Early bird catches a partial solar eclipse Thursday

Lunar and solar eclipse (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Lunar and solar eclipse (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Folks in northern Canada can catch  the best part of June 10’s  eclipse event as the new moon’s orbit moves it across the sky to block the sun.

In the US, the best areas to see it are north and east such as in New York City where the eclipse magnitude will be 80 percent and last for more than an hour after sunrise. .

Chicago area residents will be able to see an eclipse, it just will be a partial one and not last long. Thus, the best way to catch it is after getting protective glasses or using an alternative viewing method, to look to the horizon when the sun appears.

That means watching beginning at 5:15 a.m. through 5:39 a.m. Compared to the north east including NYC’s high magnitude, Chicago’s magnitude will be 35 percent at 5:18 a.m.

Two good sites for information on this solar eclipse event are Time and Date and Space.

Meteorites skim planet Earth this week

Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA
Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA

The Eta Aquarids, the first half of Halley’s Comet’s two rounds of meteor showers, peak May 4-6, 2021. The two meteor showers are debris from Comet Halley as Earth  passes through the comet’s path around the Sun.

Seen in both hemispheres, the Southern Hemisphere arguably offers a better view now when its radiant, the Aquarius constellation, is overhead and Northern is better for its second round, the Orionids, in October. But both meteor showers are popular with sky watchers.

After acclimating your sight to the night, look in the southern sky for Eta Aquarii, the constellation’s brightest star. Depending on the weather, you may be treated to more than 30 meteorites per hour.

The moon, now in its waning crescent phase should not be a factor, particularly if watching for the meteorites early on May 6 before dawn.

For moon phases visit Moon Phases 2021 – Lunar Calendar (timeanddate.com). For times to watch in your area, check Time and Date. For more information visit NASA In Depth. For more Eta Aquarid and Comet Halley info see Space.

 

Supermoon

Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)
Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)

Forget about turning off the light that may be keeping you up on April 26-27. It’s streaming in through the windows from upstairs, outside. However, the source will have seemed larger earlier in the evening.

What’s shining through the windows if the sky is clear, is not merely a full moon. The orb outside is a Supermoon. It really isn’t larger. It just plays tricks on the eyes and perspective as it appears huge when first appearing at the horizon and in early evening.

The April full moon, also known as the “Pink Moon”  is a Supermoon because it will be closer to Earth than most other full moons. The exception being the full moon in May 26, called the “Flower Moon” that will be even closer.

Some astronomy sites only designate the April and May full moons  as Supermoons. Other sites include June 24’s which is also close. Still other sites include the March full moon which was fairly close.

For times to watch or photograph the moon check. EarthSky. The site also has the April, May June, 2021 Supermoons’ distances from the moon to Earth with April 27 at 222,212 miles (357,615 km), May 26 at 222,089 miles (357,462km) and June 24 at 224,662 miles (361,558 km).

If interested in how this all happens, you should know about the lunar perigee. It’s when the moon’s orbit brings it to its closest point to Earth. The opposite is apogee.

Of course, the third factor is where the earth is in relation to the moon and the sun to be a full moon. So, the April Supermoon actually happens about 12 hours short of it lunar perigee and May’s Supermoon falls about nine hours after perigee. The reason some sites refer just to April and May’s full moons as Supermoons is because less than 24 hours occur between the perigee and full moon phase.

Next, don’t be surprised if bothered with sinus trouble and  have a full-moon sized headache. Because the pull of the full moon, particuclarly the Supermoon, does influence the tides, lore has it that their affect on humans and animals can also be felt.

For more information visit Time and Date and see TimeandDate /picture tips and visit NASA. moons. For an expert opinion on which full moons to include in the Supermoon category, visit Space.

