Friday, August 10, 2012

Macy's day, oh yeah cubs night too

Jim has been looking forward to this day all week and it has finally arrived.  Pop in to Walgreens for our morning banana and apple .  Can't eat something that is going to bloat me when I am trying on dresses.  Find the directory, Jim stops breathing, there are five floors of ladies wear.  Off to the third floor we go.  The floor is huge. Luckily I am a pretty good window shopper.  We walk around the aisles and I find four dresses to try on.  Voila three I like, two I really like, settle on one.  Thirty minutes have gone by.  Jim heads for the fourth floor, I head for the street, time for something to eat.  A wave of relief passes over Jim's face.  Lol

Back to the hotel, do a little packing and hen off for a walk to millennium park.  On the river they have these electric boats you can rent and we were waylaid watching two boats full of east Indians going in circles.  There was a forty foot cabin cruiser trying to back into a parking spot and one of these little boats got stuck behind it going in circles.  There were all sorts of water taxis and tour boats as well.  Absolute craziness.  I don't think Jim and I have laughed so hard.

Continuing on our walk we notice a crowd of people looking down at the river.  There are fire, police, parks and tour boats all watching about 10,000 little plastic ducks race down the river, propelled by the current and with a little help from the fire boat.  They were raising money for the special Olympics.  

Interesting fact about the Chicago river, a hundred or so years ago it used to flow into lake Michigan.  The river and the lake were so polluted that a large number of their residents were dying from disease.  So what did they do, they dredged the river so that all ther garbage would flow to St Louis.  The big problem they didn't think of was that they were basically draining the great lakes.  So to correct that they put locks in to control the flow of water to an acceptable level. 

As we continue on our way we realize we can't gt across the river to millennium park and somehow taking a long circuitous route we end up back at navy pier. A quick bathroom break and we start heading back.  Our little boat riders are still struggling in the middle of the river.  

A definite stop to visit in Chicago is the 16th floor of the trump tower and has a beautiful terrace looking down the river to the lake with great views of the wrigley and tribune buildings to name just a couple.  They also serve a greatlittle drink called prosecco.  Did I mention that this is my new favorite drink.

Back to the room, a little more packing and we are heading to Wrigleyille to watch the cubs game.  Our first trip on the subway.  Felt just like Toronto, little old and lots of people.

100 steps from the subway is Wrigley Field, the 2nd oldest ballpark  in the states.  This is the field where Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones met.  

The rain is starting, so we head over to the Goose Island Brewery Pub.  A Chicago microbrewery where all the beer is their own.  I tried a flight of beer which was four different kinds.  Favs were the 312 - nice and light and the blueberry, delish.  Definitely recommend the Stilton peppercorn burger, tasted homemade. 

Back to the field, where the game is under rain delay and so are our seats.  Jan and bob are taking care of our seats.  Everytime we moved under cover when we came back they would dry our seats for us.  Every worker from he hosts/hostesses to beer sellers to peanut sellers looked like they had worked there since the stadium opened.  

Tarp on, tarp off, tarp on, tarp off.  Finally the game starts 8:30. The amount of movement t the game was amazing, probably didn't help that the fans had now been drinking for an hour and a half before the game started.  

In the sixth end it was tied 3 to 3,when the rain started again. We head to the bathroom and stay long enough to watch the fans sing "take me out to the ball game".  A tradition started by Harry Caray, the cu s legendary announcer.

A great night, Jim was ecstatic, I can feel a baseball road trip coming up.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I can't get over how much of Chicago we have seen by boat. Using our 2nd day of our water taxi pass we were off to the Sears tower which has now been renamed the Willis tower, a large insurance company. Must be pretty big if they can buy the whole building. A quick tour then water taxi back to Michigan avenue where I broke down and bought a pair of runners from nordstrams. Feet feel much better. And we're off and ready to go again.

Another water taxi takes us to the navy pier where we catch a boat taking us on a tour of the shoreline. It is very beautiful with no industry on it at all, parks, museums, and lots of green space. Oh yeah lots of tall buildings all at least a large city block back from the waters edge.

Yes you are right another water taxi takes us over to the east end of the city where there is a spur of land jutting out into the lake with an aquarium, an observatory, a museum and soldier field (home of the Chicago bears). All surrounded by park land, again the city did a wonderful job of making an oasis in the city.

A late lunch is needed so we decide to walk back to the city, shoes are awesome. This included a walk by millenium park. You just can't say enough about the layout of the city. The park has the art gallery, water parks for the kids with some amazing pieces of art, steel walkways, etc -beautiful.

