Our last week in Chicago has been very productive as we took a couple days to research and make plans for the months of September and October. In between all the planning we were fortunate enough to experience all kinds of great stuff so here is the run down:
Saturday we attended our niece Jordyn’s dance recital and visited the LeVays in Long Grove. Our favorite dance was “Big Noise From Winnetka”! Nicely done Jordyn! And congrats on your middle school graduation.
Sunday started with a FUN breakfast at the Billy Goat Tavern. This place is literally located in a basement under Michigan Avenue.
Fans of (the old) Saturday Night Live may remember the classic Olympia Cafe skits led by Jon Belushi where the restaurant only offers Chips (Cheeps), Pepsi and of course Cheezborgers (no Coke…Pepsi, no Fries….Cheeps, Cheezborger Cheezborger Cheezborger!). Well, the skits were based on this particular restaurant in Chicago and now we know why. As soon as we walked in (had a bit of trouble finding the door) the grill chef yells at us (in a great accent) “Double Cheezborger the best!”. We smiled, started looking over the wall menu (they do have several options including breakfast sandwiches) while enduring several more yells directed at us…”Double Cheezborger the best….Double Cheezborger the best!”. It was too funny. This went on until my lovely wife gave him her famous glare and said ..”it’s 10 o’clock in the morning, I want breakfast”. He then moved his attention on to new arrivals (thank god). We had a blast watching the other tourists come in and get greeted with “Double Cheezborger the best”. And virtually all of them ordered double cheezborgers. Well, maybe next time……
We then visited the Chicago Botanical Gardens (some change in atmosphere there eh!) with friends Barry and Claudia Altshuler, and had a really nice dinner at Rosebuds in Highland Park. Our favorite exhibit was the model railroad garden. The garden features several model trains traversing through and around dozens of miniature American landmarks (most of which we have seen, or plan to see on this trip). The miniature bridges and tunnels are all made of natural materials (branches, bark, acorns, etc.) and all of this is placed in a beautiful garden with thousands of plants and flowers. We also enjoyed the Japanese and fruit and vegetable gardens (hey Deborah Christman….check out this crop of lettuce!).
Monday and Tuesday (and part of Wednesday) were spent working on the fall season trip out West and making a few reservations. Turns out that the National Parks in Colorado, Utah and Arizona are extremely popular to visit in October. Fortunately we found a few promising accommodations in the neighborhood of the parks we want to explore. Glad to have most of that done!
Of course we did find a couple good restaurants to break up the days busy schedules. Dinners at Weber Grill and Naf Naf Grill proved to be a great way to finish the day’s work.
Wednesday was back to vacation mode. We met cousins Paul and Marge at the Art Institute of Chicago (North Lion of course……Chicagoans know what I mean). For our friends who someday plan to visit this great city, make it a priority to visit the museum (especially those who like Impressionist paintings). Even novice art fans (like us) can appreciate the “classics” from artists such as Monet, Renoir (Two Sisters), Picasso (The Old Guitarist), Van Gogh (Self-portrait) and Seurat (fans of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off will remember A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (see below)).
Afterwards we all joined cousin Debbie Lee and sister Linda for dinner at Flat Top Grill and completed a great day by attending the play The Last Ship (Broadway preview), music and lyrics by Sting. The play was great and will hopefully be a hit on Broadway later this year.
Today we walked down to the lake (DuSable Habor) for a picnic and started packing for our next stop (San Ramon CA)!
18 Weeks, 18 States, 31 Cities, 10,580 miles.
Oh, we finished Breaking Bad……..started Orange is the new Black, and I started reading Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. (Thank you Andy Maynard! Did you know the book is signed by Allan Gurganus?)