Thursday, July 23, 2015

Midwestern Summer Trip

Merrillville, Indiana 

This summer we took a week's vacation through Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri.
On our way to Chicago, Illinois we stopped at the Albanese Candy Factory.
It was pretty awesome with every type of candy imaginable.
Aubrey would of died and gone to heaven with their assortment of gummy candy.
I couldn't stop looking at all the different kinds of chocolates, most of them hand dipped on-site.
They even had a chocolate fountain pole coming down from the ceiling,
and every combination of chocolate turtle and nut-cluster.

And of course, every kind of candy by the bulk. 
Even with all this to choose from, I went with an old-time favorite, cinnamon bears! They even had cinnamon gummy bears that really packed a punch!

Chicago, Illinois

Driving into downtown Illinois with views of Wrigley Field.
Years ago Brad and I saw Wicked at the Oriental Theater in Chicago, but we didn't have time to see any other sites of the city.
So this trip I wanted to spend at least a day in downtown Chicago. Famous Chicago skyline including Heritage and Legacy buildings at Millennium Park, Two Prudential Plaza, Smurfit-Stone Building and Aon Center.
We should have been a little more prepared with descent walking shoes and rain ponchos, but luckily it didn't rain too hard (Randolph Tower and North Michigan Avenue in the distance). 
The first place we walked through was beautiful Lincoln Park on the outskirts of the city.
Our first stop was Taste of Chicago, or the "world's largest food festival" held five days every summer in Grant Park (Metropolitan Tower and CNA Plaza in the background). 
I don't know which was more entertaining, the people watching or food tasting.
Merinda enjoying her taste of Pad Thai Noodles from "Star of Siam".
Other tastes we chose were pulled pork sliders from "Miller's Pub", mustard-fried catfish from "BJ's", Chicago-style hot dogs from "Gold Coast Dogs", steak tacos from "Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill", and Italian Watermelon Ice from "Franco's Ristorante". 
Blake, Josie, and Family also spent a day in Chicago, and met us at Grant Park.
They went to the Art Institute of Chicago, something I chose not to do, only because I knew I would need to spend at least a day there (maybe someday I'll go, and also visit the Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, and Oriental Institute Museum with someone who is as nerdy as I am).

Brad looking at North Michigan and Willoughby Tower buildings.

Our next stop - Millennium Park.
The girls and I had fun looking at the city buildings and our own reflections 
 in "Cloud Gate" or the Bean, as everyone calls it.
Interesting sculptures were dotted throughout the park.
Huge images of Chicagoan's faces periodically changed and poured water out of their mouths at Crown Fountain.
Petrillo Music Shell's sound system was architecturally amazing. Many concerts, including Blues and Jazz festivals, take place there. 
Frisbee was the main form of entertainment while we were there. 
What made the parks so picturesque was the unique city skyline as a backdrop, and Lake Michigan in the forefront. 

Along Lake Michigan there were plenty of trails, where the locals ran or walked, and where tourists rented bikes or Segways.  
We walked for miles in Burnham Park located on Chicago's Lakefront which includes beautiful beaches, 
boat harbor,
man-made islands, and lighthouses,
meadows and natural areas, bird sanctuaries, play fields, and even a skate park.

View of Lake Point Tower.
By this time we were pretty hungry from all the walking, and were ready to find something to eat at Navy Pier
Navy Pier includes 50 acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants, 150 ft Ferris wheel, historic carousel,
and......dinner at Giordano's, home of Chicago's best deep dish pizza!
(Where we met up with Blake, Josie, and kids, once again)
Our deep-dish picks...Classic Giordano's and BBQ Chicken and Bacon pizzas.
Brittney was even able to find something that agreed with her stomach - gluten free penne with meat sauce. 
Time to work off dinner and make our way back to the city.
(Maybe Brad was tired of all the pictures of his back?)
The walk back was beautiful with clouds threatening.
Luckily, the rain held off long enough for me to take a few more pictures, 
of the historic city streets and buildings.

