Category Archives: Chicago

Loire Valley Wine Tasting in Chicago at the W Hotel on Lake Shore Drive

French red wine from the Loire Valley region o...

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What a great day for the Loire Valley French Wine Tasting on the 33rd floor of W Hotel on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. It was definitely a Vino con Vista opportunity with plenty of French wine and wine-makers. The central part of the  Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire in France was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List  in  2000.

 

The Loire is the longest river in France and it is characterized by elegant historic chateaux and 300 miles of distinctive terroir that supports numerous vineyards along the river banks. This region is the leading producer of white French wines. The region is cloaked  with lovely vineyards and microclimates that produce distinctive varietals and wine styles. It is one of the most diverse wine regions in France with 69 appelations that include red, white, elegant sparkling wines and refreshing rose wines. There are distinct climates and a variety of soil types that divide the Loire Valley into 5 distinct regions.

The first vines were probably planted during Roman occupation 2000 years ago. Afterwards, the Augustinian and Benedictine Brothers enhanced the wine-making practices in this region.

I tasted some interesting Rose wines and plenty of earthy 100% Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc is one of the world’s major red grape varieties and was introduced to the region in the 11th century. It  is frequently blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to produce a Bordeaux style wine. In the Loire region, it is  not blended with other grapes so it is lighter in color than Bordeaux blends. It is used in the development of Chinon and certain roses in the Touraine appelation.

Today I spoke to Philippe Porche, a charming wine-maker from the Saumur-Champigny region in Parnay located on the south bank of the Loire River decreed an AOC in 1957.  Cabernet Franc is the predominant grape in the area.  He and his viticulturist wife founded the estate in 2005 and produce some interesting Cabernet Franc wines. I favored the garnet-colored full-bodied and velvety  “Le Fou du Roi” that was aged in oak.  This lovely couple is looking for an importer @ www.domainederocheville.fr. Feel free to contact them if you are interested in importing  luscious wines from this region. Tell them that Vino con Vista sent you.

There is a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan, Navy Pier and Chicago’s Landmark high rises from the former “Pinnacle Room” of the hotel where I spent my Senior Prom.Chicago Illinois It’s always exciting to re-live your youth.

Chicago Architecture

Domaine de Roche Ville Winery

Lake Michigan

It was such a beautiful spring day that I decided to stroll down Ontario Street heading westbound after the wine-tasting. I longingly gazed at the wide array of restaurants on Ontario Street that I patronize. They run the gamut from divine to sublime. Here’s a sampling of my “Chicago Foodie Nation” favorites:

Les Nomades is an outstanding French Restaurant that offers a Prix Fixe menu of four courses for $115 in a swanky turn-of-the-century brownstones mansion on Ontario Street. It is the perfect place to enjoy French cuisine after a Loire Valley wine-tasting event at the W Hotel down the street.

Chicago Restaurants

Chicago French Restaurants

Another one of my favorites is the Capital Grille Steakhouse where I can’t stop eating the crunchy potato chips at the bar. I love the grilled salmon served over a bed of  veggies with a side of creamed spinach. They have an extensive wine list and have won numerous awards for their outstanding burgers!

Chicago RestaurantsOntario and St. Clair in Chicago

Capital Grille ChicagoChicago Restaurants

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Italian Restaurants in Chicago

Chicago Italian Restaurants

Across the street from the Capital Grille, I enjoy dining on the outdoor patio of the Coco Pazzo Cafe when the weather is nice. They have an outstanding lunch menu and recently won an award from the Italian government for their “Authentic” Italian cuisine. Quartino was another “Authentic” Italian-award winning restaurant. I took cooking lessons with the chef and he taught me to add some water from the pasta to my sauce–what a novel idea!! The Red Head Piano Bar is another one of my favorites night spots. They have great wine-tasintg events.

Authentic Italian Restaurants in ChicagoRestaurants in Chicago

There are plenty of famous classic Chicago  “Steak-Houses” on Ontario. Lawry’s serves an incredible Prime Rib and I love the “Aged Filet Mignon” and mushrooms at David Burke’s Primehouse in the James Hotel. The Chicago Chop House has a wide array of delicious “sizzlin steaks.”

You will never be hungry or thirsty on Ontairo Street in Chicago. This city is a haven for Foodies!

Chicago is a Haven for Foodies

Chicago Steak HouseDavid Burke's Primehouse

Stop in at the the Hard Rock Cafe if you’re up for some live music. There are also some landmark fast food joints on Ontario including “Rock and Roll” McDonalds with a Rock and Roll Museum filled with memorabilia that my guitar-playing son adores.

Portillo’s has a great Italian Beef sandwich and classic Chicago hot dog and the drive-thru is always packed. Make sure you try the decadent chocolate cake . Chicago DestinationsM Burger is another fast food option that people are raving about.

Chicago Hot Dogs and Beef Sandwiches

Burgers in Chicago

Plan a trip to the Loire Valley and explore some of the majestic castles with spectacular medieval architecture: Chambord, Cheverny, Villandry and Chenonceau.

 

1. Villandry was built by the same man that designed much of Chambord (François I Finance Minister Jean Le Breton). Villandry is actually most renowned for what is outside of the castle. However, while Chambord remains Le Breton’s main achievement in construction, it is Villandry where he used all of the Renaissance gardening tricks he had picked up while working as an ambassador in Italy. The castle remained in the Le Breton family until the early 20th century, when it was purchased by Joachim Carvallo, who spent a whole of time, money and devotion to rebuilding, expanding and repairing the beautiful gardens. Today the gardens at Villandry are considered one of the best examples of Renaissance style gardens in the world and boasts a water garden, flower gardens and vegetable gardens laid out in formal patterns created with low box hedges—making it a must-see on any castle tour of the Loire.

