Geneva’s Little Traveler hits century mark with 3 days of special events

Mayor Burns to present key to the city to Kate Raftery’s great-grandaughter

The Little Traveler, celebrating its centennial, is home to The Atrium Café in downtown Geneva.

GENEVA – The Little Traveler will be marking its 100th year on Sept. 22, 23 and 24 with special events, according to a news release.

It was Sept. 22, 1922, when founder Kate Raftery recorded her first sale at what is now The Little Traveler, 404 S. Third St., Geneva. The original Italianate Victorian home expanded over the years to 36 rooms.

The 100th anniversary will begin with a breakfast and fashion show from 10 to 11 a.m., featuring models from the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Geneva History Museum, Little Traveler owner Michael Simon said.

“With the breakfast, we’re trying to make it as fun and family-friendly as we can,” Simon said. “We’ll have a face painter there and send people on a scavenger hunt around the store. We want to encourage multi-generations to come to this breakfast – the kids and the adults.”

At 11 a.m., Mayor Kevin Burns will proclaim Little Traveler Day in the city of Geneva and present a key to the city to Kate Raftery Muth, the great-granddaughter of Kate Raftery.

Chef David Bogash will provide 100 pink frosted mini-cupcakes for customers.

From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mary Ann Johnson will host a pet event for people to bring photos of their pets and she will take orders to create ornaments of them.

From noon to 3 p.m., Rob Brucato of Scentcerely Yours will debut candles that are custom blended for The Little Traveler. Brucato will explain the blending process and offer coupons for a personal custom blending session.

From 3 to 4 p.m. Sept. 23, Chef Alain Roby from the All Chocolate Kitchen will present a sugar art demonstration, the history of chocolate, truffles for sampling and have a Q&A period.

The Traveler will provide water, coffee, tea and small plates for the truffles. The cost is $10 with net proceeds to go to the Geneva History Museum.

Also from noon to 3 p.m., certified massage therapist Hali Armstrong will provide hand massages.

On Sept. 24, the Traveler will host a family-themed breakfast from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., with Mary Ann Johnson providing face painting. Sherri Rinker will read aloud from several of her books, as well as do a book signing after breakfast, and children can participate in a scavenger hunt.

From 1 to 3 p.m., Graham’s Chocolates will provide an ice cream sundae cart and staffing for an Ice Cream Social on the lawn.

Kate Raftery died at age 82 on April 12, 1953, in the upstairs bedroom. According to the Geneva History Museum, she died in the morning, but so as not to upset customers, her body was moved after the store closed.

The comment from her chauffeur Sally Banks Compton was: “England lost Queen Mary. Geneva lost Kate Raftery.”

The Simon family has owned The Little Traveler since 1971 and has more than doubled its space.

The Geneva History Museum, 113 S. Third St., is offering an exhibition of The Little Traveler’s 100 years in business.

More information is available at