L-APC: A Change of Scenery During the Pandemic

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #140 is called A Change of Scenery. This week’s host, Wandering Dawgs, says:

I have the honor of hosting this week’s Lens-Artists photo challenge. If you are able to do so, we are challenging you to get out and look for a change of scenery. You don’t have to go far from home. It can be in your neighborhood, town, or even a car ride away. Maybe there is a nearby park you haven’t been to in a while, or maybe you’ve been wanting to try a different route on your walk, run, or bike ride. If you are unable to get out right now, we’d love for you to browse through your archives to feature images from places you have visited in the past when you needed a change of scenery.

We have made a few day trips into the city of Chicago and out to the western and northern suburbs. Here are some “changes of scenery” that we experienced during the pandemic.

In April, we got into the car and just drove. We ended up in Woodstock, IL (where Groundhog Day was filmed). We turned right at this bridge to get to the town.

It was early in the pandemic and few people were out. Woodstock’s downtown has many historic buildings, including an opera house turned theater where musicals and plays are performed. This photo shows the historic town hall – the little building to the right was the original town hall!

In May and June, we visited natural wildlife areas, hoping to get some good photos of birds and other wildlife. We went to Cuba Marsh Forest Preserve twice.

We also went to Volo Bog wildlife preserve, but saw mostly frogs and some pretty flowers, including some wild irises.

In September, we drove out to the western suburbs to see a few places we had read about in the local newspaper. In Wheaton, we explored “Cantigny,” the estate of Col. Robert McCormick, named for Cantigny, France where McCormick had shown exceptional leadership and bravery during World War I. He and his wife are buried on the estate, above the scene of the gardens and pond.

The Inverness Town Hall is notable for the four silo-like towers that dwarf the building itself.

Twice in the fall we visited St. Charles for a sculpture park there. The first time it started to rain before we had seen all the sculptures, so we went back a second time. The main attraction is a sculpture of the Humpty Dumpty-like Mr. Eggwards, who sits on a stone fence alongside the park.

The Chicago Art Institute had reopened with an extended stay of a Monet exhibit, but we went on the one day of the week that it was closed! So we went to nearby Millennium Park instead, and took in the Art Institute on another day. Although it was a beautiful sunny day, we saw few people, because it was during the autumn surge of Covid-19. Most people were not venturing out in order to avoid crowds – which we avoided too, since there weren’t enough people there to be a crowd! Here is the famous “Bean,” our nickname for the Cloud Gate sculpture. Usually one can walk around and under it, but it was roped off.

Now that spring is here, we will soon be venturing out again to explore more of our environs. Since we are fully vaccinated, we may even risk a 2-3 day weekend trip!

FDDA #31: September

Fandango’s last theme for his Dog Days of August is your plans for September are.” Do you have any? If so, what are they? They can be anything, from posting more (or less) frequently on your blog, taking a trip, learning a new skill, getting married, engaged, or divorced, getting more exercise? Or are you just going to play it by ear? Share a story, a poem, a photo, a drawing, some music, or whatever you wish to share about your plans for September.

I don’t have any specific plans for September except to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts. Due to Covid-19, I don’t have much of a choice. But my husband and I are going to go out more: We have a day trip planned for this Thursday to go to the western suburbs to see some kitschy things I found out about in the newspaper. (Stay tuned! I hope to post pictures!) We can’t stay overnight anywhere, unless we don’t mind being quarantined for 14 days afterward (yes, I do mind!).

Another excursion we will be doing perhaps next week is to the Chicago Art Institute. The parking is a bitch and we don’t feel comfortable taking public transportation so…we’ll just have to pay for parking. I’m a member so there’s no admission fee. Right now there are two very different exhibits I want to see: special exhibit on El Greco and another on an artist from Mozambique with really wild, colorful art.

I also will make plans for a future trip abroad. If I book a tour before the end of September, the company I’m planning to use (Overseas Adventure Travel – I strongly recommend them!) will give us a couple of discounts. So I will be spending the next couple of weeks perusing their catalogs. That will be fun!!

Other than that, it’s the same-old same-old, doing the things I’ve been doing to wile away my time for the past several months: reading, blogging, exercising, working on photo books of past trips, artwork.

As the election approaches, I hope to get involved in some get-out-the-vote initiative.