2. Chambord is one of France’s most recognizable castles known for its distinct French Renaissance architecture, which blends late French Gothic and newer Italian Renaissance motifs. Chambord is also the largest castle in the Loire. Chambord was first built by King Francois I as a hunting lodge (I know you picture a hunting lodge as being more of a log cabin than a magnificent model of French Renaissance architecture, but it was a KING’S hunting lodge, after all).  Chambord has 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces and 84 staircases. It is most known for its façade, which through more than 800 sculpted columns was designed to look like the skyline of Constantinople, with 11 kinds of different towers and different types of chimneys. Chambord also has a double-helix staircase that serves as the centerpiece to the castle and was rumored to have been designed (or inspired) by Leonardo da Vinci during his time at nearby Clos de Luce.

4. Chenonceau is one of my favorite castles in the Loire Valley. Chennonceau was built in 1513 by Catherine Briçonnet and later embellished by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici, the Chateau de Chenonceau contains exquisite interiors and has idyllic gardens that look over River Cher.

Originally a small castle along the banks of the River Cher, the castle got its current design in the 16th century when it was seized by the crown for unpaid debts. In 1547, King Henri II offered the castle to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. and she had Chenonceau’s  arched bridge built. It spans the river. She is also responsible for the gorgeous flower and vegetable gardens set in buttressed stone terraces.

Upon King Henri II’s death in 1559, his clearly bitter widow and regent Catherine de Medici had Poitiers expelled from the castle and she moved into the scenic spot herself, adding even more extensive gardens. Since then the castle was privately owned for years and even used as a make-shift hospital for soldiers during WWII; its gallery bridge’s southern door provided access to the unoccupied Free Zone while the castle’s main entrance was in the Nazi occupied zone. Chenonceau today is one of the most visited and popular of the Loire castles and its Renaissance architecture and well-lit gallery and beautiful gardens.

5. Amboise is perched up on a strategic point along the Loire River and was originally built as a fort. In 1434, the castle was seized by King Charles VII after its owner (from which the castle got its name), Louis Amboise, was convicted and killed for supposedly plotting against the King. In the 15th century that the castle was lavishly rebuilt and added onto, starting with its late French Gothic architecture, until Italian builders were brought in and the castle’s style changed to Renaissance.While the castle became a favorite retreat for many French Kings (King François I was raised primarily at the castle), Amboise’s most famous guest was Leonardo da Vinci, who came to the castle in 1515 as a guest of the King and stayed in nearby Clos de Luce. What is most notable about Amboise, however, is known for its unique blend of Gothic and Renaissance architecture and large formal garden.

6. Blois was always a favorite getaway town for French kings; the castle in this quaint little Loire town is best known as the birthplace of King Louis XII as well as the primary residence for Henri IV’s exiled wife Marie de Medici, and later for the Duke of Orléans (brother of Louis XIII and uncle of Louis XIV). However, the castle has a long and prominent history and its Renaissance architecture and picturesque spot along the banks of the Loire make it a definite worthwhile stop on your Loire castle tour. In fact, the castle was the main resort for the French court during the 16th century and was also the location for the famed States General meetings held by Henri III in 1576 and 1588, where several prominent nobles were sentenced to death. The castle also plays a role in the famous Three Musketeers series by Alexandre Dumas as an important retreat for some of France’s most famous and powerful kings.

7. Cheverny was also given to Diane de Poitiers by her lover, King Henri II. Chenonceau was her favorite and primary residence. Poitiers sold Château de Cheverny to the former owner’s son who had originally built the castle between 1624 and 1630. The castle passed between owners until 1914, when the owner made it the first castle to be opened to the public; the family still owns and operates the castle to this day. The castle is renowned for its beautiful interiors and collection of furniture, tapestries and rare objects d’art. There is also a pack of about 70 dogs that are kept on the grounds and taken out for hunts twice weekly.

 

8. Clos Lucé is not really a  “Château de la Loire”; it is a large mansion located just 500 meters from  the Château d’Amboise by way of an underground passageway and is notable mostly for its most famous resident, Leonardo da Vinci. In 1515, King François I invited the Italian painter and inventor to Amboise and offered him the manor to use as a home and studio. When Da Vinci arrived in 1516 he came with three paintings, including the famed Mona Lisa, and lived in the mansion for the last three years of his life. Visitors to Amboise should not hesitate to hop on over to Clos Lucé, where you can peruse a museum that includes forty models of various machines designed by Leonardo.

9. Langeais is a perfect example of Medieval French architecture. It is located near the Brittany frontier and had a significant role in the battle between the French and English. The structure dates back to the 10th century and was built on a cliff which offered a strategic location overlooking the Loire River. The castle was actually fortified and expanded under the rule of Richard I of England (when English kings ruled this region of France) until King Philippe II of France recaptured the castle in 1206. The castle was also where Anne of Brittany and King Charles VIII wed, thus uniting France and Brittany. Today, the dark and ominous looking castle is replete with a great collection of Medieval tapestries.

Château de Langeais

 

 

Destinations in Chicago

@ www.vino-con-vista.com.

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
 

Happy Spring!!

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Chicago Flower and Garden Show 2017 at Navy Pier

English: A view of Navy Pier from the shorelin...

Image via Wikipedia

The Chicago Flower & Garden Show can be traced back as far as 1847. Originally, it was a flower and fruit exposition presented by the Chicago Horticultural Society (CHS). Back then, gardeners where looking for horticulture tips and techniques.

About the Show
Date, Location & Times:
March 18 – 26, 2017 | Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave. | Chicago, IL 60611

Sunday-Wednesday 10AM-6PM Thursday-Saturday 10AM-8PM

You can enroll in a Potting Party

Daily, 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m.
$20 fee per session. Register on-site at the How-to Garden—classes fill quickly!

“Time to roll up your sleeves and get gardening! A beloved tradition of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, Potting Parties combine color and creativity into a fun activity that everyone can enjoy. Create your own mixed container of plants with the help of Official Potting Parties Instructor Keith Davis! Keith will share how you can create your own spectacular, take-home compositions. Each participant receives a take-home apron courtesy of Subaru.”

