Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Inspiring Picnic Spot of the Week: Caldwell Lily Pool in Lincoln Park, Chicago

Strong, early autumn storms are visiting much of the nation this week, but just behind them are the last tender morsels of summer clear skies and temperatures in the low-to-upper 70's, assembling themselves as the last course in a seasonal feast. Our advice is to hunt-or-gather up some favorite picnic fare, pick a choice spot, then head directly there as soon as weather permits. The last slice of summer is the most delicious.

Nestled in the vastness of  a lush public green and surrounded by high walls, Caldwell Lily Pool in Lincoln Park, Chicago is just one such spot our inspiring picnic spot of the week. The entrance is so subtle that many miss it, but if you walk to the Fullerton underpass (toward the beach) and spot a small, subtle Japanese gate, you'll know you're on the right track. Once past the gate, American White Birch, Hawthorne, and ornamental crabapple trees line your path each used in sequence to draw your eye to the central structure, poised stag-like at the water's edge.

Magical, silent, holy. These are some of the words visitors use to describe Architect Alfred Caldwell's
tribute to the Prairie School style and mentor, Frank Lloyd Wright.  Horizontal lines were thought to evoke the native prairie landscape and Caldwell's large, stone slabs meet seamlessly with their surroundings creating perfect, sun-warmed platforms for spreading out a blanket and reading a book or enjoying simple repast of fruits, nuts, cheese, bread, and wine. When you're finished, butterflies, dragonflies, and over 200 species of birds will be there to escort you gently into the new and cooler season.

If you happen to be in Northern California, the J Terrace, too, is an elegant and pastoral place to soak in the late September sun. Sitting on our warm patio near a gently flowing creek you'll share a platter of peak season foods accompanied by carefully selected J wine pairings. Click here for cost and reservation information. 
Lincoln Park Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, Fullerton Pkwy and Cannon Drive Chicago, IL 60689 
J Terrace at J Vineyards & Winery 11447 Old Redwood Highway  Healdsburg, CA 95448

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