On Madison and wabash we find an old Italian eatery serving, yep you got it, deep dish pizza and their local beer goose island.

From there back to the hotel for a rest, back to rosebuds for dinner and a nightcap at yes the house of blues.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day two Chicago

Chicago day 2 , lots of walking. Blisters now from two pairs of shoes. The things I will do to buy a new pair of shoes.  We walked from our hotel to lake Michigan, spent the day at the navy pier.  Thought it would be a good idea to get on this gigantic ferris wheel.  By the time we got to the top, Jim was holding on for dear life and I was sitting as stiff as a rock.  Everytime  I get on a ferris wheel I always get stopped at the top.  WOW. It was crazy how scary it felt.  Going down wasn't so bad and we were able to have a good look around.  

From there we headed over to take the Architectural River Boat Cruise.  We discovered the shoreline shuffle which gave us the river cruise for one hour, a half hour shoreline cruise and as many water taxis for two days all for only $7 more than the river cruise.  $39 each what a bargain

The first cruise was the river cruise.  It went down the river and along the two branches pointing out all the different buildings and historical aspects of the city.  Such as the fact that it was not mrs o'leary's cow that started the great fire.  And the fact that from Michigan ave down to the water is all landfill which started from throwing all the buildings that had burned into the lake.  

I am not sure what Chicago has more of - Steak houses on every corner, cafes overlooking the river, beautiful bridges or boats.  The river was like our don valley with boats.  The tour guide said the bridges are all lift bridges and are busiest in the spring and fall to let all the sailboats through.

Next stop was onto a water taxi which dropped us about a block from our hotel.  Perfect.

A nice bath to rest my feet and then we were off to Rosebuds for dinner where I had the best Ceasar salad and a wonderful spaghetti marinara with a delicious Caparzo Sangiovese  Toscana.  Perfect.

Finished the night off with a baileys night cap at House of Blues.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chicago continues

After unpacking and some relaxing time in our room we went for a small walk around the river where our hotel is. Chicago just gets more beautiful. The Chicago river which runs through the city is as busy as our highways with tours and seadoos, fishing charters and cabin cruisers coming ino the city to dock right beside the restaurant they are dining at. We finally decided to eat on the patio at Smith and Wallensky. A famous steak house overlooking the river. Yes I had chicken. Jim had the filet trio which was three four ounce filets done with three different sauces, one was Gorgonzola, one mushroom and one onion. Dinner was delish. Our waiter informed us that Chicago has a steak house on every block and looking up and down the river he was definitely right. The food, the wine, the ambiance and the location were perfect.

Next we headed over to the House of Blues where a great session band was playing with a guitarist, drummer, bass, two sax players and a trumpet were playing. They were amazing. The drummer and guitarist were in their twenties while the rest of the group were 50+. I have never seen a guitarist play so fast I kept expecting his guitar to go on fire his fingers moved so fast. A great night, can't wait for tomorrow. a river cruise

Monday, August 6, 2012

Arrive in Chicago

After a wonderful swim in lake muskoka we loaded up the car and set off on our adventure. Jim took the first leg of the drive getting us to the Tim hortons just south of King City, then I got behind my little Mazda three and zoom zoom off we went to Greystones Golf Course. I've played a number of clublink courses and this might be the most beautiful. It is built right into the escarpment. Thankfully there was lots to look at as my golf was pretty ugly.

After a nice dinner we headed to Windsor where we stayed at the downtown Holiday Inn. Seemed like a good idea to stay downtown thinking we were going to the casino but when we saw the bed we both crashed. If you think of going here again keep in mind that it is very noisy being on the main strip in Windsor.

Up and st them, we left the hotel at 930. Quick stop at duty free where we picked up 3 one lite bottles of Captain Morgan for $39. Woohoo.

My first trip through the tunnel and we were in Detroit, onto the i75 and we are heading to Chicago. We decided to take a break at a beautiful little town called St Joseph/Benton harbour. Walked along the beach. Lake Michigan was beautiful and very warm. A beautiful town I would go back to. Had lunch at a little restaurant called Schu's. Jim had a chicken flatbread and I had a buffalo chicken salad. If you like beer they had a number of local brews. We did pick up a few to bring on our trip with us. A walk around the town and then back in the car.

4 o'clock Chicago time and we are in our hotel "hotel sax" (yes sax not sex). It is right downtown beside the house of blues and the river. A little rum and coke and relax time (Jim has the converter) and then off to explore.