Adult Anytime
17.00 USD

$17.00


One-Day Pass
Thursday-Sunday Access


Discounted tickets
8/1/16 – 8/31/16: $14
9/1/16 – 12/31/16: $16
1/1/17 – 3/17/17: $17
3/18/17 – 3/26/17: $19

Book Now

Adult Weekday
15.00 USD

$15.00


One-Day Pass
Monday-Friday Access


Discounted tickets
8/1/16 – 8/31/16: $12
9/1/16 – 12/31/16: $14
1/1/17 – 3/17/17: $15
3/18/17 – 3/26/17: $17

Book Now

Spring
Fling
Free

$10.00


Adult Evening Pass
March 23-25, 5-8 pm


 
Available Online
and at the
Navy Pier Box Office
 

Book Now

Child
Anytime
5.00 USD

$5.00


Valid for Ages 4-12
One-Day Pass


 
Available Online
and at the
Navy Pier

“On June 16, 1847, the CHS held its first Exhibition of Fruits and Flowers, where it showcased ornamental plants and displays of prized fruits and flowers. The exposition was a surprise hit. Enthusiastically received by both tradesmen and the general public, the success of this event established the growing role of horticulture in the city’s footprint—a role that continues to flourish to this day.” (website)

 

The event is held at the Festival Halls in Navy Pier. Attendees can walk through life-sized gardens, participate in DIY workshops, learn from educational seminars, enjoy garden-to-table cooking presentations and more.

 

WHERE: Navy Pier in Chicago

http://chicagoflower.com/charity-event/

“Evening in Bloom” is a Preview Benefit at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show. It will provide an exclusive first look at “Hort Couture,” the theme for the Chicago Flower & Garden Show.  

In the past, models were strolling around wearing innovative designs creations by local young designers from the Chicago Fashion Incubator.

Evening in Bloom at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, Friday, March 17, 2017.  Our Charity Preview Benefit is reinventing itself as part of the 2017 Show theme “CHICAGO’S BLOOMING” – with new experiences aligning flowers, food and fashion.

An experience like no other… Upwards of 1,000 VIP attendees will behold the Midwest’s iconic Chicago Flower & Garden Show in all its grandeur the evening before it opens to the public. Guests will also be treated to extraordinary culinary presentations in collaboration with Pilot Light and the Illinois Restaurant Association Education Foundation and a special fashion show presentation of FLEUROTICA, with Honorary Chairs Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ms. Amy Rule, in collaboration with the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance.

Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance

“The Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the largest and most stunning conservatories in the nation. Often referred to as “landscape art under glass,” the conservatory occupies approximately two acres inside, where thousands of plant species are on display throughout eight rooms in this magnificent facility. Travel through the conservatory and experience the lush flora and tropical temperatures taking you away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago. Don’t forget to visit the 12 acres of stunning outdoor gardens during the summer!

Although the Garfield Park Conservatory was first built in 1908, the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance did not form until nearly a century later, in 1998, when a winter storm nearly shut the facility down.  Formed by a group of people in the Garfield Park community, the Alliance is a non-profit organization that works closely with the Chicago Park District to provide educational programming, events and resources to Conservatory visitors.

The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance changes lives through the power of nature. We inspire, educate and provoke exploration through innovative programs and experiences in one of the nation’s largest and finest historic conservatories.”

 

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

 

The Preview Event will benefit these organizations:

When ordering your tickets you may specify the charity of your choice, or split proceeds between both.

 

Chicago Gateway Green

Chicago Gateway Green was founded in 1986 on the belief that beauty and sustainability go hand in hand.  Since then, Chicago Gateway Green and its partners have helped to improve both the local environment and the quality of life for millions of Chicagoland residents and visitors.

A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Chicago Gateway Green improves Chicago’s communities through three key programs: the Expressway Partnership, transforming city roadways into landscaped parkways; the International Sculpture Program, beautifying gateways through the installation of public, international art on expressways; and the Tree Partnership Program, a large-scale tree planting initiative that transforms vacant land into tree-filled green spaces.

 

 

Friends of the Parks

Friends of the Parks (FOTP) is a 501(c)(3) designated park advocacy organization, dedicated to preserving, protecting, and improving Chicago’s parks and forest preserves for all citizens. Since 1975, FOTP has increase private and public commitment to Chicago’s parks through establishing park advisory councils, developing new parks, renovating play lots, and presenting public workshops and lectures to create and informed citizenry.  Our mission is to preserve, protect, improve and promote the use of Chicago parks, forest preserves and recreational areas for the benefit of all neighborhoods and citizens.

 

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The 62nd St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2017 in Chicago

This is a photograph of the Chicago River dyed...

Image via Wikipedia

Fluorescein in the Chicago River on the St. Pa...

Fluorescein in the Chicago River on the St. Patrick’s Day (added for celebration, rather than tracing). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michigan Avenue Bridge across the Chicago Rive...

Michigan Avenue Bridge across the Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chicago River and Michigan Avenue bridge by ni...

Chicago River and Michigan Avenue bridge by night. On the right the new Trump Hotel towers the river, to the left the two level Wacker Drive can be seen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a photograph of the Chicago River dyed...

This is a photograph of the Chicago River dyed green for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. On the left is Wacker Drive, where it changes from three to two levels. Crossing the river is Michigan Avenue’s double-decker bridge. This picture was taken from the Columbus Drive bridge. The view faces west. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Chicago river dyed green on St. Patri...

English: Chicago river dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day, looking east from Michigan Avenue bridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick‘s Day. Saint Patrick’s Day has been observed for more than 1000 years. It is observed on March 17th, the date of Patrick’s death. He is generally recognized as the patron saint of Ireland. Legend credits St. Patrick with banishing snakes from the island and chasing them into the sea.

