We trust our friend, JoAnn Carr, implicitly when it comes to arranging mystery trips. This time she said there’d be great food and wonderful gardens and several other surprises. We were in!
On Tuesday morning we met the bus at 8:30 am on the north side of Indy. Before we left the parking lot JoAnn had us all guess where we were going to go. I guessed Petoskey, MI and Connie guessed Saugatuck, MI. We were basing our guesses on the fact that the first stop for the bus was the south side of Indy AND the weather forecast JoAnn had provided. We were right about north but wrong about Michigan. Out of the St. Luke’s parking lot and east toward Meridian. North on Meridian. Then, WEST on 465. Obviously it wasn’t the east or middle of Michigan. North on 65. It wasn’t until we went west on the Toll Road that we knew we were both wrong. At that point everyone started speculating about where in Wisconsin we might be going.
First stop. Chicago Botanical Gardens. Talk about stunning! This was our lunch break and it was perfect. In fact, it was Connie’s favorite stop of the trip. He loved the bonsai exhibit. I loved the English walled garden. And, we both loved our lunch. We split a veggie sandwich and a honey roasted barbecue brisket sandwich.
Back on the bus and northward. JoAnn tells us it’s time for dessert but we’re going to have to work for it. We wend our way through a little commercial area and get off the bus at a candy store and factory in Graysline, IL. There each of us gets a slab of toffee. We’re going to get dark or milk chocolate and toppings and get to adorn our toffee. That was LOADS of fun. And, a great dessert too!! Next door was a winery. A herd of siblings own it and each has their own wine. I chose a Vigonier and the gal helping us was so excited because it’s HER wine. LOL.
Our sugar fix taken care of, we meandered back to the bus. From there we headed to Lincolnshire and the Marriott resort. Connie and I got a lovely room on the third floor. We had a view of the lake that was lovely. About an hour later it was time to head to dinner. A place called Dover Straights. Dinner was quite nice. A roasted pepper soup, salad, then your choice of steak, chicken marsala, salmon or fried shrimp. Then, a choice of desserts. The twice baked potato was every bit as good as Mom’s. And, Connie’s fried shrimp were amazing. After dinner one of the owners sang. He was pretty darned good!
Back to the hotel and just enough time to try and sleep. Except I’d forgotten to ask housekeeping for a blanket and was stuck with the puff. I hate those things. They’re just way too warm. Particularly since I have my own personal heating unit sleeping next to me!
After a quick breakfast at the hotel – and a yummy omelet – we were back in the bus. Trekking across all kinds of country roads to the San Filippo estate. They’re the folks who own Fisher Nuts. Jasper and Marian and the original couple. He collects just about anything that makes music. There’s an organ with 5000 pipes. Gramophones You name it, he’s got it. We got a glimpse into the lower floor too. Loads of gambling equipment. I have no clue whose collection that is! Then, eldest son Jeffrey and his family have moved in. And, Jeffrey collects items related to perfume. So, now there’s a gallery about perfume. And, another entire building with a carousel, three train cars and more musical items.
Three hours later our brains were stuffed with information and our eyes had soaked in so much beauty that it became clear that stop was the highlight of the trip. On to lunch. At a place called Chessies. Connie had fabulous tilapia. I had chicken parmesan that was just ok. The peppercorn ranch dressing was some of the best I’d ever had! And, the service was stellar.
From lunch we headed to a place called Wandering Tree. Lovely gardens and a fun miniature railroad set up. The Japanese garden had a couple of great water features. As did the rest of the gardens. Connie loves to have his photo taken with his hand in water. Needless to say we got a lot of photos of him!
After that we headed to a chocolate factory. Except the factory was shut down for the day and we were only going to get to hit the discount store. Which was less than exciting. Particularly since there was no winery next door! Back on the bus to the hotel. We had about half an hour before it was time to get back on the bus for dinner. And, then, I got the text. The text that said there was once again water in our basement. I looked on the radar and there was lots more rain heading toward Indy. We had a choice. Risk more flooding or take a taxi to O’Hare, rent a car and drive back a day early. We chose to not take a risk with the house. About midnight we got to the house and Connie headed to the basement. DRY! We decompressed with a glass of wine and headed to bed about 2am. With the alarm set for 3am to check yet again. DRY! We were in the clear! Obviously, what the landscaping guy had done with the grade in the back had stopped a good part of the flooding. Now, we needed the fellow working on the downspouts to finish his thing. Which he has now done. WHEW!