Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Groundhog Day prognosticators back on job Friday

Hope that it is cloudy this Friday, Feb. 2, 2018.

It’s Groundhog Day so the critters known as  Punxsutawney Phil in the movie and in Punxsutawney, PA and called Woodstock Willie in Woodstock, IL where the famed movie was filmed, will take over the weather person’s job by predicting what to expect.

Sunny means the critter see their  shadow so  return to hibernation and winter will continue for six more weeks. Cloudy means no shadow so they remain out and spring will come early.

To wake Woodstock Willie from his winter hibernation, there will be a polka band playing somewhat similar to the band in the movie.

Woodstock Willie predicts the coming weather in Woodstock, Il where the Groundhog Day movie was filmed. Woodstock photo

Woodstock Willie predicts the coming weather in Woodstock, Il where the Groundhog Day movie was filmed. Woodstock photo

No matter what happens, the delightful movie co-written by Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin and starring Bill Murray as weatherman Phil Connors and Andie Macdowell as news producer Rita Hanson, is brought back to life, again.

In the Chicago area, movie fans can see it free in Woodstock at 10 a.m. Feb. 2-4 and walk the movie sites at 9 a.m. Feb. 2, noon Feb. 3 and 12:30 p.m. Feb 4.

Free walking tours of the movie sites begin at the Moose Club, 406 Clay St. Friday and Saturday and at at Stage Left Café, 125 Van Buren S. Sunday. Tours end at the B&B  where  Murray woke up each day. Called the Cherry Tree Inn, the place is a friendly destination and will host walkers with warm cider.

Lying northwest of Chicago, the town’s picturesque square appealed to Ramis who wanted to be within driving distance of his home in a Chicago North Sore suburb.

Woodstock celebrated 25 years from its filming there in 2017 but this year marks the 25th anniversary of its release in 1993.

So why a woodchuck or groundhog prognosticator? The story is that farmers who emigrated to the eastern US from Europe brought the legend with them because back home farmers thought spring was coming if they saw badgers.

Whatever the day’s prognostication, the movie is a joy and Woodstock is a charming town to visit.

For more information visit Woodstock Groundhog and Punxsutawney Groundhog.

 

January ends with rare lunar phenomenon

 

Put super blue moon or eclipse on your calendar for Jan. 31, 2018. That’s three unusual sky phenomena all happening on one day.

Supermoon that is also a blue moon will be eclipsed early morning Jan. 31, 2018. NASA photo

Supermoon that is also a blue moon will be eclipsed early morning Jan. 31, 2018. NASA photo

First, the moon will be at its second full phase showing in January, making it a blue moon (not color, just the old rare once in a blue moon saying).

Secondly, it will be a “supermoon”, meaning its orbit places it close to earth so it appears larger than other full moons.

Third, now hear the ta-das and horns? If you step outside really early on Jan. 31 and the sky is clear, you can witness a lunar eclipse. In the central time zone it begins about 5:48 a.m. That is when the moon will be moving into the Earth’s shadow where no sun can illuminate any part of the moon. Total lunar eclipse is about 6:52 a.m.

Find more information at EarthSky and NASA Lunar or NASA Eclipse.

 

 

Two smart winter ideas near Chicago

 

When Chicago’s winter gets going that’s the time to head to the Morton Arboretum for an indoor miniature train exhibit and an outdoor husky sledding event or to the Chicago Botanic Garden to breath moist air in its greenhouses or enjoy Asian orchids.

Visit Husky Heroes at the Morton Arboretum. Morton Arb photo

Visit Husky Heroes at the Morton Arboretum. Morton Arb photoMorton Arboretum

 

Morton Arboretum

An Enchanted Railroad is zipping around at family-friendly height at the Morton Arboretum now through Feb. 19, 2018. Viewing is ticketed so if at the Arboretum during those days stop at the Visitor Center Desk to get a timed ticket. The event is weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Or go over to the Arboretum Jan. 27-28 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to see Husky Heroes. Siberian dogs will be pulling sleds and posing for pictures. Demos are typically 11:30 a.m., 12:45, 2 and 3:15 p.m.  Also visit Adopt a Husky.

The Morton Arboretum is at 4100 IL Hwy 53, Lisle. For other information call (630) 968-0074  and visit Morton Arb.