Chicago River is dyed Green for Saint Patrick’s Day

For a city that has been run by the Daley Dynasty for most of my lifetime, you have to understand the importance of the Parade to the residents of Chicago. It is so important, that we have two annual St. Patrick’s Day parades in Chicago.

http://www.chicagostpatsparade.com/

The Parade always occurs on a Saturday. If St. Patrick’s Day does not fall on a Saturday, the Parade is held the Saturday before. The Parade was held on, Saturday, March 11th 2017. The Parade always steps off at noon.

The parade starts at Balbo and Columbus. The parade units will proceed north on Columbus Drive and the viewing stand will be located in front of Buckingham Fountain.

Dyeing the Chicago River is scheduled for 9:15 am. the dyeing can be best viewed from the East side of the Michigan Avenue bridge, the West side of the Columbus Drive bridge or upper and lower Wacker Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.

Everyone wears green. We even dye the river green, our fountains spew green water and we drink green beer.

Chicago’s Green Fountain for St. Patrick’s Day

We always crown a queen.  The St. Patrick’s Day Queen and her Court ride a majestic float the day of the parade.

This interesting tradition of  “the dyeing of the Chicago River a nearly radioactive looking Kelly green” has been around for 56 years. Here’s what happened:

“A couple of plumbers discovered the orange dye they used to detect leaks and illegal discharges of sewage into the Chicago River turned the water that Irish Kelly Green. They told the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local 110 business manager Stephen Bailey, who then asked around and ultimately received permission to try and dye the river green.” Today, the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 dyes the river.

“The Plumbers Local union is charged with dyeing the river green every year. They first used 100 pounds of the vegetable dye, which kept the river green for about a week. Today, 40 pounds of vegetable dye is mixed into the river using motorboats, which is enough to keep the river a Shamrock green for about four-to-five hours, after which the river reverts back to its murky, polluted green.”

The best place to view the green river spectacle is from the east side of the Michigan Avenue bridge, the West side of the Columbus Drive bridge or upper and lower Wacker Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. When the river flows Kelly green, it’s time to start the parade.

 

WHERE: Columbus Drive from Balboa to Monroe

Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade

The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a spectacular event attended by thousands of people and features a colorful array of floats. The parade proceeds north on Columbus Drive and ends up in front of Buckingham Fountain where the viewing stand awaits.  Everyone is encouraged to wear green to engender the luck of the Irish.

There’s plenty of parties at local bars after the parade. Here are some other interesting events that you may want to attend:

Forever Green Celebration with Young Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago

Forever Green is the largest St. Patrick’s Day party in Chicago and celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2015! Join the fun with live bands, a silent auction, bagpipers, Irish dancers, a fiddle-off, and appearances by the Chicago Rose of Tralee, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Queen, and South Side Irish Parade Queen. Ages 21 and up only

Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840

  • Location: Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan Ave.)
  • Tickets: Included in museum admission (from $14-23, children 14 and under free)
One of Chicago’s premier cultural institutions, the Art Institute of Chicago will kick off its newest exhibition “Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840” with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on St. Patrick’s Day including a bagpiper!

Everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day in Chicago

About a  week after the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the city will host the Chicago’s Shamrock Shuffle. This 8K race  kicks off the city’s running and racing season.

This is a photograph of the Chicago River dyed...

This is a photograph of the Chicago River dyed green for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. On the left is Wacker Drive, where it changes from three to two levels. Crossing the river is Michigan Avenue’s double-decker bridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE 2007 - DUBLIN- Lord M...

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A Bust for Charlie Trotter Charity Event April 3rd 2017 in Chicago

If you wanted to dine at one of Chicago’s top restaurants, you made reservations at Charlie Trotter’s

which closed on August 17, 2012.

Attend the fundraiser in Chicago and buy tickets at: www.abustforCharlie.com

Monday April 3rd 2017

The 2017 Charlie Trotter

Food & Wine Spring Festival!

http://cyranosfarmkitchen.wixsite.com/abustforcharlie

A Bust for Charlie

Don’t miss the best part of the evening, when Sculptor Virginio Ferrari unveils the magnificent masterpiece:

Life-Size Bronze Statue of Charlie

Galleria Marchetti

825 W Erie St, Chicago, IL 60642, USA
Monday, April 3rd, 2017
5:30 pm –  9:30 pm
SCULPTOR VIRGINIO FERRARI BIOGRAPHY:
“VIRGINIO L. FERRARI (b.1937) is an internationally acclaimed contemporary sculptor, who has exhibited his work in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and throughout the United States. Ferrari’s monumental sculptures can be found on street corners and public parks, at universities and libraries, corporations and in private collections in Chicago, and all over the world. “
Charlie Trotter's poularde dish

Charlie Trotter’s poularde dish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s my Video Tribute to Charlie Trotter: http://youtu.be/KaXHBY9CU9g.

His iconic Michelin-starred restaurant received James Beard Foundation Awards.

Charlie Trotter opened Charlie Trotter’s (Chicago) in 1987 with his father, Bob Trotter as his partner. The restaurant has been open for almost 25 years.

Charlie went to the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Political Science. After graduating from college, he traveled around the U.S. and Europe to dine at only the finest restaurants.

University of Wisconsin–Madison

University of Wisconsin–Madison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The figure who most impressed  Charlie during his culinary development was Fernand Point (of the famed Ma Gastronomie). Trotter never went to culinary school. His first cooking job was at Sinclair’s on the North Shore. He was a cook there and worked under Norman Van Aken and Carrie Nahabedian.

Chef Trotter established the Charlie Trotter Culinary Education foundation. This foundation supplies scholarships to students entering culinary programs. He also spearheaded the Excellence Program which allows high school students to come in and experience the cuisine of the restaurant.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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Halloween Happenings at Chicago’s Glessner House Museum Historic Prairie Avenue

The John J. Glessner House by Henry Hobson Ric...

