Happy Birthday Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field 100, Photo credit: Kate Gallery, Neighborhood Nomads

April 23, 2014, Washington, DC: There’s something about ballparks. Their charm and nostalgia is unrivaled by virtually all other types of gathering spaces. Today on the 100th anniversary of the opening of Chicago’s Wrigley Field, I’m especially appreciative of those old ballparks still standing in the heart of our cities, now wedged tightly into urban neighborhoods. They’re aren’t many of them left and they’ve stood there as anchors while their communities grew up around them. I recall an afternoon I spent at Wrigley several years ago, drinking a Schlitz on a snowy April afternoon, and I can’t think of anything more quintessentially Chicago.

The Chicago Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune have lovely tributes to Wrigley on their websites today. It’s evident in features like these that there’s more to it than the game, that there’s something about the place as well that brings out the collective energy of the people who gather there. The last time I was in Wrigleyville was about a year and a half ago on a drab day in the offseason. Even then, driving west on Waveland Ave. past that ancient scoreboard, the history and pull of the structure itself was palpable. I was immediately daydreaming of the next time I’d be inside, enveloped by the spirit of 100 years worth of fans and ghosts.

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The Summer of the Shared Bicycle

bikeshare dcAugust 10, 2013, Washington, DC: I am a saner person on a bicycle. There are strong arguments to be made for bicycling as a money saver, a time saver and a healthy choice, but the bottom line is that my blood boils less when I’m biking rather than driving and I actually enjoy getting from Point A to Point B. This summer more than ever before, it’s apparent there are a lot of us out there.

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The Lifecycle of Place

Chinatown Washington DC 2012May 30, 2013, Washington, DC: Have you ever lived in a city or town that is no longer alive? Are there places you remember from childhood or somewhere along the way that have simply ceased to exist? Can a place die and fade away completely or will always experience rebirth, in some form?

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Miles From Monday: Public Hotel

public hotel, chicago

“It occurs to me that I’ve spent my entire adulthood trying to integrate my travel life with my “real” life, hoping I might bridge that unbridgeable ocean between home and away. Why else would I model my apartment after far-flung hotels, if not to persuade my ideal self to come back and live with me?”

-Peter Jon Lindberg, “The Art of Bringing Hotel Design Home,” Travel and Leisure

Miles from Monday is a travel series focused on venturing out of the spaces we inhabit during our work week and retreating to landscapes that feel far from routine.

January 28, 2013, Washington, DC: On an icy morning like this one, I fantasize about not having to go anywhere. About chores and responsibilities fading away. About waking up in a luxurious hotel and rolling downstairs for hot coffee and bagels and fresh squeezed orange juice. If not for Monday’s obligations in this city miles away, I might go back there, to the Public Hotel on Chicago’s Gold Coast, and linger well into the afternoon.

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Miles from Monday: Top 10 Travels of 2012


Miles from Monday is a travel series focused on venturing out of the spaces we inhabit during our work week and retreating to landscapes that feel far from routine.

December 31, 2012, Washington, DC: A cabin in the woods. A seat in the upper deck. A familiar chair in the window at Royal Ground Coffee. Neighborhood Nomads covered extensive ground in 2012 and from each vantage point, we saw the world from a new perspective. Read on for a list of my top ten travels of 2012, then go out and enjoy a happy and healthy 2013! May your New Year be full of the adventure of travel, the comforts of home, the power of place, and the joyful and curious spirit of nomads everywhere.

Best wishes,

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Home, Simplicity & Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House

“As we live and as we are, Simplicity – with a capital “S” – is difficult to comprehend nowadays. We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.”

-Frank Lloyd Wright

November 28, 2012, Washington, DC: I paid my first visit to a Frank Lloyd Wright house on Saturday. We just so happened to drive by the Robie House on Chicago’s South Side on a cold afternoon with time to spare. It probably won’t surprise you that I wandered inside and signed up for a tour.

What we’d signed up for, actually, was a perfectly timed reminder about simplicity on the advent of a season that quickly overflows with clutter.

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thanksgiving family

“I come from a long line of women who open their handbags and take out swatches of upholstery material, colored squares of bathroom tile, seven shades of yellow paint samples, and strips of flowered wallpaper. We love the concept of four walls.”

-Frances Mayes

November 26, 2012, Washington, DC: This passage from Frances Mayes’ “Under the Tuscan Sun” is on display in my aunt’s house in Illinois where we had Thanksgiving dinner. I guess it explains a lot. For the laughter and food and furniture and family we packed into four walls this weekend, I am grateful.