Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Kind of Town

Chicago is!

Highlights of a wonderful weekend:
1) The kind and helpful concierge at the Palmer House Hotel, who really did seem to care about every detail of the happy days we were planning - "Come back and tell me how it went!"
2) The Chicago Architectural Foundation river tour: 90 minutes crammed full, every single second, of an incredibly fascinating lecture on some fifty buildings we were passing. It was VERY cold sitting on the upper deck of the boat, but I wasn't willing to slip downstairs for a warming break as I didn't want to miss a syllable or a glimpse of a single skyscraper's soaring spires. Best part: the very end, where we looked back at the array of famous building before us and reviewed all that we had learned: yes, there was a Beaux Arts building, and an Art Deco building, and a Mies Van der Rohe International style, and a postmodern contextualist building...
3) A pilgrimage to Hull House to pay homage to the community of brilliant, creative, politically engaged women mobilized by Jane Addams to improve the lives of Chicago's immigrant poor - incredibly moving and inspirational.
4) Drinks at the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Tower with sweeping views of Lake Michigan at sunset.
5) A theater production of a play about the Great Chicago Fire, performed by the Looking Glass Theater Company, which has its stage right in the old pumping station that was one of the only two public structures to survive the Great Chicago Fire.
6) The Tiffany dome at the Chicago Cultural Center, once the public library, and so filled with quotes about the importance of books and reading in many languages from luminaries through the centuries.
7) Millennium Park in the Saturday sunshine, where we joined the throngs of tourists taking the mandatory photo in the reflective surfaces of "the Bean."
8) Hours and hours at the Chicago Art Institute, especially the miniature Thorne Rooms with their incredible detail - I joined and now have a two-year membership, which I hope will motivate me to take many trips back!
9) Hours and hours and hours and hours talking with Robin!

Now I'm home, happy to be back in my sweet little Greencastle, even as I can close my eyes and see CHICAGO.

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