(Read the account of day 1 here)
We slept in. It doesn’t get to happen very often, especially for me of late, but we did it. Past 8:00 even. It was nice. The suite gave us a lovely view including lake Michigan and we wandered down for breakfast almost as late as we could.
The schedule included lunch reservations and the 4pm train back to Champaign but that was it. A day ahead of us. What to do?
We relaxed at the hotel for a bit. No need to rush anywhere. The walk to the restaurant would take 15-20 minutes and reservations were at 12:30 so we had lots of time. About 11 we went out the door with our sparse luggage (my backpack) with plans to window-shop along the way to lunch.
We stopped by the Water Tower Place vertical mall. One of the stops in yesterday’s chocolate tour was here, and we had seen just enough to stop back in to look around.
Our first stop was the Lego store. We were greeted with a life-sized Iron Man made of legos and had to pause for pictures, of course. We spent some time playing there, and purchased some gifts for the children and then wandered off to see what else there was in the mall. Low and behold in the directory we discovered Marbles: The Brain Store! Wow. As a previous foursquare visitor put it, “This place is so cool. You can spend hours in here without buying something. But if you do that, I bet you buy something.” We didn’t have hours, but it didn’t take long before we bought something.
So. Much. Cool. Stuff. Brain. Hurts.
We left with a couple of CDs of modern schoolhouse rock type music for gifts. We will definitely visit Marbles again.
We found a neat tea shop where we spent a few minutes (called Teavana) and more than a few dollars and on accident discovered a little gallery hosting the Art of Dr. Seuss. We had a lot of fun looking around there and enjoying the paintings and sculptures and grabbed a few pictures including my new profile pic for my Facebook timeline.
After we left the mall we had a little time still to spare as we headed off to lunch, and found a neat shop on the way there which was selling some lovely furniture called Room and Board. A lot of neat ideas for the future were created through viewing the huge 3 story showroom. It was a lot of fun looking.
From there it was a short hop and a skip to one of our favorite places: Seasons 52. We’ve visited their Schaumburg location a couple of times and this was the first time at the Chicago location. We had an amazing lunch including such wonderful items as Asparagus soup, lobster and shrimp stuff mushrooms, and lamb meatball flatbread. Oh and the mini-desserts included a caramel/sea salt mousse which was the perfect ending to an (always) fantastic meal. Can’t recommend Seasons 52 highly enough…see if you can find a location near you.
When we got done with lunch we were full, and I was tired. Union Station was a mile-plus walk and we debated whether to take a cab or not. We decided that we could always grab a cab part way there and started walking. It was a beautiful walk along the Chicago river mostly, and despite the construction detours (had to cross the street once) we managed to make it to the station with plenty of time to spare before our train ride back to Champaign.
Once in Champaign we checked into our hotel (Homewood suites, once again free with points) and relaxed for a little bit before heading out to one of our favorite stops there: Seven Saints. We love finding local spots like this one, and had discovered Seven Saints during a trip to drop Samuel off for a visit in Indiana a few months ago, via Urbanspoon. (How did people decide where to eat before the internet?) Dinner included some amazing fried cheese curds and (pause for a gasp) Chicago-style Hotdog Sliders. They were as good as they sound. Oh, and fresh battered onion rings. Mmmmm.
Late dinner means straight to bed, the end of another full but oh-so-relaxing day. No jitters at all from not seeing email for the second day in a row.
Day 3 comes in the (next and last) post.