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Prairie Avenue has always been influential in Chicago’s History with grand mansions and influential residents. During the late 19th century, Chicago’s most prestigious residential street was Prairie Avenue.

William W. Kimball Home on Chicago's Prairie District

William W. Kimball Home on Chicago’s Prairie Street Historic District

Prairie Avenue is located in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. The Prairie Avenue District is a Chicago Landmark district and was added to the National Register of Historic Places. During the Columbian Exposition, Prairie Street was considered a “Must See” destination. I love the chateaux style residence at 1802 S. Prairie, formerly owned by the owner of the Kimball Piano and Organ Company. It was designed by the architect Solon S. Beman. Today, it serves as the headquarters for the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Halloween Happenings:

Tour:  Shadows on the Street – Haunted Tours of Historic Prairie Avenue

Friday October 30 and Saturday October 31, 2015

Tours at 7:00 and 8:15pm

Tours begin at the Glessner House Museum Vistors Center

$10 per person / $8 for members

Pre-paid reservations suggested to 312.326.1480

Tales of strange sounds, unexplained sightings, and untimely endings as you explore Prairie Avenue after dark!

Performance:  29th Annual Edgar Allan Poe Readings

Saturday October 31, 2015

Readings at 5:00 and 8:00pm

Clarke House Museum, 1827 S. Indiana Avenue

$25 per person / $22 for members

Pre-paid reservations required to 312.326.1480

Squirm in your seat as actors from Lifeline Theatre present staged readings of Poe’s terrifying stories and poetry.  A holiday favorite now in its 29th year!

Another one of my favorites is the brown sandstone Joseph G. Coleman House by the architects Cobb & Frost at 1811 S. Prairie.

Joseph G. Coleman House at 1811 S. Prairie in Chicago

Joseph G. Coleman House at 1811 S. Prairie in Chicago

Several of  Chicago’s most notable families and  important historical figures have lived in the South Loop Prairie Avenue District. Today the street is full of new construction that blends into the style of the existing historic landmarks.

Empire style Elbridge G. Keith House at 1900 S. Prairie

Empire style Elbridge G. Keith House at 1900 S. Prairie

Many wealthy Chicago “Movers and Shakers” moved to Prairie Street after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Some of the prominent families that lived here included: the Pullmans, the Fields, the Armours and the Kimballs. When Philip Armour joined Field and Pullman on Prairie Street in 1875, Chicago’s three wealthiest citizens lived within a four block stretch of this historic neighborhood. These prominent Chicago legends influenced the  political history, the architecture, the culture, the economy, as well as the law and government of Chicago. Prairie Street lost some of its luster as the neighborhood became more industrialized and the demographics of Chicago changed over time. The Gold Coast and the North Shore became the more desirable areas for Chicago’s wealthy residents.

Although most of the houses have been demolished, you can still tour the 17,000 square foot Glessner House at 1800 S. Prairie.  It was designed in 1885-1886 by Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson and completed in late 1887. The granite fortress-like exterior conceals a large central courtyard.

Original Front Door of the Glessner House on Prairie Avenue in Chicago

Original Front Door of the Glessner House on Prairie Avenue in Chicago

The property was designated a Chicago Landmark on October 14, 1970. The site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on April 17, 1970 and as a National Historic Landmark on January 7, 1976. It’s possible to have a wedding at this historic residence in the lovely courtyard.

The Glessner House Courtyard on Prairie Avenue

The Glessner House Courtyard on Prairie Avenue

Many newlyweds like to have their pictures taken at the “G” Door. If you turn the entrance to the staircase around, it forms the letter “G”.

The G Door of the Glessner House on Prairie Avenue

The G Door of the Glessner House on Prairie Avenue

John Glessner was one of the original founders of International Harvester, which became the fourth largest corporation in the country. Glessner was appointed vice president and continued in that capacity until his death in 1936 at the age of 92.

The G Door of the Glessner House on Prairie Avenue

The G Door of the Glessner House on Prairie Avenue

When Frances and  John J. Glessner and his family needed a winter house in Chicago, Mr. Glessner decided to build a home for his family on Prairie Avenue and 18th Street. He chose one of the nation’s foremost architects, H. H. Richardson.

H. H. Richardson

H. H. Richardson note to Mr. Glessner

Henry Hobson Richardson (September 29, 1838 – April 27, 1886) was born in Louisiana and became a prominent American architect. His portrait hangs in the foyer of the Glessner House, surrounded by oak walls and a stately fireplace.

H. H. Richardson

H. H. Richardson

Richardson’s work had an impact on Boston, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Albany, and Chicago. The style that Richardson developed over time was medieval and fortress-like. His contributions are called Richardsonian Romanesque. He inspired Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.

H. H. Richardson

H. H. Richardson

Richardson studied at Harvard College and Tulane University. Initially he was interested in civil engineering, but eventually shifted to architecture. His passion led him to Paris in 1860 where he attended the famed École des Beaux Arts in the atelier of Louis-Jules André. He was the second US citizen to attend the École des Beaux Arts. Richard Morris Hunt was the first American student. The French School played an increasingly important role in training American architects. Trinity Church in Boston built in 1872, is Richardson’s most acclaimed early work. This church solidified his reputation and provided major commissions for him for the remainder of his life.

The Glessner House interior on Prairie Avenue

The Glessner House interior on Prairie Avenue

Take a guided tour of the elegant interior of the house that Richardson designed. It  was rescued from demolition in 1966. It has been lovingly restored and is furnished with many of the original “Arts and Crafts” period furniture and an extraordinary collection of pottery and decorative arts.

Glessner House restored Parlor with pottery

Glessner House restored Parlor with pottery

Glessner House pottery

Glessner House pottery

I love the elaborate tiles on the fireplaces in this house and the piano that was returned to the house from the President of Harvard University.

