Chicago (Again)

I think I mentioned that both of my daughters lived in Chicago.  Our youngest graduated this past weekend from DePaul with her masters degree.  Of course, we had to go up and celebrate this big event.  Here are some pictures of our fun times in Chicago.  Many thanks to my sister and her husband, June and Bill, our friend, Carol and our daughter’s boyfriend, Dan for joining us in our celebration.

We had a great weekend and she moved back to Cincinnati so we will be seeing her a bit more now!


We went to Chicago over Easter weekend this year.  It just happened that Loyola basketball was in the final four championship game.  They were a number 11 seed that made it to the final four.  Sadly, they lost that game, but we all figured that the 98 year old chaplain, Sister Jean, was the reason that they made it that far:)

Our girls bought us tickets to see the show Hamilton.  I’ve heard so many good reviews on this show and was really excited to see it.  It was really great and my girls, who had seen it multiple times already, said that it was one of the best performances that they had seen.  I am not a history buff, but this show was very good and between my girls and my husband they filled me in on any history that I needed to know.  It is such a great show so if you get a chance to see it in your city, I would recommend that you go.

Frank Lloyd Wright had quite a number of homes in the Oak Park area so we went there one day and did a walking tour of that area.  Here are just a few pictures of his houses.  They are incredible.

While in the Oak Park area, we found Two Brothers Brewery and ate lunch there.  It was very good and they also have a coffee and tea bar.

We went to Easter Sunday mass at the Cathedral downtown.  I believe the name was the Holy Name Cathedral.  It was a beautiful church.

Of course, we had to have Easter brunch at one of my favorite gluten free restaurants, Wheat’s End.  What’s an Easter brunch without mimosas??

I’m going to end this post with a lego picture of the Chicago skyline.  I just cannot imagine the amount of hours that went into creating this.


We go to Nashville a lot as we really like going there and listening to the music.  This time was a little different in that we had a concert that we wanted to see at the Ryman.  Tony Bennett was singing there and we figured that he might not be touring after this year as he is currently 91 years old.  He did not disappoint us.  He sang for an hour and a half straight through without an intermission.  He was really good and sang all his popular songs.  I did get one fairly good picture of him.

We also went back to the Nashville Palace as we really enjoy the acts that they have there.  We listened to a sister duo that was very good on their own.  There was a couple of fiddle players in the audience that they knew so they all came up on stage with them and performed.  It was pretty awesome to hear.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Nashville without stopping by the places that we always like to visit while in the area.

We visited a roof top bar and took some nighttime shots of the skyline.  The pictures are a little grainy.

While we were away, Cincinnati did get quite a bit of snow.  We didn’t run into any down in Nashville, but did on the ride home.  I don’t think we saw the picture below until we hit Louisville.

Hilton Head

Ok; you can all see that we love to take some goofy pictures, but we sure know how to have fun doing it.  We had a great time in Hilton Head and it was so much fun with these ladies.

I’ve traveled to many places over the years, but I have to say you cannot find a more beautiful sunrise than on Hilton Head.  Below are the many pictures that I took over several morning walks along the beach.  I hope you enjoy seeing them all and I apologize for posting so many, but one was more beautiful than the other and I’m not talking about my photography, but the sunrise itself.


I’m obsessed with taking sunrise pictures as you can see:)  Hilton Head is a beautiful place to go visit.  I wouldn’t suggest going during their season as it gets really crowded, but we went in February and it was so nice.


Hilton Head – Daufuskie Island

We had never been to Daufuskie Island, but since we heard it was nice we decided to take a boat over to the island and explore.  Luckily for us, there was a nice man on the ferry over to Savannah that had been to Daufuskie the day before so he gave us some tips that were very helpful.  We had rented a golf cart to drive around the island.  Here’s a picture of us in the cart.

Here’s a picture of the roads we traveled on.  It was a fun but bumpy ride as most of the roads were gravel or dirt roads.

Our first stop was at the church in the picture below.

Our next stop was at school grounds coffee, but sadly they had taken off for the weekend so we could not taste their coffee, but we took a picture there anyway.

