June 4-7, 2015 - Chicago (with a little New Glarus, WI at the end)
With the move to the Midwest this year, I made a promise to myself to plan trips with each group of friends. I'm absolutely terrible about keeping in touch with people and I figured this way there is 1) something to look forward to each year and 2) an excuse for a reunion. So far so good! April was filled with Denver with the grad school ladies and a couple weekends back Jon and I went to Chicago for the weekend to hang with all the UNC folks.
Caitlin, JJ and I have been good friends since our UNC days and our guys (Kevin, Kevin and Jon) are now also really good friends so it only made since for the 6 of us to get together for a long weekend- and what better location than Chicago. Caitlin had been awesome about securing our VRBO condo rental and really about planning everything as she and Kevin had lived there for 5 years- JJ and I were happy to have her take the lead. We ended up with a cute condo about a block from Lakeshore Drive and with easy access to lots of tasty restaurants, groceries, a running trail and the beach!
Day 1: Jon and I were up super early to make the drive from WI to Chicago and to pick up JJ/Kevin at Ohare on our way into town. Conveniently we were a little behind but so was their plane! Once we had them in hand we headed over to the condo. Caitlin and Kevin had come in the day before to see other local friends in the area and so met us at the condo since we could check in early. And what a cute place it was- plenty of space, really nice kitchen, perfect for six people. We realized we were all starving and so walked a few blocks over to Uncommon Ground for lunch. A few of us tasted some of their beers in stock, and I had some extremely tasty fish tacos as well as sweet potato fries with cheese fondue sauce (hello yes).
On our walk back we veered over to see Wrigley field because well why not?! Then the ladies relaxed while the guys made a quick grocery run for breakfast items and a meal to cook while we were there. Once they returned we headed out to the beach! It was our only really warm day (77 degrees) and sunny so we thought perfect time to check out the local area and of course we brought Cards Against Humanity to play. Antics ensued and before long the sun started to set and the wind started to pick up. So much for beach time- womp womp. So back to the condo and an executive decision was made to have Deep Dish Pizza from Lou Malnati's, apparently the best in town, and well I cannot dispute that because it was awesome. We sat around and caught up while watching TV until it was time to call it a night.
Day 2: Jon and I got up early to get a run in on the Lakefront Trail. We ran together for the first two miles and then I turned around while he went on for one more. I finished up around 4 miles- despite the last two being terrible with the wind. Some quick breakfast and getting ready before we all bundled up (60 and windy!) for a walk down to Lincoln Park Conservatory. I'd been in that area before but never to the gardens. They were nice and warm but also had some really pretty flowers (pictures below in slideshow). We wandered through the zoo next, saw a few animals, dodged lots of families and then decided it was time to eat! Nearby was a spot called RJ Grunt's and I had a yummy California wrap for lunch. Afterwards we decided to take the bus because the windy cold was getting to us and hang out at Hopleaf for the afternoon. Such a great beer bar and one of my favorite spots in the city. Many stories, photos and beers were experienced.
Once we finally decided to leave it was an uber home to relax while Jon and Kevin grabbed a few more groceries for dinner. Then spontaneous living room dance party to Taylor Swift's new album happened. Lots of funny photos and videos and calories burned. Then the guys arrived and dinner cooking commenced. Kevin (C) took the dinner lead and made us a delightfully tasty pasta dinner accompanied by bruschetta. And some whole foods cookies for dessert. Then it was time for celebrity!! Caitlin and Kevin had never played but after one round they were hooked. 3 games happened- and the girls came out ahead in a 2-1 victory!
Day 3: Jon and I were up early again for a 6 mile run day. We decided to against the wind in the beginning hoping that would make the end of the run better. I thought it was terrible. But ended up finishing with an ok time in the end. JJ and Kevin (C) also took runs on the trail as it was finally sunny and nicer weather. I had a quick banana and nuun and then we had eggs and toast after Kevin returned. We headed over to Logan Square for Remix Chicago- a recycled art fair happening in the streets with local musicians performing. It was conveniently located to Revolution Brewing where we had also wanted to go while in town. We wandered the fair, Kevin (C) and I having a free chiropractic evaluation, and then finding cute jewelry that we all couldn't decide about. Then it was time to relax for a bit- over to Revolution! We got some good seats at the bar and tried out some of their tasty brews and some yummy appetizers (pretzels and popcorn!). We decided next year's trip needs to be to a warmer place- haha.
There had been talk of having a good Chicago hotdog so we left the festival for a bit and wandered over to a nearby hotdog joint. It was a quick and tasty snack and on the way we found an awesome Chicago mural that of course meant photos- especially jumping ones! After we headed back to the festival to see what music was playing and the ladies each purchased a cute necklace. Twas a lovely afternoon. Then we got a suburban uber to take all of us back to the condo to relax and start cleaning/packing up. The girls walked over to a nearby thai place to grab dinner and then we spent the evening playing more celebrity. Unfortunately- the boys just couldn't cut it and the girls won again!
Day 4: Jon and I were up early to take JJ/Kevin to the airport- always sad to say goodbye. :( And then it was back to the condo to finish packing and cleaning up. Due to the lovely weather- we also dropped off Caitlin and Kevin at their next destination (they were staying for one more night to visit with more friends)- and more goodbyes. :( Until next time loves!!!
Then Jon and I headed to my absolute favorite brunch place in town- Orange. Every time I'm in Chicago I try and eat there because it is so good and I love their whimsical touch with food. We got the Frushi of the day which was of course awesome and then I went in a different direction from my norm and ordered Green Eggs and Ham. Usually I go for the pancake flight but decided I'd like some eggs (especially when they have pesto mixed in). Jon built his own omelet and I think enjoyed the entire experience. I've already warned him we'll probably go again when we're in town in July for RNR Chicago. Then it was farewell to the windy city and time to head home to WI.
Except- we decided to take a diversion over to New Glarus on the way. :) As our time in WI is winding down, we're trying to fit in as many of the things we wanted to do as possible so stopping by New Glarus brewery seemed like a no brainer. It was straight out of the Germany section of Busch Gardens in my mind- complete with a man playing an Alp Horn. We did some tastings and enjoyed the afternoon in the sun before grabbing some beers to stash for ourselves and my brother. Then home for the week before our next adventure!