Recently, Steve and I have been traveling quite a bit. We both love traveling, and each place we recently visited proposed some new adventure. From food to shopping, excursions to relaxation, family to friends, business to pleasure, we made sure to savor every moment together laughing, learning, and making memories along the way.
First stop, Chicago! Steve and I absolutely love the Windy City. We stopped through for the first time when I was moving to California. Steve had come along for the cross-country ride, and a pit stop in Chicago was a must. It was love at first sight! We didn’t get a ton of time there on our first stop, but it was enough to make us want more. Ever since that visit, we decided a trip back was non-negotiable but weren’t sure when it would happen.
As many of you now know, an opportunity arose for me to be Managing Editor on a premarital-focused webzine called Start Marriage Right. Well, we finally got our wish come true and were offered the opportunity to head back to Chicago to take care of some business with one of Start Marriage Right’s premiere partners, Moody Publishers. To say we were excited was an understatement. The end of August we packed our bags and were off to Chi-town.
As soon as we got in, we grabbed our rental car and headed to the heart of the city to meet at the famous Gino’s East Pizza for some deep dish, Chicago-style pizza and to talk business. The team I am working with was spectacular, and they even gave us a tour of the Moody Bible Institute, which was both beautiful and surreal to see in person. Stuffed on pizza and excited about the project, Steve and I headed out on our own to explore the city. We covered some serious ground including the Trump tower, recognizable Chicago sign, the Old Chicago Water Tower & Pumping Station, The John Hancock Center, and The Drake hotel (as seen in My Best Friend’s Wedding). We were wiped out and hungry, so we capped our wonderful day off with a stop at Portillo’s to try a Chicago-style hot dog. It was both interesting and delightful.
Saturday started bright and early as we headed out to see Dr. Gary Chapman’s marriage seminar The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted. If you haven’t done a marriage seminar, I would highly encourage it. They aren’t terribly expensive, but what you learn is invaluable. We were honored to have the opportunity to dine with Dr. Chapman over the lunch break. I was in shock that I was sitting there next to this man that I esteem so highly and struggled to choke back the million and one things I wanted to say. He was very gracious and kind, and it really was an experience I won’t soon forget.
After the seminar, our “business” was handled, and we had the rest of the weekend to do as we pleased. Boy did we jam pack the rest of the time with lots of walking, exploring, and eating. We went to Millenium and Grant Park enjoying the identifiable Jay Pritzker Pavilion and Great Lawn, Cloud Gate “The Bean,” and Crown Fountain. We made sure to stop at Al’s Italian Beef where we had a dipped Italian beef sandwich and fries that were out of this world delicious. Our eating excursions continued as we stopped at one of Rick Bayless’ restaurants, Xoco. After enjoying a few moments in our favorite spot in the city near the Vietnam Memorial, we continued walking block after block until we finally called it a night.
Our last day we started off with a a very tourist-like approach, a Wendella boat tour. We loved it though as we cruised gracefully through the city learning about its rich history and soaking in its beauty. A Wendella boat tour is an must for anyone wanting to get a good dose of what Chicago is all about. It made for some amazing photo ops. Can you guess what we did after? Walked! Yes, we walked all around the city more, stopping back at Millenium and Grant Park to this time enjoy the Great Lawn, Lurie Garden, and Buckingham Fountain. We definitely made the most of our time.
As we left in the wee hours of Monday morning, I basked in both sadness to leave but excitement and awe at this incredible city. Chicago is quite possibly my favorite city, managing to have the excitement of a big city but the charm of a small town. It is beautiful, invigorating, quaint, historical, and inspires me at every corner. My husband and I had the most wonderful time there savoring every possible moment. It made us realize how wonderful and important getaways for the two of us really are. To quote Frank Sinatra,”They have the time, the time of their life…Chicago, Chicago.”
*To comment on this entry, simply click on the “no comment” link in blue just below the post (if someone has already commented, you will see a number instead of “no” in front of “comment”). Fill out the form that pops up. Your name & email are not required. Once you have entered your comment, click on the “Submit a Comment,” and it will appear once it is approved for posting.