Escape Artists offers up a global discourse ranging from great finds close to home to adventures far afield. You'll find weekly travel deals here, too. Share your road wisdom, rave about great finds and rant about roadblocks that get in the way of a great trip.
Contributor: Travel editor Kerri Westenberg.
Email us with tips and questions.
This time of the year, two things come to the mind of any baseball fan: play ball and road trip. If you’re looking for a quick summer getaway, the Twins intra-division road cities provide something for everyone. Here is one fan’s perspective on these four rivals:
At U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, I was tempted to buy a shirt reading, “I STILL call it Comiskey.” Opened in 1991, it can’t compare to its neighbor to the north (Wrigley Field) and doesn’t have the nostalgic feel of the newer retro ballparks but there is a very nice terrace area in centerfield and the hot dogs are top notch. You may want to avoid the upper deck because it seemed very steep when I was there. (333 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60616, 312-674-1000, www.whitesox.com)
I am spoiled by the Art Institute of Chicago because of my love for Impressionism. Opened in 1879, it is known for its extensive Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, including over 30 by Claude Monet alone. Many of the museum’s priceless Monets are due to Bertha Palmer, a late 19th century Chicago socialite who left them to the museum in 1922. The museum’s famous entrance on Michigan Avenue is guarded by two bronze lion statues, and when a Chicago sports team makes the playoffs, they are frequently seen sporting the team’s colors. (111 South Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, 312-443-3600, www.artic.edu)
Unfortunately, I never got to Tiger Stadium before it closed. My trip to Detroit included a game at Comerica Park, the new home of the Tigers. They have done a magnificent job of highlighting the team’s storied history, with five statues along the left centerfield wall honoring their greatest players and kiosks throughout the ballpark giving a decade-by-decade account of the team’s history. It’s more of an entertainment center than a ballpark and despite (in my humble opinion) being slightly overdone, it features unobstructed views of the action, a massive scoreboard in left field and a view of downtown Detroit. (2100 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, 313-471-2000, www.tigers.com)
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989, the Fox Theatre is across the street from Comerica Park and features an art deco façade which, when illuminated at night, can be seen from several blocks away. It is Detroit’s top venue for touring Broadway shows, comedians, musicians and more. (2211 Woodward Ave, Detroit, 48201, 313-471-6611, www.olympiaentertainment.com/fox-theatre)
The Indians ballpark, renamed in 2008 as Progressive Field for the insurance company, remains a favorite. One of the first of the “retro” ballparks, I remember walking in for the first time and thinking, “Now, this is what a ballpark is supposed to be!” Very similar to another fan favorite, Camden Yards in Baltimore. Foodies, take note: the concessions are plentiful - with choices ranging from shrimp to donuts. (2401 Ontario St, Cleveland, OH 44115, 216-420-4487, www.indiansbaseball.com)
I'm not a huge music fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on the shores of Lake Erie. Designed by famous Chinese architect I.M. Pei, it opened in 1995 and features multiple levels of permanent and temporary exhibits showcasing the history of rock and roll. (Hall of Fame inductees are honored in their own wing of the museum.) When I was there, one of the temporary exhibits featured John Lennon's handwritten sheets of music. (1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard, Cleveland OH 44114, 216-781-7625, www.rockhall.com)
Whenever people tell me they are going to Kansas City, one word comes to mind to describe this town six hours south on I-35: underrated. Even at 43 years old, the Royals ballpark, Kauffman Stadium, remains one of the most beautiful in the major leagues. You can’t help but enjoy the majestic fountains beyond the outfield fence. I heard fellow Twins fans wandering around asking, “Is this a new stadium?” Also, the ushers and fellow fans were just so darn nice, welcoming us to Kansas City even though we were wearing Twins shirts. (1 Royal Way, Kansas City, MO 64129, 816-921-8000, www.royalsbaseball.com).
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum resides in the 18th and Vine District and appeals to my passion for baseball history. It features multimedia displays and interactive exhibits telling the story of the Negro Leagues, American professional baseball leagues featuring predominantly black players, most notably from the 1920’s to the 1940’s. It was a great way to spend a few hours learning about an often forgotten part of baseball lore. (1616 E 18 St, Kansas City, MO 64108 816-221-1920, www.nlbm.com)
While other film buffs are at viewings in Toronto (where the Toronto International Film Festival is going on at this moment), you might turn your eyes on Chicago. Make a hotel reservation. Begin crafting your viewing plan. The Windy City’s own impressive film festival — slated for October 9-23 — is celebrating its 50th year.
