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Look up for the best meteor shower this year

Perseid Meteor Shower peaks August 12 and 13 in 2018. (NASA photo)

Perseid Meteor Shower peaks August 12 and 13 in 2018. (NASA photo)


Don’t bother calling NASA or the local police if you see a fireball during pre-dawn hours this weekend through Monday.

The Perseid meteors are already zooming across the sky but they peak after midnight from August 12 to 13.

This year, 2018, the meteors should be easily seen because the moon is in its new phase Aug. 11, and only a mere waxing crescent Aug. 12 and 13 (Sunday-Monday) which means its illumination is too low to interfere with shining meteors streaking overhead.

However, to best spot them, seek out areas away from street and commercial lights, oh, and be patient. There should be 60 to 70 meteors flying overhead per hour.

The Perseids are pieces from the Comet Swift-Tuttle that we can view when the earth passes through its path. Although it does so mid-summer from July 17 to Aug. 24, the densest pass-through is Aug. 12.

As to fireballs, NASA experts say the Perseids have more than other big meteor showers.  For more NASA meteor information visit NASA Perseids.

Another good meteor information site is Earthsky.

Happy watching

Jodie Jacobs


The St. Louis you might not know

Gateway Arch, a St. Louis symbol. (Photos by Jodie Jacobs)

Gateway Arch, a St. Louis symbol. (Photos by Jodie Jacobs)

Given a list of cities and landmarks it’s a no brainer to draw a line from Gateway Arch to St. Louis. But how about where to find one of the wackiest museum you are ever likely to encounter? Or how about a cathedral whose interior is covered with 41.5 million pieces of glass? The lines still go to St. Louis, MO, a fun-to-visit town just a short flight from Chicago, a half-day train ride or about a six hour drive.

The Arch

Certainly, if you have never been to St. Louis then definitely visit the city’s 630-foot high landmark Arch. It represents the gateway to the West. Don’t worry if you don’t take a decent photo through its weather-beaten windows at the top, but you will find that riding up there via a tram-car-enclosure is an experience.

Now, the summer or fall of 2018 is a good time to visit the Gateway Arch and its museum about westward expansion at the base. After being closed for the past few years, the museum just reopened July, 3, following a multi-million dollar renovation that also included the grounds. The newly done museum still takes visitors back in time but does so with even more life-sized figures, relics, old building replicas and dioramas of Native Americans, explorers, St. Louis scenes and pioneers. The Gateway Arch and Museum is at 11 N. 4th St., St. Louis, (877) 982-1410.

City Museum is out of the ordinary.

City Museum is out of the ordinary.

The strangely named City Museum

The museum’s name, sounds ordinary. But as you approach the City Museum you can see from the planes hanging on the outside and the bus dangling over the roof or the Ferris wheel on top of the building that the name doesn’t begin to tell its story.

Once the International Shoe Company, the building has been re-purposed the same as the recycled objects inside have been into a Disneyland-style fun house. Supposedly geared primarily to youngsters, it is just as entertainingly enticing to adults.

There are circus acts, tunnels, an aquarium and architectural leftovers. But there is also a 10-story slide and an organ that plays scary “Phantom of the Opera” notes. The City Museum is at 750 N. 16th St., St. Louis,  (314) 231-2489


A St. Louis landmark to appreciate while sipping beer

See more St. Louis landmarks over on the Anheuser-Busch Complex. Three of the 137 structures there, the Administration built as Lyon School in 1868, the Circular Stable (think Clydesdales) dating from 1885 and the Brewhouse built in 1891, are on the National Register of Historic places.

Visit the Clydesdales on a Budweiser tour

Visit the Clydesdales on a Budweiser tour

But the sign on the complex says Budweiser so you also know this is a place to tour then finish off the stroll with a tasting in the Biergarten. Even if beer isn’t the drink you usually order, it’s a good idea to know what all the craft-beer-places are talking about when they discuss their IPA, ales vs. lagers, and beer ingredients. The complex’s visitor center is at 12th and Lynch St. For more information visit Budweiser tours (314) 577-2626


A street that loves mid-last century styles

As with Chicago, St. Louis is a city of neighborhoods. But one of those areas, The Loop, has a funky street that will have you thinking you stepped back into the 1950s.

Blueberry Hill Restaurant and Music Club honors Chuck Berry and brings back mid-last century fun

Blueberry Hill Restaurant and Music Club honors Chuck Berry and brings back mid-last century fun

It’s Delmar Blvd., a road where a trolley that used to “loop” around, clangs down the center of the street, where the Moonrise Hotel has 1950s furnishings inside and a revolving moon on its roof, where Fitz’s serves up wonderful root beer floats and where the Blueberry Hill Restaurant & Music Club celebrates rock ‘n’ roll legend Chuck Berry with photos, a juke box, collectible paraphernalia and live music.

As if the moon might feel lonely in the Delmar firmament, Jupiter is also on hand. Look for it on the Delmar Planet Walk.

There is also another walk. Its where you can see if you know all the famous people, such as Yogi Berra, Robert Duvall, T.S. Eliot, Marsha Mason, Sara Teasdale  and Tina Turner, who were either born or lived some time in St. Louis. It’s the St. Louis Walk of Fame and of course Chuck Berry has a star on the walk.

The Blueberry Hill Restaurant & Music Club is at 6504 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, (314) 727-4444.


