Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weekend In The Windy City

With all of the projects around the house, in the garage, out in the yard, and the onset of Post-Winter Pre-Spring Cabin Fever Syndrome (PWPSCFS), Meagan and I needed a distraction. Since sitting around the house is never relaxing because one of our many half-started projects is always staring us in the face, we decided to get out of town. Meagan, the ever-savvy online hotel bargain hunter, found us an outstanding room at the Doubletree hotel in downtown Chicago on the Magnificent Mile for less than $80. Unfortunately overnight parking was $41 so to make it an affordable weekend away we decided to use as much public transportation as possible. So, starting in Michigan City, Indiana we parked our car for free and hopped on the South Shore Line for $7.50 each which dropped us off a block or two from the Museum of Science and Industry where we opted to partake in our token touristy event.

The Museum of Science and Industry was very cool and a lot of fun… When I was 12… I hadn’t been back since and had fond memories of what it was like. We thought we’d beat the crowds and go on Friday instead of Saturday, little did we know it was “National Bring Your School to the Museum Day” . There were 6 to 15 year olds running rampant through the exhibits, pressing every button and interacting with every exhibit. Fortunately, after 2:30 they all cleared out and we could enjoy the museum in peace. After the museum we hopped on the bus to our hotel and checked in. They gave us warm delicious cookies and we dropped our bags off and headed out to the Blue Agave Mexican restaurant for some outstanding Mexican food. After gorging ourselves on the bottomless chips and fresh salsa we wandered back to the hotel doing some spot shopping along the way.

On Saturday we had a delicious breakfast across the street at the West Egg CafĂ©, which was the picture of efficiency and service as we sat down, ordered, and less than 5 minutes later had our food in front of us. After that we wandered around downtown a bit longer checking out some more stores. We wandered ourselves down to Portillo’s Italian Beef for lunch and had a famous Chicago Italian Beef sandwich dripping in peppers, cheese, and gravy. That gave us enough energy to make it back to the Millennium Park area where we saw the Macy’s Spring Flower show, stopped for some Garrett’s Popcorn (to take home), and rested as we waited to meet some friends for dinner.

We met my Calvin friends Davy and Jason and their significant others Jamie and Shari, and of course Jason and Shari’s little Asher at my favorite Chicago pizza place, Giordano’s. We had some delicious Chicago stuffed pizza and some fun conversation about how Jason is teaching Asher humility by mercilessly beating him at Playskool Basketball and how Davy dueled pianos for a Bar Mitzvah where the overbearing mom forced her son to play an impromptu piano recital for all of his friends. Later, Asher had to get home and get to bed but Davy and Jamie took us to the China Grill for some drinks and a place to hang out awaiting the train home.

It was a great trip filled with good distractions but, as with most vacations, left us more tired than we were before we left. Still, it was worth every minute!