The Windy City Meets The Smokies
With our oldest son heading off to college soon and tuition looming large, we decided to just hang around town and enjoy a pseudo-staycation in Chicago this prior summer. Well, that noble idea lasted about a nano-second. Our nomadic instincts quickly convinced us to combine a weekend in the city with a brief trip to South Carolina to take in the mountains, devour some sweet peaches, and meet up with old friends.
This was our view from the Trump Tower in Chicago – the pseudo-staycation part of our week. What did I ask a few minutes after we checked in? “Hey, the bedside clock is too dim to read. Do you guys have any idea what time it is?” True story. (Face palm.) Lots of teenage eye-rolling ensued. By the way, that’s the Wrigley Building Clocktower straight ahead with a clock face that’s nearly 20-feet wide.
We took an architectural boat tour on the Chicago River. If you’re ever in town during the summer, this is a “must see.” We’re also looking forward to the completion of the river walk project in the spring, which will allow pedestrians to stroll along the river front all the way from Ogilvie Station to the lake.
Our boat tour included an exclamation heart cloud. Bonus! (Pinterest would approve.)
We ate a delicious Tapas-style lunch at the Purple Pig starring dishes such as pork shoulder, bone marrow on toast, and roasted beets with whipped goat cheese and pistachios. It’s all about “Cheese, Swine, and Wine.”
This photo reminds me of the old saying, “Even hipster teenage boys appreciate a good ride on a swing.” (Okay, I may have just made that up, but still . . . )
Ferris Wheel on Navy Pier
Moving on to the South Carolina part of our summer vacation, we rented a home in the foothills of the Smokies, sight unseen, opened the door with some trepidation based on past rental experiences, and found it to be absolutely lovely as you can see in the photos below.
“Symme’s Chapel”, a.k.a., “Pretty Place”, was a majestic site we visited during our stay. It’s tucked away high up at the peak of the Smokies on the border of North and South Carolina. Frankly, we never would have found it had our local friends not lead the way on the undulating, mountain roads. But what a glorious sight to behold once you’ve arrived! Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC is also one of our favorite places to visit. It’s particularly beautiful at Christmas time with nearly 60 real, decorated evergreen trees displayed throughout the house.
You can read about our many other car trips HERE.