Historic Fort Wayne

One more look at our trip to Michigan in June…this time, Detroit’s historic Fort Wayne. Sadly, much of the installation is in disrepair, but a few buildings are well-kept. Of particular interest is the Tuskegee Airmen Museum.

It’s unclear to me what is going to happen to this historic site…there appears to have been at least some interest in it becoming part of the National Park Service. I hope that someone takes it on and restores it, because let’s face it, any location built to defend the U.S. against Canada of all places has an interesting and unique history that should be preserved and shared!

Silent Night Chapel

Yesterday, I took a look at Frankemuth’s Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland; today I’m looking at a special location on their property…the Silent Night Chapel:

The Silent Night Chapel is a replica of the original in Oberndorf, Austria, which sits on the location of the former St. Nicolas church, the site of the first performance of “Silent Night” in 1818. It is a tiny building, but that doesn’t stop it from having a lot of lovely details, including some beautiful stained glass windows.

It’s a neat little place, especially for someone like me who has some Austrian blood…for now, it’s as close to visiting my grandfather’s homeland as I’ve gotten!

Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland

I have waited over two months, but I’m finally sharing the pictures from our visit to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland in June!

As the Christmas Queen, this store was a dream come true for me. Imagine it…the world’s largest Christmas store. It’s the size of almost two football fields. Ornaments are arranged by color, or the country they represent, or interest, or…well, whatever! There are over 300 decorated Christmas trees and over 500 nativity scenes. And collectibles! Hummels, Precious Moments, Department 56 items representing all kinds of interests including A Christmas Carol and Harry Potter. Plus German collectibles (of course, in Michigan’s “Little Bavaria”), such as steins and smokers!

Naturally, we picked up a few souvenirs while we were there, including our standard trip magnet, a personalized ornament, and a vintage-style ceramic trees (details to come closer to Christmas!). I have wanted to go to Bronner’s for as long as I’ve known it’s existed, and this was an amazing experience for me…I hope I might to go back someday!

Historic St. Lorenz

I’m still trying to get caught up on our fun travels from this summer, so today I’m focusing on St. Lorenz Lutheran Church in Frankenmuth, MI. There are several Lutheran churches in that town, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this one is the most notable:

Normally, I’d think the pink walls behind the altar were weird, but somehow, it really works at St. Lorenz:

And the stained glass was outstanding:

The sanctuary is quite large:

There are many beautiful details everywhere you look:

And the pipe organ is quite impressive!

Of course, I also enjoyed learning the historical significance of the place:

We saw the log church, and the church bells across the road:

It’s a beautiful building from every angle!

Stay tuned for a few more Frankenmuth locations before I finally wrap up our summer adventures!

Maypole Fountain

I love finding cool fountains when we travel, and this maypole fountain that we saw in Frankenmuth in June is not only really fun, it’s also quite unique!

Skydeck Ledge

I could talk all day about the amazing views from the 103rd floor of the Sears (Willis?) Tower. Being able to look out over Chicago and Lake Michigan and the suburbs beyond is an unbelievable experience.

But today I especially want to focus on the experience of stepping out on The Ledge, something I hadn’t done before our trip north in May. If you look way, way up, at the very top of the photo, you can see the tiny glass boxes “hanging off” the building:

My brain knows that this experience is safe. But there is something unbelievably disconcerting about stepping out onto a glass floor when you’re 1,353 feet in the air. Looking down and seeing the tops of other tall buildings beneath you is incredible, and a little scary, if you’re afraid of heights, and yet it’s also exhilarating!

This was the number one experience I wanted to share with the Fab Five during our time in Chicago this spring, and I’m so glad we had such a beautiful, clear day to look out over the city!

Metropolis, IL

One of my favorite weird things we’ve done this summer was stopping in Metropolis, IL, home of Superman. The star attraction in that small town is a 15-foot high Superman statue:

There’s also a Superman Museum (which we didn’t visit) and a gift shop (which we did, and was full of pretty cool stuff, including an old phone booth with a pay phone!):

It might not be giant, but there is also a statue of Noel Neill as Lois Lane:

This was a fun little stop, and one of those strange things you can only find in small town America!

The Bronze Cow

I remember well the “Cows on Parade” public art display that hit Chicago two decades ago. I only saw a few of them at the time (and a few more since), but perhaps the interest in public art displays/scavenger hunts that flamed in me during the STL250 Cakeway to the West installation year began as a spark back then. I didn’t know until our most recent visit to Chicago, however, that a bronze cow in on display outside the Chicago Cultural Center to commemorate the event (and now I’m thinking St. Louis needs a bronze cake, but I digress).

If you look into its eyes, you will see the Chicago Picasso sculpture in one, and the historic Chicago water tower (the only public building to survive in the burn zone of the Great Chicago Fire), in the other. And don’t think that the irony of a herd of cows taking over Chicago, a city fabled to have burned because a cow kicked over a lantern, is lost on me!

Chicago Cultural Center

I’m always trying to find new things to do when we visit Chicago, so when we were up there last month, I decided we should visit the Chicago Cultural Center, located at 78 East Washington Street (which is also the corner of Washington and North Michigan Avenue):

It was built in the late 1800s as the city’s central library. That fact is still rather obvious:

The architecture of the building is fantastic, but what it is probably most known for are the two stunning Tiffany glass domes:

There are so many other fantastic details, including mosaics, lamps, and beautiful quotes everywhere:

I’m so glad we finally had a chance to walk through this beautiful and historic building!