Home Sweet New Jersey

Remembering our visit to Chicago's Navy Pier

The Windy City (which I’ve come to learn did not get its name because of any blustery weather conditions, or because of how the Great Fire spread so rapidly, but did in fact get its nickname from New York journalists who were sick and tired of hearing Chicagoans boast about how great they thought their city was) was a lot of fun and a perfect road trip destination this summer.

Standing in front of "The Bean" in Millennium Park

My friends and I really did pack a ton of sightseeing into just a few short days.  We saw Grant and Millennium Parks – where at night the summer dance programs were taking place and crowds of people learned different dances and practiced them in the beautiful park, and during the day, artists from all around the country were selling their work during the Gold Coast Art Show.  In Millennium Park, we also saw “The Bean” and took our own tourist-y photos there, just hours before the area was evacuated because of a bomb threat!  (It turned out to just be a scare, thank goodness!)

A view from the Chicago River during the architecture tour

We walked around the clean and easily navigable city and periodically stopped for snacks and drinks and a bit of air conditioning in fun little places like The Purple Pig before going on an architecture tour along the Chicago River.  (Chicago is very proud of how clean their river is becoming, by the way.)  The tour offered so many great views of the beautiful buildings in the city and about half of the photos I took on the trip are from this tour!

The original pizzeria UNO was a must-see from the very beginning of our trip, and there we enjoyed a deep dish, Chicago style pizza.  It was amazing, and I don’t know how anyone could ever eat more than once slice at a sitting!  Because the franchise that developed from this little restaurant is so well known, the wait is usually very long.  The owners opened a second location, just down the street called DUE and offer the same menu and accommodates some of the original restaurant’s overflow.  When we were asking locals for restaurant recommendations, another restaurant name popped up a few times because they are known for their “stuffed” deep dish pizzas, Giordano’s.  (I might just have to check that out the next time I’m there!)

"Batter up!" Posing for a picture in the Cubs' dugout at Wrigley Field

Being the big sports fan that I am (ahem!) I just had to go to Wrigley Field.  No, seriously this actually ended up being one of the highlights of the trip for all of us.  I really enjoyed learning about the history of the stadium, the owners, the players, and the neighborhood that surrounds the stadium.  The Cubs were not in town while we were there, so we didn’t get to see a live game, and that’s definitely another thing to put on the list for next time.

Navy Pier and the Willis Tower rounded out our third day in the city.  Each location offered tons of photo opportunities…and a little souvenir shopping.  And as if we hadn’t already eaten enough, we went to Italian Village for dinner.  There, three different Italian restaurants are housed in the same building.  We ate in the upstairs location (I think it was called Village) and had great food and a fabulous time.  For a minute, you really did feel like you were somewhere in the middle of Italy.

My sentiments, exactly! (Photo of a poster available for order from http://www.zazzle.com/)

The drive home, which we expected to do over two days, actually took us just one day.  I drove for about 14 hours (with a few quick stops along the way) and though it was not originally something on my list of things to do, I can now say that I drove from Chicago to New Jersey in one day.  It was nice to get home a day early and back to my beautiful New Jersey.

The Jersey Girl

Greetings from Chicago


About 15 minutes before our tour started at Wrigley Field.

It’s Monday in Chicago. A strong thunderstorm just came through the city this morning, causing trains to stop and everyone to run for cover. The storm did bring, however, a brief respite from the hot and humid weather promised for the day.

Navy Pier, though cloudy, offered fun photo opportunities – including the four of us crammed into a photo booth!  We walked along the pier and took photos of lighthouses and the sailboats going by. To keep dry and out of the drizzle and mist lingering from the earlier storm, we walked through the Smith Stained Glass Museum. Beautiful illuminated works, including some by Tiffany, brightened up an otherwise dreary morning.

Wrigley Field, Chicago

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos on my phone yet today, so I don’t have any to share from these adventures.  I did take some photos yesterday when we were on a tour at Wrigley Field and when we went to the Second City Comedy show.

It was fun to learn about the history of the ballpark – including how the original lights purchased for night games in the 1940s were not installed because they were donated to the war efforts. Lights were not put in until the 1980s.

Second City also offered lots of history as well. Notable comedic actors like John Belushi, Gilda Radner, and Chevy Chase have all been a part of Second City. The show we saw was part scripted, part improv, and lots of fun.

The second stage at Second City.

As I type this blog post on my phone, I’m traveling through the city on a bus toward the Willis Tower – formerly the Sears Tower. Let’s hope the weather has cleared enough for a good view…

The Jersey Girl

Still on the Road – Ohio and Indiana…and Finally, Chicago



Since the objective of this trip was to get to Chicago, it didn’t leave us a lot of time to stop and see what was happening in the states we drove through before Illinois. The Bob Evans in Toledo, Ohio was about as much sightseeing as we got to do there.

It was raining when we left Pittsburgh in the morning, but as soon as we got into Ohio it cleared up. The drive through Ohio and Indiana was nice. Beautiful farmland…after beautiful farmland…after more beautiful farmland.

So far, Chicago has been a blast. We’ve taken the architectural tour…gone to two art shows in Grant Park and Millennium Park (where I bought copper sculptures from an Illinois artist), and we ate deep dish pizza at the ORIGINAL Pizzeria Uno.

Tomorrow looks like it will bring Wrigley Field and a comedy show.

Can’t wait!

The Jersey Girl