Archive for the ‘Chicago’ Category

Fall color information and trip

Even though leaves are already beginning to change, only a few places on the US border with Canada reach peak color in September. The problem is that when trees are ablaze with reds and golds in mid-October the roads are often clogged with what some locals in famed fall states call “leaf peepers.”

Fall is a wonderful time to take a drive. Traverse City Tourism photo

Fall is a wonderful time to take a drive. Traverse City Tourism photo

One way to avoid some of the traffic and find a place to stay is to go during the week, not the weekend. Another, is to go early or late in October instead of the middle weeks.

To help you on your way here are  some sites to check for color and a couple of color drives to take.

 

Sites that monitor fall color

Keep checking these sites for color changes:

Weather fall foliage is at weather maps.

The Federal Forest Service is at Forest Service fall colors

The University of Illinois Extension site has links to several states’ fall color reports and some suggested drives at Extension Illinois

Leaves are just beginning to change color in the Traverse City area of Michigan.

Leaves are just beginning to change color in the Traverse City area of Michigan. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

 

Color drives and wine tasting await in Traverse City, MI

Called TC by residents and frequent vacationers to the  Grand Traverse Bay area, Traverse City is known as the Cherry Capital  in spring and summer. So if you go up there pick up some chocolate covered ones or the preserves.

However, in fall go for the color, the apples and the wine. Michigan, and particularly the Traverse City area, is known for all three.

All the drives around TC are spectacular as you motor north from the city up the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas because much of that area has OMG hill top views of Traverse Bay’s bright blue water.

But this is also an area of wonderful drives west through forested areas across the Leelanau Peninsula over to Lake Michigan and its Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Among the National Lakeshore routes is the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.

A great place to stay in the middle of the National Lakeshore is The Homestead, a full service resort with wonderful views and a great location.

If thinking of staying on the Leelanau Peninsula check out Black Star Farms. Its rooms fill quickly with return guests so try to decide early.

Basically a B&B style inn with gourmet breakfasts and a glass of wine to welcome guests, the place is nicely located to drive north to shop and eat in Suttons Bay, explore Northport further up and the lighthouse up at the point. Black Star Farms also has its own wine and is near several other wineries.

Go west from Suttons Bay to the cute town of Leland and its historic Fishtown.

Stop at the General Store on Old Mission Peninsula

Stop at the General Store on Old Mission Peninsula. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

The Leelanau Peninsual has several excellent wineries so take the wine trail there. Pause to look across the vineyards towards the bay to snap a photo.

Over on the Old Mission Peninsula, two fun places to stop while doing wine tastings there is the old General Store and the lighthouse. Be sure to have the camera or cell phone ready because, well, just go, you’ll see.

 

Thoughts on where to stay

Some of the wineries on Old Mission  have accommodations but there are several good adult lodging choices in TC Including the Wellington Inn B&B  and the Park Place Hotel. Families might like the Sugar Beach Resort Hotel because it has an indoor pool, game room and comp’d breakfast. But the TC area has enough different type accommodations to suit every budget and lifestyle. Same is true for restaurants because the area is a year-round destination.

Start planning now for your fall getaway. Have fun!

 

 

Chicago hosts World Roller Derby where it all began

 

If you remember when you used to roller skate in the neighborhood or go to a local rink to roller skate, or if you like things retro, then mark down Aug. 19, when the World Roller Derby game will be played in south suburban Summit using 1970s rules and classic uniforms.

Joan Weston, L, of the Westerners and Cathie Read of the Bombers compete back in mid last century. Roller Derby Hall of Fame photo.

Joan Weston, L, of the Westerners and Cathie Read of the Bombers compete back in mid last century. Roller Derby Hall of Fame photo.

If you like the idea of celebrating a sport in the city where it began, then head to the former site of the Chicago Coliseum on Aug. 13

Roller Derby athletes and fans will be there to mark Chicagoan Leo Seltzer’s organizing the first Roller Derby Race where it first took place, Aug. 13, 1935.

 

Event Info

For the Aug. 13 celebration, go from 12:30 to 2 p.m. to Coliseum Park at 1513 S. Wabash Ave.

