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September In Chicago It’s Still Summer

September In Chicago It’s Still Summer

September 1, 2023 - September 30, 2023

This entire year has been a complete whirlwind, hasn’t it? Even now, in September, excitement and adventure are all around us.  Friends and readers, please read through these activities and note that several require advance reservations, so please be prepared. Shall we begin?

This evening, Friday, September 8th, the notable jazz singer, John Vincent Mahady, is performing at one of our favorite venues, Rhaposody Theater, 1328 W. Morse Ave., https://rhapsodytheater.com. Mr. Mahady has been thrilling crowds for 45 years, and tonight we will experience the premier of his new show, “Gratitude”.  (If you can’t join us on Friday, there is another show at 2:00pm on Sunday.)

September In Chicago It’s Still Summer

It may only be Saturday, September 9th, but it’s time again to celebrate Oktoberfest, https://germanday.com/oktoberfest/. It’s happening in Lincoln Square of course, and we hope you will join us in helping our friends with German heritage celebrate. The fun and festivities start right at noon, and we’ll happily meet you at Lawrence Ave. and Western Ave. to get some great German bratwurst with sauerkraut, and a cold draft beer. I’ll order for us if you’ll find some seats at a table. Yes, it’s very good. There’s a lot to see, two big tents full of German hospitality, and even games for the kids. So, let’s stroll down Irving Park Rd., because the parade starts at 2:00pm; we don’t want to miss that! Afterward the entertainment really begins, with three bands playing, with traditional singing and dancing groups to show us how it’s really done.

This has been exhilarating, but now we’re exhausted and heading home. We’ll see you soon.

September In Chicago It’s Still Summer

Let’s take a nice road trip this weekend, yes? We’ll leave right after breakfast on Saturday, September 16th, and take a Michigan winery tour. Hickory Creek Winery, www.hickorycreekwinery.com, 750 Browntown Road, Buchanan, MI, (269) 422-1100, has great reviews, and they are less than two hours from Chicago, so let’s start here. Please?

“We do it all by hand, bucket-by-bucket. We put our hearts and souls into each bottle,” says Adam McBride, the owner and winemaker. Be sure to check the website before the trip; there are some rather unusual wines, much different than what we see at local stores. For our tasting we can choose from a flight board, or a guided tasting, in either case five choices are available. One of mine has to be “Test Pilot”, made from experimental varieties of locally grown grapes.  Don’t you like sharing sips from these different wines? They are all so delicious.

Our next stop is St. Julian, https://www.stjulian.com, 716 S. Kalamazoo St., Paw Paw. This is Michigan’s oldest and largest winery. Their wines have won thousands of awards, and they have a spectacular range of offerings, including several distilled spirits (brandy, anyone?) and ciders. So, everybody, pick the ones you want and let’s have some more wine. In looking over our choices, I see they make two different “Ice Wines”, apparently made from grapes that have been frozen before being fermented. This is new to me so I’ll have a taste of each. Wow, these are very different from our first round; perhaps a little experience is educating our palates?

Our last winery for today is 12 Corners Vineyards, www.12corners.com, 511 Phoenix St, South Haven, where we can put our newly educated palates to yet another test. Here’s another “Ice Wine”, let’s get one to compare to St. Julian’s. I love the different smells that each variety has, and yes, you too? Are you also picking up those different “fruity” and “floral” notes that each wine should have? Isn’t this new and fun?

September In Chicago It’s Still Summer

It’s about time for dinner, don’t you think? Tello Italian Bistro, 524 Phoenix St, South Haven, www.tellorc.com, is just across the street, and they have candle-lit tables along with a wonderful menu of fine Italian meals. This should properly compliment the full day of wine tasting we’ve just had.  Mmm, the lasagna is truly excellent, it has just enough “bite” and then melts in your mouth. You can taste the care that went into making this Bolognese sauce. Did you see that it takes eight hours to make? Oh goodness, what great food.

Well, let’s head to the hotel, get ourselves settled in, then we can get together to sit and chat and catch up on all the things we’re each doing when we’re not together. Have a good night’s sleep and we’ll meet for coffee in the morning.


Our first stop on the way home will be for brunch at Crane’s Pie Pantry, Restaurant & Winery, 6054 124th Ave (M-89), Fennville. Crane’s is an orchard, vineyard, winery and restaurant all rolled up into a quaint place that will make you feel as if you’ve landed in the early 1950’s. They serve breakfast on weekends until 11:30, so we have plenty of time. Coffee for me, of course, and a simple breakfast.

