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.
...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.
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.....
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.
It is the "Yuppie" typified city with many of the median income level types that are commuters to downtown Chicago, in the nice homes in the burbs. They have a good city, and it continues to grow; now at around 150,000. When I came through here, it was 20,000 in 1990.
The main old town has had a lot of old buildings torn down and what is left were converted into shops and eateries and bars. It doers attract a lot of people.
2009 dates July 24-26
Located a mere 1/2 hour away from Chicago is the small town of Whiting Indiana. Held the last full weekend of July every year, Pierogi Fest is full of fun things to see and do-the Pierogi Parade, Eastern Bloc jeopardy, ethnic dancers, not to mention tons of pierogis! Pierogi Fest has received national attention appearing on cable on both the Food Network and the Travel Channel.
In 2003, fellow Vter Dave (dlandt) and his wife Miyuki came down for the festivities and in 2004 Julie (travelmad478), Sam (sambarnett) and Katja (pedersdottir) came to Whiting for the fun filled weekend! In 2005, Sam (sambarnett) dressed up as a babushka lady and marched in the parade with me and was quite a hit with the ladies ;-) 2006 brought the dynamic duo from Windsor, Hansi (Waalewiener) and Lori (LoriPori), plus Jen (Coair13) and her son Ethan (Coair19), Hansi and Ethan were a delight as babushka ladies!
Go have a look at my Whiting page for more info and some pics.
This suburban park in Chicago is impressive. Despite its small size it is still a decent place to have family picnics, and enjoy water views plus meandering along its simple gardens. There are walking and jogging paths so it is a very pleasant place to enjoy nature without the cost and long distance travel from Chicago!
It is at : 320 Jackson Ave
Naperville, IL 60540, United States
Willowbrook Park, a unit of the Forest Preserves of DuPage County is a wonderful oasis in this urban area. The rehabilitation center houses numerous animals
For more pictures see my marsh, and rehab center.
A nice little charming village in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Long Grove is located near Illinois Route 83 and Route 53. Nice place to go if you want to get away from the wide roads, ubiquitous strip malls, and the heavy traffic of the other suburban cities and villages. Very peaceful and relaxing environment in Long Grove. Long Grove has a collection of interesting specialty shops as well as a few restaurants. Very easy to get to and parking is free.
The first McDonald's restaurant in the world (Store #1) is located in Des Plaines, about 30-40 minutes northwest of downtown Chicago (the suburb just north of O'Hare airport). It was first opened on April 15, 1955. There is a complete replica of the first store here with golden arches and signs. It is located across the street from the original site, which is now replaced by a modern McDonald's. The replica is part of the McDonald's #1 Store Museum, which has limited opening hours (a few hours daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day).
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.
I'm putting this in Off the Beaten path merely because it is not inside the city limits and it takes a little work to get to. But it is a much nicer and larger zoo than the Lincoln Park Zoo however there is an admission charge which Lincoln Park doesn't have.
Plan to spend a good portion of the day here, we spent 4 hours here today and that did not include the dolphin show, butterfly garden or any other add ons. Try to get there early in the morning when the animals are most active.
The highlight for me was the bears-there are 3 polar bears, one of which is a cub named Payton (after Walter Payton, one of the Chicago Bears football players) and two enormous brown bears and the new Wolf Habitat which has at least 5 wolves. But the rest of the zoo is also great, well laid out and as natural of a setting as they could possibly construct with lots of interactive things for the kids.
Please see my Brookfield page for more pics and information on how to get there.
Need a day away from the maddening crowds? Beverly Shores is a bedroom community for Chicago, well beyond the rush and furry of the city. Busy during the day, evening brings a quiet, solitude to the lake front. Here, you'll find small groups sitting in the sand, or splashing in the water, taking in the last hours of daylight. There will be lots of people along the beach, but plenty of space away from each other to relax and watch the sunset. This is a great sunset beach. On the right nights, you'll watch the sun set through the towers of downtown Chicago, over 20 miles (32 k) away, across the water.
Visit my Beverly Shores page for details and more things to do. Historic homes, floated across the lake from the 1933 Chicago Worlds Fair, restored wetlands, historic Lustron homes, and much more.
The Arboretum is a wonderful place, and I've only been there in early spring. Only a few of the spring wildflowers were making a show, trees were still bear. But a walk in the woods, a stroll around the lake, all were wonderful. The variety of life (plant life) is great. See my Lisle page, and my Morton Arboretum, Woods - east side and Labrynth - west side