Four Days in Chicago

Now that the garden is almost history (we still have peppers and eggplants plus we haven’t dug the sweet potatoes or peanuts), it was time to make a brief escape before winter pinned us in. Hurricanes and rain nixed travel to the south and east, so we headed north to Chicago.

I was lucky to get tickets to the Immersive Van Gogh exhibition for 10 AM Wednesday. The rest of the trip was planned around that.

The Chicago Art Institute Museum was walking distance from the hotel. That’s where we spent our Monday. In addition to the permanent exhibits, they had a special display of “What I Saw” by Joseph Yoakum. He was born in Ash Grove MO, which is just a few miles from Willard. He was born in 1891 and as a teenager, ran off to join the circus. He was drafted into the army in 1918. Then he spent years wandering around the world. Then in 1962, at the age of 71, he had a dream and began painting the places he’d been during his life. He produced over 2,000 drawings before he died at age 76.

Route 66

For some reason, many places were closed on Tuesday in Chicago. We decided to explore Chinatown. One one side of Chinatown Square were 12 statues representing the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. Dennis and I were born in the year of the snake; my mom in the year of the dog and my dad in the year of the rooster. We all had a good laugh reading about our “characteristics”. We bought some souvenirs and gifts before deciding it was time to eat. We found Moon Palace, which was recommended by our hotel concierge. Unfortunately it was one of the many places closed on Tuesday. We back to the area near our hotel and had hotdogs at the food truck parked by the Field Museum. We then walked around Grant Park. We found Buckingham fountain but it had been turned off and drained. Deja vu from a past trip to Kansas City.

Wednesday morning we experienced the Immersive Van Gogh. It’s a combination of feeling like you are inside the painting plus the music. The blades of the windmills turned. The flowers blew in the wind. I made sure my parents had seats in case it became sensory overload and they might get dizzy but it didn’t happen. If it were to come to Springfield, I’d see it again.

We spent the afternoon at the Garfield Park Conservatory. It is landscape art under glass. The greenhouses are as amazing as the ones at the St Louis botanical gardens, but they are more extensive. In the Aroid House, there is a waterfall and stream flowing in the middle. Surrounded by plants found on a rainforest are also Chihuly blown glass Persian lillies.

On our final day the weather changed. It was gray and 50* with some sprinkles. While my parents sipped coffee in the cafe inside the Chicago Botanical Gardens (actually located in Glencoe) Dennis and I braved the weather and explored the gardens. We were not alone either. It wasn’t crowded but there were a lot of other people walking around, including moms pushing strollers with bundled up babies and small children. We made a list of new plants/flowers we’d like to grow next year. Also new plans for front yard low light under the trees landscaping. Grass is no longer an option.

Chicago was fun but I m not a city girl and my own bed felt good Friday night.

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