Have what you like, but leave room for pie and wine. The fruit pies are made from their own orchard grown fruit; all are remarkably good. How about if we share one slice each of a few of their fruit pies? Apple will be available, and their blueberry is a personal favorite. Yes, I do believe we should order a couple of wine flights and share sips; it’s all delicious, and we always take a bottle of their blueberry wine with us.

We can stop once more on the way home, at Contessa Wine Cellars, 3235 Friday Road, Colomahttp://www.contessawinecellars.com.  It’s here that Tony Peterson, a third-generation wine maker, “perfected his craft while working many years as an apprentice in his father’s winery. All the while, he dreamed of creating an experience that would incorporate the traditional art of wine making, old world charm and the very best of modern amenities. Nestled in the fertile wine growing hills of Coloma Michigan, Contessa Wine Cellars is the realization of that dream.”  In tasting these wines, sitting here outdoors, we must agree, Mr. Peterson’s dream did come true. Look out over the vineyard and surrounding farms. Beautiful, isn’t it?


Drive safely now. We’ll see you soon.

September In Chicago It’s Still Summer

Wednesday, September 20th, is a free admission evening at the Adler Planetarium, www.adlerplanetarium.org, on the Museum Campus at 1300 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr., so let’s go! Meet us there just after 4:00pm, and we will experience our solar system in exciting new ways. While basic admission is free tonight, if we want to see a sky show, or one of the other special exhibits, we’ll need tickets. Be sure to order online, in advance.

September In Chicago It’s Still Summer

The “Chicago’s Night Sky” exhibit shows how Chicago’s street lights, signs, auto headlights, and more add up to blot out all but about 35 stars when we look up at night. We’ll explore the human history of astronomical objects and show work that’s being done to minimize nighttime light pollution.

People throughout history and around the globe have envisioned shapes, pictures and constellations in the night sky. Here we can discover some of those visions, and examine the instruments used to watch the stars. The Atwood Sphere sky simulator is located in this exhibit; we can use it to see Chicago’s starry sky back in 1913.

The planetarium is always a treat, there are sky shows, genuine meteorites, and the chance to participate in ongoing research. We must be back in the Rainbow Lobby at sunset; the room comes alive as the sunlight shines through an array of prisms set in the windows, creating rainbows everywhere. It’s just beautiful.

The weather is nice and skies are clear, so before it gets dark let’s step out to the “Telescope Terrace” to see if some of the educators and volunteers are out with small telescopes.  Let’s see what we can find, OK? A whole lot of the Michigan coast (Hey, we were just there!) is clearly visible, and don’t those barges look like we could reach out and touch them?

There is so much more here, let’s just wander around and learn about whatever interesting things we find. This has been great; we’ll see you soon.

September In Chicago It’s Still Summer

Let’s make today, Saturday, September 23rd, a day that’s completely about history.  Just about noon, please be at the National Hellenic Museum, https://nationalhellenicmuseum.org, in Greektown at 333 S. Halsted St. On exhibit is “Hellenic Heads”, six large busts, each of which stands just about two meters tall.

The sculptor, George Petrides, tells us, “If you are a Greek American, it reminds you of our heritage or portions of our heritage that you should be aware of.” The heads are sculpted to bring us to the six most important periods and events in Greek history: Classical, Byzantine, War of Independence, Destruction of Smyrna, Nazi Occupation, and the present time. We’ll find more details about each piece and the entire installation here: https://linktr.ee/hellenic.heads.

Since we’re in Greektown, let’s eat at the Greek restaurant of your choice. Don’t worry, they are all excellent, and a glass of fine Greek wine will be the perfect accompaniment.  But we can’t stay too long, after all this is a full day of history, remember?

September In Chicago It’s Still Summer

At about 5:30pm, we’ll be at Chicago Architecture Boat Tours, https://architecturetourchicago.com, 465 N. McClurg Ct., because at 6:00pm the boat leaves for our River Boat Cocktail Tour. It’s the same great introduction to so much of Chicago’s defining architecture, but now we get to sip delicious cocktails while expert guides proudly “present you with an in-depth, expert architectural-based river boat tour that delves into one of the most remarkable American cities today. Known for unique, daring, and historical architectural pursuits, it’s hard to cover all of the design and building treasures that make up the Windy City today. If you’re ready to learn more about the designs, people, and innovations behind these creations, throw on your captain’s hat and get ready to cruise along the Chicago River and see what architects from around the world travel to see in Chicago.”

September In Chicago It’s Still Summer

Well, friends, this has been another wonderful day in an exciting month. We can’t wait to see what next month brings, and hope you will join us for our continuing adventures.