Our pool table is one of the few things the PO left behind. He had it refelted when he moved it here and he bought it through a classified ad in the newspaper. It supposedly cost a lot of money to have it moved — he claimed $600 — and when he told the seller how much it would cost just to move it, the seller gave him the table for free.
We had a chance to put it to good use last week as we entertained 6 houseguests, hence my lack of posts.
It was also a good time to play tourist in our beautiful city of Chicago. Although my closest and dearest friend from college and her sister both were raised in the Chicago area, her sister and her sister’s husband live in Flagstaff, Arizona, and my friend and her family now live in Sydney, Australia. On the way here, they visited our mutual friends in Maui and also made a quick trip to the Big Island. So I was a little concerned that her kids would be bored silly here.
We spent the first part of the week at Pete’s family cottage just over the Wisconsin border. The kids had a blast going tubing and practically living on the jet ski, while we spent time relaxing, going kayaking and catching up.
Once back home, we trekked downtown and strolled down Michigan Avenue with stops at Oak Street Beach, the Water Tower (one of the only surviving structures from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871) and the John Hancock Building. I prefer the views of downtown from the John Hancock more than those from Sears Tower — you have better views of the beaches on Lake Michigan. We went to the Observatory Deck on the 94th floor this time, but we usually go to the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor — instead of paying the admission fee there is a one-drink minimum. The elevator to the lounge is located on the south side of the building and is inaccessible from the observatory elevator.
If you want an overview of Chicago’s downtown architecture, take the excellent Chicago River Architecture tour hosted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. (The CAF also offers walking tours of downtown, other neighborhoods, Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and even the Bungalow Belt.) The boat tour lasts an hour and a half and travels down the river to both the north and south branches before returning up river as far as the locks to Lake Michigan. Instead of draining into the lake, the Chicago River was reversed in 1900 for health and sanitary reasons.
Finally, we braved the crowds and watched the 4th of July Fireworks (which takes place on the 3rd in Grant Park). All in all, the weather was perfect and we had a great time.
Unsolicited final verdict from the kids about the visit here (and I quote): “Chicago is WAY better than Hawaii!”