 

 

Chicago area ideas to treat Mom

Chicago Botanic Garden is a spring and Mother's Day destination. (Photo by J Jacobs)
Chicago Botanic Garden is a spring and Mother’s Day destination. (Photo by J Jacobs)

Even though Mother’s Day isn’t until May 9 in 2021, reservations fill fast so now is the time to figure out something special. The ideas listed here: Stay, Play, Eat, Treat, Spa and Ooh La La, can also apply elsewhere so consider them a guide. For parts two and three in this series visit Chicago Theater and Arts and Dining Out-Eating In.

Stay

Deer Path Inn
A historic 1929 hostelry

Book a room or suite at the Deer Path Inn, a historic 1929  hostelry that would fit well in a British town but actually is in Lake Forest, IL. Ranked No 1 Resort Hotel in the Midwest and 18th in the world, according to Travel & Leisure, it s a block from the town’s historic Market Square and Metra train station.

Do try an authentic Afternoon English tea while there.

Or reserve a room with a view at Sable  at Navy Pier. A new hotel in the Hilton Curio Collection it features Offshore, supposedly the world’s largest roof-top bar. Outside the door, stroll Navy Pier which reopens April 30, 2021 and ride its famed Centennial Wheel (Check ahead for ride tickets).

Play

Relax on a scenic boat ride that starts on the Chicago River near Michigan Avenue. Among the choices are the popular architectural tours on Wendella and the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s River Cruise on the First Lady.

Or stroll the paths, scenic water features and see what’s blooming at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Go online ahead of time to get a parking pass because there is timed entry and Mother’s Day is very popular here.

Eat

Do brunch at any of the Wildberry Pancake Restaurants. Service is good and it’s family friendly so its okay to bring kids and grandkids. There are two locations in Chicago, one in Libertyville and one in Schaumburg  Wildberry Cafe Chicago

Or enjoy a French Toast Flight at Batter and Berries in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. BTW they also have delish omelets, breakfast sandwiches and waffles.

Treat

Ambrosia, a Barrington patisserie. (J Jacobs photo)
Ambrosia, a Barrington patisserie. (J Jacobs photo)

Pick up a cake, torte or pastry from a great patisserie. Hard to decide what to get when looking at the lineup of cakes, croissants and chocolate treats at Ambrosia, a European style patisserie in the northwest suburb of Barrington.

 

The same is true of Vanille a French patisserie in the  Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Spa

Get Mom a gift certificate for the Peninsula Spa Chicago.  She can use the pool before or afterwards or just sit along side it to view the Magnificent Mile. Hotel.

Or get a gift certificate for the Midtown operated spa at the Hyatt Lodge, Oakbrook. The Lodge has nice grounds and spa.

Ooh la la

Say Happy Mother’s Day as if it were Valentine’s Day with candy and flowers.

The Chicago area has several good candy shops. Among them is Sweets in Lake Forest that is also known for its ice cream and Amy’s Candy Bar in Ravenswood. Both are local favorites that may become your new go-to place.

For flower arrangements and plant pots with a little oomf to them check out Phillip’s and Athena.

Road info to know before you go

 

I90 and O'Hare info road changes to know (J Jacobs)
I90 and O’Hare info road changes to know (J Jacobs)

Now that more folks are vaccinated, travel and local road traffic has picked up. If traveling around your state or through other states check their department of transportation website’s for road closures and expected delays. In Illinois it is IDOT closures.

Among the latest info releases is one from the Chicago Department of Aviation regarding O’Hare international Airport.

According to the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) the Kennedy Expressway will be working on a configuration change between Harlem Avenue and Interstate 190 beginning April 15 at 5 a.m. and continuing until fall, 2021.

As a result, westbound motorists on I-90 will merge onto a new collector-distributor road just after Canfield Avenue to access the I-190 ramps to O’Hare. The merge is about one mile before the current ramp access. Motorists should expect delays or use alternate routes.

More information on the Kennedy Expressway improvement work is available from IDOT Roadway Information.

In addition the lower level of the O’Hare pickup area is under construction until sometime in 2022 so better pick up options are for cars to park then meet guests.