One of the tips that the nice man told us about was to bring our own lunch.  They do have one restaurant on the island, but it gets a bit crowded.  We were very glad we listened to this tip as we brought cheese, crackers, grapes and other munchies and stopped at the lighthouse/winery.  They were not making wine yet at the winery and only had a few vines, but they did have some wine there and the lady was very accommodating to us and let us eat our lunch on the back porch of the lighthouse.  We also bought a bottle of wine so that might be why, but it was so much fun and such a nice day to spend there relaxing, drinking wine and eating our lunch.

Our next stop after lunch was to go to the beach and walk.  We all enjoyed just walking along the shore.

We did manage to get lost after this stop, but we eventually found our way back to the General Store and waited for our boat to take us back to Hilton Head.  This was such a fun side trip and if you get to Hilton Head, you should look into taking the boat across to this island.

Join me next week as I finished up with our trip to Hilton Head.

Hilton Head – Savannah

We decided to take the boat that leaves from the Hilton Head pier to go to Savannah.  Last year, we drove over, but this year we thought we’d try going on the boat across.  It was a fun trip over.  We sat with another couple who had made this trip multiple times.  It was about an hour and a half ride, but it went pretty fast.

Savannah is such an interesting city to visit.  However, because we had traveled by boat, we only had a few hours so we didn’t have much of a chance to see the city.  We did explore more of it last year and it is a coastal Georgia city that is separated from South Carolina by the Savannah River. It’s known for manicured parks, horse-drawn carriages and interesting architecture. Its historic district is filled with cobble-stoned squares and parks that are shaded by oak trees covered with Spanish moss. At the center of this district is the landmark, Gothic-Revival Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist.  I don’t have a picture from this cathedral as we did not get to see it on this trip, but we did see it last year and it is so worth the time to visit it.  Below is a picture of the trees with all the Spanish moss hanging from it.

This was more of a shopping trip for us then sightseeing and there are two shops that we always visit.  One of them is Marché de Macarons as I love macarons and they are gluten free and very delicious.  Here is a colorful picture of their display case.

After stopping by at Marché de Macarons and sampling some of their macarons, it was on to our next favorite store and that is Kendra Scott.  The last time we were at the Savannah store, they  gave us all champagne, but sadly this time that was not the case.  However, we all left there with some of their jewelry.  Since we were running out of time, we decided to head to eat some lunch and then went back to the boat for our relaxing trip back to Hilton Head.  Next week we will visit Daufuskie Island.

Hilton Head

I’m going to take another detour from my walking Cincinnati posts and take you all back to Hilton Head.  This past weekend I went on a girls weekend and we all had a blast.

The picture above is of the lovely ladies that I went with on this weekend trip.  Two of them are my sisters and one is a very good friend who had never been to Hilton Head before.  We had a good time showing her the sights.

We all love to walk on the beach and the two pictures above were birds that I saw along my walk.  Below is a picture of the view from the condo.

We took a boat over to Savannah one day and next week I’ll take you along with us as we shop our way through Savannah.

Walking in Cincinnati – Bellevue

Ok; so Bellevue is not in Cincinnati, but the walking in Cincinnati book takes us around Northern Kentucky as well as Cincinnati so this was the walk we picked this week.  Bellevue is a quaint city on the Ohio River in the most northern tip of Kentucky.  The name Bellevue translates from French as “beautiful view” and we did see some beautiful views of the Ohio River with the city of Cincinnati in the background.

This walk starts and ends at the Party Source which is a liquor and party supply store where you can buy almost every type of alcohol around.   As we started our walk, we came across a couple of murals.

There are lots of little shops and restaurants in Bellevue that you walk past so if you’re hungry or want to stop and shop there are lots of opportunities to do so.  The walk took us down to the Bellevue Beach Park which is where I took the beautiful view of the Ohio River that I referred to above.

This walk took us to an iron footbridge that is one of only two iron footbridges remaining in Kentucky.  At the base is a firemen’s memorial.

We passed by the former St. Anthony Church complex.  The grade school is now housing for the elderly, but the rectory continues to serve as a rectory. Below is a picture of the courtyard at the rectory.

As we finished up this walk, we came across the cutest little bed and breakfast called the Weller Haus.  It is also an event center.  We just all fell in love with this place and below are several pictures we took while there.

That was the end of this walk, but since we were all hungry we stopped at Buckheads to eat lunch.  My niece, Christina, joined us.

Join me next week as we continue walking around Cincinnati.

