Crossing an item off the summer bucket list, never mind the snow

photo-443I was in Chicago this week speaking at the Executive Women in Agriculture conference. It was a good group of women, and they were very pleasant to me, even though I was all that was standing between them and hearing from Chris Soules, farm dude star of The Bachelor.

Anyway, Chicago got its first snow this week, and was quite cold off the lake, but it’s pretty this time of year with the holiday decorations. And visiting the town offered me the opportunity to cross an item off my summer bucket list that I didn’t get to this summer.

I’d said I wanted to see the miniature rooms in the Art Institute of Chicago. My family spent a week at the Indiana Dunes on Lake Michigan in late August/early September, and came into the city for a day. However, I knew the kids would be happier looking at the Shedd Aquarium, so that’s what we did, and I didn’t see the miniature rooms. I looked into doing it while I was in Chicago for Chicago Ideas Week, but that didn’t pan out.

Then I got one more chance! The EWA conference was at the Palmer House Hilton, which turns out to be one block from the Art Institute of Chicago. My flight and taxi ride were totally charmed, so I got there early enough that my room wasn’t ready. It was a sign pointing me toward leaving my luggage with the bell hop and heading over.

The rooms were amazing. I built my own doll house as a girl and I’ve always loved miniature furniture and utensils and such things. If you’ve read The Cortlandt Boys, you’ll recall that KC, the lumbering center, owns a doll house store that’s seen better days. I’m looking forward to my kids being old enough that I can re-create a doll house knowing that it won’t get completely destroyed.

Some of the miniature rooms were decked out for Christmas, and they had a few from colonial Pennsylvania, one complete with a stone-looking barn outside. Since I was at the museum by myself, I could spend an hour studying the rooms, and no one was hurrying me up. It was a great early birthday present to myself.

In other news: I stayed for Chris Soules’ speech after mine. Key take-away: “Don’t get engaged where pigs once were.”

9 thoughts on “Crossing an item off the summer bucket list, never mind the snow

  1. Glad you enjoyed the Thorne Rooms! I always like the different eras represented. Next time, trek to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the Colleen Moore Fairy Castle. Go early in the day. Better yet, go when there’s nobody there! Our school had a “night at the museum” event so, while our boys were busy with the planes, I enjoyed unobstructed views of the castle rooms and hogged the audio, instead of being the “good grownup” and letting little tots block my view I mean gaze in rapture.

    1. @Barb – sorry – I am still working out the bugs on this new website format. If a comment doesn’t go up for a while it’s because it’s gotten held for some reason, and then I need to go into the dashboard to approve it.

  2. If you are in NY, a wonderful doll house is on display at the Time Warner Center — here’s the link http://www.astolatdollhousecastle.com/ I checked it out while picking up a pair of black pants (not on my bucket list) on my way to meeting my husband for Die Fledermaus at the Met (on my 2015 bucket list)

  3. When your children are old enough, they might enjoy the 68 Rooms book series by Marianne Malone. My nieces & nephew (ages 9-12) enjoyed it so much that we made a trip to the Thorne Rooms the centerpiece of a trip to Chicago.

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