Glessner House restored fireplace

Glessner House restored fireplace

Glessner House original Parlor Piano

Glessner House original Parlor Piano

The Eastlake style furniture was designed by Isaac Elwood Scott. The lavish parlor of the Glessner House Museum was restored recently with generous gifts from patrons including the Bunny J. Selig Memorial fund and the Aileen Mandel Memorial Fund. The dedication ceremony was held on October 14, 2011.

Afterwards, architect and historian John H. Waters presented a lecture on the contirbutions of William Pretyman. Pretyman produced the original wallcovering in the Glessner parlor.

Glessner House restored Parlor

Glessner House restored Parlor

Glessner House restored Parlor

Glessner House restored Parlor

The Museum offers a variety of programs to the public including lectures on Chicago history and musical programs. On Thursday, November 3, 2011, the Lecture Series will cover “The Architecture of Howard Van Doren Shaw.” For more information visit www.glessnerhouse.org.

Prairie Street has been re-developed with into a vibrant neighborhood with upscale modern housing, but her landmark buildings continue to be the backbone of this historic district.

There are other historical and architectural gems in the area between South Prairie Avenue and South Indiana Avenue. These residences were built from 1870 to 1900. Many important and notable families who were residents of Prairie, influenced the evolution of Chicago. They played a prominent national and international role in Chicago’s rise to a world-class city.

Recently, developments have extended the street north to accommodate new high-rise condominiums, such as One Museum Park, along Roosevelt Road (12th Street). The redevelopment has extended the street so that it has prominent buildings bordering Grant Park with Prairie Avenue addresses.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

High rises near Chicago's Prarie District in the South Loop

High rises near Chicago’s Prarie District in the South Loop

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Halloween Happenings at The Clarke Museum on Prairie Street in Chicago

Pre-American Civil War photo of the Henry B. C...

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The Clarke House Museum in the Historic Prairie District  is the oldest surviving domestic structure in the city of Chicago. The Greek Revival Clarke House at 1827 S. Indiana St. has a colorful history. It has survived two fires and has been moved twice.

Clarke House Museum

Clarke House Museum

It was designed by an unknown architect in 1836. It is characterized by a large portico supported by tall Greek Doric columns and a pediment. The Italianate finial and cupola were added in the 1850s. It opened as a museum in 1982 with period  furnishings provided by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America. I loved the horse-hair upholstery.

Clarke House Museum Exterior

Clarke House Museum Exterior

Clarke House Museum Exterior

Clarke House Museum

Clarke House Museum Cupola

Clarke House Museum

Clarke House Museum Interior

Clarke House Museum Exterior

Clarke House Museum Exterior

 

Henry and Caroline Clarke built their house on 20 acres of land at 16th and Michigan Avenue in 1836, a year before the city was officially incorporated. In 1872, the Clarke children sold the house to John Chrimes who moved it to Wabash and 45th Street. In 1941, his grand daughters sold the house to Bishop Louis Henry Ford and the Saint Paul Church of God in Christ used the house as their parish hall until 1977.

The city of Chicago bought the house and moved it to the present location on Prairie Street on December 4, 1977. The house had to be lifted over the “L” Tracks and was set on a new foundation on Prairie Street. The Clarke House Museum is open for tours and is nestled in the beautiful grounds of the Women’s Park and Gardens.

Clarke House Museum

Clarke House Museum Gardens

Clarke House Women's Park and Gardens

Clarke House Women’s Park and Gardens

The park celebrates the contributions of women who built Chicago.   There are beautiful “Helping Hands” sculptures by Louise Bourgeois that serve as a memorial to  Jane Addams. For more information visit www.clarkehousemuseum.org.

Chicago's Prairie District

Chicago’s Prairie District Women’s Park

Chicago's Prairie District South Loop

Clarke House Museum Grounds and Gardens

Helping Hands in Chicago by Louise Bourgeois

Helping Hands in Chicago by Louise Bourgeois

The Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance has an annual Fall historic street fair called “The Festival on Prairie Avenue.” The annual event takes place at Prairie and 18th Street. The event features many exciting attractions including: a main stage with entertainment, a menagerie of exotic animals, pony rides, a War of 1812 encampment, period fashions, a pie eating contest, food & tours of the Landmark Glessner and Clarke Houses. Artists feature a number of historic crafts and interactive art demonstrations. Exhibits include: Pottery, Ceramics, Candles, Knitting, Weaving, Glass Making, Textiles, Painting and Jewelry.

ANNUAL EDGAR ALLAN POE READINGS: If you prefer to take in Prairie Avenue’s Halloween ambience from the inside, the Clarke House Museum teams up with Lifeline Theatre for an evening of tales to tremble by from America’s master of horror. 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Oct. 25; Clarke House Museum, 1827 S. Indiana Ave.; $25 at 312-326-1480 or glessnerhouse.org

Tour:  Shadows on the Street – Haunted Tours of Historic Prairie Avenue

Friday October 30 and Saturday October 31, 2015

Tours at 7:00 and 8:15pm

Tours begin at the Glessner House Museum Vistors Center

$10 per person / $8 for members

Pre-paid reservations suggested to 312.326.1480

Tales of strange sounds, unexplained sightings, and untimely endings as you explore Prairie Avenue after dark!

Performance:  29th Annual Edgar Allan Poe Readings

Saturday October 31, 2015

Readings at 5:00 and 8:00pm

Clarke House Museum, 1827 S. Indiana Avenue

$25 per person / $22 for members

Pre-paid reservations required to 312.326.1480

Squirm in your seat as actors from Lifeline Theatre present staged readings of Poe’s terrifying stories and poetry.  A holiday favorite now in its 29th year!

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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Shake Your Groove Thing at Chicago’s Green Tie Ball 2015 at Venue One

English: Screenshot of Alice from the trailer ...