The very tall buildings of Wacker Drive.

Theater district and the Oriental Theater.
Michigan Avenue, shopping district and Magnificent Mile, which included the Tribune Tower,
Trump Tower, and Wrigley Building.

Nauvoo, Illinois

The next day we drove to Nauvoo, Illinois (beautiful Nauvoo Temple).
We used visit Nauvoo frequently when we lived just two hours away in Missouri, but haven't been since moving to Kentucky. 
The landscape and old buildings were as quaint as I remember. But the thing I missed the most is the quiet peaceful feeling there.

Brittney braided my hair one day,

and I loved it so much I had to take pictures from every angle,
 so we could try and replicate it again someday.
The great thing about our trip to Nauvoo is that Brad's uncle Glendon, and all his children and grandchildren were also there for a little family reunion. Brad's brothers Brian and Blake and families also came along.
Half of our lovely family, unfortunately, Aubrey and Breck had to stay home and work.
The very large Glendon Manwaring family.
Touring Carthage Jail with all of Brad's cousins, nephew's, and nieces. 
It was fun to see everyone again.
Aunt Lenay sharing stories of her ancestors who used to live in Nauvoo.
The joys of vacationing with younger kids - Brady and Antoinette hosing off their daughter after she fell in the mud.
Fun times eating with Blake's family again (they must enjoy food as much as we do!).
No trip to Nauvoo would be complete without a stop to the Fudge Shop! The ladies are making peanut butter marshmallow fudge.
Eating and visiting with family.
 Uncle Glendon and Aunt Lenay's family lived closest to Brad's growing up, so he enjoyed catching up with his favorite cousins.
Since we had done all the tours years ago, and Merinda just a few weeks earlier at youth conference, we decided to attend all the plays and performances this time around.
The young adult performers were all so talented...(missionaries performing "The Promise" at the Visitor Center).
They played instruments, 
sang and danced, 
were incredible actors and comedians,
there was nothing they could not do, and very well!
The older couple and single missionaries, Nauvoo Brass Band, and young adults, all performed in a variety show called "Sunset by the Mississippi". It was thoroughly entertaining!
We then went to the fair, with Brian and family, where young and old learned how to dance, play games, and make crafts the pioneer way.
Bagpipes serenading everyone as they entered the fairgrounds. 
It was finally time for the Nuavoo Pageant to begin. The Manwarings took up about 40 seats.
We enjoyed the pageant very much. It included the same young adult performers in addition to LDS families from all over the country.
The temple was the perfect backdrop...
especially as the sun went down.
The cast did a fabulous job.
A model of the temple was even erected
before our very eyes.
The sound system and lighting was also amazing for an outside venue.
The final scene with the real temple in the background. 
On the way back to the car I just had to take one more picture of the temple all lit up.

Keokuk, Iowa

Brad and his brother's Brian and Blake, outside our hotel in Keokuk, Iowa.

Troy, Missouri

Our next adventure occurred at our old stomping grounds in Troy, Missouri. We ate lunch with one of Brad's fellow-employee and friend Leanna Oster, 
and caught up with our old-time friends, the Anderson's.
So fun to see Mikayla, Larry, and my best buddy Manuela!
And following in tradition, 
we drove past our old house.

Saint Louis, Missouri

On to good old Saint Louis.

Such good memories of the Arch and all the places we went to, and things we did with the kids when they were young.
After going down memory lane, and visiting the Saint Louis Temple grounds, we drove to our friend's house.

Eureka, Missouri 

We had a wonderful stay with our besties the Massey's (Brianna, Alisa, and little Jack).
It was great catching up with them again!!!

South Saint Louis

Of course no trip to St. Louis would be complete without a stop to Ted Drew's frozen custard.
And who did we just happen to bump into again? Yep! Brian, Blake, and families. This was the perfect end to another wonderful vacation full of fun, food, friends, and family!!!