Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chicago~Windy City Recap

Well we've been back from Chicago a week already, and I'm finally having time to put up a little bit of a recap.  As I've mentioned before, we were only there for a little 48 hours but I really feel like we made the most of our time. 

A quick side note, we had direct flights to Chicago from the Branson airport and this was our first experience departing from Branson.  We've heard the stories & rumors but I honestly didn't really believe them until we experienced it for ourselves...the employees in charge of loading the baggage and directing the plane onto the runway stood and waved as we taxied into position for takeoff!  Ha!  Gotta love the small town airports! 

We arrived in Chicago about 2:30, grabbed our suitcase and found our way down to the train aka subway aka "el train" aka cheap transportation into downtown Chicago.  We easily found our hotel & I was definitely pleased with our choice...The Amalfi Hotel.  Perfect for our quick romantic getaway and definitely not your standard Holiday Inn (no offense meant to Holiday Inns, but this one just had so much more personality). 

After we freshened up a bit we headed out for a quick little walk around the city...but our most important destination was dinner.  Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza!  We talked with the concierge at our hotel and based on the direction we were heading, he suggested Pizzano's & we certainly weren't disappointed. Fried calamari, deep dish pepperoni pizza & a nice cold Coke (since they apparently don't have Dr. Pepper just everywhere in Chicago)...the perfect dinner to start our trip!

Mmm...loved the pizza, so delicious!
After dinner we spent a little bit of time on State Street shopping (can I just say that a 9 story Macy's is a little overwhelming?!??), and then made our way down to the Willis (used to be Sears) Tower.  We were hoping to catch a beautiful sunset, but clouds & haze moved in and the sunset was nowhere to be seen...but we still saw some incredible views from 103 floors up! 
Heading up to the Skydeck
The best picture I could capture of the sunset

Sitting in one of the plexiglass Skydeck cubes...nothing between us and 103 floors to the ground except for a clear piece of plexiglass!  Yikes! 
After our visit to Willis Tower we casually made our way back to our hotel with a quick stop at Magnolia Bakery.  I was expecting to top our night off with a yummy cupcake, but they had some delicious chocolate icebox cake on display & we just couldn't resist!  Yum! 
Perfect place for a night-ending dessert!
The infamous Chicago theater...if only Chicago was actually playing here!
After dessert we truly went back to our hotel & crashed.  I do think we managed to stay out past 10:00 pm, but not much...this momma & daddy were wore out!  However, our plans of a peaceful, relaxed night of sleep were simply something we only dreamed about...neither one of us was able to sleep as soundly as we had hoped.  Some of that was due to the city noise, but I truly think most of it was just the fact that for the past 5 1/2 months we've been used to the sounds of Elyse filling our nighttime hours and it just wasn't the same without her.  

On Friday morning we woke up at our normal time and headed out for a fun Segway adventure!  I read lots of reviews about Segway tours in Chicago and everyone just raved about how fun they were!  We had a blast & Segways are so fun!  This would be the perfect way to see any city! 
@ the training area all ready to go!  The Segways were actually really easy to ride...they practically do all the work for you!

Buckingham Fountain & the Chicago skyline!  The day was perfect to be out & about in the city!

We got there just in time for the water show!
Looking out over Lake Michigan
Hubby with the Chicago skyline & Navy Pier in the background
After our Segway Tour we were both ready for some lunch, but not without a stop at the infamous "bean" first!  This was quite the attraction & it was pretty entertaining to watch everyone trying to snap just the perfect photo!  We had lunch at The Plaza @ Park was the perfect spot to people watch & rest a bit before heading out for our afternoon of shopping! 
Hubby & Wifey @ the Bean

Loved all the colorful umbrellas that covered the dining area @ The Plaza!
For the afternoon we hadn't made any plans other than to shop...and shop we did!  I had been saving up my spending money just for this trip & I got lots of fun things! This is also when we bought Elyse her American Girl Bitty Baby & we also ran across the Lego Store which had this incredible Lego Woody! 
Hubby & Woody---his nephews thought this was pretty stinkin' cool! 
After our day of shopping we headed back to the hotel & got ready for our fancy dinner for the trip.  We chose Gibson's based on Trip Advisor reviews as we were looking for a local Chicago steakhouse with some fun Chicago atmosphere.  This was the perfect spot & we had a fabulous dinner to celebrate our first trip without Elyse, but more importantly 5 blessed years of marriage! 
A great place to eat with lots of fun Chicago atmosphere! 

Our Macadamia Turtle Pie...and really that's only half of it that you can was ridiculously large! The picture just doesn't do it justice! 

Love this man! 

On Saturday morning we weren't able to get a late checkout which meant we really didn't have enough time to catch the Field Museum or Shedd Aquarium so those will have to be on our itinerary for next time!  Instead we headed over to Navy Pier before all the crowds arrived and even managed to ride the Ferris Wheel for one last look at the Chicago Skyline.  

Our view from the top!

Such a lucky girl!
After our visit to Navy Pier we finished up a little last-minute shopping, grabbed a nice lunch @ Grand Lux Cafe' and then headed home!  This was such a fabulous trip.  We are so blessed to be able to leave our baby girl in such perfect care with her grandparents...we may have to make these trips at least an annual occasion!  Or maybe she'll just go to Papa & Gigi's or Mamaw & Pappy's when Momma & Daddy need a break! 


Danavee said...

I think I'm convinced that Chicago could be our mini-vacay this year!!!

Bethany said...

That Woody was LEGOS?! That's awesome, Brady would go nuts! Looks like a fun trip!

Amanda said...

Your pictures are lovely! I'm so glad you had such a good time, you deserved it! :)

Oh, and thanks for posting that pizza picture, Lauren. I'm drooling all over myself now. Haha! xoxo

Amanda said...

i bet that was such a nice getaway for you guys! i am already looking forward to our first getaway....only so i can have a few hours of worry free sleep! haha! deep dish pizza=amazing! i think it's so funny how a lot of areas don't sell dr. pepper! what is with that?

Mrs. Pancakes said...

Chicago is Definitely on my List Of Places To Visit now...I want Pizza!!