Thursday, August 28, 2014

Windy City Love.

Adam and I's anniversary trip to Chicago was perfect. Honestly, there was nothing I would have changed about it. It was a much needed break from reality and the perfect place to celebrate one year of marriage. We headed out bright and early on Saturday morning {two weekends ago} and got to Chicago around 8am. One of the many things I love about Adam is that he is a wizard with public transit. He had already planned out what train we need to take from the airport, where to get tickets, what stop we needed to get off on and which way to walk once we did. The Orange Line train took about 45 minutes and dropped us off a few blocks away from our hotel. Easy as pie. When we got to the hotel, it was still very early and we were hoping they would let us leave our bags behind the front desk for the day. To our surprise, our room was available for early check-in and we could get settled right away. The room was beautiful and happened to be an 'accessibility room', meaning it had extra room to accommodate a wheel chair. The bathroom and walking areas were huge and the extra space was wonderful! Prior to leaving for the trip, I had been browsing online to find things for us to do. The Lincoln Park Zoo was something that we both wanted to see, and on their website it advertised for The 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show on the same weekend we arrived. Having seen the advertisement only on the zoo website, I assumed it had something to do with birds and fish. I was really excited! A very short time before arriving in Chicago, we realized how huge this actually was and that it had nothing to do with animals. It was a show that consisted of different military grade planes and watercrafts, circling around Chicago's North Beach. Some were solo performances, some were several planes riding in tandem. It as amazing! After grabbing lunch, we found a spot on in the park across the beach and watched the planes for hours. Our favorite was the F-22 Raptor fighter jet. If you blinked at the wrong time you would miss it {1,500 mph}. The noise after it passed overhead was deafening. So amazing to witness!

The following days were spent walking {once in the city we never used public transit, walking at least five miles a day}, trying fun little lunch spots and seeing the sights. One of my favorite days was Sunday when we explored Navy Pier and had our anniversary brunch. The day was slightly overcast, but we never got rained on. I'll take that over blistering sun any day. We walked around the pier and watched the giant yachts float by. There was a lobster fest going on and a beer garden with live music. We grabbed a few fun cocktails and soaked it in. That same morning, we went to the Blues Brothers Gospel Brunch. It was literally across the street from our hotel and could not have been more fun. When you walk in, it transports you to a different time. The d├ęcor had a Cajun/bayou feel and was so colorful and welcoming. We immediately were sent to the brunch buffet line and were not disappointed. It had everything. Southern food, fresh fruit, filets, breakfast food and a mimosa bar. We had about 45 minutes to eat and get to know our table mates before the show started. We sat next to a family from Maryland, who was in town to drop their daughter off at Northwestern University for Physical Therapy. They were the perfect people to sit next to for a gospel brunch. They were loud, proud and very down to earth. It was impossible not to channel some of their enthusiasm and shout a giant 'Amen' with them when the MC prompted. After the brunch, we cracked open our first wine capsule bottle! On our wedding night, we had six wine bottles with different numbers {our anniversary number} on them, for people to leave us notes. We opened our '1' bottle and it was a blast. We had so many messages {some more appropriate than others...}, but every notes made us smile and remember how thankful we are for the people in our lives. The next bottle will be cracked on our five year anniversary. Maybe we'll be cracking that one in Greece? A girl can dream.

Other sights we saw were Millennium Park, The Bean, Alder Aquarium and a very cool fountain {can't think of the name right now}. Neither Adam and I are big club/drinking people, so two of the post-dinner nights were spent watching movies. We loved it. One night we Redboxed a few and the other we went to the movie theater and saw 'Lucy'. After walking so much, it felt amazing just to put our feet up! Two of our favorite restaurants were Rockit's and Lou Malnanti's. I had researched pizza joints and Lou Malnanti's was on virtually every list. We were not disappointed and actually went back a second time on our last day there. Their spinach stuffed garlic bread was out of this world {not to mention their famous deep dish pizza}. I will be Googling how to replicate it. That may lead to seeing how many calories are in it though...oh well. Rockit's had a more romantic rock & roll vibe. Think roughed up black leather chairs and menu, with a white table cloth and candles. They had the best French onion soup I've ever had. Tuesday, before our flight, we explored some of the shops along Magnificent Mile. We walked into the rustic looking store, thinking it would be similar to H&M here at home. I saw a sweater I liked and immediately looked at the price. After picking my jaw up off of the floor, I showed Adam that it was $450. Then it turned into a game. Him or I would pick a piece of clothing and the other would have to guess how much it was. After a few minutes of this and thinking our chuckles would soon be noticed, us clearance rack shoppers headed out. From there it was back to the hotel for our luggage and off to the train.

I believe that we may have set the bar too high with this anniversary trip. It was perfect.

Chicago Air and Water Show

House of Blues {blurry}

Garrett's Popcorn! I get this all the time at Costco, but they're actually based out of Chicago.

Navy Pier
A really neat wading pool/walkway in Millennium Park
The view of downtown Chicago from the Alder Aquarium

Farmers Market on the first day


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