I can’t believe it’s only been a week or so since I last checked in… I’ve so many things to show you.
One week ago we landed in Chicago for a family reunion with my Dad, my brother and sister and their respective families. We wanted to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday a little early by enjoying time in Chicago –the area my Mom and Dad grew up and my brother and I lived before we moved to Connecticut as small children.
My kids have never been to Chicago before, and it was so fun to have all eight cousins there to romp around see/eat/experience as much as we could in a quick 3 1/2 days.
We stayed in a huge house in Wrigleyville which turned out to be a great place to stay; there was lots of energy in the hood on the two days that the Cubs played, and it made a great place to depart to various parts of the city.
And so, in no particular order, are my five highlights of our Chicago trip.
1. Spending time near Lake Michigan.
I haven’t been to this area in over 20 years, and so I’d forgotten what a huge role this gorgeous body of water plays in the city.
On several occasions we took my sister’s dog Riley to a dog beach there; there canines were free to romp in the soft sand or swim in the gorgeous warm water alongside their owners.
The beauty of this lake is that there are no riptides to worry about with small kids and the water ranged from choppy to placid, depending on the weather that day.
We went to this dog beach every day to dip our feet and give Riley time to both get exercise and cool down- important in oft-steamy Chicago.
Another afternoon we sat along the lake near Grant Park and watched the boats gliding boy with the skyscrapers just off in the distance — and if I lived in Chicago I’m sure I would have found plenty of favorite other spots to perch.
2. Chicago Architecture Tour.
I vaguely remember having done this boat tour a long time ago, but I’d forgotten how beautiful this boat tour is, snaking through the Chicago River past architectural gems. Our tour guide was fabulous, explaining some of the history of the city and the buildings we saw along the way — everything from Art Deco gems to 70’s cottages to modern behemoths.
I cannot recommend this tour highly enough.
3. Segway Tour.
My kids and I have been on Segway tours twice in Portland, but to ride as a group of eight cousins and uncles was a blast.
They got their tricked out headgear, and once outfitted and given a quick lesson, they were off.
The gang was able to start whizzing around Grant Park
and then off to Shead Aquarium and Soldier Field.
Everyone in our group who went on the tour said it was one of the biggest highlights of the trip.
4. Seeing the city from up high.
My brother has a client who offered up his condo for the night, enabling us all to enjoy a commodious home base one day and allowing us to have a beautiful dinner with unbelievable views.
The apartment was on the 41st floor and gave us a spectacular view — including the set up for Lollapalooza starting in the week ahead.
After our sumptuous dinner, we opened cards and presents (it was my brother Dave’s birthday) and took in the sensational views and sunset.
Chicago views are dreamy.
5. Going to a big Broadway Show.
Portland gets some big shows but my family is obsessed with Hamilton and to be able to snag tickets for this and experience it all together was unbelievably powerful.
We’d listening to the music non-stop so excitement pre-show hit an all time high.
Look how cute my sister and acharlotte looked in their accidental/unintentional near-clone outfits.
I was so moved to see Oliver draw his sister close after the show.
Of course I can provide no pics during the performance but seeing Hamilton live IS everything they say it is– and more.
So thanks to the for groups that all came together for this big trip.
And Dad, Happy early birthday. I have to say that these eight grandkids are truly something to be proud of, no?
As I now write this I’m fully ensconced in a nearly Wi-fi less Wisconsin trip with this whole gang (minus my Dad but with Mom and stepdad).
So goodbye Chicago,
and hello Wisconsin.
Back in a bit!