Day 110: Chicago, how I will miss you!

One of my favorite places to eat in Chicago.

One of my favorite places to eat in Chicago.

Well, it was a wonderful weekend but it’s time to go home and face my house.  It has been almost a month since I’ve done much around there and even though I hope Big Daddio is there slaving away, I’m pretty sure there’s QUITE a bit of work to do.  But we managed to squeeze in one more good meal and a little more shopping before the fun was over.

Of course today was the nicest weather we’ve seen.  Why does that always seem to happen?  We talk about that at our cottage a lot in the summer.  It never fails that the weather gets really beautiful about 4:00 on Sunday, just when it’s time for everyone to go home!  It’s kind of like that this weekend – it’s finally warm and sunny today.  But I’m not complaining – it was even warm enough to wear the new spring coat that I bought yesterday.

Grand Lux Cafe - i love this place!

Grand Lux Cafe – i love this place!

We decided to have our “last meal” at the Grand Lux on Michigan Avenue.  They have great brunch-type food and I’m just a sucker for the “over-the-top” decor.  It’s fun to see all the big groups of people eating and celebrating various occasions or just a nice meal out.  They also have fabulous desserts, but the meals are so huge that I can hardly ever eat anything else when I’m finished.

Even the ceiling is beautfiul!

Even the ceiling is beautfiul!

I’ve included a couple of pictures of the decor in the restaurant.  Honestly, I could have taken a million pictures in there, but people start looking at you strangely after awhile and my friends got tired of waiting around for me.

A beautiful spot outside of a church.

A beautiful spot outside of a church.

After our wonderful breakfast, we had to start saying our goodbyes.  It was kind of sad, but we’re already talking about next year’s trip – possibly to Vegas and we hope to pull in even more of our friends.  It will be something to look forward to and also motivation to watch my weight and stay in shape – these ladies all look fabulous!

I just loved this display at Crate & Barrel

I just loved this display at Crate & Barrel

My friend Sandy and I squeezed in a little more shopping.  We had to go back to Nordstrom and look at more shoes and baby clothes.  One thing to be aware of is that a lot of stores don’t open until noon on Michigan Avenue, so we couldn’t go to Neiman Marcus.  But Victoria’s Secret opened earlier so we made a quick stop in there.

It's always fun to see the  carriages.  I don't know how the horses do it - I can hardly drive thru the streets of Chicago!

It’s always fun to see the carriages. I don’t know how the horses do it – I can hardly drive thru the streets of Chicago!

Anyway, by then it was time to catch the train home.  We really couldn’t carry anything else anyway!  It was a wonderful weekend with good friends and I can’t wait for next year!

Day 109: Chicago shopping (and eating) spree!

So much shopping, so little time!

So much shopping, so little time!

After a good night’s sleep, we were ready to get back out on the streets again.  A couple of the ladies went out for an early morning run, but the rest of us relaxed a bit in the room and leisurely got ready for the day.  After everyone was ready, we headed over to the Corner Bakery which was conveniently right across the street.  I’ve eaten there several times in the past and the food is good and reasonably priced.  And that’s saying something for Michigan Avenue!

A good place for breakfast

A good place for breakfast

We headed down the street to get started on our shopping.  We spent quite a bit of time in Nordstorm.  There’s so much to look at – shoes, clothes, purses and baby clothes.  I think most of us walked out of there with something, although I somehow resisted all the cute baby clothes.  It’s such a great place to shop!

We spent a lot of time and money here!

We spent a lot of time and money here!

I’m not even sure of all the stores we went in, but there were lots.  It’s so much fun to shop with a bunch of friends.  At one point there were three of us were all trying on the same coat.  We figured it wouldn’t matter since we all live in different cities, but I was the only one to end of buying it.  That was my big splurge of the weekend.

There were so many photo ops that I didn't know where to start!

There were so many photo ops that I didn’t know where to start!

