Suburban delights, Chicago
Today, August 12, 2005, Allan and I visited Berwyn, Illinois for the first time. We went there to check out a neighborhood and house that a friend of ours just purchased.
We had such a good time just walking around the neighborhoods and visiting the southern part of the city. After all that walking, we decided to eat lunch and make it our meal of the day.
We did not know anything about the restaurants in the area, so we asked a gentleman that we met on the sidewalk. He suggested Arnie Salerno's Restaurant & Pizzeria We took him up on it, and decided to give it a try. It's the NEW Arnie Salerno's Restaurant, and Arnie is one of the original owners and founder of Salerno's Restaurant. It was first opened in 1966.
Salerno's is a typical southern Italian restaurant that uses lots of red sauce and serves large portions. It is a great place inside with a large bar, TV's for sport's fans, and a smoking and non-smoking area.
The menu includes specialties of the house, Veal dishes, Ribs, Seafood, Chicken dishes, Sandwiches, and Pizza.
Allan ordered the Chicken Cacciatore and was quite pleased. It was a huge order; thus, he brought home 1/2 of it. I ordered Baked Mostaccioli and asked for a smaller order. I was not too pleased. It was unlike any other baked Mostaccioli I've ever had. We both ordered the house salad, which was quite good because of the delicious Italian dressing [homemade].
If I ever go again, I'll probably try the pizza. It's supposed to be good.
We then went to the next town, Oak Park, which we both really loved.
Open Monday through Thursday from ten until eleven at night.
Friday and Saturday ten to midnight.
Sunday from Noon to ten at night.
About an hour or so north of the city, there is a town called Gurnee. As you head towards Great America theme park, you will be able to take your furry friend for a romp! This park is huge, but very easy to miss the entrance. It has a huge lake that the dogs can go swimming in, and hiking trails the wrap around and through the park. It is a great way to let your pooch get some exercise and you some stretchin of the legs and fresh air.
It is run by the county, and if you don't live in it, you need to pay about $5 for the day. Or you can buy a pass from the office. It is just about 100 yards down from the park on Milwaukee Rd.
Lake Forest is located about 30 miles north of Chicago. Picture shows Market Square, one of the first planned suburban shopping centers in the United States. The best way to expirience Lake Forest is to drive on Sheridan Road. Along the route are many beautiful homes on cpacious, landscaped grounds.
Nice small town about 14 miles north of Chicago. Originallly known as Ridgeville its changed its name in 1857 to honor John Evans, on of the Northwestern university founders. Beautiful beaches, cosy restaurants, lighthouse and Mitchell Museum of the American Indian.
The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, just a 35-minute (non-rush hour) drive from downtown Chicago, west on 88, is an oasis of calm. Its many acres are devoted to preserving species of trees and other plants and offer the visitor an opportunity to explore not only the plants of the Illinois region but other areas of the world as well.
Beautiful in any season, you have the opportunity to follow well-organized hikes through the diverse areas of the preserve (I particularly love the Prairie Walk on the West Side), or, if you're less ambitious or have difficulty walking, you can still enjoy the wonders of nature by driving your own car on a number of routes (or leave the driving to the tram operator).
The Italian influence is felt in pockets all over the city. Visual reminders of la bella Italia are especially prominent in the northern suburb of Niles.
Here is a local replica of Pisa's best known structure. It is on view daily at 6250 Touhy Avenue (between Caldwell and Lehigh) directly in front of the Leaning Tower YMCA. A brass plate to the right of the entrance compares the history and dimensions of Pisa's Bell Tower with the Niles version, which is actually a 'disguised' water tower. The nicely landscaped piazza and reflecting pools make the Tower a nice spot for a picnic or a coffee break.
To reach it from the city, drive north on I-94 Edens Expressway. Exit at westbound Touhy and continue west approx. 2 miles.
Evanston is a lovely Victorian-on-the -waterfront community with miles of lakefront paths and parks.
Just west of the water a new downtown of glass and neo-prairie style highrise apartments puts a fresh twist on what Frank Lloyd Wright began in Oak Park.
North of NWU main campus is the last remaining lighthouse in these parts. A few blocks further north the unfolding lotus-blossom of the Bahai Temple and the beauty of its gardens will transport you. Is it any surprise that locals refer to this town as HEAVENSTON?
Come for a virtual stroll and window shop on my Evanston page.....
...in fact it's in another State!
Visitors with a vehicle and more than just a day or two on their hands might consider taking a day trip from Chicago to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, approx. 90 minutes north of the city via the I-94 (west on WI Hgwy 50).
The town grew up as a refuge for Chicago's elite after the Great Fire. Today it is still the resort of choice for families like the Wrigley's of chewing gum fame. "Summer cottage" is not quite the word for these Victorian palaces-with-a-view. Circle the lake and view the homes waterside from the deck of a mailboat. In summer there are several daily runs from the downtown pier. Hike or drive along the Rustic Road that wends up through the hills just west of the town. It's at its most colorful in autumn, but charming bed and breakfasts welcome visitors year-round.
Never been to Pisa? Don't worry, there's a replica Leaning Tower (about 3/4 the size of the real one) just off of Touhy. Needless to say, this one isn't totally jammed with tourists and you can get a good Italian Beef across the street for chunk change. Technically, its outside the city limits, but only about 20 meters or so. Its roughly at Touhy and Caldwell, a little bit east of the intersection, you'll see it. The tower was erected as a monument to science.
Northwestern University is located on the north side of Chicago in Evanston. It is considered one of the best universities in the United States. The campus is located right next to Lake Michigan. The campus is very beautiful. Metra and CTA stations are nearby as well as some stores and shopping opportunities in Evanston.
The great amusement park with plenty of rollercoasters and thill rides. It's great fun and one day is not enough if you like it (but I'm sure you do).
It's located in Gurnee,midway between Chicago and Milwaukee.
To see more check out Six Flags travelogue.
Brookfield Zoo was nice and small. Could cover it easy in a day. All the animals that require warmth are put up if its Fall or Winter. So I missed some of them. Will download pictures when I find them.
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Click above link to Batavia, IL/USA page for details.
We like to visit zoos [I know it's not very fashionable] and some are really horrible [see London Zoo] and bears should definitely not be in them. I recommend a trip to Brookfield Zoo which is c. 40 minutes by train to the south-east of Chicago. We caught a train from Union Station [worth a visit in itself] at 1030 hrs, arr 1100. Tickets for two cost US$5.50 one way. Tickets are inspected. UK visitors the train is a double decker so the custom is to leave your tickets in the clips on the walk way. Get off at Hollywood halt [can't call it a station]. Stay on this side of tracks and walk to the zoo [it's near the High School]. Be warned it's not well sign-posted. If you come back by train give yourself plenty of time because you'll have to cross the tracks to getr the train back and if there's one of those goods trains [must be a mile long at least] coming the other way then you might miss your train. Zoo costs US$ 7 per person. Best animals the rhino and the hippos. Star attraction is a playful walrus who you see swimming underwater through a glass panel. Plenty of food outlets.
There's a small prairie reserve just off Lake Cook Road where Route 53 ends. I was here in the summers and never found more than a couple of people on the track around the reserve. Very peaceful and quiet.