New Travel Companion

Just over a year ago, our new travel buddy was born. With Covid, there was zero travel that actually occurred during his first year of life. He didn’t even leave the state! That is about to change. Now that our family is on summer break, we are ready to start showing Edwin the world. Some of our travels will be local, and some will take us out of Illinois, but all will incorporate enjoying our time together, having new experiences, and exploring our curiosity. We look forward to instilling a travel bug in our sweet boy, and taking steps to helping him open his mind to all that traveling can teach us.

We started small for our first day of summer break, but it was a wonderful experience at Brookfield Zoo. Edwin mostly enjoyed the people-watching, but he also took an interest in the triceratops.

Cantigny Park in Northern Illinois

DaisySometimes we have to enjoy the treasures close to home when we can’t get away.  One of my favorite places to visit is Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois.  The estate was owned by Robert McCormick who is known for establishing the Tribune company which contains the Chicago Tribune and WGN.  The estate is named after a French village that McCormick was in during his time in the First Division during World War I.  Just so you know, it is pronounced can-teeny, not can-tig-nee.  It took me awhile to learn that.

The grounds contain one of the best gardens I’ve ever been to.  The landscaping changes with the seasons, keeping the designs fresh.  Besides the bee-filled fields of color, there are also tanks for viewing,or climbing (if you get the urge), and two museums.

The First Division Museum takes you through America’s history with war.  They offer a great program for teachers that includes history trunks with uniforms and other artifacts.  I’ve used both the civil war trunks and revolutionary war trunk in my classroom.  The uniforms are accurate reproductions, and the other items bring the human perspective of war to life.  Imagine wearing brogans where there was no right or left, or check out the deck of cards soldiers would use to pass the time.  Just don’t eat the hardtack.

The McCormick Museum is situated in the house.  I love the Chinese mural that covers the walls in the dining room and the gold leaf ceiling in the theatre downstairs.  There is even a secret bar in the library.  Unfortunately, pictures are a no-no inside the house.

Perhaps Northern Illinois is not on your bucket list of travel destinations, but if you do happen to make it to this corner of the Midwest, stop by the Cantigny Park for a special treat.

Touring your own Town

I live in Naperville, IL whiLandforms Sculpture 2ch is a mini Chicago.  Mini, mini, I should say.  I’ve lived here for a year now, and I love how close I am to the city along with the safety I feel here.  After visiting the library, I decided to walk around because I could see that the Riverwalk was blooming.  I finally climbed my way up the Carillon.  I had a sweet tour guide that was a sophomore in high school.  It was her first day, and I was her first tour.  It made me remember the uneasiness I felt starting my first job.

Here are some pictures I took of my little tour of Naperville.  Tomorrow I get to tour a neighborhood of Chicago.  I look forward to sharing my adventure.

*If you look in the picture of the Naperville skyline, you can faintly make out the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower).  Look to the top right corner of the horizon.  The little blur sticking up is the tower!

Visit Chicago

Chicago SkylineDa bears, famous mobsters, hot dogs, the Mag Mile, and blues conjure images of Chicago (sometimes pronounced cheecago).  I live less than an hour away, yet I will have spent more time in Paris after this summer is over.  I love having a great city nearby, but it is one that I am still exploring.  Since I have started to realize the neglect that my own city has experienced, I thought it was time I investigate what is so great about it.

This Sunday I will go on a free tour of the city.  If you are visiting and want to get a taste for more than just deep dish, I recommend checking out Chicago Greeters.  I will write a post about my experience with them next weekend, but I already love the service.  First of all, it is free.  Second, you can tailor it to your wishes.  If you want to visit the touristy spots like the Willis Tower (used to be Sears Tower), the Bean, or other top sites you can.  If you want to battle it out with a Cubs fan in Wrigleyville, they’ve got that covered too.  I love the personalization that can come with these tours.IMG_6208

Chicago is also known for its architecture.  If the season is right, you might want to take a river cruise to gaze up at the buildings reaching for the sky.  I was planning on a trip in the fall, but the weather went cold fast.  I know people who have loved it, so you may want to think about it.

I just came across a site tonight that I am really excited about.  Not only is it useful for Chicago, but other cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.  The prices aren’t bad and it provides a unique view of Chicago.  I think this can be a great source for those wanting to learn something from their travels.

If you are trying to figure out what to do with your time in Chi Town, here are some ideas:

Favorite Neighborhoods

Old Town, Wicker Park/Bucktown, Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park, Evanston

Favorite ActivitiesDay 218-19

French Market, Lincoln Park Zoo, Cubs/Sox/Bears/Bulls/Blackhawks Game, Finding Festivals, Walking in the City, Riding the “L”

Favorite Restuarants

Frontera Grill (or any Rick Bayless Restaurant), Quartino, New England Seafood and Company

Favorite Streets

Clark, State, Wells, Michigan

Favorite Museums

Museum of Science and Industry, Art Institute, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum

I can’t wait to share my tour with you next weekend.  I’m hoping to see a side of Chicago that I didn’t know about.