To see the retro roller derby game, a double header from 2  to 6 p.m., go to the Fleetwood Roller Rink, at 7231 W. Archer Ave. in Summit (south of Brookfield and I 55), Aug. 19.

Participants  will be wearing the classic uniforms of the Midwest Pioneers and the Chicago Westerners using the 1970s rules. There will also be a Junior Roller Derby game.

Tickets are needed and limited so contact Brown Paper Tickets, a World Roller Derby Week partner, at Time Hop.

”We want to look back at our roots, pay respect to its founding members and to the city of Chicago, to celebrate our beginnings and progress, and give back to the community through service,” said World Roller Derby Week organizer Cheryl Cryer. “The roller derby story should be shared broadly as we look to our future in our juniors, who will no doubt carry us further than we could ever imagine.” Cryer said.

The event is also partnering with the American Red Cross for a national blood drive. Donor Pledges will be available at the events.

 

Hall of Fame

Raise you hands if you knew there is a Roller Derby Hall of Fame. You can find out about the sport and who is inducted there by clicking Roller Derby.

It was housed at NYC’s  Madison Square Garden in the early 70s, closed. But the sport hasn’t disappeared. There are nearly two thousand women’s, men’s and junior leagues skating and competing.  The Hall of fame reopened in Brooklyn in the early 2000s and will be moving to southern California soon.

 

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Five Memorial Day Weekend ideas

Chicago Memorial Day Parade is on State Street May 27. City of Chicago photo

Chicago Memorial Day Parade is on State Street May 27. City of Chicago photo

Say Memorial Day to some folks and the response is it’s the time to commemorate people who died while in military service. To others it signifies the beginning of summer vacation.

On some town’s websites are parades, ceremonies and even a history note explaining that Memorial Day was originally Decoration Day and started shortly after the Civil War.

On others, it begins the period from the end of May through Labor Day when beaches are open, lifeguards are on duty, several outdoor fests and tourist activities take place and bus routes are added.

Five suggested Memorial Day Weekend activities in the Chicago area range from fireworks and festivals to a parade and party plus there’s a bus route bonus.

 

Parade

The City of Chicago is holding a Wreath Laying ceremony in Daley Plaza at Dearborn and Washington Streets at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 27, 2017.  It will be followed by a parade that starts at noon from nearby State and Lake Streets and travels south on State to Van Buren Street. The Grand Marshal is Marine Corps Commanding General Robert S. Walsh. The parade, among the country’s largest, includes veterans’ groups, marching bands and antique military vehicles. Visit Chicago for more info. The national Memorial Day remembrance is 3 p.m. Monday, May 29, 2017.   For an excellent government-based web-site with history and other info visit Government.

 

Parties

View the city while partying at Roof on the Wit Memorial Day Weekend. Mike Reeves photo

View the city while partying at Roof on the Wit Memorial Day Weekend. Mike Reeves photo

Chicago House Party – DJs and performers take over Millennium Park,’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion and North Chase Promenade Tent May 27, 2017, from 2 to 9 p.m. Expect a variety of “house music” a style started in Chicago that is danced to throughout the country. The grassy areas are good for picnics or dancing. For performer schedules check City of Chicago. Millennium Park is at Randolph through Monroe Parkways along Michigan Avenue.

 

ROOF on theWit, a fun space with great cocktails and views of the city is starting its JETSET s series May 26-27, 2017. The party transports  guests to Barcelona, Spain  minus the airline hassle. ROOF on theWit is 27 stories above the Wit Hotel at 201 N. State St. at Lake Street, Chicago. For reservations visit Roof. JetSet weekends start at 2pm.  For more information and reservations, visit Roof or call  (312) 239-9502.

 

 

Festivals

The Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest runs from noon to 10 p.m. May 27 and May 28, 2017. A street party that has been going on for more than 20 years, the fest attracts excellent bands, good food, beer and wine booths and also features arts and crafts. A $5 entry donation benefits the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce. Entry is at 3200 N. Sheffield, Chicago. Vist Chicago Events for more information.

Dovetail owners Hagen Dost and Bill Wesselink welcome visitors to their brewery.

Dovetail owners Hagen Dost and Bill Wesselink welcome visitors to their brewery.