English: Screenshot of Alice from the trailer for the film Alice in Wonderland (1951). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This year’s GREEN TIE BALL will be held at Venue One on Randolph.

Green Tie Ball 2015 by Gateway green

http://www.gatewaygreen.org/event/green-tie-ball/

Alice in Wonderland, John Tenniel, 1865 Deutsc...

Alice in Wonderland, John Tenniel, 1865 Deutsch: Von John Tenniel stammende Illustration aus Lewis Carrolls Alice im Wunderland. Polski: Alicja z powieści pt. Alicja w Krainie Czarów autorstwa Lewisa Carrolla (ilustrator: John Tenniel). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cheshire Cat from Carroll's Alice in Wonde...

The Cheshire Cat from Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is a figure Beckjord has used for illustrating his ideas regarding Bigfoot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WHEN: Saturday, Oct0ber 10, 2015

WHERE: Venue One

Times: 7:00PM Entry Time for VIP Tickets, 8:00PM Entry Time for General Admission Tickets. Event continues until 12am with after parties at Underground and Bar Siena.

Tickets: $250 VIP Tickets, $175 General Admission, VIP Lounges $3,500 (includes 10 tickets for each lounge pod)

Special Presale Prices: $125 Aug 3-Aug 23, $150 Aug 24-Sept 13, $175 Sept 14-Oct 10 and at the Door. –Purchase tickets at: bit.ly/greentieball24

One year I stepped into my Ruby Slippers and joined Dorothy, the Tin Man and her little dog Toto in the Emerald City at the Finkl Foundon Southport. This year I’ll don my disco wear and step into Studio 54.

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the trailer for the film The Wizard of Oz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Proceeds beautify the City of Chicago’s public spaces including the expressway.

Summary: Green Tie Ball XXIV raises money for “CGG’s Expressway Partnership Program, which creates and maintains beautiful, sustainable landscapes along Chicago’s major expressways thereby reducing air and noise pollution and adorning the gateways into the City’s communities.”

The gala attracts Chicago’s prominent movers and shakers.

 

This year’s gala will include dozens of Chicago’s top restaurants, premium open bars, eclectic entertainment such as special guest performance by Matt LeGrand, DJ appearances, the Dr. Bombay band, experiential silent auction packages and charitable gaming from River’s Casino

After parties:

-Underground (56 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654)

-Bar Siena (832 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607)

 

The “Supreme Lobster Chef Challenge” featured the final round of the Chicago Summer Chef Challenge Series at the Green Tie Ball. Chicago’s Food Trucks offered plenty of goodies to the elegantly dressed guests at Finkl Foundry’s Emerald City on Southport.

The Emerald City’s bartenders were pouring super-premium Wizard of Oz cocktails.

The Green Tie Ball is also offered a silent auction, gaming and multiple stages of live entertainment.

Tickets are available  @ www.gatewaygreen.org.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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I Love the Oenology Wine Room in the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago

From the California wine producer in the Centr...

From the California wine producer in the Central Coast (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Display your wine on a Barrel if you can find one

Display your wine on a Barrel if you can find one

Flavor Napa Valley Winemaker Dinner

Flavor Napa Valley Winemaker Dinner

Cathedral Ridge Winery

Cathedral Ridge Winery

If you feel like a wine-tasting event but you can’t find one, here’s a solution. I suggest that you check out the Oenology Wine Bar at the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. This incredible Hotel was the former home of the Medinah Athletic Club in Chicago. Like the Medinah Temple in Chicago, it was commissioned by the Shrine Organization. The building was designed by the architect Walter W. Ahlschlager. The cornerstone of the Medinah Athletic Club was laid on November 5, 1928. After your wine flight, take a tour of this gorgeous building.

Eno Wine Room in Chicago

One of the professionally-trained sommeliers at the Wine Spectator, award-winning Eno Wine Room at 505 N. Michigan Avenue will pamper you. They will offer a wine flight paired with the appropriate cheese and chocolate combination.

Eno Wine Room in Chicago

Since I like Pinot Noir, I opted for the “Pinot Envy” flight with a nice Oregon Pinot Noir. My flight included a 2008 Brandborg Bench Lands Pinot Noir from the Umpqua Valley in Oregon. I also had an opportunity to taste the 2009 Yamhill Valley Vineyard Pinot Blanc from Oregon and the 2008 Kenneth Volk Pinot St. George from the Calleri Vineyard in San Benito California.

Eno Wine Room in Chicago Wine Flight

Once you have selected a wine flight, you can select your cheese selection to accompany your wine. My sommelier suggested the Challerhocker from Switzerland with an edible rind, a dense Ocooch Mountain sheep cheese from Wisconsin and the Barely Buzzed Cheddar from Utah rubbed with coffee grounds and lavender.

Eno Wine Room in Chicago Cheese Flight

Now, it’s time to select your decadent chocolate desserts. Once again, just go with the recommendation of your professionally trained server and you won’t be disappointed. Have a Black Truffle Sea Salt, Macadamia Praline and Salted Chocolate Caramel. Now this is living!

Eno Wine Room in Chicago Chocolates

Of course, you can just select wine or cheese from the menu without opting for a personal “Pinot Envy” tasting party. Have a selection of cheese for $12 or just order a glass of wine.

Try a glass of red Amarone or Barbera D’Alba  from Italy. Those are 2 of my personal favorites from Italy.

If you want to learn more about wine pairing, here’s an informative video: http://www.restonsunocosubway.com/Reston-Sunoco-Wine-and-Beer-cellar.htm.

Wine tasting and wine pairing are interesting topics. Some of my favorite events in Chicago are wine dinners held at my favorite restaurants. I loved the Gibson’s on Rush Street Duckhorn Vineyards Wine Dinner!

Gibson’s on Rush Street Duckhorn Wine Dinner

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

Eno Wine Room

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Chicago’s Creative Design Harvest Festival 2015 in West Town

Map of Chicago's community areas, grouped by c...

