Kiddo Travel & My Visit to the 19th Ward

This is an early morning post because Jeff & I are heading to Summerfest in Milwaukee (embracing the travel theme, I guess) for the day. Trying to find the upside of unemployment…

Today’s travel tip comes from my friend, Kerry, who is a mom to an adorable little boy. I have to rely on the moms for the family travel and fun tips! This one, though, is good even if you don’t have kids but want to be a kid at heart. The site Go City Kids gives parents (and non-parents) suggestions for things to do when visiting a new city or even your own city! The link above takes you to the Chicago page so that you can see how a city page is laid out. To visit a different city, here is the link to the general page. Go City Kids highlights upcoming activities like festivals and museum exhibitions as well as restaurants and classes. What I really like is that Go City Kids also gives an age range for each location – very important to parents. In fact, you can even search for places based on age (great for those with the pre-teens!). When I perused the site, I found that Go City Kids had a diverse selection of places and nice details for parents (and non-parents!). Check it out.

50 Wards by 50 Alderman: Day One
Yesterday I began my 50 Wards adventure. As I said earlier, I emailed all 50 Alderman to ask for their suggestions for where to visit in each ward. So far, only about 10 Alderman have replied but that is enough to start the adventure!

My first ward visit was to the 19th Ward which is down in Beverly (for a detailed map, click here). Alderman Virginia Rugai oversees this ward and she provided me with a fun and beautiful tour of her ward. Jeff and I began our tour with lunch at Top Notch Burgers (after an “interesting” drive to the 19th ward – I have now seen the end of the red line…) which looks like a typical diner but has super yummy burgers and super nice servers! I had a turkey burger that was delicious but Jeff’s beef burger was the the winner (although I’m not sure I’m up to eating a whole beef burger yet). If you’re heading to Beverly, a stop at Top Notch is worth the trip. Alderman Rugai’s also recommended Cafe 103 for lunch which we considered but we saw that Top Notch had been on Check Please and got great reviews.

After some fuel (and finding a police three-wheeler on the sidewalk by our car – only in the 19th ward?), we hit the rest of the tour. The 19th ward has absolutely beautiful homes along Longwood Drive as well as historic bungalows on Walter Burley Griffin Place (many designed by Walter Burley Griffin who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright – do you think Frank made Walt use three names, too?). Since rain could arrive at any moment, we made the houses a drive by and headed to the Irish castle!

Yes, there is an Irish Castle at 103rd & Longwood (now it’s a Unitarian Church)! While there, we met a caretaker who told us the brief history of the castle. The castle was built by an Irish immigrant who wanted to impress his girlfriend and persuade her to marry him. She did marry him and they lived in the castle for many years. After that, another family lived there and then the castle became a school. While it was a school, a young girl who was boarding there died on pneumonia and now haunts the castle! The caretaker told us that he knows a man who was raised in the house after it was a school (after the school, it again became a private home and then the church that it is now), and he has seen the ghost and so has the man we met!

If you have not been to the 19th ward, it’s worth the trip. I’d go back on a sunny day so that I could enjoy the beautiful walk on Longwood and I’d definitely hit Top Notch Burgers again!

We have to hit the road so I’ll add the photos tomorrow!


One comment

  1. The burgers sound great. If anyone has room left for dessert, try Rainbow Cone on Western Avenue at 92nd Street. yum.

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