Shopping, shows, sights and lights, Chicago’s festival markets and moments seem to be descending at express-train speed. But instead of shouting “stop the train,” take control of the season with a “staycation” that balances shopping with spa time, festival watching with fitness-center wellness and special exhibits with special cocktails.
Several Chicago hotels are putting together packages that make staying downtown a fun alternative to insanely commuting to catch events. Because holiday gifts and sights stretch from Macy’s on State and the Art Institute of Chicago to Magnificent Mile and the Lincoln Park Zoo, a good plan is to make your holiday headquarters a hotel near Michigan Avenue. Continue reading “Staycation for the holidays”
Look up! If the night sky is clear where you live watch for the Oronids, a major meteor shower produced by the debris from Halley’s comet.
Named for Orion the Hunter because the meteors seem to radiate from the constellation, the Orionids have been already shooting across the sky and will do so into November. But they are peaking now through Oct. 22.
They have been known to shoot across the sky at 80 an hour but according to Bill Cooke a NASA they are likely to number from 30 to 40 per hour. They are very fast 148,000 mph so watch carefully.
The question is how much a factor is the moon which has waned to its half-phase. The full Hunters Moon has already passed but moonlight may make a difference. However, go to a spot without streetlights and commercial buildings. You won’t want binoculars because you are watching the whole sky.
Sometimes my family stayed on a Disney property. Other times we stayed at a nearby resort but rented a car. This time, I decided to accompany a small group whose aim was to check out a variety of attractions and travel options in the Kissimmee area.
The result was one surprise after another.
This was to be a no-car rental vacation. Yes, renting a car will likely be an option for some families and couples but we wanted to see what could work without that choice.
Picture a small town where goats on a restaurant roof can cause a traffic jam in a county where visitors to its scenic towns often gather around huge outdoor pots to watch traditional fish boils.
It is Door County, a peninsula that separates the calm waters of Green Bay from turbulent waves of Lake Michigan and where the must-take-home items are chocolate covered cherries or cherry pies and the must-visit time of year is fall.
An easy drive from Green Bay’s airport, the route on the way to the Sturgeon Bay, the first vacation town on the peninsula, is dotted with the crimsons, golds and pinksm of changing leaves. And, as TV ads say, “But wait.” The colors keep intensifying, driving northwest along curving roads through picturesque villages.
Just cleaned out the cabinet over my kitchen desk and found a travel journal I used years ago when going around Spain, later what was then (Josip Broz) Tito’s Yugoslavia, and even later, around Italy and Switzerland..
There was no way I could go back to my computer to finish a current travel article I started until I read through the whole journal.
From delightful Spanish Paradores (restored castles, monasteries) where we stayed to fascinating town of Rondo on a scary drive up a precipitous mountain road and from driving around the Kotor fijord in Montenegro to meandering through ancient walled city of Dubrovnik, reminiscing past adventures took up the rest of the day. And that was not counting reliving the Italy-Switzerland trip.
Maybe it’s the talk of the Chicago Bears’ training camp. Or maybe it’s the ads for back-to-school supplies and end-of-summer sales. All of a sudden I’m thinking about where to go for a fall getaway that is withing six hours of Chicago. Planning the trip now helps get through the “dog days” of summer.
If looking for a different experience this summer consider going to the spectacular EAA (Experimental Aircraft Assoc.) AirVenture Show July 22-28 in Oshkosh, WI., a historic lumber town on Lake Winnebago at the Fox River.
About half a million aircraft and aviation enthusiasts from all over the world fly in for the show which will feature historic military aircraft to today’s sophisticated machines – all at the Wittman Regional Airport. Best plan is to start looking now for a place to stay in the region.
Early in the week, highlights include the Warbirds of America show when a B-29 Doc and FIFI will fly together and the United States Air force Heritage Flight fly-overs of an F-35, A-10. and two P-51s. There will also be a salute to World War II ace Bud Anderson so all flying P-51s in the U.S. have been invited to participate.
In addition, U.S. Navy fighter aircraft, including F4U Corsairs, the gullwing fighters that were a key asset in the Pacific Theater will be on hand and there will be an observance of the 75th anniversary of D-Day with aircraft that participated in the actual invasion on June 6, 1944, as well as C-47 airplanes that will have just returned from a historic anniversary flight to France.
Later in the week is a tribute to the Apollo 11 flight.on its 50th anniversary when Apollo command module pilot Michael Collins will be the main guest, joined by Apollo astronaut Joe Engle at a program hosted by space shuttle astronaut Charlie Precourt.
“Even a half-century later, the Apollo 11 mission stands as one of the great human achievements of all time,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programs, who coordinates AirVenture features and attractions.
An additional theme will be aerial firefighting sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service with support from aircraft operators and manufacturers.
Activities are planned with the U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, EAA Warbirds of America, and individual aircraft owners. Every afternoon will have flight-precision aerobatics plus there are daily programs and workshops.
Air Show Hours: Daily – July 22-27, 2019: 2:30-6 p.m. & Sunday, July 28, 2019: 1-4:30 p.m. Night Air Shows – Wednesday, July 24 and Saturday, July 27: 8-10 p.m.
There’s nothing wrong with going to a local parade followed by watching a neighboring town’s fireworks. But if interested in celebrating the day the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence differently this year, consider visiting a historic town or watching the exceptional concert and fireworks of “A Capitol Fourth” on national TV.
Galena, a small, historic town celebrates with floats and fireworks
The Galena Territory in far northwest Illinois is rife with 19th century historic sites.
Indeed, a large portion of the downtown of the City of Galena is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is President Ulysses S. Grant’s hometown, a stopping place for Abraham Lincoln when he campaigned for presidential hopeful John Fremont, and the town of the oldest operating hotel in Illinois, the DeSota House.
Even though Galena is a small town with a population of of less than 3,500 (2010 census), its historic buildings, really good dining spots and B&Bs and surrounding picturesque hills have made it a popular destination with fun art and wine festivals and such special events as its annual 4th of July parade, celebration and fireworks.
The event also has a family treat thanks to the Sesame Street Muppets performing patriotic and other well-known songs. Of course, the concert will pay tribute to men and women in uniform with a special performance by the MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band.
Fireworks begin at dusk while the Natiional Symphony Orchestra continues to play patriotic tunes.
What you need to know: “A Capitol Fourth” will air on PBS Thursday, July 4, 2019 from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. ET. The program can also be heard live in stereo over NPR member stations and will be live-streamed on PBS.org,YouTube and Facebook. Plus, kids activities connected to the holiday can be found at Fun/Fourtth July Activities.