 

Celebrate “Mayfestiversary,” a block party at and around Dovetail Brewery, 1800 W. Belle Plaine Rd. Dovetail is celebrating its first anniversary with Begyle Brewing which is marking the second  anniversary of its taproom. There will be food trucks,  live music and games. B elle Plaine Avenue will be closed from Ravensood to the CTA line. Part of proceeds benefit Foundations of Music.The festival goes from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. May 27 and 28, 2017. For more information visit at Dovetail or call (773) 683-1414.

 

Fireworks

Navy Pier is always good for a holiday outing but the Chicago attraction restarts its summer fireworks display Saturday, May 27 at 10:15 p.m. Among the ways to celebrate the weekend is to cruise on the Spirit of Chicago or Odyssey or stop in at the Miller Lite Beer Garden to hear Hot Rocks do Rolling Stones tributes from 2 to 11:30 p.m. BTW the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism upstairs at Navy Pier is worth seeing.  Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave. , Chicago, IL 800 )595-PIER (7437) For more information visit Navy Pier or call (800) 595-PIER (7437).

 

Bonus

The CTA’s No 10 Bus that goes to the Museum of Science and Industry starts again Memorial Day weekend. That means it will be easier to get there from downtown Chicago to see the terrific Robots  exhibit.

 

A Bearded Dragon and a Dracorex Hogwartsia visit Brookfield Zoo

You might expect a place that has exotic species to have interesting creatures you want to see, but dragons and dinosaurs?

A mythological creature has landed on a castle harboring a live dragon from today's world at Dinos & Dragons at Brookfield Zoo. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

A mythological creature has landed on a castle harboring a live dragon from today’s world at Dinos & Dragons at Brookfield Zoo. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Brookfield Zoo, Chicago Zoological Society’s extraordinary suburban compound of more than 3,000 animals west of Chicago, opened “Dinos & Dragons” May 6 and will continue the exhibit through Sept. 17, 2017.

You start what turns out to be an excursion into dragon mythology, literature and reality in a tent where a live Komodo Dragon peers curiously back at you and a dragon (make that lizard) caretaker walks around holding maybe a Frilled Dragon from Australia or another lizard that doesn’t mind being touched.

The tented area is divided into themes – Medieval, Asian and Paleontology (study of prehistoric times using fossils).

“We’re connecting science and myth,” said André Copeland, Chicago Zoological Society’s Interpretive Programs Manager.

Visitors are first greeted by a fierce-looking dragon on top of a medieval, castle that holds a glassed space for one of the live dragon-named creature.

There are several more live specimens but near the tent exit is a large, Chinese structure with another live “dragon”.

“In European myths, knights slay dragons. In Asia, the dragon is a symbol of virtue,” said Copeland.

He suggested visitors note differences in the mythical creatures often lumped together as dragons by counting their limbs.

“A wyvern is a biped and is popular in Europe. A dragon has four limbs,” he said.

Youngsters will want to stop at the paleontology area to brush aside material covering fossils and a peek cutout for a photo.

The wonderful props, lizards and learning stations are a traveling exhibit provided by Louisville, KY based Build 4 Impact.

“People can see the real live dragons of today,” said Copeland.

A couple of Pteranodons guard a Brookfield Zoo nature trail where dinosaurs and dragons lurk. Brookfield Zoo photo

A couple of Pteranodons guard a Brookfield Zoo nature trail where dinosaurs and dragons lurk. Brookfield Zoo photo

Next, as you leave from a back exit you might hear a roar. But you’re not afraid of dinosaurs and dragons that lived eons ago, right?

Instead of playing a game of Thrones, the signs suggest a game of Bones. One station asks “Are You Smarter than A Paleontologist?

Now, be ready for photos or a selfie in front of an Ankylosaur Gryphon, the Late Jurassic period’s Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus or the Late Cretaceous period’s T- Rex.

Stop at the Dinosaur Dissection Lab near the exhibitand  then go over to the outdoor  Stage-osaurus Theater west of Tropic World (weather permitting).

It’s a fun, informative exhibit, and yes, there are Harry Potter book references.

Details: Brookfield Zoo is at 8400 31st Street, Brookfield, Illinois. For information call (708) 688-8000 and visit CZS

 

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