Chicago area has the luxury of many places to visit with amazing flower displays and exotic as well as native plants. I recently spent a blissful day wandering in and out this conservatory and just wanted to share another great thing about this area. Another bonus, the entrance fee is a suggested donation and I would urge you to be as generous as you can.
This took a few years to build and opened in 1908, it is on the National Register of Historic Places and is truly a gem in the city. There are 10 acres of outdoor space and 2 acres under glass and this is open all year. Most of the area is wheelchair accessible and very interactive with lots of special displays all year long. The website is very easy to navigate and full of information about events and special displays.
This summer an agave plant grew so tall they removed a section of glass from the roof to allow it the opportunity to achieve its full height. The day I visited it was well over 35 feet tall already and still growing. The hope was that it would bloom and they would be able to harvest seeds.
Part of the outdoor area had a field planted with a large variety of cabbage, on harvest day these were going to be given to all who came to the conservatory that day. There was a large raised bed garden with tomato and pepper plants. A lunch area and a gift shop are all in the greenhouse with a nice outdoor cafe area for the nice summer days. Certainly a destination year round, accessible by public transportation as well as a parking lot for your vehicle.
A couple of young family members were having discussions about scars they have that are longer than one inch long, it got me to thinking about mine. Four of mine are a result of surgeries, two were accidents and I have one of unknown origin. Who cares???
This got me to thinking about our hidden scars, those that have changed us forever, like losing someone special, and no one see those scars. Would I want everyone to see my hidden scars, I think yes. This might give me an opportunity to talk about how I got that scar and how it’s healing with time or not so much yet.
Some of my real scars don’t get seen, the one on the bottom of my foot that is so old I forget which foot and who even wants to see it. I only look for it occasionally. It was summertime and I was outside playing in the spray from the fire hydrant on the corner and stepped on a broken bottle. My childhood friend who lived across the street spent much of that summer coloring in books together because I could not get around. It brings back more good memories of time spent with Carol than anything else.
One surgical scar, from my lumpectomy, reminds me of a very difficult time in my life and how fragile life is. This scar got bigger than it should have been because a few of the stitches pulled out before they should have come out and in my mind this scar became huge. My universe at that time was in a total state of chaos and sadness that may never heal. I still cry about some of those events almost 20 years later.
One of my hidden scars occurred a little before this and I thought my profound loss would never go away. I am often surprised that time has certainly healed that wound and today I know I can survive almost anything.
My moral to this story is just be as kind as you possibly can to everyone out there. We never know if there is something they are fighting or grieving or missing and kindness is so much easier to deal with.
This castle is in Krakow Poland within walking distance of the city center. The castle is open year round with longer hours during the summer season. It is broken up into specific areas to visit among the permanent exhibits, it also has various temporary exhibits throughout the year.
We had a beautiful sunny, summer day to visit and while busy, it’s still a huge castle and never felt overly crowded at any point. We did pay to see some of the permanent exhibits but were not allowed to photograph inside. Many of the rooms used during the time it was in use have the beautiful tapestries and paintings everywhere you can see. This is one of the largest castles in Poland and stands high on a hill overlooking the city and has it’s own set of myths and stories like many do.
We walked through a massive courtyard to enter the public rooms to view the artwork within the castle. A church which is part of the castle is not part of the touring area but is open for mass.
The grounds are beautifully landscaped and were very pleasant to walk through. One of the tall turrets was also open to walk up to the top and offered stunning views of both the city and the castle. My favorite is the first picture which was taken from the top of this with my cell phone camera.
Lots to see, something for travelers of all ages and well worth the price of admission. There is a small concession stand where you can purchase some food and have your lunch within the walls of the castle. Just looked quickly into the concession stand so not sure what is there. We easily spent several hours there the day we visited. Another place we totally enjoyed and will put this on the list for a revisit in the near future.
An eagle at the American Eagle Foundation rescue facility.
Fireworks over the lake on the 4th of July.
One of my favorite quilt tops.
This week was the 100th year of National League Football in America. The NFL Experience came to Chicago to celebrate and kickoff the first game of the season. Everything was there, main stage for filming, giant screens throughout Grant Park to watch, Super Bowl rings on display and photo ops around every corner. On top of that the whole thing was free to any fans that choose to show up.
Since I am a long time football fan and I was in the general vicinity, I decided to go and see what was up. It was a beautiful sunny day with cloudless blue skies and a gentle breeze off Lake Michigan. If nothing else happened, it was a great day to walk around downtown Chicago.
After the obligatory, in today’s world, metal detectors and bag check, you were inside the experience. There were a multitude of orange shirted volunteers to point you in the right direction as well as signposts to help. So many photo ops it was hard to choose the best. Football related shops to buy whatever a fan might need. All in all a really fun day and I would certainly go if there is an opportunity near you. I also had the chance to have my photo taken with the NFL Lombardi Trophy!!!
While wandering around the city it’s impossible to miss the sculpture everywhere, in the park, in the square and in peoples yards. Here are just a few of the offerings we found. I am partial to the upside down plant, not sure of the meaning behind it, but I do like it.