Markel Family Combo Breaker Getaway–Day Six

I had big plan for Memorial Day, because for the first time, we were going to be staying a Pheasant Run an extra day, giving us time for extra activities. My plan was to go to Cantigny Park, which is a fun place to visit any day:

But a really special place to visit on Memorial Day. In addition to a lovely ceremony, where they laid a wreath by the Doughboy statue, there were demonstrations of many kinds, including a fife and drum corps, and an army drill team:

The only real disappointment of the whole trip was that the concert at Cantigny, featuring the Wayne Messmer Big Band, was cancelled due to rain. I was really excited to hear Wayne Messmer sing in person for the first time, but I guess I can hope that we can do that next year. Anyway, we drove back to Pheasant Run in an absolute torrent, and headed up to our room to dry off…we were almost as wet as if we had been swimming!

We went back to Alfie’s Inn for another dinner of appetizers (nachos, wings, spinach and artichoke dip, potato skins, and onions rings), plus another dessert (brownie à la mode).

Thankfully the storms stopped, so we had the chance for one last swim in the Garden Atrium pool:

After our swim, we went back to our room to watch the St. Louis Blues play in the first game of the Stanley Cup final…unfortunately, they lost, but at least we were able to watch them away from home!

Markel Family Combo Breaker Getaway–Day One

It’s time for another Markel Family Road-Trip Wrap-Up!

One week ago, the Fab Five and I left home dark and early to drive up to St. Charles, IL, to meet Ryan at Pheasant Run for this year’s Combo Breaker. Even with the lovely Chicago construction traffic, we made it to the resort by 10:30.

As always, we ran to the Super Target to pick up a few things…the novelty has yet to wear off, and it’s still a treat to shop there!

Then it was pool time! I think we spent almost three hours swimming that first day!

Upon returning to our room, we discovered that the resort fairy had stopped by, and left a basket of goodies, Kane County Cougars caps, and vouchers for tickets to a game while we were in town (stay tuned for the details on that!), along with a lovely note!

We went to dinner with my mom and her husband at one of my favorite Chicagoland restaurants…Alfie’s Inn in Glen Ellyn.

We stopped at the Jewel-Osco after dinner to pick up a chocolate torte, a dessert I have loved for about two decades (more on that tomorrow).

We then enjoyed a pleasant walk around the resort before the storms rolled in and we headed to our room to watch the Food Network on cable TV:

Tomorrow’s post will feature our adventures in downtown Chicago!

Markel Family Winter Weekend Getaway–Day Two

Day two of our winter getaway began with a look at the calm before the storm at Frosty Faustings. We were able to go in with Ryan and take a look around before it officially got underway…it was definitely the quietest the Clarion Inn was for the next two days! We especially liked Ryan’s streaming location, marked by the St. Louis city flag:

After that, the Fab Five and I headed to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. We had stopped there briefly last January, and the children were impressed both with the size of the mall and the fact that it was actually busy. So we decided to go back this year, and walk around the entire mall. It took us three hours, but we went around every level and stopped in many of the stores. We also ate while we were there…we shared a pretzel at Auntie Anne’s and a cinnamon roll at Cinnabon (classic mall foods), and we had lunch at A&W, including root beer floats for everyone. It was a really fun way to spend the morning!

After our mall trip, I wanted to do something educational, so we went to the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art in Elmhurst. This was a really unique experience, and I think we all learned a lot (including what the word “lapidary” means!). There was a lot of beautiful stuff on display, but Castle Lizzadro was probably the most beautiful of all:

We then stopped briefly at Frosty Faustings to see what was going on. We didn’t have much time, but we did get to take a look at all the vendors, a little bit of the game play, and we saw Ryan at work on the stream:

Then we went to The Popcorn Store in Wheaton. Originally, I had planned to do this Saturday, but thanks to the impending winter storm, I wasn’t sure that we would make it then. It was definitely too important of a stop to miss, so we squeezed it in to our already busy Friday.

Then on to dinner at Alfie’s Inn in Glen Ellyn, where I enjoyed an amazing patty melt.

We stopped at the Jewel on the way back to the hotel. I continue to be amazed at how little it has changed over the last 20 years…sure, some things are new, but for the most part, it looks like it did when I used to shop there!

Back at the hotel, we divided up our spoils from The Popcorn Store and watched more Food Network while we waited for the snow to start. It was another very relaxing evening!

Up next…the winter storm hits!

Tasty Tuesday–Alfie’s Inn

One of the things I really wanted to do while we were in the Chicago area was eat at Alfie’s Inn in Glen Ellyn. It was one of my favorite restaurants when I was a child, and I really wanted the children to see it.

IMG_8795

IMG_8800

The interior is amazing. The suit of armor was just as I remembered it, and they really have the cozy pub thing down!

In addition to the printed menus, you can also see their original menu (which consisted of less than a dozen items) on the walls around the restaurant:

I had to have the Sir Alfie Loinburger…before eating at Seamus, it was the best burger I’d ever had. Seamus still wins the contest, but it was nice to try The Sir Alfie again. We also had calamari, which Turkey has been wanting to try forever, and onion rings. Ryan tried the fish and chips, which was the first thing I ate there way back when, and was happy that they had malt vinegar to go along with it!

It’s no Seamus, but it’s still a good meal, and I enjoyed the trip down memory lane!

Markel Family Weekend Getaway–Day One

We might not be going on a big vacation like we did last year, but we did have a nice long weekend getaway to the Chicago area last weekend.

We got started bright and early last Thursday, but the bright didn’t last long, and we drove through a huge storm. Even with bad weather accompanying us on most of our trip, we still made good time, and arrived in the Chicago area just before lunch. The children had never seen a toll booth before! And they noticed immediately how crazy the traffic was. We even got a peek at the Chicago skyline as we drove towards Oak Park.

Day one of our long weekend included a culinary trip down memory lane, where we stopped at Mickey’s Gyros and Ribs in Oak Park for a lunch of Big Mickeys, Johnnie’s Sausage and Beef in Elmwood Park for an Italian lemonade, and Alfie’s Inn in Glen Ellyn for dinner.

We also had your standard trip down memory lane, as I showed the children things like where I went to grade school and high school, where I worked when I was in high school, and the Jewel grocery store where I used to shop. We spent some time walking around the Concordia University Chicago campus and regaling the children with tales of our college years, and hanging out with family. We found a Super Target (a store I’ve always wanted to visit) before checking into our room at the lovely Pheasant Run Resort, where we immediately headed for the pool!

IMG_8853

The Best Burger Ever!

Yes, I’m talking about Seamus McDaniel’s. I still think it’s the best burger in St. Louis, and probably the best burger I’ve had anywhere, (except for maybe the Sir Alfie’s Cheeseburger at Alfie’s Inn in Glen Ellyn, IL).

I had the Seamus Burger with provel…I don’t think I’ve ever ordered anything different in all the years we’ve been going there. But when you find a good thing, you stick with it!

I love the atmosphere in the restaurant, too…it’s just a great place to go with the family.