Okay… now that I’m home and recovered from my adventuring over the holidays I can get a little more in depth about my random trip to Chicago. This is actually the first time I’ve sat down to write a post on the day it will publish in like… a month. lol. Yep, the rest of those were scheduled prior to my wonderful news of remission which is kind of why my mood seemed to shift all over the place. I’m back to the “live” blogging for now. At least until something else comes up. lol.
We started our adventure the afternoon of the 31st. It’s only about a two hour drive from Nowheresville to Downtown Chicago and pretty much a straight shot up the interstate so the drive up was really nice. We got to drive through the wind farm which was hauntingly beautiful. The pictures I took don’t really do it justice. These MASSIVE wind turbines completely lining both sides of the interstate spinning what looked like in slow motion, thousands of them as far as the eye could see. SO CLOSE it felt like I could reach out and touch them, but it also felt like they could fall over on top of me and smash me like an ant, so it was creepy. I don’t really know how to describe it other than hauntingly beautiful. It’s certainly an impressive sight to behold that’s for sure.
After that the drive was pretty uneventful. We found our B&B with out incident, checked in, and took a break before freshening up and heading out for the evening. We stayed at the Wheeler-Kohn House. It was really nice. I’d never actually stayed at a B&B type place before, so the whole concept of just being handed a key to this massive gorgeous house full of expensive things and being left to our own devices was a little unnerving at first. There was one other couple in the house, but we never encountered them. We had to walk up four flights of stairs to our room, and because it’s a historic landmark it’s nestled right in the very heart of the city and the view wasn’t great so that was kind of bothersome. I mean if I’m going to walk up FLIGHTS of stairs I’d at least like a nice return by getting a spectacular view. lol. We had a wonderful gas fireplace in the room, beautiful claw foot tub, and full walk in shower in the bathroom, plenty of living space and an amazingly soft bed. I did’t actually check to ask, but it felt like sleeping on a cloud. I’m fairly certain it was down. SO COMFY. There were also a whole bunch of original paintings decorating the entire house and fresh evergreen boughs in all the rooms.
On a hilarious side note, for all it’s posh and proper appearance, as we were sitting down to breakfast we noticed that in addition to the pancakes and fresh fruit there was a plate of mysterious meat disks. It sounds really weird to describe them that way, but that’s exactly what they were. It wasn’t ham, or turkey, or sausage patties. It was just little disks of pinkish definitely meat, things. I grabbed two off of the tray and sat down. Working my way through my breakfast I decided to try one of the mysterious meat disks. I chopped it up with my fork and popped a bite into my mouth. I immediately recognized it as soon as the flavor hit my tongue. Spam. It was Spam, sliced and cut into neat circles, but totally Spam. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Spam. I’ll enjoy a can every once and a while, but everything else was so over the top elegant being served something so simple and kind of taboo in the healthy eating community for breakfast made me chuckle.
After we got settled into the room, we decided that we would go out on the town. When we started out we had grand plans of finding all the hot spot New Years Eve stuff to do, but because we got turned around trying to find the train station and ended up walking TEN BLOCKS in the wind chill of minus 2F and blustery snow once we arrived at the restaurant we were pretty much done. That and being on Central time kind of threw us off. I mean it’s only an hour difference, but when you’ve been traveling all day and then wandering around in the cold for what seemed like forever that small sixty minute gap really catches up with you. We did eventually find the train station, but it just so happened that the line we needed was the infamous Chicago Red Line. We were completely out of place, my traveling companion was completely over dressed, and basically we were sitting ducks because once we boarded the train there was no way out until we got to our stop.
The station itself wasn’t awful. There was one guy screaming and carrying on in his own little world, and one very fidgetty and sketchy guy that I kept a very watchful eye on, but over all it wasn’t any worse than working in downtown Cincinnati (which I did for about a year without incident). Once we got to our destination station and oriented ourselves we made our way topside to street level unscathed. As soon as we left the station and hit the true downtown streets I felt remarkably safe actually. There were people everywhere, and a decent police presence considering the population. Honestly I felt safer in downtown Chicago than I do in downtown Indianapolis at this point. lol.
