Markel Family Weekend Getaway–Day Two

I think this was our busiest day of vacation…and Combo Breaker hadn’t even started yet!

Last year when we were in St. Charles, we never made it to downtown Chicago, because to my great surprise, there were no ticket agents on duty at the Metra stations on the weekend. I planned accordingly this year, checked the hours, and was sure we wouldn’t run into any problems. Until we arrived at the Geneva Metra station, and the ticket agent basically shut the door in our face, because she had a “meeting.”

This forced me outside of my comfort zone…A LOT. I had already paid for Wendella boat tickets and Art Institute tickets, so I had to find a way downtown. Even though I faced possible problems, including the fact that my students don’t have school IDs, we used the Ventra app to ride the train, and in the end, it worked out fine.

We took a slightly different walk during our travels in Chicago, so we saw some things that were the same, and some that were new:

The highlight of the day was the Wendella Chicago River and Lake Michigan Tour. It has been close to 30 years since I last did the boat trip, so it was a very different experience for all of us, and a lot of fun!

After disembarking, we began our walk toward the Art Institute, stopping to see the “Bean” and other sites at Millennium Park (including the Crown Fountain) along the way.

At the Art Institute, we focused specifically on the Arms and Armor galleries, as well as a special exhibit on Medieval illuminations, in keeping with this year’s summer school theme, but we also saw a few other things, including the Chagall windows.

My children are obsessed with pigeons (no, I don’t know why), and they certainly got to see a lot of them!

Before heading back to the train, we stopped at Marshall Field’s of Blessed Memory (now a Macy’s) to buy Frango mints.

We even got to ride on the upper deck of the train on the way back!

We enjoyed some more pool time back at Pheasant Run, which was the perfect way to end a hot day. We also indulged in some Food Network shows on cable TV, which is one of our favorite things about vacation!

Up next: Combo Breaker finally begins!

Marshall Field and Company Building

Another one of my favorite buildings in Chicago is the Marshall Field and Company building, which is now home to Macy’s:

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While the clocks outside the building are the first thing you notice, for once, my interest lies with the interior of the building, one of the largest stores in the world. We rode the escalators all the way up to the eighth floor…the children couldn’t believe that there are department stores that big! We saw the beautiful Tiffany mosaic ceiling, the famous Walnut Room, and even a Frango shop (yes, I bought a box of mints)!

We looked out the windows in the furniture department, and admired the view, including  a very cool rooftop garden across the street:

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We also took a look in the windows, which always look great (although never as good as they do at Christmastime, in my opinion!):

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I really enjoyed being able to show the children this store, and ride the escalators all the way to the top with them like Ryan and I used to when we were in college!

Another Christmas Tradition

I fulfilled another Christmas tradition this week. Every year at Christmastime, I go to Macy’s and buy a box of Frango mints.

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This is a nod to my growing up in suburban Chicago. Frango mints were a Marshall Field’s specialty, and when Macy’s purchased that company, they became the only place to buy them. No matter how much the children beg, though, I only buy them at Christmas. Having to wait all year to eat them makes them even more special!