Each September, Labor Day comes and goes, students return to school, college football gears up for another season, and we return to Chicago for the International Casual Furniture Market. And so it is that I have the opportunity to visit the Windy City once again at the very best time of year to view what’s new in the world of outdoor living.
I have family history in Chicago so it is always a treat to visit the place where my parents met and married. The city where they, and other family members, worked and played, and walked the same streets I walk each morning and evening on my way to and from the stately and imposing Merchandise Mart.
The weather is comfortable and, usually, sunny, with crisp, dry air that is too good to pass up to a taxi ride. We walk everywhere in this walkable city and get a good bit of exercise as we take in the sites and sounds and wonder if parents, aunts, uncles, and grand parents saw the same things we see today. The Allerton Hotel, one of the first places my father worked when he began his long career in the restaurant industry, still sits on Michigan Avenue with its neon light advertising the Tip-Top Tap Room.
A fun treat is a tour of the city by boat. I always enjoy the architectural boat tours along the Chicago River which winds through the old part of the city and smells of chocolate from Bloomer Chocolate Company. The stories and history of the city are presented by members of the historical society and they have interesting tales to tell which you don’t get from a guide book.
Choosing a place to eat dinner is a highlight of our trip but also a disappointment that we only have a few nights and there are so many restaurants to choose from. Should we return to an old favorite or try one of the new restaurants that is the new “in” place to dine? With the weather as perfect as it can be, a restaurant that offers outside dining always scores high on our list of preferences.
With so much to see and do in Chicago, it’s easy to forget that we are in town on business, with lots of work to do—reviewing and selecting styles for next year’s line-up of outdoor furniture that we will bring to our customers in Columbia. So, here’s a sneak peak of some of the Outdoorlicious! things we saw.