Walking in Cincinnati – East Walnut Hills

Here is the map of the walk that we took.  It is an easy 3.8 mile walk that starts in the Village of Woodburn or East Walnut Hills.  East Walnut Hills is home to some impressive mansions.  There is a lot off Woodburn Avenue that you can park in.  The walk starts in front of the Gothic St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.

This walk took us past a number of beautiful homes.  As you can see from the pictures I took below, these homes were very interesting and we had a difficult time deciding which one we liked best.

This walk takes you through the O’Bryonville business district which has lots of small historic buildings that house specialty stores, restaurants and galleries.  It’s worth visiting BonBonerie Fine Pastries, Ten Thousand Villages and Kisment to name a few of the shops that you find there.  We stopped at the BonBonerie for some cookies and shopped at some of the stores.  It was a fun and easy walk to do.

Join me next week as we continue our walking through Cincinnati.

Sonoma and Napa – Wine Country, California

I am going to take a small detour from my walking Cincinnati posts, but will come back next week with another walk.

We’ve been to the Napa area many times, so this time when we decided to visit wine country; we thought we’d try some of the wineries in Sonoma.  We stayed at the Inn at Sonoma.  It is another Four Sisters Inn facility.  We’ve stayed a number of times at the Four Sisters Inns and have not been disappointed.  This one lived up to what we’ve come to expect from their properties.  They offer a full breakfast every morning as well as wine and cheese every evening.

The town of Sonoma is rather small and has many restaurants and shops.  We heard about a hike to see the view of Sonoma so since we are big walkers, we decided to do the hike one morning.  The hike is a two mile hike called the Sonoma Overlook Hike and while it is fairly easy as far as hikes go, it does have some elevation.  Below are a couple of pictures we took along the way.

We decided one day to drive to Bodega Bay.  Bodega Bay is only about an hour outside of Sonoma and is a quaint, ocean side little community perhaps best known for being where they filmed Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds.  Below is the church from one of the scenes in the movie.

We did visit a few wineries while in Sonoma.  Some of our favorites were Ledsons, St. Francis, Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, and Domaine Carneros.

They were all wonderful, but I believe our favorite was the Domaine Carneros which are the pictures right above.  They have some wonderful sparkling wines and have a white pinot noir.

We took a side trip to Santa Rosa which is home to Russian River Brewing Co.  This was a must see on my husband’s list of places to visit and I think he was very happy to sample a few of their beers.

We decided to drive back into Napa to visit some our favorite wineries from when we visited there in the past.  We really enjoy going to V Sattui Winery  since they have a nice market place.  So we bought some cheese and a nice bottle of their wine and ate lunch in their picnic area.  It was a beautiful day the day we stopped by so we just enjoyed the wine and the beautiful scenery.

We wanted to go to Sterling Winery since they have a tram that takes you up to their facility.  It is nice because their tasting room has lots of window in it and has a wonderful view.  However, they had lost power that day and we could not go but if you are in that area, make sure to include a stop there.

We did do a very nice cave tour at Beringer Winery.  It ended up being a private tour because it was toward the end of the day and mid-January so there were not many people visiting that day.  I wish I had taken some picture of the cave area, but I did not.  The wines we were given to taste were very nice.

We did a tasting at Silverado Winery in the Stags Leap District that was very good.  That’s their patio below which on a pretty day would be nice to sit at.  It was rainy the day we visited.

The last winery we visited was Robert Mondavi.  We did a tour there that was great and the wines that we tasted were very good.  Below are a couple of pictures that I took while on that tour.  Our guide was very excited about us being able to see the “t” shaped vines as this is the only time of year you can see that.

We had a great time in Sonoma and really enjoyed going to some different wineries.  Since we were flying out of San Francisco, we decided stop by Muir Woods on our way into that area.  We’ve been to Muir Woods many times and I would highly recommend going to see the redwoods if you are in the area.  Be warned though that they now require you to have a paid reservation before allowing you to park here.  We didn’t see this on the website and since there is no cell service at the park and since the only way to get this paid reservation was to go online; we had to drive three miles to the Muir Woods Beach and walk out on the beach in order to get reception, get on the website and pay.  It was kind of funny, but it is worth the effort.

Sorry for the rather lengthy post, but I had quite a lot of pictures that I wanted to post here.  Also, poor yapping cricket is not in any of these pictures as I was too lazy to add her to all these pictures, but she’ll be back next week again when I get back to the walking in Cincinnati book.