My job tends to trump Josh’s in the travel department. So far we’ve had weddings in Gulf Shores, Belize, Cancun, Cape Cod and now the Chicago area. On June 16 we shot the wedding of some very dear friends in St. Charles/Bloomingdale, IL. Since we were already there we decided to make a mini vacation out of it. We took the Amtrak train from Memphis to Chicago on a Wednesday night. It’s really cool because you leave at night and arrive in the city the next morning. I would absolutely do it again, however, I would spend the extra money and get a roomette. Our friend Kari picked us up and took us to the resort in Bloomingdale (Indian Lakes Resort). She gave us a tour of the resort while we waited on our room. It has this fabulous 60’s vibe to it and we loved it immediately. After lounging by the pool for a while Kari’s husband-to-be, John, took us out to eat at a delicious Italian restaurant, Villaggio Ristorante. Here I had my first ever experience with Spumone which is basically heaven in Italian Neapolitan ice cream. Following this we went to Dave & Busters and played arcade games.
Friday was very relaxed. We worked a little, pooled a little and relaxed a lot. We rode with the wedding party to the church in St. Charles. While they rehearsed the wedding Josh & I walked around. It was such a sweet, quaint town. In a lot of ways it reminded me of Plymouth, MA from our trip last year. The rehearsal dinner was at Gino’s East and subsequently our first encounter with Chicago style pizza. Oh my, was it fabulous! Saturday was all wedding festivities from the previous post. After saying our heartfelt goodbyes on Sunday, we took a cab to our hotel in the city. One thing you must know about the Mabi: we plan our travel around restaurants first then sight-seeing.
First stop: Navy Pier. I knew little about Navy Pier other than the HUGE ferris wheel. However, ironically I have been talking about our upcoming trip to Six Flags and how excited I am to ride the swings for the first time in 15 years. You should have seen my face when I rounded the corner to see the swings at Navy Pier! I smiled the ENTIRE ride like a small child….it was glorious! I even tried to ride them again on our last day there, but they were closed due to wind. The ferris wheel, however, was a different story. I have a passionate love/hate relationship with heights. I really enjoy doing risky things up high, but I’m a wreck most of the time there. (I also get really nervous when other people teeter on heights. Josh likes to have fun with this one and dangle sometimes. He thinks it’s hysterical. I do not.) That being said, the ferris wheel was SUPER cool because of all you could see. I just didn’t move much on it. Hence why there are not any photos from in it. Following our trip to Navy Pier we had dinner at a yummy restaurant on Michigan Ave., Bandera.
Monday we ventured out to the Art Institute of Chicago. I didn’t take a camera because honestly, it gets a bit heavy and bulky. And I went to see art, not make it. The Lichtenstein exhibit was open and that was really amazing. It was so cool to see actual works of art by people I grew up learning about: Georgia O’Keeffe, Monet, Georges Seurat….and the list goes on. I do have to say, museums are exhausting. I swear 3 hours felt like 10. We didn’t go to any more museums during our stay. That night we had dinner at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building. It was really windy that day and we could feel the very surreal subtle sway of the building that high up.
Tuesday we met up with my friend Annie at a lovely brunch place, Orange. I had pumpkin pancakes with some kind of mouth-watering syrup/icing dealio. (Not having had sugar in 2 weeks, I am longing for this or sweet potato pancakes at the Pancake Pantry in Nashville & Gatlinburg.) We had a very chill afternoon: we took the L and relaxed at Millenium Park for a while and snapped a few photos at The Bean, walked aimlessly trying to find a public restroom before finally settling upon a Starbucks and took pictures at The Chicago Theatre. It was SUPER hot this day in particular. I really didn’t feel like I’d really left the South. That night we ate at a cool tapas place, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba in Lincoln Park. I have to say if we ever moved to Chicago I’d love to live in the Lincoln Park area. It was very hometown feeling, quaint and inviting.
Our last day in the city was Wednesday. For lunch we had Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza. It amazes me how different pizza is here from all I know here: delivery. I think the most unique things were that the cheese is under the sauce & it’s not near as greasy. We strolled from here to Navy Pier to lounge on the grass before we took the Architectural Boat Tour. This is certainly one of the more fascinating touristy things you can do. It’s so amazing to think about all the massive, beautiful and unique buildings in the city and the fact that they’ve only been around for about 120 years due to the Great Chicago Fire. If you’re ever in the Windy City then you must add this tour to your to-do list…right after the swings! We stopped by a yummy Italian restaurant, Volare, before catching our train back to Memphis.
And here we are back in the real world for one more week. Next week: beach camping at St. Augustine, FL followed by SIX FLAGS!!!