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A long weekend in Chicago including The Art Institute

At the end of July I met my sister at Midway airport in Chicago to spend some time together and to visit with as much family as possible. We’re originally from the Chicago area where both of our parents grew up, married and had children. In 1969 we moved to California. Much of our family still resides in the Chicago area and we’ve been back several times to visit to celebrate birthdays, weddings and the like. Our cousin picked us up at the airport and we stayed at her house for five nights. She was in the process of selling her home and we weren’t sure if we’d be able to stay there. As it turned out, she had a contingent offer so we were able to stay there. So nice of her to let us stay in her house and we are so grateful!

A couple of photos descending into Chicago:

We saw our aunt and uncle every day and we had so much fun with them. We brought our flutes to play duets for them. We used to do this when we visited our mother in Florida and we thought our aunt and uncle might enjoy a little concert. We also made dinner for them that night and another cousin’s daughter was able to join us. She is a baker and brought the most delicious cake for dessert! There it is in this photo:

Our first full day we spent in downtown Chicago. We did some shopping, ate lunch and then spent a few hours in The Art Institute. Such a great museum! But it also has a bit of a confusing layout and we ended up walking more than we really wanted to. Some photos of downtown Chicago:

Similar to my visit to the National Gallery of Art in D.C., I made a list of pieces that I wanted to see using the museum’s guide of their recommendations. I really wanted to see the miniature rooms and that was the last thing we did at the Art Institute. We got in an elevator to take us to the lower level but we didn’t see the miniature rooms on the placard of what was on that level. Others heard us and instructed us to go back up and go to the other side. See what I mean about confusing? We had no clue, even with a map of the museum, that the lower level had two separate parts. Lucky those nice people guided us or we might have given up! Those miniature rooms were so worth it! It’s a huge gallery of, well, miniature rooms. Scenes from all sorts of places and eras. So much detail! And we discovered that you could see into other rooms or outside if you craned your neck a little bit. Following are the photos I took of the miniature rooms:

We didn’t see quite everything because we were just too tired to walk any more. We enjoyed what we did see and had such fun.

On the weekend another cousin was having a party at his beach home. Neither of us had been there before so it was nice to see the lovely house next to Lake Michigan. We dipped our fingers in the lake just to say that we did. Their house is over an hour’s drive away from our other cousin’s house and we had such a pleasant ride with our aunt and uncle. Our cousin whose house we were staying in (and our aunt and uncle’s daughter) came separately.

We got to see our cousin’s new ranch. She had a lifelong dream of owning a ranch where she can keep her horse. What a lovely property!! And that’s the reason she was selling her other home that we were staying in. She bought the ranch and then put her house up for sale.

We also got to meet our second cousins. I wrote a little bit about them in this post from last year. I especially love the story about the photo of their grandfather from last year’s blog post. We met them and their partners for lunch our last day in Chicago. It was lovely meeting all of them and we all enjoyed our visit. In this photo our second cousins are on either side of us and their partners are sitting next to them on either end of our table.

My sister and I took walks to start our day every morning. There is a nice walking path near our cousin’s (now old) house and of course I took a few photos of flowers. Enjoy!

I love Chicago and can’t wait to go back again. What a fun-filled weekend we had!


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The Art Institute of Chicago

We spent spring break week in Chicago looking at schools for my daughter and visiting family.  We also managed to do some other fun things and one of those was a visit to the Art Institute.

The Art Institute of Chicago is hands down one of my favorite museums on the planet.  It seems to have grown since the last time I was there in 1996.  There is absolutely no way to see the entire museum in one day.  Did I mention it’s immense?  Boy howdy.  We had only a few hours to see as much as we could before they closed, so we headed up the grand staircase and  we were greeted first with some Frank Lloyd Wright architectural remnants from torn down buildings.   There’s a nice Rodin sculpture just before you go in to see the Impressionists, the first of many rooms with impressionist paintings.  I think the Art Institute of Chicago may have the largest collection of impressionist art that I have seen.  There were full rooms of Monet and Renoir.  Heaven on earth for an impressionism fan.

We also visited the modern art wing and found more eye candy there.  Warhol and Picasso and Dali, oh my! And plenty of other interesting art that enriched me even more having seen them that day.  I was sad that we didn’t have time for the miniature rooms.  You just cannot see everything.  But we thoroughly enjoyed what we did see and I’m providing a snapshot in my gallery below for you to enjoy.  This museum is a must for art lovers. The collection is so vast and displays many types of art such that I think there is something for everyone here.  Click on any photo to start the gallery and enjoy!

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