Uncharted

Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Ever Wonder What You’re Walking On? October 19, 2011

This year instead of going up to Lake Geneva for my birthday as had been the traditions in previous years, I opted for something different in my own backyard. I knew I wanted to go to More for cupcakes but I need something else to compliment my favorite small tasty treats.

Scouring the Chicago’s Convention and Tourism Bureau (CCTB) website, I found lots of options. Using my favorite key word of “free”, I began my search.

Our tour guide, Jim and I with my awesome birthday present!

After scrolling through two pages on CCTB, I found the Chicago Loop Bridge tour via the Chicago’s Bridgehouse Museum. A free two hour guided tour on Saturdays of the loop bridges sounded intriguing and definitely different, so I sent an email inquiring about available options.

Jim Phillips, a volunteer with the Bridgehouse Museum, got back to me pretty much instantly. He listed a variety of choices that our tour could include. After thinking it over and running a few ideas by Kelly and Jill, I made my birthday tour decision. But you’ll have to wait a little longer to read about it!

To start off my birthday, I invited a few friends over for brunch. My friend Bethany brought over the fixings for mimosas and we made a fresh pot of coffee too for folks to enjoy. The night before, Jill helped me make the main course, a strata by Martha Stewart that turned out delightful!

With our tummies full, we headed to the loop to meet up with Jim at the Bridgehouse Museum. Our group started at the DuSable Bridge on Michigan Avenue. Jim filled us in on the basics of how drawbridges work. It was fascinating to learn about the engineering and architectural progression of Chicago’s bridges from the 1840’s up to 1984.

An example of the Beaux-Arts Bridgehouse style

We headed “down river” towards the financial district, walking over the bridges of Dearborn Street, Clark, LaSalle, Wells, Franklin, Lake, Randolph, and Washington Street. My personal favorite bridges were built between 1913 and1930, known as the “Beaux-Arts”. You can tell which bridges belong to this period by looking at the bridgehouse – if it has a non-flat roof, or it looks “fancy” and has two or four bridgehouses flanking the bridge.

Heading back up to the museum we enjoyed a ride on a Shoreline taxi. Deciding we all needed food, we checked out the new Chick-Fil-A. After Eeach ordering some tasty chicken nuggets or sandwiches, we felt rejuvenated enough to get our cupcake from More. The only problem was deciding what flavor!

I had a fabulous birthday. I learned about the bridges I’ve walked over for the past 20+ years, enjoyed a beautiful boat ride on a fall day and a cupcake with my close friends. All around win.

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