Chicago

Chicago! Known as the Windy City. It was a beauty. There’s so much sightseeing to do and you just need a few days.

My last blog was just about Chicago’s Navy Pier. This blog will be all about the various things that you can do in Chicago.

Let me start by saying get tickets for the Big Bus hop on and hop off bus. There are many different ways to get the bus. You can get a day pass, 2 day pass or even a 3 day pass. We got the day pass but a 2 day pass is worth it. You will learn a lot of history about Chicago and also get driven to all the main attractions in Chicago. It was worth every penny for this bus.  We got to see Chicago and learn at the same time. The buses run until 7 but make sure that you check which stop you are at because certain stops end earlier.  I know that the last stop for the Skydeck is 5:15pm. Make sure that you plan accordingly.

360 Chicago is a skyscraper that allows you to see Chicago’s skyline from the top. It was not busy but we also went later morning. We were able to view all of Chicago from the top. They have a special attraction at 360 called the Tilt.  You stand holding on to the glass and it tilts 30 degrees.  It was cool to do.

Next stop was Millienum Park to see the bean. When I think of Chicago, I think the bean. Everyone goes to see this bean which is art but amazing.

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Another to do in Chicago was the Shedd Aquarium. This Aquarium was enough for my boys to enjoy. There was a lot of art of various sea creatures made from recycled materials. It was very cool to see. There were various creatures from the local lakes.

One of the last places that we went to was the Skydeck. There of course was a longer wait. Everyone wants to come and see Chicago this way.  The Skydeck is glass that extends outward and you get to see the city below you. We wanted to go at around 2 o’clock but there was a 3 hour wait for it. We went again later in the day at around 6 and we waited about 30 minutes to get to the Skydeck.  It was worth it. It gets crowded so if you are not a fan of crowds go really early when they open at 9am or after 6pm. They close at 10 pm.

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We did all these attractions in one day.

Happy traveling!!!

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Chicago’s Navy Pier

Traveling is great because you get to experience something new and different.  It’s great to have a change of scenery.  This summer, my family and I will be traveling a lot because we are able to.  Last summer I was pregnant with my second son and it was hard to travel.

Our first trip this summer was Chicago.   First stop: Navy Pier. It was beautiful.  There is a lot to do at the pier.   There is so much to eat at the pier.  You can have whatever you want: Bubba Gump, Margaretville, Ben & Jerry’s and so many other places.

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We walked around Navy Pier and stopped by Crystal Gardens.  It was beautiful.  The trees and plants were beautiful.   There was water turned into art.  My son loved coming to the gardens and just watching the water.  Crystal Gardens leads you to the Pier Park which has rides to go on. Some of the rides that you can go on are the Swinger, Carousel, Climbing walls and the main attraction the Centennial Wheel.  The Centennial Wheel allows you to see Chicago’s skyline from 200ft up  in the air.   You sit in gondola’s that take up and around.  It was beautiful.

 

Also at the Navy Pier, you can go and catch a cruise.  One of the cruises that we took was the Shoreline Architecture River Cruise which was a 75 minute boat ride around the Chicago river.   It was very relaxing and we learned a lot about the architecture of Chicago.  We saw many rivers, bridges and buildings that shape the beautiful city.

There was something interesting to me when we were at Navy Pier was that if you are under the age of 18 you need an adult to come with you.  I think that is because there is drinking allowed on the pier.  You can pick a to go drink at one of the restaurants and just take a walk. I definitely recommend visiting the Navy Pier!

 

Happy Traveling!

 

NYBG Orchid Show 2018

The Orchid Show is one of my favorite things to do in New York City during the spring.  It is the start of spring and orchids are beautiful flowers.  They are one of my favorite flowers and I enjoy going to the New York Botanical Garden to view the show every year.  This year it is the 16th show that the New York Botanical Garden is hosting.  It’s amazing and no wonder that so many people go to visit.

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This year the design of the show was created by an artist named Daniel Ost.  According to the website, he is considered the Picasso of flower arranging.  It’s amazing to see what an artist does with flowers and how they are able to arrange them and make a masterpiece.   Below are some photographs which I took while viewing the show.  I hope this inspires you to go and view them also.

 

Orchids are a beautiful flower that come in a variety of colors. I couldn’t get enough of taking photos of them.  A symbol that spring is here!

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Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine is a nice coastal place to visit.  I’ve always wanted to go to Maine and Portland was the closets to New York. Our hotel was the Hyatt and it was in Old Port. That’s where all the major places to visit are.  The Hyatt was nice.  Parking was either self which was $20 a night or valet which was $22 a night. The lot that they used was a block away.  We valeted because it was easier for us.  They had breakfast every morning which was nice. They had toast, English Muffins, cereal, eggs and so many other choices.  Our room had the view of the bay.  They also had a pool and fitness center. We used the pool. It was small up to 4 feet only.

