"...close your eyes and tap your heels together three times
and think to yourself: there's no place like home."
- Glenda, the Good Witch of the North
In July, Mr. G and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary by renewing our vows in our beloved Gold Coast, surrounded by our family, closest friends and Coco. Our dear friends, Matt and Neal surprised us with a very generous gift: a night of our choice at the stunning Langham Hotel Chicago. We decided to 'open' our gift on the gorgeous September night we attended another dear friend's wedding. Two days and one night, in one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world. Romance was the theme. Definitely a Postcard to Paris...
Chicago Pedi-Cab - tell Alex we sent you.
Alex (proprietor and head driver) pedaled right up to the Langham's front doors.
Mr. G was so surprised ;-}
Several years ago, my family and I had a most excellent adventure: a sunset Tuk Tuk ride to our apartment through the streets of Paris. It was so amazing, Mr. G and I reserved another the next night, rein que nos deus - si romantique! Ever since, wherever we travel, I look for a Tuk Tuk tour, to no avail. It took several years for them to make it to the States, but I found, and we took, a Tuk Tuk tour while we were in Nashville in July (fabulous!). I found one in Chicago and secretly arranged a Tuk Tuk tour to kickoff our weekend.
Alex took us on a leisurely 2 hour Tuk Tuk tour.
Another anniversary gift was our favorite brand of champagne.
It was decadently romantic to cuddle, kiss and sip bubbly while we glided along.
"Yellow is the color of sun rays." - Soul II Soul
We began at Division Steet (past all the posh bars and restaurants), turned at Rush Street and goggled at all the beautiful vintage apartment buildings and Brownstones in the Astor Street District. Crossed the inner drive, pedaled through a tunnel beneath Lake Shore Drive to North Avenue Beach, with Lake Michigan a few steps beyond - and that's when things really got interesting!
The Association of Volleyball Professionals Championships at Oak Street Beach.
Bustling biking, walking and running paths along the former S Curve.
Love is in the air...
Adjacent to Ohio Street Beach, at the water's edge sits Cafe Oliva - uncannily resembling the French Riviera.
Just beyond that is Milton Lee Olive Park - a favorite photo-op for newlyweds.
But the coolest thing of the day were the Flyboard Hoverboards!
Lunch in a cafe at the Buckingham Fountain,
then back to the Langham.
At the hotel's front doors, Alex handed me a Sharpie and invited me to graffiti our seat.
Peter had a wonderful time, loved his surprise. We didn't want it to end but we had a wedding to go to!
Our 2 room suite at the Langham was too amazing for words!
The staff spoiled us silly - sent up a bottle of champagne and had their private car whisk us to and from the wedding - tra la!
A beautiful Mongolian-Greek-American wedding - c'était magnifique.
Ceremony and dinner in a private room at the 95th
The bride was STUNNING!
Elvis serenaded the bride and groom and their guests -
we danced the night away; Chicago's breathtaking skyline was our backdrop.
Wedding prop photo-op!
"Then I look at you and the world's alright with me.
Just one look at you and I know it's gonna be a lovely day."
- Bill Withers
Mimosas and breakfast in bed while watching sailboats and water tours
meander up and down the Chicago River, on their way to and from Lake Michigan.
A few minutes to pack and check out, followed by a leisurely champagne lunch at the uber-urban cool Travelle Kitchen and Bar.
"I stumbled on this photograph...it took me way back. Back down memory lane." - Minnie Riperton
Chicago is our hometown and although we live only 37 miles outside the heart of the city, our family life doesn't allow us to visit as often as we'd like. As planned, most of our Tuk Tuk tour took Mr. G and I through our childhood neighborhoods and twenty/thirty-something haunts - back down memory lane. It was sweetly surreal, visiting our old stomping grounds - different in so many ways (change/progress), yet all of it felt, was, the same: amazing architecture - sky scrapping concrete canyons; narrow tree lined streets, dotted with brownstones and Rockefeller apartment buildings; trendy hotspots, traditional restaurants, dive blues bars, snazzy jazz cafes, seedy pizza joints - proudly standing side by side; sprinkled with distinct ethnic mini-communities/neighborhoods, populated with: socialites wearing Prada, J.Crew wearing Yuppies and Buppies, hedge funders in Polo shirts, plumbers and elementary school teachers (wearing all of the above). One can one can seamlessly move, from one to the next, because the lines of demarcation are literally block by block. Though I haven't lived in it for so long, all of it: the scents, color, and sounds (every single inch and moment) was still mine; still felt like...home. Thomas Wolf is famously known for the sentiment "You Can't Go Home Again." When it comes to Chicago, he was damn wrong. I'm feeling Glenda the Good Witch of the North : There's No Place Like Home.
Vivre! Rire! Aimer!