Of course all this shopping worked up quite an appetite.  We tried to stop at the Cheesecake factory but even at two o’clock in the afternoon there was a fifty minute wait.  But no worries, we headed across the street to the Bloomingdale’s Plaza and ate at The Oak Tree.  We got a great table by the window and enjoyed some good soups and salads, before heading out to a few more stores to finish the afternoon.

What a great way to spend the day!

What a great way to spend the day!

By the time we got back to the hotel we only had a few minutes to get dressed for dinner.  Seemed like we just finished lunch!  We went to a restaurant called Volare, which was recommended by the concierge at the hotel.  It’s only a couple blocks from the hotel and we were able to get a table on a Saturday night.  It’s really important to get a reservation.  If you try to just wander around looking for a place to eat you’ll probably end up being “hangrey”.  This is a terrible affliction resulting from a combination of hungry and angry – not a pretty picture.

This was a great place to spend a Saturday night!

This was a great place to spend a Saturday night!

Anyway, we had a great dinner.  The place was packed and the food was really good.  It’s an Italian restaurant. Really good fresh Italian food and the service was great.  I enjoyed the calamari and the red wine that our wonderful waitress helped us pick out.  The only near disaster was when a large glass of wine spilled (not me!) all over my friend’s suede coat.  There was a lot of scrambling and ladies room scrubbing, but everything turned out ok.

We had back to the hotel for one last cocktail in the Michael Jordan restaurant in the lobby of our hotel.  After that we all crashed – I think we were in a food coma!

Day 108: Back to Chicago – Fun with friends

The hotel where we stayed - I didn't actually take this picture.  My friends got tired of waiting around for me to take pictures!

The hotel where we stayed – I didn’t actually take this picture. My friends got tired of waiting around for me to take pictures!

After a quick week at home, I’m back on the road again!  I’m taking the train to Chicago to spend the weekend with a group of girlfriends. I haven’t seen some of them for a number of years.  I can’t wait for our reunion!

Since I’m taking the train, I don’t have to drive in the Friday night traffic or pay for expensive parking at the hotel all weekend.  We are lucky to have a good commuter train that I can take after work and then just walk a few blocks to the hotel.  Unfortunately I’ll be carrying my 30 pound bag, but it’s really not worth getting a cab for such a short distance.  The other option would be cutting way back on the amount of clothes I’m taking, but you know that’s not going to happen!

The outside of the hotel - it's really an historic building

The outside of the hotel – it’s really an historic building

We are staying at the beautiful Intercontinental hotel on North Michigan Avenue.  It’s a great location because of the proximity to the train station.  It’s across the street from the Nordstrom Plaza, where we plan to spend a lot of time.  It’s just across the river so it’s easy to go south to the theatre district if we want to.  Here’s the link if you’d like to get more information about the hotel:  http://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/chicago/ordha/hoteldetail.

To be honest we didn’t really spend much time in the hotel, but our rooms were very comfortable and the lobby was beautiful.  Apparently there’s a nice pool, but we were too busy eating and shopping to ever make it there.

Night view of Bandera

Night view of Bandera

For our first meal of the weekend (believe me, there were many others) we chose a restaurant called Bandara.  Here’s a link with some information, although I didn’t see an actual website for the restaurant.  http://www.yelp.com/biz/bandera-restaurant-chicago.  They make a great rotisserie chicken that you can either get in a fabulous salad (Macho Salad) or as an entree.  We also had a wonderful grilled artichoke and really good cornbread.  The enchiladas looked great – in fact everything was good.  The restaurant is on the second floor of a building overlooking Michigan Avenue.  We were lucky enough to get a corner table by the window.  They probably figured they should put the table of five yacking women in the back!

A picture of the chickens "rotissering"

A picture of the chickens “rotissering”

Anyway, after a great dinner we made our way back to the hotel.  Amazingly, we stopped talking long enough to get some sleep and rest up for the next big day of shopping and eating!

