200 Things To Do In Illinois – Ravinia

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018.  To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities.  With the state still shut down due to the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We kick things off with one of the entries from the Culture category: Ravinia, from Highland Park, IL.

 

The oldest outdoor music festival in North America draws 600,000 listeners each summer – many touting picnic baskets, blankets, and lawn chairs to stake their claim on the manicured grounds of the 36-acre park.

Performers across a panoply of musical genres have graced the pavilion stage at this summer crib of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Ravinia is a summer tradition for people on the North Shore.  Growing up on the south side, it really didn’t enter my consciousness at all, at least until I started working up north after college.  Even then, I managed to avoid going for 20 years.  Until Garbage and Blondie came to town in 2017 for their Rage and Rapture Tour.  This was my 6th Garbage show, and the first outdoors.  Shirley Manson and the boys did not disappoint, putting together a strong set and overcoming a crowd that seemed more interested in sitting down and relaxing than rocking out.  We abandoned the pavilion for Blondie’s portion of the show, roaming the grounds before eventually heading back to the train for the ride back in to Chicago.  I’m sure I’ll go back again someday, but nothing has drawn me up north just yet.

Hail Hail To Old Purdue

Friday night, I got a phone call that brightened my day.  After much deliberation, Danny had decided that he will be attending my alma mater, Purdue University, in the fall.  We’ve made numerous trips down to West Lafayette over the years, for football and basketball games and, most recently, for a campus visit.

Assuming he joins the band, there will probably be many more trips over these next four years and in increase in football game attendance.


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200 Things To Do In Illinois – Chicago Sports Museum

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018.  To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities.  With the state still shut down due to the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We continue things this week with one of the entries from the Sports category: Chicago Sports Museum, from Chicago, IL.

Take a break from the sport of shopping to check out this museum on the seventh floor of Water Tower Place.  Peruse an impressive collection of Cubs 2016 World Series memorabilia, including Grandpa Rossy’s Game 7 catcher’s gear.

All of the city’s major sports teams are represented in interactive exhibits and virtual reality games, where you can shoot hoops with Scottie Pippen and do a quarterback challenge with Richard Dent.

On July 5, 2018, the family headed down to the city to see Heartbreak Hotel at the Broadway Playhouse.  Before the show, we ate dinner at Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch, which is connected to the Chicago Sports Museum on the 7th level of Water Tower Place.  While there were some interesting pieces in the museum, including Steve Stone’s Cy Young Award and Sammy Sosa’s corked bat, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a must-do attraction.  If you’re looking to kill time while in the mall, sure, but it isn’t somewhere I feel the need to visit again.

200 Things To Do In Illinois – Superman

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018.  To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities.  With the state shutting down tonight due to the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We kick things off with one of the entries from the Oddities category: Superman, from Metropolis, IL.

DC Comics proclaimed this small town with a big statue the official home of Superman in 1972, and Metropolis isn’t about to let you forget it.  A 15-foot-tall bronze Man of Steel overlooks Superman Square, where you’ll also find the Super Museum packed with toys and props, amassed by Superman super fan Jim Hambrick.  This town on the banks of the Ohio River – from here, you can practically throw a chunk of Kryptonite into Kentucky – hosts an annual four-day Superman Celebration.

My one trip to Metropolis occurred in 2015, as part of a Mother’s Day Elvis trip.  On our way home from Tupelo, Mississippi, we decided to make a detour towards Metropolis, IL to see the symbolic home of Superman and, at least according to the travel guide we picked up at a rest station along the way, the world’s largest Dippin’ Dots store.  Sadly, the Dippin’ Dots store had closed and was replaced by a gift shop filled with DC merchandise and a cooler in the corner that did supply said Dippin’ Dots.  In the center of town, we found the giant Superman statue and posed for pictures.  We decided against going through the museum, which was probably the correct call.

20 (and 45)


In a surprise development, Angelina and I spent our birthday together last year, spending the day in St. Louis thanks to Danny’s band competition.  This picture of us was taken just minutes before the end of our birthday as the competition wrapped up at he Dome at America’s Center and we were getting ready to go out and “celebrate” with a late night dinner at a dive diner, which went about as well as you can imagine.

The Loss Of A Legend

On Monday, Stan Lee, the father of the Marvel Universe, passed away at the age of 95.  Through his work with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others, Lee created or co-created Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil and Ant-Man, among countless other characters, and catapulted Marvel from a tiny venture into the world’s No. 1 publisher of comic books and, eventually, a multimedia giant.

Beginning in 1985, with the final issue of a TransFormers limited series that would eventually run 80 issues, through 2007’s One More Day story arc that concluded in Amazing Spider-Man 545, the worlds created by Lee provided 22 years of entertainment in comic book form and many more since thanks to the cinematic versions.  His loss will be felt for years to come.