A different kind of helicopter

 

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen in a close-up taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard the Perseverance rover. This image was taken on April 5, 2021, the 45th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. (photo credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen in a close-up taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard the Perseverance rover. This image was taken on April 5, 2021, the 45th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. (photo credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

Escape from our earthly pandemic April 12, 2021 via NASA.

Tune in to NASA Live or NASA online early, actually very early, Monday morning when, if all goes as planned, Ingenuity, the Mars Helicopter, will be seen moving and hovering beginning at 3:30 a.m. EDT.

A post flight briefing is planned for 11 a.m. EDT, April 12.

Ingenuity’s inaugural flight will livestream to (hopefully) demonstrate the first powered flight on another planet.

Don’t expect the kind of helicopter tour often touted for visiting Hawaii or the Grand Canyon. Ingenuity will be starting out slow and low in Mars’ freezing temperatures and thin air. If all goes well, it will move just a few feet up and hover a few seconds before landing.

‘That will be a major milestone: the very first powered flight in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars, ” said a NASA statement.

Ingenuity demonstrations are expected to continue with greater altitude and distance for approximately 31 Martian days (sols). Then, Perseverance will continue its exploratory mission.

The helicopter was attached to the Perseverance rover that landed at the Jezero Crater on Mars, Feb. 18, 2021. Perseverance released Ingenuity upon reaching what was considered to be a good “helipad.”

For this and more NASA events visit NASAonline.

 

Spring Vacation Destination Part One: Golf

Famed 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. (J Jacobs photo)
Famed 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. (J Jacobs photo)

If watching The Players Championship, a major golf tournamentheld at TPC Sawgrass this weekend, you will constantly see shots of its famous island hole. Ponte Vedra, FL,

A place to try a copycat hole is a short distance west at the World Golf Village near St. Augustine. WGV is akin to Hollywood for movie buffs.

The island hole replicated at the World Golf Village. (J Jacobs photo)
The island hole replicated at the World Golf Village. (J Jacobs photo)

 

If playing golf, picking up anecdotes about golf and walking where legendary golfers have walked gets the adrenalin going, put the Sawgrass Marriott Resort Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. or Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village, St. Augustine, Fla. on your vacation list.

Sawgrass Clubhouse may not look as you expected. It's worth a visit. ( J Jacobs photo)
Sawgrass Clubhouse may not look as you expected. It’s worth a visit. ( J Jacobs photo)

TPC Sawgrass

Imagine teeing off on TCP Sawgrass’ famed 17th “Island Hole in Ponte Vedra, FL. It has already swallowed more than one pro’s golf ball during the Players tournament going on now, March 11-14, 2021. A major tournament, the Players was moved from May to March this year.

When the tournament is over you can play the course and see if you can land a ball on the green.

Arguably, the best way to snag the tee time you want is to stay at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort. If not staying there, call and ask about a Resort Day Pass

While visiting TCP Sawgrass, soak up the legendary atmosphere with a Storyteller’s Tour of  the Clubhouse and bring your camera. The Clubhouse is TCP headquarters. It and the course were built for the tour’s players.

Plan to lunch or do dinner at the Clubhouse. When weather permits, get a table on the veranda of the casual “19” restaurant for its view of The Players’ presentation area.

If time allows, book a lesson at the Tour Academy TPC Sawgrass. You can take your lesson on a course walked by the world’s greatest players.

Visiting the Golf Hall of Fame at the World Golf Village ( J Jacobs photo)
Visiting the Golf Hall of Fame at the World Golf Village ( J Jacobs photo)

World Golf Village

Or stay at the Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village about half an hour south of Ponte Vedra on the western outskirts of St. Augustine. You can call over to TPC Sawgrass 14 days ahead to see if you can get a tee time.

At World Golf Village, you can try to reach its version of the 17th hole. Actor Bill Murray had landed a ball on that island green when in town for the Caddyshack Tournament he has sponsored at a World Golf Village course before The Players.