Day 103: Last day in Chicago – so many restaurants left to try

I've been waiting to try this restaurant all weekend - Florentine

I’ve been waiting to try this restaurant all weekend – Florentine

Well, I knew this day would come.  The last day of my fabulous Chicago trip and there are LOTS of restaurants that we still haven’t tried.  So today’s big goal is going to be to eat at least two really good restaurants.  In order to accomplish this we need to get started early and walk enough that we will be able to eat all that food.  This means that Big Daddio is going to have to SHOP!

One thing Big Daddio really doesn’t like to do is shop.  He’s always talking about how men “buy” and women “shop”.  He usually needs something – shoes or pants – but when we get to a store he never fails to say “I don’t feel like shopping right now”.  But he did mention that he really needs  some shoes, so I figured he would be good for at least a little while.

The "Wine Cellar" at the Florentine.   It was a little too early in the morning to give this a try.

The “Wine Cellar” at the Florentine. It was a little too early in the morning to give this a try.

We started out the morning at the really good restaurant in our hotel, called Florentine.  I have walked past this place several times over the last couple days and was intrigued by the huge display of wine.  We got breakfast, so there wasn’t any wine drinking, but at least we got to see what it was like.  And we liked what we saw!  Here’s a link with the menu if you want to check it out before you go:  http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-information/restaurant/chijw-jw-marriott-chicago/.  I had some wonderful French Toast  and Big Daddio had an omelet.  The only thing I didn’t love was that I had to pay an extra $6.00 for three pieces of bacon.  I’m just too cheap for that kind of thing!

A beautiful arrangement I saw at the restaurant.  I wonder if I could make this at home?

A beautiful arrangement I saw at the restaurant. I wonder if I could make this at home?

After our really good breakfast, we strolled down the street toward the stores.  It was still a little early, so I got a few pictures of some local landmarks.  Did you know that you can visit the Chicago Federal Reserve building?  It’s only open Monday-Friday, but it looked like it would be really interesting.  Here’s the link in case you want to go: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g35805-d561562-Reviews-Chicago_Fed_Visitors_Center-Chicago_Illinois.html.   I also got a really good (I think) picture of Sears Tower in the sunlight.  I only want to see it from the ground – I’m not crazy about those long elevator rides.

Did you know you can tour the Federal Reserve?

Did you know you can tour the Federal Reserve?

We did go to DSW and Big Daddio found not one, but two pairs of shoes.  As I predicted, it only took a few minutes and he was ready to go.  But he was a pretty good sport and walked with me to Macys and a number of other stores.  I really didn’t buy much, but that’s because I’m coming back next weekend and I want to save some of my money.

We spotted this restaurant and had to stop.

We spotted this restaurant and had to stop.

We decided that we had worked up enough of an appetite to walk back to a cute British-style pub that we spotted over by the hotel.  It was called Elephant & Castle and looked like a perfect place to get a beer and a little lunch.  Here’s a link to their site:  http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=elephant+and+castle+chicago&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8   I got a beer that I really liked.  It was the special of the day and was called “Chainbreaker White” by Deschutes Brewery .  I loved the light citrusy flavor.  Here’s the link to the brewery if you’re interested in beer:  http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/brew/chainbreaker-white-ipa.   I even took a picture of the sign so I can remember the name when I want to order it again in the future.

My new favorite beer.  I took a picture so I could remember the name.

My new favorite beer. I took a picture so I could remember the name.

That was the end of our Chicago adventure.  Time to go home and finish our taxes and get back to real life.  At least I know I’ll be back again soon  – like in 5 days!

Day 102: More Chicago fun – why do I eat so much when I’m here?

I love my new address!

I love my new address!

What a treat to wake up in a beautiful place, knowing that I don’t have to do anything at all if I don’t want to!  And believe me, I didn’t do a lot today.  It was snowing when I woke up, which sort of discouraged me from my original plan of walking  to Michigan Avenue and do some shopping.  All of a sudden, some time in the spa started sounding really good.

The entrance to the spa - or should I say "Heaven"?

The entrance to the spa – or should I say “Heaven”?