The day that we arrived it was raining but we were able to get a few things done.  For lunch we went to Duck Fat which we had to wait 20 minutes because it is a popular spot.  When we sat down to eat, we had Beglian fries and pouting fries. They were very good. They were cooked twice in duck fat.  We all had sandwiches. Their menu is small because it’s a quick eats place. It still was a very nice place and the food was good.

When the rain stopped, we walked around the old port. We found some souvenir stores. I always enjoy looking for magnets and ornaments from places. The one place that I found all my souvenirs was in a place called The Blue Lobster.   We of course found a lot of ice cream places and had some ice cream before dinner.  Dinner was an adventure. We went to J’s Oysters and we were told  there was a 30 minute wait. We waited an hour to get seated. When we went inside there were empty tables. We were really upset about the service at J’s. I had a lobster pasta which was good.  The view was nice though.  See the photo below.

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The next day we visited Cape Elizabeth (see blog before this one).  We came back and then went to the Portland Science Center which had a special show in of Pirates. These were artifacts from a ship that was lost which was taken over by Sam Bellamy. It was really cool to learn about pirates life. I learned things that I didn’t know.  That was a nice experience.  We really enjoyed Portland, Maine. It’s a nice town to visit for a  few days.  Happy travels.

Japanese Tea Garden

The Japanese Tea Garden is located in San Francisco in the Golden Gate State Park.   We went and it was packed. It had a lot of people.  There was a charge for the garden. It was $8 for adults. My son was free so I don’t know how much it was for children.

The Japanese Tea Garden was a small garden with a lot of flowers and Japanese designs.  I wish there was a map because we just walked around.  I felt lost and noticed that we kept walking around in a circle.  Overall, I really enjoyed the Japanese Tea Garden.  It was peaceful.   Below is a poem I wrote about the garden.

Garden 

Simple

Peaceful

Simple rivers.

Simple flowers.

Simple bushes.

Pier 39

Pier 39 is the place to be when in San Francisco.  Pier 39 has many stores  and restaurants.  Some stores are: souvenir, Pandora, Hard Rock Cafe store and so many others.  Some restaurants are: Bubba Gump, Hard Rock Cafe, Wipe out and many others.   You can also just pick up dessert.  They have a place where you can get a small bucket of mini donuts.  They are made fresh and delicious.   They also have a place where you can get crepes: sweet and savory crepes.  There is also a carousel for the children to ride.  The carousel is also a double carousel.  It was very cool to see.

Another place at Pier 39 is the Aquarium at the Bay.  They have many ocean animals to view. There were sharks, jellyfish, otters, different kinds of fish and many other ocean animals. It is a nice place to visit with children.  We went to the Aquarium and we used a city pass which included the aquarium.

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Another popular place is at Pier 39 is to see the sea lions.  There are lots of sea lions that come and visit the pier. They lay, play and talk to one another.  Many people come  to Pier 39 just to see the sea lions.  My son was very excited to see them and we went a few times to visit them.  At times, we saw them swimming in the bay.

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At Pier 39, you can catch a cruise around the bay.  We took the Blue and Gold Cruise.  It was an hour long cruise. We learned a lot about San Francisco from the cruise.  We went all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge.  We sailed under it and of course took a lot of photos.   We also went around to Alcatraz Island.  We were able to see both sides of the island.  It was a nice and wonderful cruise.

When visiting San Francisco make sure to wear  layers because it does get cold when there.  We went in April and it was cold.  We were wearing long sleeve and hoodies.

Muir Woods

Muir Woods in California is a site to see.  It is a national park with lots of amazing Redwoods.  As I was researching places to visit in California, I found the Muir Woods.  I knew about the Redwood trees but this was just one of the places in California that have Redwoods.

There is a fee to pay when you get in. It’s $10 for an adult. We went with my 1 year old son who is free.  We started our hike at the front of the Muir Woods sign. We came across so many Redwoods.  It was so amazing to see these giant trees that date to prehistoric times. My husband at first didn’t want to go but then was amazed and was taking lots of photos.  I was in awe of these beautiful trees.  These trees were both really tall and thick.  We took lots of photos.

I highly recommend Muir Woods in California. It is 30 minute drive from San Francisco.  It’s a great hike because it is on flat land.  There are some bumps but it is so worth it. I would love to go back to see them again when my son get older.  Below are some photos that I took.