Then, chow down on great hamburgers and other pub food at Murray Bros. Caddyshack Restaurant.

Be on the alert for celebrities  Golfing greats occasionally drop by because it is home to the World Golf Hall of Fame and the King and Bear course Palmer designed with Jack Nicklaus (the only course they worked on together). The resort’s other course is the Slammer and Squire. Sammy Snead and Gene Sarazen were consultants to course designer Bobby Weed.

Stroll the Walk of Champions to read Hall of Famers signatures engraved on the path to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

No matter whether bedding down at the Sawgrass Marriott or the Renaissance Resort, be sure to visit the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Exploring the Golf Hall of Fame (J Jacobs photo)
Exploring the Golf Hall of Fame (J Jacobs photo)

Head upstairs to see Hall of Famers’ lockers, learn the origins of golf and attempt to swing like the pros in a bay. Take a photograph as each of you cross St. Andrews’ famed bridge. Another flight up is the trophy room.

Tip: You might think the visit can be a quick in and out but you will find yourselves spending two hours in World Golf Hall of Fame.

World Golf Village is also the place to shop or sharpen your game. On the grounds is the PGA Tour Stop, a two-level, 30,000 square-foot golf pro shop, and the PGA Tour Golf Academy.

Visit St. Augustine, FL (J Jacobs photo)
Visit St. Augustine, FL (J Jacobs photo)

Both resorts are a good base for visiting the old city of St. Augustine,  founded 42 years before Jamestown and 55 years before pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.

Walk the historic area, boat the harbor and drive over to the Alligator Farm, where hundreds of birds nest in the trees knowing that animals can’t get to their nests because of the alligators below.

Birds flock to the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine ( J Jacobs photo)
Birds flock to the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine ( J Jacobs photo)

 

If you go

Sawgrass Marriott Ponte Vedra, 1000 PGA Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.  800-577-6009 and 800-457-4653  800-457-4653

Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village, 500 S. Legacy Trail, St. Augustine, Fla. 888-740-7020

 

Go to AZ for MLB spring training and warm weather

Listen up baseball fans. Spring Training 2021 tickets for Chicago teams go on sale this week: Cubs 1 p.m. CT Feb. 19, White Sox, 11 a.m. CT Feb. 20.

Chicago weather is supposed to get better the last week of February, maybe even going up to 40 degrees. But imagine yourself in Phoenix, AZ where daytime temps are in the 70s and you exchange sweaters and sweats for shorts and T shirts.

Chicago Cubs (J Jacpbs photo)
Chicago Cubs (J Jacpbs photo)

The Cubs’ AZ home is Sloan Park in Mesa. A smaller version of Wrigley Field, Sloan Park is often called Wrigleyville West. It is bordered by roads  named Waveland and Sheffield Avenues and Clark Street.

The Sox play at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, a Phoenix suburb known as a restaurant, entertainment and sports mecca.

Go to spring training and wave your Chiago Whtie Sox cap. (M Temkin photo)
Go to spring training and wave your Chicago Whtie Sox cap. (M Temkin photo)

It may be easier to find tickets for your team’s games at competitors’ parks so get to know the schedule.

The Cubs’ schedule starts with the Padres away on March 1 and at Sloan Park against the KC Royals, March 2. Questions can be sent to mesa@cubs.com. The Cubs regular season begins April 1 when they play the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field.

White Sox  open at home against the Brewers, Feb. 28 then away against the Angels March 1.  For help in getting there visit Trip Planner. For more ticket, protocols and other information visit White Sox Spring Training.

The Sox play their first game away against the Angels on April 1 and are away until they play KC at home on April 8. For the regular season information visit White Sox Tickets. and Schedule.

