Posted in Travel/Conferences

Revisiting Chicago after Twenty-Six Years!

The first trip my husband and I took together was to Chicago, Illinois in March 1992 for my Public Library Association Conference. We stayed at the Palmer House Hilton, an historic downtown hotel. When I found out that my husband was going to attend a conference for his employer in Chicago this July, I asked to go along with him. I thought it would be fun to see the city after twenty-six years. I dug out our old photo album and some of the scanned photos I’d kept and planned to try to locate some of the sights and exhibits he and I had posed by on our first trip. I knew that some of them would be gone and replaced by new attractions and places, and I hoped to include some of those, too, for making our new memories.

It was nice that I was able to book the same hotel, the Palmer House, that we’d stayed in on our first visit. While the rooms were different, the main lobby and the gold elevator doors were the same.

When we visited the Museum of Science and Industry, most of the exhibits had changed. However, the Main Street area featured two spots I’d posed by in the past.  Although we couldn’t reach the top of the museum’s entrance, Anthony posed in front of the stairs where he’d stood twenty-six years ago.

 

 

 

A mystery site that I identified by accident was a golden peacock door. When I posed by it in ’92, it was inside the Palmer House. When we found it in 2018, it was outside a few buildings before the hotel.

While on our trip, we also visited the Willis Tower that was called the Sears Tower in ’92. We were told that residents still refer to it by its original name. The tower has added some new attractions to the 103rd-floor skydeck. In addition to an incredible view of several states, there is now an opportunity to stand on a glass-enclosed ledge if you dare. We did and got some great photos.

Something new (but not not new in Chicago) that we tried was a dinner theater called Tommy Gun’s Garage where we had a great meal and were treated to an entertaining musical show with flappers and gangsters. We also had the chance to pose with a gangster.

While Anthony was in his conference, I took a mini bus tour led by See It All Tours that was a great introduction to the various parts of the city. The tour made stops at the Rookery Building, The Chicago Cultural Center that was once the main public library, and a perfect spot for a photo op of the skyline on Lakewood Drive. As part of an add-on to this tour, I was able to take an architectural cruise led by Shoreline Sightseeing that was a great way to view Chicago’s buildings.

After the cruise, I took a convenient water taxi to Navy Pier where I had a pleasant lunch outdoors at Harry Caray’s Tavern and then shopped until my packages were too heavy to hold.

Of course, a trip to Chicago, isn’t complete without seeing Millennium Park. It wasn’t there in ’92, and my husband both enjoyed strolling through it after dinner one night. Someone offered to take our photo near the famous Cloud Gate or “Bean,” and it was delightful walking through the flowered paths and seeing the kids playing in the water near Crown Fountain. I even took a photo of the lips opening to spray water.

Another attraction that wasn’t around when we visited twenty-six years ago was the American Writers Museum. As a librarian and author, I knew I had to check it out and wasn’t disappointed. The exhibits were wonderful and very interactive. I even had a chance to type on an “antique” typewriter.

Our last evening was magical as we spent it at the Magic Parlour, entertained by magician Dennis Watkins.

Last but not least on our city agenda was dining. Chicago is famous for its great food, and I had to forget about my diet while I indulged in some special meals and desserts.

At The Berghoff, a popular and historic German restaurant, I was able to have my favorite cake — Black Forest. At the Palmer House Lockwood Restaurant, I sampled Bertha’s Brownies (the Brownie was created in the Palmer House kitchen at the direction of Bertha Palmer to be served at the Columbian Exposition World Fair in 1893). After visiting the Art Institute, I also had a nice lunch at the Russian Tea Room across from the museum. And, because you can’t leave Chicago without deep dish pizza, I picked up one at O’Hare’s Pizzeria Uno counter along with a Chicago-style hot dog for my husband before we boarded our flight home.

Posted in Monday Blog

What are your Travel Plans this Summer?

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My daughter will be visiting Hershey this summer with Driftwood Day Camp

As the summer races to its end, more people are going on vacation. Some take week-long trips; others, weekends. There are even those who enjoy staycations in their local area. My daughter is participating in a day camp that includes several overnight trips to such pre-teen favorite places as Medieval Times and Great Adventure in New Jersey; Hershey and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania; Mystic, Connecticut; and Newport, Rhode Island. I’m glad she’ll get a chance to see some of the world or at least part of the East coast. We’ll take our own short trip at the end of the summer, before she starts 7th grade, to the Renaissance Faire upstate in Tuxedo, New York. She liked it so much that we decided to go again.

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Me on my honeymoon in Bermuda (1992).

Before we had Holly, we did a lot of traveling on our own including our honeymoon in Bermuda. I have fond memories of many of the places we visited–Chicago, Atlanta, Cape May, The Poconos, the Amish country, Boston, Wahington, D.C., Virginia Beach, and many other places. With her, we’ve only traveled to Sesame, Disney World, a one-day stopover in Canada on a cruise, and the Hudson Valley.

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Me, my daughter, and husband at the Rockefeller Estate in the Hudson Valley last year

 

 

 

 

I’ve always enjoyed traveling, but I’ve also found it can be tiring as much as relaxing and something that requires a good deal of preparation and planning. It’s best to take a few days off before and after a trip. I’m also the type of person who likes to create an itinerary and purchase tickets beforehand. My husband would just wing it if I let him. Like most men, he leaves most of the travel details to me. I’m the one who creates the packing, cat sitting, and emergency lists. I print out the sightseeing info and maps. Even though I deal with all these details, I also leave room for spontaneity. After all, you have to allow for a substitution of activities in cases of bad weather, sights that have closed, or other interesting things you come across as you travel.

mapblogI have some dream vacations in mind for the future. Europe, of course. I’ve only been to England and Wales after college. I’d like to see the Grand Canyon one day and the West. I’d like to see more of Canada–Montreal and Quebec. I’d also like to see more nearby attractions. I’ve been out East on Long Island and to New York City, but these are the types of trips that require more than one visit. I’d love to visit Montauk again, and I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never been to Shelter Island. Now that the city boasts cat cafe’s, I’d love to visit one of those, but seeing another Broadway play or visiting the Statue of Liberty and the New York Public Library would also be on my itinerary.

Also, since I’m an author as well as a librarian, visiting new places can inspire me to feature them in my story settings. However, if I haven’t been somewhere that I’d like to write about, I can always try to plan a trip there. For instance, a novel I’m currently working on takes place in South Carolina. I might have an opportunity to travel to Myrtle Beach next year for a writing conference so that could be ideal timing for my background research. Speaking of conferences, they are a good opportunity to see places you might never consider visiting. If the conference is work-related, it could also be a tax deduction.

Vacation travel whether it’s near or far, affords people a chance to unwind and experience new sights and educational opportunities as they have fun and enjoy a much-needed change of pace from their hectic day-to-day routine.

Whatever your plans this summer, stay safe, and have a great time!