The Jog before Jiggedy (Heading Home: 3 Days Unplugged, Day 3)

Previous posts:  Day 1.  Day 2.

Day 3 started with attempting to sleep in again.  I don’t think we made it to 8:00 this time, which necessitated a short nap after breakfast at the hotel.  We lounged around until almost checkout time watching reruns on the TV and lazing about because we could.  At 11:30 we went to the front desk to continue our enjoyable time away for the final day of the trip.

We started out with a stop at a local thrift store.  It was there, and we had nowhere to be.  We found some more gifts for the kids (and a couple of neat knick-knacks for the paddywhack shelf that TC liked) and then drove into downtown Champaign and found a parking spot and walked about in search of lunch.  The first place we tried to stop (Radio Maria…we’ll catch it next time we’re in town) wasn’t open for lunch and so we wandered around the block a time or two debating on which place to try before settling on Big Grove Tavern.

We were not disappointed.  A farm to table restaurant with a fantastic menu:  we will be back.

We started with a plate of deviled eggs served with sweet pea humus.  Oh. My.  They were fantastic.  For the meal Theresa had two more appetizers (pickled beets and bison-chili-cheese fries) and I had Tavern Burger (made with beef, bison and pork) and hand-cut fries.  We had some great food on this trip, and this was no exception.  We managed to squeeze a little bit of restaurant-made vanilla ice cream with olive oil and sea salt in for dessert despite being very full after the meal.  Not a bite of food that wasn’t completely enjoyable there.

After lunch we walked over to the PACA Salvage Warehouse.  Theresa loves architecture and conservation, and the salvage warehouse had a lot to love in it, and we’ll probably be back for spare parts for our ailing home at some point.  We had just missed going to the Restoration Hardware in Chicago (didn’t think of it until we’d gotten too far away to turn around…it was right near our hotel) and so it was nice to scratch that itch by discovering this warehouse in Champaign.

At this point, having reached our two-hour parking limit for downtown, we headed out towards the mall and interstate and hit a couple more shops before starting for Peoria.  The drive home included a short nap in the Mackinaw Dells rest area but we still arrived in Peoria with an hour to spare before our dinner reservations.

So we stopped at Costco.  We have friends waxing eloquent about the prices and the food there and so we had meant to check it out for some time and just hadn’t gotten around to it.  But we got the guest pass on Thursday and walked through checking products and prices and considering whether the membership is a match for us.  I’ll let Theresa post on that over at 25 Failures if she wants to, but it was a nice walk around the store and then we were ready to head to dinner.

We finished out the getaway with a really nice five course dinner at Two25 downtown, and then headed home to chat with the older children before heading off to bed.  I managed to keep from checking work email before going to sleep, and we hit the sack thoroughly refreshed.

I’m thankful for the time away and the recharging it brought.  We did quite a bit of walking, which was nice, and had some amazing meals.  Re-entry was mildly stressful but I went into Sunday already refreshed and the weekend was nice.

I think next time we’d do 3 nights and stay in the same city and come home mid-day on day 4, but all in all this was a great length for unplugging and relaxing without being so long I felt like it was hard to catch up on things when we returned.  We may try to do this again in late summer or early fall before school gets insane around the international trip.  Or our next one may have to wait for after I graduate.  Suffice it to say that it was a lovely time to spend with my lovely wife and I look forward to doing it again.

I’m no longer feeling the stress of marketing or hating school, or even just feeling overwhelmed by work and life in general.  The trip accomplished its purpose and I’m ready to head back into class this weekend for Competition and Pricing and I’ll likely post tomorrow about the pre-work for class.


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