A cathedral that really is a work of art

It’s not possible to keep from saying OMG when entering the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, also called the New Cathedral. The inside is a work of art that took from 1912 to 1988 to complete because 41.5 million glass tessarae pieces were installed. Considered the world’s largest mosaic collection outside of Russia, it includes the Tiffany designed mosaics on the sanctuary walls and inside chapels and August Oetke-designed mosaics in the main cathedral areas.FullSizeRender(7)

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis (New Cathedral) is on Lindell Blvd. at Newstead Ave. St. Louis, MO 63108  (314) 373-8241


For more St. Louis places and information see Explore St. Louis.


Jodie Jacobs



Before the weather changes: Try these three Chicago area terraces that have raised the bar for drinks and appetizers


Three Embers at Marriott Lincolnshire Lakeside Plaza

Lakeside Plaza at Marriott Lincolnshire. (Photo by Jacobs)

Lakeside Plaza at Marriott Lincolnshire. (Photo by Jacobs)

You don’t have to be staying at the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort north of Chicago to relax on its recently re-done Lakeside Plaza. You don’t even have to call its popular, reservation-only Three Embers Restaurant. Just go over there at sunset to sip a glass of Pluto’s Fury Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley or a house recommended Merlot and nibble on the restaurant’s Burrata appetizer around the Plaza’s fire pit or at its high-top double-sided, fire-lined bar.

There is usually live music on Tuesday and Wednesday evening but the resort will also be doing Bourbon & Bonfires a special dinner and drinks event Aug. 15, 2018 that pairs Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve with gourmet bites by Executive Chef Yo Chang. This event does need a reservation (Eventbrite).

Marriott Lincolnshire Resort is at 10 Marriott Drive off Milwaukee Avenue south of IL Hwy 22, Lincolnshire. For more information call 847-634-0100 and visit Three Embers food.



The Patio at Café Brauer

Views of city, Boardwalk and pond from The Patio at cafe Brauer. (Jacobs photo)

Views of city, Boardwalk and pond from The Patio at cafe Brauer. (Jacobs photo)

Not all the Lincoln Park Zoo sights are found through the main gate. South of that gate is the historic Prairie-School-style Café Brauer (2021 North Stockton). Go around behind the landmark building to discover the Patio.

Here you can sip the Patio Muscle made up of Two Brothers Vodka, Chambord, ginger beer and lime or a refreshing glass of Villa Sandi Proseco while resting the eyes on a pond, boardwalk and the Chicago skyline.

Resolve your after-work food craving with crispy calamari or tomato mozzarella pizza twists.  

Reservations are suggested. Café Brauer is at 2021 N. Stockton, Chicago. For more information call (312) 507-9053 and visit The Patio.


 Z Bar at Peninsula Chicago

A popular, fun trend among Chicago hotels is to open a roof-top bar. They offer good city views, interesting cocktails and are a place to meet after hours. However, one that takes on the sophisticated vibe of its globally-known hotel is the Z Bar that just opened at the Peninsula Chicago Hotel.

Z bar at Peninsula Chicago (Photo by Neil John Burger)

Z Bar at Peninsula Chicago (Photo by Neil John Burger)

Go up to the sixth floor to settle comfortably with a view of Michigan Avenue. Then study the drinks menu with an eye for something special designed by Cocktails & Culture Director Vlad Novikov.

Whether you choose a classic cocktail or one inspired by Novikov’s travels it will be an experience.

The same is true with the small-plates-food menu that includes the Daikon Frites with Chinese lap cheong, garlic and an unusual jam.

The Peninsula Chicago is at 108 E. Superior St., For more information call (312) 573-6888 and visit Z-bar.



Spring Green: The Wright vacation for farm fresh food and scintillating Shakespeare and Shaw

A room on the Taliesin estate of Frank Lloyd Wright (Photos by Jodie Jacobs

A room on the Taliesin estate of Frank Lloyd Wright (Photos by Jodie Jacobs

A vacation that is not your same-old, same-old awaits 189 miles (about 3 hrs., 20 min.) northwest of Chicago.

It is Spring Green, WI where renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright built Taliesin, his primary home and studio on his family’s  800 acre estate on the Wisconsin River.

You can see his prairie-style home and the Visitor Center he designed from the road. Call 877-588-7900 or visit Taliesin tours to find out how to see the estate and make a reservation.

Down the road from Taliesin and about four miles south of Spring Green’s shopping area is the American Players Theatre which attracts actors, directors and choreographers from TV, film and regional theatres who need some stage time to go back to what they really love.

They put on classic plays from late spring to early fall. For the season’s schedule and tickets call 608-588-2361 and visit APT.

Spring Green is also home to The House on the Rock, a crazy-looking, built-into-a rocky-slope building. It contains an amazing collection of automated music machines and other stuff that fill three sections and needs three hours if doing the entire place. To find out more call 608-935-3639 and visit House on the Rock.

As the sun sets behind American Players Theatre the seats start to fill.

As the sun sets behind American Players Theatre the seats start to fill.

The town is surrounded by forests and farmland so visitors will be treated to true farm to table products that are not just a nod to today’s popular menu phrases.

There are lots of good-eating places including the small café at the Spring Green General Store which is a destination experience in itself. Go for breakfast before shopping in the store for gifts and clothing or touring local sights or go for lunch between shopping at Arcadia Books and the town’s galleries and boutiques.

For dinner try The Old Feed Mill, a restored 1857 stone mill with good food and views. 608-795-4909.

As to where to golf, swim and drop the bags consider The House on the Rock Resort.

Rooms at the resort overlook some great golf holes. The Springs Course’s 18 holes were designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and the North Nine designed by Roger Packard and Andy North, North Nine.

The resort features indoor pools including a lap pool and an outdoor pool.  For more information call 608-588-7000 and visit The House on the Rock.


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