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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Several museum visits

After a short visit to one of Jeane's friends in the morning, it was time to say goodbye to the Hagertys after lunch Saturday. That's when Nancy and some of her family members stopped by to pick me up. We found the park area where the paddleboat left from in St Charles and got onboard. It was a one hour river cruise on the Fox River, and it was very nice. My kind of boat trip, definitely. The three-year old boy also seemed happy, especially when the motorboats pulling waterskiers went by at a high speed. Later we went to a restaurant further north to meet the rest of the family. We also handed back the youngest ones to their parents again.

Sunday we got up early and drove up to Wisconsin. It was a different kind of landscape there, farmland and quite a lot of forest. We ended up in Dodgeville because we were looking for a restaurant. We passed by a sign there that said flea market, so we located a large hall. People were selling lots of memorabilia, ornaments, old books, collectibles and a lot of junk. Managed to leave without buying anything. We had lunch at Country Kitchen in the same village. The food was great, it might even have been the best bacon cheeseburger I have ever had, actually.

In the afternoon we went to a place outside Spring Green, where the architect Frank Lloyd Wright's home was open to visitors. The only way to get access to it was to join a guided tour, so that's what we did. Mr Wright had designed several buildings in the area. We got to see Hillside and Taliesin. It was a very interesting tour, the guide was very knowledgeable and told quite a few anecdotes about the excentric and talented architect. Wright's own home Taliesin was built on the side of a hill, with a wonderful view of the rolling green hills. He had experimented with design in his home, so some of the interiors seemed unfinished or done in haste.

In the evening we checked into a motel nearby and then went to another small village to a restaurant called The Feed Mill. The chicken was very tasty.

Monday we spent most of the day at The House on the Rock, which is also in the area of Spring Green. It was another architect/builder, Alex Jordan, who designed it. The house is built around a big rock formation. Mr Jordan had an endless energy, and he kept adding on to his creation. He collected just about everything also. His home is now a museum in three parts and we saw all of it. The view from the house was great, you could see miles away. There was an enormous amount of items in the museum parts; over 200 dollhouses, the world's largest indoor carousel (he had built it himself), old weapons, music boxes of all kinds (even large orchestras that played if you inserted a token in the box), church organs, painted glass windows, sculptures, signs, Faberge eggs, Tiffany lamps, models of ships, airplanes, trains and circuses, ivory carvings, crown jewels, a huge steamship engine, curiosities and memorabilia. I have probably forgotten some things in this list - there was so much to see that it was overwhelming. Incredible place. In the evening we arrived at Nancy's sister's house outside Rockford. We were treated to a very nice chicken dinner there. We were tired and came back home later that same evening.

Tuesday (today) we started a little later. Nancy and I went to their daughter's place at noon. The three of us spent the entire afternoon at the Field Museum in Chicago with two infants and a 3 year old. The latter required two visits to the dinosaurs before he was happy about his visit. The Field Museum is a natural history museum with large halls and very many items on display. I saw the parts on gem stones, evolution and North American native peoples. Very large and informative displays, but perhaps a little boring (and dusty).

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