Friday, March 11, 2011

on the pier

Chicago's  Navy Pier is a great place to spend a day.  It is home to Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago's Children's Museum, an IMAX theater, the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, a 150 foot ferris wheel, a musical carousel, an 18 hole mini golf course, boat rides, seasonal events such as the Chicago Flower and Garden Show, many restaurants and shops, and a most beautiful view of the loveliest city on any of the great lakes.
Navy Pier juts out into the lakefront eastward from the city's edge. Wednesday morning the fog was rolling into the city off of Lake Michigan so thickly you could barely see the city skyline. This first photo was taken from the second floor on the pier, just outside the flower show exhibit hall, taken through rather dirty windows looking west toward the city. Can you just see the buildings in the mist?

This next photo was taken from the second story conservatory looking east toward the giant ferris wheel.

Barb and I were a little disappointed with the flower show this year. There were fewer walk through displays, fewer high impact flowers, a lack of big name exhibitors, and many fewer vendors. Still it was a lovely show, it helped us to forget the winter outside, and gave me a chance to shop for a few lovely things to bring back to the farm including seed potatoes, onions, seeds, bulbs, a purple addition to my streptocarpus collection, and some flavored cashews for Jerome. The pergola above would be a great addition to our farm house back garden...
There are lectures, seminars, workshops and many asides to the show which we never have taken the time to attend. You'd have to spend much more than the few hours we were there to take in everything. We go for the displays, the shops, dream building for our own gardens,  and the visit with each other. Barb likes to quietly stroll through the show, but I can't help stopping to chat with folks. I talked with several very nice people including a few vendors from Wisconsin and 2 very nice young male African American teenagers who helped to design and construct the exhibit by the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. Each year this high school has a first class exhibit, equal to and even better than many of the others at the show. Hurray for the city's youth and the good work their school is doing. I also chatted with fellows from the Shedd Aquarium, the Soldiers' Grove garden center where I bought my pussy willow branches several years ago, and a woman who was as much in awe of the stained glass windows in the museum as I was. I discovered she was a quilter too when she overheard me say to Barb "Wouldn't that make a lovely quilt?" and she spoke up that she too was a quilter and had been thinking the very thing.
Here are a few pictures I took in the stained glass window museum. It was hard to eliminate all the reflected light as the whole museum fairly glowed, but I think you can get an idea of the absolute beauty of the old windows collected here and lit from behind.

It's fun to stay on the pier for lunch, too. We really enjoy a restaurant called Bubba Gump's. 
You can add shrimp to just about any dish on the menu. I had a pear and raspberry salad that is served with chicken but I requested shrimp instead. There were candied pecans and raspberry vinegrette dressing. Doesn't it look delish?? It was. And since it was Barb's birthday lunch we split a dessert. bread pudding with caramel sauce, ice cream, whipped cream, and a sprig of mint. I should have taken a photo of it too but was so eager to eat it that I didn't think of it til it was too late.

The wait staff always does a bit of Forest Gump trivia with you, and I'm happy to say Barb and I aced the questions this time, though I've only seen the film once, a long time ago. Guess Anne and I should add that to our list of movies to watch.
 My 2 day Illinois trip was a whirlwind of activity. But some of the rest will have to wait for another day. 


  1. What a lovely day Sharon! I bet you picked some inspiration from the flower farm there too. Beautiful stained glass windows and lunch with a friend. What more could you want?! Have a lovely weekend.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful trip, Sharon. So nice that you had some time with Jerome and your friend. The flower show must be a high point for you. I, too, love to stop and talk to people at events like this. So many nice people in the world and it makes a day very pleasant. The stained glass windows are exquisite and indeed would make beautiful quilt designs. And, finally, the lunch you described made me hungry! Good to see you back - have a great weekend!