Related 2020 articles with town and stadium color:

Take a spring training vacation

Spring training at Wrigleyville-West

Enjoy spring at Camelback Ranch or Sloan Park

 

Super Bowl commercials and more

 

KC Chiefs (Photo courtesy of the Chiefs)
KC Chiefs (Photo courtesy of the Chiefs)

Some people watch the super bowl for the game/half time and a chance to party, others like or dis the ads.

If in the latter category you’ll want to know that Super Bowl LV is touted as a matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady and that the Buccaneers have home court advantage. The game is at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa at 6:30 p.m. ET.

If watching for either reason you can check out the NFL website and the Road to the Super Bowl for inside info to spread among family and friends.

To learn more about the team you favor, visit the Chiefs or Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers

But for those folks who think the ads are as good or better than the main event there are a couple of broadcasts and websites to watch.

The M&Ms will be back. It is rumored that Coke and Pepsi won’t be. Also  Dolly Parton who does a great 9 to 5 version on Blue Mountain’s online  birthday cards, will adapt her version to a Kierra Cotton ad this year.

For the best commercials in the past few years, try to catch your local CBS station tonight Feb. 3, 2021. In the Chicago area it is on at 7 p.m. CT.

Here is a link to some popular ones a few years ago on you tube including a Budweiser horse that makes the team and the baby stock trader.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Nature plays major role in new Lake Forest boutique hotel

Bar at The Forester
Bar at The Forester

When The Forester, a hotel now going up in Conway Park at Lake Forest, opens in April 2021, visitors will find a prism-shaped front desk constructed from a white oak tree trunk, locally done botanical illustrations and foliage designed light fixtures over the bar.

The first boutique-stye hotel built under the Hyatt Place brand, The Forester will cater to business travelers and company meetings but will also welcome area residents to its restaurant, bar and event spaces.

Even though the hotel is in Conway Park, a business-focused property that includes Abbott Diagnostics, Pfizer, Trustmark, the Chicago Bears and the City of Lake Forest’s municipal services, The Forester’s ambiance embraces the City of Lake Forest’s motto “Naturae et Scientiae Amor” and is unique to the brand, according to Forester General Manager Marlena Karwowski

“The Forester Hotel is the first and only boutique-style Hyatt Place in the world.  No other Hyatt Place has its own independent-style brand identity, The Forester was inspired by science and nature, the City of Lake Forest’s founding motto, and features custom nature photography and scientific botanical illustrations of native plants commissioned by a local artist to reflect the juxtaposition of science and nature,” said Karwowski.

Lobby rendering of The Forester Hotel
Lobby rendering of The Forester Hotel

“You will see science and nature reflected throughout the hotel,” she said. As an example she added, “The restaurant features a mural with a crosscut tree trunk putting the natural pattern of tree rings on display.”

Karwowski noted that unlike the standard Hyatt Place brand hotel, it would have a full-service, chef-driven local restaurant and bar. Called Oaken Bistro + Bar, it is headed by Executive Chef Kristen Burman, formerly of Limelight Catering and Anthology San Diego. It will feature seasonal American dishes, wine and signature cocktails infused with local flowers and herbs.

Local flora and connections are important to Karwowski. “I’m working with the LF/LB Chamber to partner with them on events and I’m thinking of creating local events – something for families and pets after COVID is gone.

She said she was also working with Lake Forest Open Lands about flowers native to the area. Among her thoughts is to have designer postcards with seeds of lupine in them. Also on her list is to develop tours of old farms that are still in the area.

“I think people will find that The Forester is an escape from the city,” she said.

“The Forester brings you all the modern comforts you have come to expect from Hyatt Place like Hyatt Grand Beds and free Wi Fi, while offering a new boutique experience with individualized branding, custom design elements, and enhanced offerings,” said Karwowski.

“We are honored to be opening the first boutique-inspired Hyatt Place hotel in the world in the picturesque city of Lake Forest,” she said.

The Forester is at 200 N. Field Dr., Lake Forest, IL.

For more information visit The Forester.

Jodie Jacobs