Among the films screened will be “The Babadook,” an Australian horror flick that was well received at Sundance; “Black Coal, Thin Ice,” the Chinese film that took the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival, and the Juliette Binoche vehicle “Clouds of Sils Maria.”
Despite excitement over this year’s newcomers, though, an old movie may prove the hardest ticket to get. Academy Award winner and cult classic “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” made its world premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival in 1975. The Milos Forman masterpiece will relieve the glory in a newly restored version this year.
Multi-screening festival passes are on sale now. The movie schedule will be online Sept. 16. Individual tickets go on sale to the general public Sept. 19. For more information, click here. JW Marriot Chicago is the headquarters hotel for the festival.
Those of us who love to travel also tend to be passionate about food. We often search out great eateries before we go, and sometimes plan a good bit of our trip around these gastronomic sojourns.
This can have a delightful carryover effect in our own kitchens, especially now that so many great restaurant chefs write a cookbook or three. (And of course now, many recipes are available on the Interwebs.)
My first foray into this realm was the chicken tortilla soup from Rick Bayless of Chicago's Fronterra Grill. It's now a staple in our menu rotation, and a great winter company dish. Then came morel-dusted scallops from Patrick O'Connell's Inn at Little Washington in Virginia (amazing kitchen below).
And then I got serious. Smitten with the food at Donald Link's New Orleans mecca Herbsaint, my way better half and I decided to cook our way through his "Real Cajun." The amazing smothered pork roast, the biscuit-y chicken and dumplings and the uplifting sauce picante have been beyond stellar.
Eating these dishes doesn't quite transport us to New Orleans, but at least we can see it from there.
There are contests and then there are contests. This one sounds too good to be true. The San Francisco-based tour company Viator is looking for travelers with wanderlust and video acumen. Winners will get an all-expenses-paid junket to visit 20 cities in 60 days, shooting video in two-person teams. Official details are slated to be announced March 1, but Escape Artists got the scoop a little early and is happy to share the following press release. (We're also guessing Chicago will be among the cities on the list, so we've included a photo from the North Pond restaurant in Lincoln Park)
CHICAGO -- Everyone agrees: Chicago is a major-league eating town. From its cliche deep dish pizzas to its upscale gourmet restaurants such as North Pond and Spring, there is something for everyone along Lake Michigan. But nothing's more thrilling than finding an out-of-the-way, unpretentious gem with good prices and good food.
To wit: The City Cafe at 3234 N. Pulaski, just west of Interstate 94 between W. Addison St. and W. Belmont Av. We were heading over to visit our nephew's new house and intentionally got lost to wander the Sunday morning, rainy streets of my hometown.
Just as our hunger and edginess began to build, we spotted the City Cafe in a decorative corner building. My daughter ordered the huevos ranchero. My wife picked a fluffy spinach omelette, My son, complaining about being rushed, jumped on a huge breakfast burrito. I ordered the 2-2-2 special, which included two eggs, two slices of French toast and two slices of bacon so crisp I'd swear an iron was involved.
My breakfast came with a homemade custard sauce made with sugar and milk that rendered the maple syrup unnecessary. Our waitress joked that she couldn't tell us how they made it. The whole deal cost $5.50 and the massive breakfast for four came in at a reasonable $36.
Owner and chef VIcente Duran (left, with assistant chef Pedeo Coss in the hat) said the 2-year-old family business justed expanded its hours at the request of the neaby Kindred Hosptial staffers who frequent the place. Perfect way to start the day.
|Minnesota Parks (3)||Deals (66)|
|Adventure travel (20)||Airlines (49)|
|Airports (24)||Chicago (14)|
|Consumer travel (74)||Cruises (12)|
|Europe (7)||International travel (33)|
|Minnesota (25)||Passports (7)|
|Regional travel (19)||Road trips (13)|
|Travel deals (7)||Travel gadgets and gear (1)|
|U.S. travel (60)||Winter getaways (11)|
|Wisconsin (8)||Travel (1)|