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Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day Festivities

MARCH 2014

What’s a trip to Chicago without a couple of Wrights, right?  With no weekend plans and a river about to be dyed green, I was left with no choice but to hop in the car and spend the weekend with Lisa in Chicago.  I knew I could easily add a couple of Frank Lloyd Wright’s to the trip, so it would be perfect.

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The St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Chicago is over the top!  The Chicago River was dyed bright green on Saturday morning–a gorgeous spectacle to behold.  The crowd arrived green and came to have fun.  It looked like a John Deere convention gone wrong.  The sunshine brought the masses out in big numbers, so the parade was difficult to see, but the people watching was top notch!

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Our post-parade, pack-on-the-fat day was filled with a fundraiser serving up a traditional Irish feast complete with giant pots of gold (candy) at every turn, followed by a stop at Gibson’s for dinner.  Our post-dinner adventures took us to an area with a heavy concentration of Irish centric pubs for an evening at an establishment known as The Lodge, where as expected, the green beer was flowing!

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Sunday was a day of a different sort.  I had some work related activities in the city, and without knowing the timing I failed to prepare my Wright schedule.  I knew I was close to The Rookery when I left Lisa’s so that is where I went first.  I arrived and parked illegally since it was Sunday morning and traffic was minimal.  I got to the door and it was locked and clearly marked that I was not welcome inside.  Boo.  Took a picture through the window and moved on because I was about to freeze to death.

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My work efforts did not require as much of my time as I expected, so when I finished I pulled out my Wright finder.  I wasn’t too far from Charnley House!  Since I had visited the Charnley in Ocean Springs, MS a week ago I knew this was the ideal choice and I seemed to recall that tours were available.  The app indicated that the1894  Robert Roloson Houses, the only FLW row houses, were quite close, so I stopped there first.  I much prefer Wright’s later work, but my recent visits to some of these earlier homes is an interesting study in the development of his skill and/or evolution of his talent.

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I jumped on Lake Shore Drive for an 11 minute trip back up to the Charnley House.  As it turns out, I had been staying just a few blocks away from it all weekend.  Forty-five minutes later I arrived.  The sign on the door indicated that tours were indeed available… yesterday.  Once again, I snapped a couple of photos, made a mental note to return and set my GPS for home.

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This trip has two lessons for me to try to remember.  Number One–If something looks interesting and fun, go do it!  That dyed green river was amazing and I didn’t have an invitation to anything that festive happening in Columbus on Saturday.  I almost didn’t go and am so glad I did!  Number Two–Prepare a little better.  It only takes a few minutes before leaving for a trip to research the Wrights and associated opportunities.  I should have been at Charnley House touring on Saturday morning and I missed out.  Next time.

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