They have a really beautiful spa in our hotel.  They have things like “The Preparation Room” and “The Transformation Room”.  These are just basically quiet, comfortable rooms where you can sit and relax before and after your “experiences”.  The guide told me that you can bring your family members in there with you.  All I could think was “why would I want to bring Big Daddio in there with me?”  I really don’t think it’s his kind of thing.  Here’s a link to the website for the spa:  http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-information/fitness-spa-services/chijw-jw-marriott-chicago/.

A very relaxing looking arrangement in the spa

A very relaxing looking arrangement in the spa

Anyway, I spent several hours having my “experiences” and then just sitting in those rooms, reading magazines and basically thinking about nothing.  It was very relaxing.  So relaxing that I needed a little nap after I finished!  Talk about a “wind down” day!  At one point I had someone working on my toes and another woman working on my eyebrows.  I felt like a Kardashian!

Interesting things to see everywhere we look.

Interesting things to see everywhere we look.

After so much exertion, I convinced Big Daddio that we should take a walk around the neighborhood before dinner.  It was a cold day, but there were lots of great sights to see as we made our way toward the river near the Trump Tower.  We went past the Sears Tower – I think it’s called something else now, but it was always the Sears Tower when I lived in Chicago.  We saw a few hearty souls out on boat tours of the river.  That looked a little too chilly for me!

A really good restaurant if you like steak or seafood - that should cover pretty much everyone, right?

A really good restaurant if you like steak or seafood – that should cover pretty much everyone, right?

Once we had worked up an appetite it was time to go to dinner.  We went with a group to a great steakhouse called Smith and Wollensky. Here’s a link to the restaurant:  http://www.smithandwollensky.com/locations-2/chicago/.  It was one of those places that has really expensive but really good aged steaks.  The food was all fabulous, but I had to kind of forget how much everything cost because otherwise I would have been obsessing about how we could eat for a week for that amount!

The views at night at great

The views at night at great

On the walk back to the hotel we walked past several theaters and even got to watch a little of the evening news being taped at the local TV station.  It was a great evening and I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow with another day to spend in the city!

Day 101: My kind of Town, Chicago is!

Can't see a view like this in our little small town!

Can’t see a view like this in our little small town!

After a quick re-pack, we just arrived in Chicago for a few days.  It’s always so much fun to be in the city and we haven’t been here in a couple of months so I’m really looking forward to our stay.   This trip is for a conference that Big Daddio is attending – I’m just going along as the trailing spouse.  From experience, I can tell you that there’s nothing better than being a trailing spouse at one of these events.  You get all the benefits without any of the work!

The beautiful lobby of our hotel

The beautiful lobby of our hotel

There are only a couple of expectations of me this weekend.  I have to attend several very elaborate and expensive meals, I need to get spa “experiences” at least a couple of days and I should also do some shopping.  I think I can handle it.  In fact, I’m just the woman for this job!

We checked into our very nice hotel.  It is a little south of the river, in the “loop” area.  This is actually very nice, since this is more of the business area of the city and that means it’s not too crowded on the weekend.  But there is still plenty to do and see in this part of town, so don’t feel bad for me even if it’s a little bit of a walk to the Magnificant Mile.

Our room is very nice!

Our room is very nice!

We are staying at the JW Marriott Chicago.  Here is a link to the official website:  http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/chijw-jw-marriott-chicago/.  The hotel is in an older building that has been renovated into a beautiful hotel.  Apparently the designer of the building is “the renowned Daniel Burnham”.  I’m not sure who he is, but the hotel is very, very nice.

Another pretty shot in the hotel.  I hardly knew where to start.

Another pretty shot in the hotel. I hardly knew where to start.

After enjoying a really good lunch with the other conference attendees (the beer cheese soup was excellent), I headed out with a friend to discover the local shopping sites.  I’m pretty familiar with the North Michigan area, but haven’t been on State street too much.  I knew that the old Marshall Field’s store (now Macy’s) was there, but was surprised to find lots of other great stores including the largest DSW shoe store I’ve ever seen, Anthropologie (one of my favorites) and a Nordstrom rack.  In other words, plenty of shopping with no need to walk any further.  Which is good because the weather is pretty crummy here today.

