These 3 ladies joined Bre, our friend Dana and I on my birthday trip to New Zealand back in 2008. It was stellar.
The drive up to Chicago was lovely and I listened to a couple of Janet Evanovich audio books which were highly entertaining. I got to Heather's a little before she and Dinda were due back so I walked to the train station and met up with them. I needed to add some steps for Jawbone. The weather was lovely and some of the trees were glorious. Perfect weather for walking, football and all outdoor activities.
After picking up Christine at the airport, she's from Oakland, we headed to Green Bay and stopped at Timothy O'Toole's for dinner. OMG, the veggie tacos were delicious with avocado, corn relish, black beans, baja slaw, and pico de gallo. So great. They also had a ton of beer choices which were approved by my cohorts but I'm not a beer drinker so I passed.
The drive was so nice catching up with old friends. We got to Heather's folks at about 11:30 and I called dibs on the room with no dead animals on the wall. I'm not good with dead things. ICK!!!! Heather was so gracious to give me the room that is normally hers.
In the morning I was up before everyone else so I went outside and took shots of the beautiful morning at their amazing property.
Once the others were up Christine made us pancakes and we took a tour of the Nelson quarry. It was interesting to find out about the process for making gravel, recycling concrete, blowing up stuff and some of the politics involved. There are some gigantic machines involved in making gravel.
After the tour at the quarry we headed to some other land and the sand pit. We took a mule (the ATV kind) and a 3 wheeler for a ride in some beautiful wooded land. I saw some deer, ponds, and scarlet trees. It was so lovely a little brisk but just wonderful.
Dinda discovered a few toys to add to her list of must haves.
After the tour we headed over to Packer Stadium and bought tickets to the stadium tour. Oh by the way we got tickets to the second to last tour of the day which was about 4 hours hence. It is a very popular attraction and rightfully so. At 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon Packer stadium was hopping. Tons of people milling around soaking up the green and gold. It was a sight to behold.
We headed out to lunch at a fun farm to table deli and then we checked out a beer tasting spot next door. Then we bopped across town to a cheese store just in time to see them putting away all the cheese. Heather being the gregarious person that she is convinced a lovely woman to bring out a few more samples and we tried ghost cheese made from ghost peppers. SPICY!!!! I bought some for my mom but it didn't make it home. I forgot it at Heather's. Damn, I'm sure mom would have liked it.
Back at the stadium there were less people milling around and our 6:45 p.m. tour started right on time. Bill, our tour guide, gave us a history of the Packers and I was reminded that Bart Starr was the Packer star not Johnny Unitas (you had to be there). We got to see one of the luxury boxes,
we walked through the tunnel where the Packers enter the field every game day and we even got to see the Packer head coach walk by. I didn't know it was Mike McCarthy but Heather did.
Have I mentioned she is a huge Packer fan. We got to go down to field level which was pretty amazing even for a football novice like me.
After the awesome tour we had dinner at Legends where we chowed down some fried foods and watched the Cubs lose. So sad!!!!!
Sunday started off with Heather's parents buying us breakfast, then grocery shopping for the tailgater. We left about 11:30 for the stadium and Heather had made reservations to park in one of the yards very close to the stadium. Who knew you could make reservations to park in a yard. She set up the grill and we had brats soaked in beer (I had a veggie burger), crudites, cheese and crackers.
We had a nice space in the yard with Lambeau Field in the background.
The crowd in the yard was pretty sedate except for the couple with the clown wigs.
Sedate isn't the word I would use for the crowd we saw as we strolled through the stadium parking lot.
It is so exciting to be in a crowd of folks all cheering for the same team. We got to our seats just before the Packers ran out of their tunnel and were introduced. Heather had the timing down to a tea. She's done this a few times before. We high fived a few of the folks around us and cheered and cheered and cheered as the Packers squeaked by with 20 to 27 win over the San Diego Chargers and extended their record to 6 and 0. It was a thrilling game.
Heather had to be in court Monday morning (she is a lawyer not a defendant) so we headed from Green Bay to Chicago and arrived back there very early Monday morning. Heather was out of the house before the rest of us were even stirring. Christine, Dinda, and I sat around talking most of the morning about old times and current projects and other world changing stuff. It was a great way to while away the time.
At about 11:30 we headed out for lunch at a greek pita place that was on the way to the Chicago Botanic Garden. Lunch was fine and as I ate my hummus on a home made pita I reminded Christine she had introduced me to hummus. Then off to the Garden. It was gorgeous and this is mid October. They had a vibrant veggie garden with all kinds of great fall veggies looking very tempting. The Japanese garden was breath taking and I really liked the bonsai trees they had in the atrium. There were 6 English walled gardens that would have been spectacular in the summer. Besides seeing such a beautiful place I got the added bonus of almost hitting my 10,000 step goal.
After meeting Heather at home, we dropped Christine off at the airport then ordered deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati's OMG, it was sooooo good. Heather discovered a quart of Trader Joe's dark beer in the fridge which had been in there for a while. A hostess gift from a party past. Dinda who is a dark beer aficionado was game to give it a try. She was very happy she did. We found out this 2012 beer is best aged and apparently it was perfectly aged after 3 years because Dinda drank the whole thing. Good thing she was sleeping on the sofa because she is a thin woman and that 9% alcohol hit her. She was very happy. It was fun to see.
Next morning I hit the road a little after 6 a.m. and enjoyed the lovely ride home listening to more audio books by Janet Evanovich. I could have stopped at a couple of quilt shops on the way home but after the bus trip and 11 shops in 3 days, I decided I should let the credit card rest. Got home by about 4 p.m. and was happy to be back.