The Navy Pier in Chicago is full of activity for all members of the family. From a beer in Margaritaville, to ice cream, and then a ride on the Ferris Wheel, it was an all-American afternoon. We walked the length of the pier and found this grand ballroom looking quite elegant.
One recurring theme we noticed as we pounded the pavement in Chicago, was the abundance of green space…from huge expanses like Millennium and Grant Parks, to window boxes on patio seating areas of many eateries, to small gardens along the sidewalk of street after street. To quote former first lady Lady Bird Johnson, “Flowers in a city are like lipstick on a woman — it just makes you look better to have a little color.”
One of the landmark attractions in Chicago we did not visit on the inside, was the Adler Planetarium. This venue was the first planetarium in the United States, built in 1930. Scientists in Germany designed the projection device that would display a replica of the night sky. Max Adler, a prominent Chicago businessman of the Sears, Roebuck Company, had the foresight to invest in building this planetarium in Chicago to benefit its present and future citizens. My next trip to Chicago will include a starry, starry tour.
I traveled to Chicago with some real music buffs. We spent an evening listening to some phenomenal blues at Buddy Guy’s Legends blues club, and the next morning found us at the home of the original Chess Records for a tour. Chess Records has since been swallowed up by larger recording studios, but we were regaled with some very personal stories about the history of the studio and its famous artists such as Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf. Willie Dixon’s grandson was our tour guide, and he even brought out his grandfather’s bass for us to see and hold.
Connections to the past and to my roots always fascinate me. While on vacation last year in Seattle, I found a cannon made in factory near home, that my uncle and grandfather had worked at. This year’s discovery in Chicago, was a 1920 bell made in Troy, NY. The Meneely Bell Foundry was founded in 1826, and has made bells for Cornell University, West Point, and in Independence Hall as a replacement for the Liberty Bell. This bell on the Michigan Avenue bridge, was one of about 60 bells ordered by the City of Chicago in the 1920’s to use as alarm bells at many of the bridges over the Chicago River.
Having vacationed up and down the East coast, a lighthouse is a favorite draw for a photo opportunity. During a trip to a big Midwestern city like Chicago, I didn’t expect a lighthouse to be one of my photo memories, but during a boat tour of downtown, at the mouth of the Chicago River , there it was….the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse, one of over 50 lighthouses along the shores of Lake Michigan.