Some of the great street art in the city

Some of the great street art in the city

The evening festivities included a fabulous dinner event at a local corporate facility.  The food was amazing and the views of the nighttime skyline were magnificent.  It was really a treat to be there and all of the food was very innovative.  I had a chicken roulade with some kind of cheesy risotto that was out of this world.  Of course, I ate and drank way too much and will be paying the price next week when I can’t fit into any of my clothes!

I’ve included a few of my favorite pictures, but the whole place is such a feast for the eyes that I hardly know which ones to choose.  I did have one additional thought on my comments yesterday about drawing analogies from photography into life truths.  Here we go – me being deep again!

I loved this dress in Brooks Brothers.  I wanted a picture in case I ever need to buy it!

I loved this dress in Brooks Brothers. I wanted a picture in case I ever need to buy it!

I have noticed that  I often see things that don’t look like they will make a good picture because they’re uninteresting, unappealing or just down right ugly.  However, if I focus in very closely on one specific attribute of that unattractive thing I can often find some bit of beauty.  There seems to be a life lesson in there somewhere and I wonder how often we could find something beautiful in a person if we just took the time to look closely enough.

Sorry, don’t mean to get all philosophical on you.  Just had that little nugget rolling around in my head all day!

Day 98: Lunch at the Ritz Carlton – now that’s what I’m talking about

A great place for a nice lunch.

A great place for a nice lunch.

The day of the big game – University of Michigan vs. Louisville!  We were right down in the heart of things during the day.  They had a pep rally for Louisville on the block where we had lunch and we saw the team buses going down the street.  It was an exciting atmosphere and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Of course, once we got downtown we needed to get something to eat.  We checked out a few places and finally settled on the “Atlanta Grill” at the Ritz Carlton.  It was a beautiful hotel and restaurant and we thought it would be a good place to get away from the crowds on the street.  Here’s a link with the menu included:  http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Atlanta/Dining/AtlantaGrill/Menu.htm.

There were so many beautiful things to take pictures of here

There were so many beautiful things to take pictures of here

We had a nice table in the back.  I’m not sure if they put us back there because we had a baby, but it was a good spot for us.  The baby was perfect – never cried once!

We had good food – kind of an up-scale southern menu.  Big Daddio ordered chicken wings – probably the least “regional” thing on the menu.  At least the waitress talked him into getting the toasted grits.  She told him he needed to try them instead of getting boring fries.  I’m not sure he really loved them because there were quite a few left at the end of the meal.

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I made a common mistake  – ordering without my glasses!  I thought I was getting a  pork barb-e-que sandwich.  I mentioned to Big Daddio later that it seemed kind of crunchy and he said ” why did you order a Crispy Pork Belly sandwich?”   Well, haha I don’t even know what a pork belly is, but I’m not sure I would have ordered it if I had.  That’s what I get for trying to squint my way thru the menu without putting my glasses on.

This reminds me of the time I went to lunch with my friend Gloria.  I tried reading the menu for awhile but finally had to ask her to read it for me.  I knew I was in trouble when I thought I saw “squirrel” as one of the menu items!

I loved seeing all the beautiful flowers.

I loved seeing all the beautiful flowers.

After lunch we were back out on the street, enjoying the sunshine, flowers and the beautiful sights.  I’ve included a few of my favorites – these were the best I could do armed with only the little camera on my phone.  I kept having to run and catch up with the group because I was getting distracted by all the interesting things to see. I’ve decided that really looking for good pictures makes me a lot more aware of my surroundings.  Just not sure my family appreciated myy new-found love of photography!

Another old building I would have checked out if I had a little more time.

Another old building I would have checked out if I had a little more time.

So, that’s all on our trip.  There’s still lots of things we didn’t see, so I’d like to go back again soon. Hopefully the inspirational quote on my mirror was right – The best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end!

Day 97: World of Coke – we had to do it!

Our trip to World of Coke was full of interesting sights.

Our trip to World of Coke was full of interesting sights.