We decided to check out the Eataly. Oh the Eataly. It’s an experience in itself. It’s a restaurant, but it’s more than that. It’s kind of hard to describe actually. When you walk in everything is brightly lit, very modern and set up like an outdoor market. There are two floors and each floor has several different cafe style restaurants to choose from. If you follow the link up there and see the map of how things are laid out it makes a lot more sense. lol. Anyway we chose to dine at Le Verdure. For as impressive as the place was the prices were extremely reasonable. Nothing was over $20 a plate, at least at Le Verdure. We didn’t really venture around to any of the other cafes. Being in the true spirit of adventure I told the waiter to bring me his favorite item on the menu and ended up with the Gnocchi Alla Romana, and some Apple Mustado Bruschetta as an appetizer. I’ve always been told that the way to best experience a new eatery is to ask for the recommendation of the staff, but this is the first time I’d actually acted upon the recommendation. It was the theme I kept through the rest of the trip. Everywhere we stopped I asked for a recommendation and then took it. BEST FOODS OF MY LIFE. I actually didn’t even know what I ate until I sat down today and started writing about it. I had to look everything up on the menus online. lol.
The rest of the trip after dinner on New Years Eve was pretty uneventful. We went back to the room where I relaxed in a nice hot bubble bath with a glass of our sparkling Rose’. It was some uber ridiculously priced sparkling Rose, but it was perfect. That’s where I was when the clock clicked over to midnight and my 2014 began. After that, I crawled into the ultra plush down bed and slept like a log until the next morning. The other couple had checked out the night before leaving us as the only guests in the entire house, which basically meant our breakfast of pancakes, fresh fruit and spam was prepared just for us. When we finally wandered down stairs it was brought into the dining room for us, we ate quickly and made our way back downtown where we stopped briefly at the John Hancock observatory. Because the storm moved in two days before it hit Nowheresville up there, the visibility wasn’t the best but it was neat to actually go up into a high rise like that. It was the first time I’d been in a building that tall, and I’m actually pretty glad the visibility was so poor. Just stepping off the elevator and feeling the building sway underneath me was enough to give me vertigo. I think I would have lost it if I had been able to really see what was beyond the clouds. lol.
After wandering around and getting as many pictures as we could we sat at the cafe until it was time to head off to our last adventure a visit to the Briar Street Theater for an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING performance of the Blue Man Group. I’d seen the videos of the various performances on YouTube, and was always intrigued by it, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would have a chance to actually see the show. I was joking around saying that I accomplished two goals with that show. Because it was interactive and the last number was basically the entire theater having a crazy dance party, I have now seen a show I really actually wanted to see instead of just tagging along with people when they had extra tickets, AND experienced a rave. lol. Which is on my list of things to do. Go to an actual rave. I’ve flirted with the idea before in my wild younger days, but never actually made it a priority. Now, after my brief experience totally on my “bucket list”.
After the show we started the long trek home. Because the snow started two days before it did down this way we were in the muck of mess from leaving downtown until about three miles before the exit to Nowheresville. The three hour trip up, turned into about a five hour trip back. Over all the trip was just what I needed. I mean seriously. I hadn’t realized how truly stressed out I had been until I got away and could forget about everything. SO REFRESHING. I was also supremely proud of Kevin. This was the first time I was gone overnight and left him with Nora. They had a blast. I can see just being home in the few days that I’ve been home she has grown a lot closer to him. In some ways it kind of stings that she’s realized she doesn’t need me for everything now, but that’s just a part of raising kids. I don’t expect to wait on her hand and foot for the rest of her life, and it’s super adorable to see her just gazing up at her daddy with the biggest most innocent adoring eyes on the planet.
In short, I love my mini vacation get away, but I’m content to be home with my Hubs and Little. The next adventure is our anniversary trip to Michigan in March! Whoo! Counting down the days.