favorite Pinterest boards! Check out the tag cloud in the sidebar to visit several other trips to 3 French Hens. What do you enjoy collecting? ♡

      • Oh what fun! I will.

        I don’t have a collection, but like to pick up vintage buttons, ribbon, cards and paper ephemera for crafting projects like hand-made cards, gift wrap, tags and that sort of thing. I love rayon ribbon, old buttons, that sort of thing.

        I also used to work in the theater department at San Jose State and was exposed to many beautiful vintage shoes and garments. I love the chance to look at those. When I was younger and thinner, I actually had a gorgeous black jacket with a peplum and frog closures from a vintage shop. I miss it (and the waistline that went with it). 😉

    • So happy that you are visiting from Thistle Cove Farm in South Carolina today! What a perfect name for a most special place! This antique and vintage market is always filled with treasures and such great inspiration, too! Strawberries is a great guess. Soon I will share how I am using this vintage enamelware colander! Hope you will stop by to visit often! ♡

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