Category Archive: Uncategorized

Grant Park: Icons on Chicago’s “Front Yard”

After writing a couple of great articles about the Art Institute of Chicago and Second City, I talked pal Jon Rochetti into another article, complete with some of his photos, from his recent trips to Chicago. Enjoy!   Even before the Chicago Fire of 1871, civic leaders realized that the city’s lakefront was something that should be protected to be enjoyed by all Chicagoans.  Chicago’s Grant Park (map) lies between the downtown business “loop” and The Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave.) and Lake Michigan.  It covers 319 acres and hosts three exceptional museums: the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute, and the Field Museum of Natural History, along with many of Chicago’s favorite icons. Much of the park is actually landfill from the Chicago fire and the city’s first underground subway system. An old tunnel system was built to hold underground telephone cables but after […]

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The Art Institute of Chicago

Today I have a guest post from a very dear friend, Jon Rochetti.  You may have seen his photos accompanying many of my posts, and if you haven’t, take a look here or here or here.  Today, I’m very excited to share with you some of his great writing, along with his photos. ——————- The Windy City”¦The Second City”¦City of Broad Shoulders”¦The City of My Youth – Chicago. I visited Chicago last weekend in a role I haven’t been in years – a tourist.  Usually I visit old friends or travel for business; but this trip was a brother/sister trip to celebrate my sister’s 50th birthday and her first trip “home” in over 15 years.  After visiting childhood homes, old schools, parks where we played as children and even the church were my parents were married, we toured some of the city’s more famous […]

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NYC: The Hudson River Bike Path to the Little Red Lighthouse

A guest post from my pal, Jeffrey Whelan. —————————- Yes, there really is a little red lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. It is right at the edge of the Hudson River on the Manhattan side, and I have biked up to it many times. In recent years, New York City has spruced up and expanded the bike path, building parks and recreational piers along it to attract people to the water’s edge.  The ride up is varied and scenic, and takes only 45 minutes from midtown. The lighthouse itself was immortalized in the 1942 children’s book “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge”  written by Hildegarde Swift and illustrated by Lynd Ward. The book itself is still in print, and is largely responsible for the preservation of the lighthouse after  the U.S. Coast Guard deactivated it. The NYC […]

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10 Last Minute Ideas for Your Kids' Last Days of Summer Vacation

The idea of vacationing at home seemed to resonate with readers, both as a money saving idea, and as a practical solution with time remaing before school starts.  Here are some ideas for those of you in the greater Seattle/Tacoma area.  For those of you who don’t live in this area, use the ideas to think about what’s available in your hometown. What are you waiting for?  Pick one.  Pick another.  Send the kids back to school with lots of fond memories about the best summer vacation ever. Pacific Science Center:  Dinosaurs, butterflies, and insects co-mingle with technology and astronomy in creating exhibits that make you think and wonder why. Woodland Park Zoo:  All the animals in the zoo are jumping up and down for you. . . . Come see the lions, and tigers, and bears in natural habitats.  Don’t forget […]

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Seattle Underground: The Subterranean Neighborhood

This neighborhood just isn’t like it used to be!  No one can argue with how the Pioneer Square area of Seattle has changed over the last couple of decades.  Before it was what you see now, there was a whole other neighborhood of streets and storefronts, all of which were destroyed in the Seattle fire of 1889. The fire turned out to be a good thing for the city.  Although it totally devastated 29 square blocks of the city, including nearly all of the business district, most of the wharves, and the railroad terminals, the rebuildding of the city post-fire was a turning point in Seattle’s history.  At that point, Seattle began the proess of becoming a real city. The day after the fire, a town meeting was held, and it was agreed that the city would be rebuilt with […]

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Mount Vernon: The Estate of George & Martha Washington

On a recent sunny afternoon, a friend shared with me one of the most beautiful and peaceful places that I have been in a long while:  Mount Vernon, the home and estate of George and Martha Washington. Located sixteen miles south of Washington DC, and eight miles south of Old Town Alexandria, Mt Vernon sits in a pictaresque and undeveloped area on the Potomac River. Washington acquired Mt Vernon in 1754, and expanded and developed the grounds to reflect his status as part of the landed gentry.  He personally oversaw every detail to the estate design, construction, and decoration, even while he was away at war.  Mansion tours run on a continuous basis.  Fourteen rooms are open for viewing to the public, and have been restored and furnished based on the standards of the day from 1799, including some original objects used […]

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Happy 75th Birthday to the Empire State Building

75 years ago, on May 1st, 1931, the Empire State Building opened to the public. The idea for the skyscraper came from John J. Raskob, whose goal in the project was merely to outdo his former competitor, Walter Chrysler, and the Chrysler Building.  Raskob, and then Governor Al Smith, conspired to make sure that the new building would surpass the Chrysler building in its height, 103 floors, and its magnificent design.  Including the antenna on top, the Empire State Building stands 1,454 feet tall. Amazingly, this ambitious project only took 410 days to complete, an average of about four-and-a-half floors completed per week.  View the photo history of the building of the Empire State Building here. The building, Fifth Avenue at 34th, seems to float above the street, and the rest of its surroundings, when viewed from a distance.  It is one […]

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