Map of Chicago’s community areas, grouped by color by “side” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chicago’s 2015 Design Harvest Festival is sponsored by the West Town Chamber of Commerce.

WHEN:

Design festival

September 26 – 27, 2015

Grand Art & Design Festival (formerly Design Harvest) has local furniture and accessory makers, live music, a square dance, food trucks, hayrides, and pumpkin painting on Grand Ave. at Wood. Donation.

The live musical entertainment area is programmed by Chicago’s legendary live music venue, The Hideout. There is usually a big square dance in the street!

Beer sponsor Blue Moon will feature their Harvest Pumpkin Ale along with Crispin Cider and Coors Light.

FESTIVAL & SURROUNDING GRAND AVENUE DESIGN DISTRICT MAP

1. Creative Claythings / 2. State Street Salvage / 3. Artemesia / 4. Christy Webber Landscapes Farm & Garden Center / 5. European Furniture Warehouse / 6. Modern Times / 7. Space 1858 / 8. Martyn George / 9. Urban Remains / 10. Design Inc. / 11. SG Grand / 12. Buckingham Interiors / 13. The Find / 14. The Painted Lady / 15. Urban Remains / 16. Salvage One

Come and check out the Food Trucks http://youtu.be/igyjbER5hqA.

There’s live music, food, wine and beer.

Harvest Design Festival 2011

Harvest Design Festival 2011

Design Harvest 2011 in Chicago on Grand at Damen

Design Harvest 2011 in Chicago on Grand at Damen

The new festival features Chicago’s best local home decorating stores and designers like Room Service and The Painted Lady.

Harvest Design Festival 2011

Harvest Design Festival 2011

Harvest Design Festival 2011

Quilt from Chicago’s Painted Lady on Grand Ave. in Chicago

Harvest Design Festival 2011

Chicago’s Harvest Design Festival 2011

Harvest Design Festival 2011

Interesting artwork fro Room Service in Chicago

There will be furniture and home accessories, vintage goods, antiques and  design retailers located in Chicago’s Design District on Grand Avenue.

Chicago Design District

Chicago Design District

Chicago Design District

Chicago Design District

Harvest Design Festival 2011

Harvest Design Festival 2011

Harvest Design Festival 2011

Harvest Design Festival 2011

Get your creative mojo working this weekend with great food and music from The Hideout. The Naked Grape Winery is offering wine tastings.

Live Music at Harvest Design Festival 2011

Live Music at Harvest Design Festival 2011

 Harvest Design Festival 2011

The Hideout at Harvest Design Festival 2011

Live Music provided by The Hideout at Harvest Design Festival 2011

The Naked Grape Winery at Havest Design Festival

The Naked Grape Winery at Havest Design Festival

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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Chicago’s Magnificent Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain in Chicago, Illinois.

Image via Wikipedia

I am a Travel Junkie who loves to travel around the world. I can’t resist taking pictures of  beautiful fountains; I find them so intriguing.

One of the most magnificent fountains in Chicago is the Buckingham Fountain. The fountain was designated as a Chicago landmark on August 30, 2000.

Buckingham Fountain in Chicago

It is located at the intersection of Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive, just west of south Lake Shore Drive in Grant Park. Grant Park is a popular venue for Chicago Festivals like Jazz Fest and the Windy City Wine Festival.

The park was an integral part of Daniel Burnham‘s 1909 city planning efforts that involved integrating a series of projects into Chicago’s  lakefront.  He envisioned Chicago as a “Paris on the Prairie” with French-inspired public works projects and beautiful fountains.

Burnham’s magical vision generated our horizontal kingdom with gorgeous skyscrapers. Chicago’s magnificent skyline, monuments and sculptures are a result of the convergence of vision and technology.

 

Grant Park’s Sculptures

Daniel Burnham

Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain is one of the largest fountains in the world. Any time of the day or night, people converge upon the fountain to take pictures. It’s a favorite spot for newlyweds.

Chicago Wine Festival at Buckingham Fountain

The pink marble fountain was designed by beaux-arts architect and city planner Edward H. Bennett who was also involved in Burnham’s Plan of Chicago and the construction of Grant Park.

Bennett’s office was located in the penthouse of the Santa Fe building (pictured below) with the large “Santa Fe” logo on the roof, at 80 E. Jackson in Chicago. From his eagle’s nest view, he could supervise the construction of Grant Park. The 17-story office building is located on the Historic Michigan Boulevard District. The Santa Fe building has distinctive round porthole  windows along the cornice.  The center of the building features a  lightwell that was covered with a skylight in the 1980s.

Buckingham Fountain and the Santa Fe Building

From Bennett’s penthouse office, he could also supervise the construction of   the Buckingham Fountain and the original ornamental Peristyle. A reproduction of the Peristyle majestically crowns  Millennium Park.

Peristyle in Chicago

The Peristyle (pictured above), is a replica of the curving row of paired Greek columns that were originally on the corner of Grant Park near Michigan and Randolph from 1917 to 1953. The statues (pictured below), were created by the French sculptor Marcel F. Loyau. The whimsical sea-horses depict mid-western states.

Buckingham Fountain Sea-horse Statues

The fountain was dedicated on August 26, 1927 and was constructed at a cost of $750,000.  Water streams through the fountain’s 193 jets. The design looks like a wedding cake and it was inspired by the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles. The central structure allegorically represents Lake Michigan and it is surrounded by four sea-horses. Each sea-horse represents the states that surround Lake Michigan: Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.

The fountain is operational from April to October with interesting water shows  every hour on-the-hour that last for 20 minutes. During the show, water spews from the central jet. The center jet shoots up vertically up to 150 feet.  There are lovely evening light shows.  After dusk, these shows are choreographed with lights and music. The last show begins at 10:00 p.m. During the winter, the fountain is decorated with holiday lights.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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