 

Chicago Botanic Garden

A favorite place for people in the know who can’t fly to warmer climes is the desert or one of the other greenhouses at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Others dress for the outdoors and exercise by exploring the Botanic Garden’s paths.

However, orchid lovers will likely be heading there beginning Feb. 10 to see 10,000 of those exotic plants in the Asian Orchid Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The show goes through March 25, 2018. For a special treat plan on Orchids After Hours on Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. For tickets and more information visit CBG Orchid. Or go to Chicago Botanic Garden and call (847) 835-5440 (or 6801)

Visit the greenhouses at the Chicago Botanic Garden for a breath of warm air. Chicago Botanic Garden photo.

Visit the greenhouses at the Chicago Botanic Garden for a breath of warm air. Chicago Botanic Garden photo.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd.,  Glencoe.

Five really good places that make the holidays better

 

Granted the giving, religious and entertainment aspects are important but that still leaves shopping, food and restaurants to go with friends and family and specialty items to find.

So, even though it’s not always all about food or cakes here are two places that excel in those categories. And even thought it’s not all about shopping these two places have fun or unusual gifts and other items you’ll want or need for holiday celebrations.

Plus, even though it’s not just about toys, this place has something that will appeal to different interests and ages.

Chocolate Sanctuary is a restaurant in Gurnee that uses cocoa for savory and sweet dishes.

Chocolate Sanctuary is a restaurant in Gurnee that uses cocoa for savory and sweet dishes.

 

The Chocolate Sanctuary

Chocoholics rejoice. Go here because owners Bill and Donna Collazo have found a way with their executive and pastry chefs to infuse cocoa in entrees, appetizers, breads and butters, desserts and drinks.

But you don’t have to order any of those because this is a full-service restaurant where all the food is delish. BTW, the restaurant’s meats are supplied by Allen Brothers whose clients include some of Chicago’s top steak houses.

However, you will want to linger and relax here because it’s not so noisy that you can’t have a conversation and the owners’  motto and believed in by their staff, is that customers always are important and come first.

The bonus is that the chocolates you will see in a case when you leave are made in house and are irresistible so you’ll want a box to give and to eat at home.

The Chocolate Sanctuary is at 5101 Washington St. Gurnee at the corner with Milwaukee Avenue. For reservations and other information call (224) 944-0808 and visit Chocolate Sanctuary.

 

Ambrosia

Do what folks in northwest suburban Barrington area do. They know they can count on Ambrosia, a European-style patisserie, to come up with the perfect pastries to serve friends and families for holiday parties so they order but also stop in to see what looks interesting, creative and delectable.

This is also a good place to go for breakfast if you crave croissants that are sweet or savory. Choose what you want at the counter including coffee and bring them over to atable. But forget trying to resist bringing something to have later at home.

Ambrosia is at 710 W. Northwest Hwy., Barrington. For more information call (847) 304-8278 and visit Discover Ambrosia.

Ambrosia, a European style patisserie.Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Ambrosia, a European style patisserie.Photo by Jodie Jacobs

 

The Olive Tap

Long Grove is a fun place to visit December weekends when it has carolers and carriage rides but you will want to stop in at the Olive Tap, weekends or weekdays to pick up gifts for the holidays.

You get to taste different olive oils and vinaigrettes before you buy. However what is most important is that the store’s products are fresh. They also know how to package items so they look special.

The Olive tap is at 240 Robert Parker Coffin Road, Long Grove. For more information call (847) 478-8741 or visit The Olive Tap.

 

Paper Source

The store has been the place  to go in Highland Park  for years when needing cards, invites, announcements and great wrapping paper. However, it shines during the holidays with all kinds of stocking stuffers you never would have thought of. It’s a great place to browse so enjoy and don’t be in a hurry.

The Paper Source is at 490 Central Ave Highland Park,  For more information call (847) 266-6100 or to get some ideas visit PaperSource.

 

Sage Explorers 

Paper Source is filled with holidays items. Jodie Jacobs photo

Paper Source is filled with holidays items. Jodie Jacobs photo

Among the unusual aspects of this toy store, a new shop that opened Sept. 2, 2017 in Lake Forest, is that visitors can try out and play with the toys.

Educators are on hand to answer questions, offer suggestions and when needed, schedule learning sessions because the store is also a Learning Center.

Sage Explorers is at 644 N Bank Ln, Lake Forest. For more information call (224) 249-3658 visit Sage Explorers.

 

Happy Holidays!

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

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