That is the question!! Today we decided that we should take full advantage of the culture in the city. I’m not sure how many total museums are in the downtown area of the city but I’ve been to … The Field, The Art Institute, The Museum of Science and Industry, The Photography Museum, The Military Museum, The Driehaus Museum, The Chicago History Museum and a couple more that I can’t remember right now! So, with two young, bright, sponge-brained kids, this is the place to be!
Andrew: I’d really like to see the Art Institute.
Nina: (Speaking about a thousand words per minute) Ok, it’s so beautiful, you’re gonna love it, there are so many things to see in there, the sculptures on the bottom floor, the Italian marble, they have a wonderful lounge, don’t miss the gardens, and oh, the Stock Exchange Room is fabulous!!
Alrighty then, let’s go! There are so many different galleries and exhibits at the Art Institute that every time I go, I try to see something new. But if you’re only there for a day (or less), the museum offers you a self-guided “Important Pieces to See in an Hour” tour which I’ve tried on many occasions to see in an hour and I’ve never been able to do it. Mostly because it says, “Ok, go to Number 1.” You’re walking there and on the way you see … Ooooohhhh ahhhhh, it’s so beautiful and then you continue walking and you see … OMG, that was fabulous, and then you finally get to where you’re supposed to be and it’s stunning … absolutely stunning. And look … look at the rest of the pieces in this room! Yeah, it’s pretty much impossible. You get way too distracted and when the hour mark arrives, you’ve seen 2 of the “most important” and 15 of the other “fabulous” and it’s just not gonna happen. But, we try our best every time!
It’s always fun to watch other people enjoy the paintings as much as I do. The sculptures, the statues, and the history surrounding them is one of my favorite parts of the Institute. Andrew did his best to see the “Important Pieces” – he was on a quest!
Here’s a marble piece of the Pieta, but with a different look because it’s actually carved on a flat surface, except for the bench at the bottom and the dimensional parts that are “coming out” from the flatness of the marble tile.
I love this piece because of the way the angels are attending to Jesus and Mary. It’s not a large piece. If I remember correctly, it is only about 12 x 18 inches. It’s so life-like when you are looking at Mary’s robe and the cloth surrounding Jesus, it’s as if you could touch it and feel the fabric. The detailing is just exquisite to me. For me, it’s quite moving.
Then, right next to this piece, is a painting of the same piece. Take a look …
Again, the detail is amazing and it makes you feel as if, like the marble piece above, it’s a multi-dimensional piece that you could actually touch and feel the cloth, the angels’ wings, and even the weeping women in the background. Isn’t it fabulous? This is why it takes me an hour to see one piece!! Once I’m there, it’s so hard to leave.
Ok, Ok, I know we’ve got a lot more to see …
We make our way to the outside gardens to sit a bit before we continue on our day. This garden is right outside the Art Institute on Michigan Avenue … smack in the middle of a gazillion tourists. But, when you enter the gates, it is instantly quiet and cool and very peaceful. I really enjoy taking a break from my walks in this little sanctuary.
While we were gone, our 4th boy of the week arrives. He had an early flight that morning, so when we got back to the apartment, you can see that he was busy checking his text messages.
That’s Compa Mike … always working … even when his eyes are closed!! Haha!!
Mike was here last summer so he had a few of his favorite places that he wanted to hit right away. First stop … Devil Dawgs for the best Chicago style hot dog around! Landon is right on his toes because Landon became a Chicago style dog lover last summer too!
This is what you call, “dragging it through the garden” because of the stuff (veggies) that they put inside the bun. Some crazy neon green sweet relish, onions, sport peppers, tomato slices, dill pickle spear, mustard and finally a generous sprinkle of celery salt. Who knew all this junk would make a meal people would enjoy?
As you can see, they thoroughly enjoyed their “snack.” And when I say “snack,” I mean a regular sized lunch for anybody else, but for them … a snack! Growing boys!
After the snack, we take a nice walk around the block to see the park and then head back to the apartment. We’re waiting for Eddie to get home because tonight we’re going to a BBQ … a “Bub City BBQ” that is!
This place is known for their meats but tonight they are also known for their “Whiskey Flights.” Compa and Eddie had a few little tastes of the stuff.
They give you enough to wet your whistle and if you’re a wimp like me, a good sniff of it will do! The boys (the BIG BOYS that is) loved this opportunity to taste and will be back here again for another “tasting” … Of the whiskey that is!
The pre-dinner drinks added to their healthy appetite … just a bit, I’d say!!
I don’t know if I can remember all we ate, but here’s a smidgen of it … a rack of ribs Louisiana Style, hot wings, a “country nacho” plate, brisket, tater tots, fried okra, and a bunch of other tasty little goodies!
I just love the tater tots in ranch dressing, smokey brisket, and their “sweet tea” to wash it all down! This is another fun place to eat, listen to good country music, and apparently, have a flight of whiskey with some delicious food!
After our amazing BBQ dinner, we had to top that off with an equally amazing dessert … but not from Bub City … no we had to walk off some of that dinner first before we indulged in …
FIRECAKES!! It’s just a little ol’ donut place in Chicago that gets crazy reviews for delicious donuts! The boys just couldn’t pass it up!
Decisions, decisions, decisions!! Well, they finally got what they wanted and as you can see, with pretty big smiles on their faces!
As we continued our walk home, we stopped to watch a night river tour boat pass us by as they enjoyed a beautiful night on the river. We, with our full bellies and sweet tooth satisfied, also enjoyed the evening with the brilliant lights and cool summer breeze. It really was pretty darn perfect.
I can’t believe it’s been a week and my boys have to leave … but we’ve had a blast! Wanna have a great time on a summer get-away-exploration-do everything vacation? I suggest grabbing a couple of young men who are by far the perfect gentlemen and exceptional travel partners to make your trip even better! I am not sure who had more fun this week … me or the boys. Eddie and I are blessed to have Landon as our Godson and Andrew as part of our “posse”! I’m the luckiest Nina there is!“Bye Boys.”
You know I’m crying my eyes out now!
Ok, talk to you tomorrow.