I was in Atlanta once a number of years ago – probably at least 10 or 12.  I went with several girlfriends to visit another friend  who was living there at the time.  We had a lot of fun, except  that I caught one of the worst headcolds of my life that weekend.  I was miserable a lot of the time, looked like the walking dead and I’m sure my friends were terrified that I’d infect them with my terrible illness.  I think I started feeling better about the time we left, so a lot of the trip was wasted on me!

Even in my DayQuil-induced fog, I remember several things about that trip.  We toured some kind of historic plantation-style home.  I can’t remember much about it except that it was really pretty and I enjoyed it a lot.  I tried to figure out where it was so we could go this time but I couldn’t find it in any of the travel information I looked at.  If anyone knows what this might be, leave me a comment.

None of us opted for the $20 picture with the kind of scary looking Coke bear!

None of us opted for the $20 picture with the kind of scary looking Coke bear!

Anyway, another thing that I really enjoyed was visiting the World of Coke and I always thought it would be something that Big Daddio would like.  Based on that memory, I loaded up everyone (including the baby) and headed out on the MARTA again.  Even my son-in-law came along and he’s only lukewarm on tourist attractions.  At least the train was less crowded this time.

We still don't know the secret formula for Coke - although the said it was hidden in the vault.

We still don’t know the secret formula for Coke – although the said it was hidden in the vault.

We met my daughter Lauren downtown and after lunch (which I will describe in my next post) we walked several blocks to the World of Coke.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t terribly crowded and we got right in.  Which was a good thing because the baby kept us on a tight schedule.  We did discover that there are some perks to traveling with a stroller.  They kept escorting our whole party (baby included) to the front of the line!  I might just take a stroller to every crowded event that I go to from now on.

They had the Final Four tropy displayed  - pretty cool!

They had the Final Four tropy displayed – pretty cool!

I’ve included a number of pictures from our visit – there was a lot to see.  I think we all enjoyed the tasting room the most.  We got to try sodas from around the world and some of them were really BAD!  It was hard to believe that anyone would like those flavors.

So many "photo ops" !

So many “photo ops” !

Here’s a link with information about going to this attraction if you’re in town: http://www.worldofcoca-cola.com/.  It does cost $16 a person, so don’t go if you don’t have some time to spend (at least  a couple of  hours) and really like Coke! Big Daddio was especially impressed by the “free” bottle of Coke that they give you at the end of the tour.

That’s the story of our trip to the World of Coke!  I’ve got one more day of travel and then back to my projects.

Day 96: Just another day in paradise – vacation in Atlanta

One of the lovely views we saw on our pretty long walk

One of the lovely views we saw on our pretty long walk

When I go to a new place, I really like to do the tourist thing.  I’m not afraid to admit it.  If there’s a historic landmark, I want to see it.  I’m especially interested  in old homes and buildings and I’m lucky that Big Daddio is pretty good about going along with me.  I don’t know how much he is really likes old buildings, but he LOVES tourist gift shops and going out for snacks after the outing so he’s usually a pretty good sport.

Since we had a little time between Final Four games we decided to do some sight-seeing.  We weren’t very efficient about it – we were definitely slowed down by the huge crowds and traveling with a small baby.  But the weather was beautiful and we had a good time.

The Margaret Mitchell House - apparently she called it "the dump".  Looks pretty nice to me!

The Margaret Mitchell House – apparently she called it “the dump”. Looks pretty nice to me!

On the second day of our trip, we decided to go back into the city and tour the home of Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone with the Wind) and the Botanic Garden.  Both of these sounded interesting, so me, Big Daddio, Jordan and the baby started out (somewhat early) in the morning – well, I guess it was closer to the afternoon.  We hopped on the MARTA and took the 15 minute ride to the Mid-Town station.  This was one of the trips that I mentioned yesterday as being very full of boisterous basketball fans.  This kind of thing can be fun, but not quite so much when you’re trying to push a stroller with a 6-week old baby.  I wasn’t unhappy to get off that packed train.

We didn't really drink any beer at the Hudson Grille, but look at all the options!

We didn’t really drink any beer at the Hudson Grille, but look at all the options!

We walked a couple of blocks to the Margaret Mitchell house (here’s a link for more information: http://www.margaretmitchellhouse.com/).  I’m including a picture of this historic landmark, but I have to be honest and say that we never made it inside.  By the time we got there, we decided we were hungry and the baby needed to be fed and changed.  This is why you don’t get too much sightseeing done with a baby (and Big Daddio).  We went to a restaurant billed as “the best sports bar in Atlanta” – called the Hudson Grille.  The food was good, but it was a probably a little too bar-y for a baby.  The basketball fans (you just couldn’t get away from  them this weekend!) all seemed to be having a good time.

Piedmont Park - a beautiful place and we ALMOST made it to the Botanic Garden

Piedmont Park – a beautiful place and we ALMOST made it to the Botanic Garden

After that rather long stop, we walked on to the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  Well, kind of.  It was a pretty long walk and both the baby and Big Daddio started to get kind of tired and cranky.  So we actually only made it to Piedmont Park, which is apparently adjacent to the Botanic Gardens.  The park was very nice and lots of people were out with their kids and dogs, which was no surprise because it was sunny and 75 degrees.

I would have liked to have seen the Botanic Gardens.  They sound really interesting and I’ve included the link here:  www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org/.  If you go to Atlanta and don’t have a small baby and a tired, hot husband I would recommend giving it a try!

So that is the story of our day of sightseeing.  Even though it didn’t go just as planned, it was a good time and we saw some interesting things!

Day 95: Fun in Atlanta – A really nice hotel and lots of good shopping

I love this little inspirational thought on my hotel mirror!

I love this little inspirational thought on my hotel mirror!

Vacationing in Atlanta with my kids and granddaughter is really fun.  REALLY FUN!  I can walk down the hall any time I want and get the baby. It doesn’t hurt that we are staying in a really nice hotel called the Le  Meridian Perimeter.  As I mentioned yesterday,  this is on the north side of Atlanta and about 20 minutes from downtown by MARTA.  But I actually think that’s a good thing because we’re not right in the middle of all the craziness, although there’s quite a few basketball fans here, too.

I loved this hotel!

I loved this hotel!

Another nice spot in the hotel - I couldn't resist taking a picture.

Another nice spot in the hotel – I couldn’t resist taking a picture.

The hotel is really artistic and kind of modern.  We have a large suite with a table large enough to host Thanksgiving!  I tried to get some good pictures, but this whole experience has convinced me that I need to get a better camera, especially if I’m going to do “travel blogging”!  There are some real disadvantages to using my phone.  I have been using Big Daddio’s new I-Phone but even that’s not so great.

I think this was called the library, but we never went in.

I think this was called the library, but we never went in.

One of the things we really liked about our stay was the “Lounge” right down the hall from us.  It was a large room with lots of couches, TVs, computers and best of all – Food!  They had a nice little buffet breakfast in the morning and a little cocktail hour from 5-9 in the evening.  You could stop in any time and get beverages and small snacks, like yogurt and power bars.  We spent quite a bit of time in that lounge and got to know the attendant pretty well – we were there for 4 nights!  She even gave Big Daddio a hug when we left.  I guess he made a pretty big impression!

We had a great time shoe and baby shopping in this Neiman Marcus.

We had a great time shoe and baby shopping in this Neiman Marcus.

Our first stop of the trip was to a nearby mall to go to Neiman Marcus.  We figured it was just about time for the baby to go on her first official shopping trip.  Of course she spent most of the time sleeping in her stroller while her mom and I oohed and ahhed over all the cute baby clothes.  We also spent a lot of time in the shoe department, while Big Daddio pushed the stroller around.  He claimed that it was a “chick magnet”.

I loved all the beautiful flowers  - so nice to see this time of year!

I loved all the beautiful flowers – so nice to see this time of year!

I’ve included a link for the hotel, just in case you’re interested in a nice place to stay.  I can highly recommend this one!  Here is the link: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3846.