Tag Archives: Chicago

The Blue Shoes and I Finding Solitude Out on the Open Road.

When out on the open road the blue shoes and I make sure to soak in all the scenery. While staring at all the beauty this world has to offer, lots of solitude has been enjoyed in summer and winter, in big cities and small-towns, inside a coffee shop and outside in nature and in the desert, on the lake and more. Who knows where and when that next minute of alone time to reflect will occur when traveling?

The inspiration for this post is #FriFotos on Twitter whose theme this week is “Solitude”.

Frifotos - Solitude - BleakHouse Coffee in Toledo, Ohio

BleakHouse Coffee in Toledo, Ohio

Frifotos - Solitude - Rowster Coffee in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Rowster Coffee in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Buon Giorno Coffee in Grapevine, Texas

Buon Giorno Coffee in Grapevine, Texas

Frifotos - Solitude - South Haven Lighthouse in Michigan

South Haven Lighthouse in Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Ren Cen and Downtown Detroit

Ren Cen and Downtown Detroit straight ahead

Frifotos - Solitude - The wintry Findlay, Ohio country open road

The wintry Findlay, Ohio country open road

Frifotos - Solitude - Solitude in a Kalamazoo, Michigan blizzard

Solitude in a Kalamazoo, Michigan blizzard

Frifotos - Solitude - The Findlay Reservoir in Ohio

The Findlay Reservoir in Ohio

Frifotos - Solitude - Pere Marquette Park Beach in Muskegon, Michigan

Pere Marquette Park Beach in Muskegon, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Appleton Lake near Brighton, Michigan

Appleton Lake near Brighton, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Runyan Lake in Fenton, Michigan

Runyan Lake in Fenton, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Seven Lakes State Park, Michigan

Seven Lakes State Park in Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Hanging alongside Jiffy Mix in Chelsea, Michigan

Hanging alongside Jiffy Mix in Chelsea, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Wawatam Lighthouse in St. Ignace, Michigan

Wawatam Lighthouse in St. Ignace, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - Nickels Arcade in Ann Arbor, Michigan

The first ever blue shoe shot at Nickels Arcade in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Frifotos - Solitude - San Dieguito River Park in San Diego, California

San Dieguito River Park in San Diego, California

Frifotos - Solitude - Lake Hodges in San Diego, California

Lake Hodges in San Diego, California

Frifotos - Solitude - Lake Mead Recreation Area in the Nevada desert

Lake Mead Recreation Area in the Nevada desert

Frifotos - Solitude - Hanging amongst the Georgia flowers

Hanging amongst the Georgia flowers

Frifotos - Solitude - Midtown Atlanta Skyline from Piedmont Park

Midtown Atlanta Skyline from Piedmont Park

Frifotos - Solitude - Cleveland skyline, Lake Erie from Edgewater Park

Cleveland skyline, Lake Erie from Edgewater Park

Frifotos - Solitude - Beachside along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago

Beachside along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago

Frifotos - Solitude - Up-top Vertigo Sky Lounge In Chicago

Up-top Vertigo Sky Lounge in Chicago

What kinds of places do you usually find solitude in when traveling?

The 2014 Coffee Moment for Me.

While out on the open road in 2014 many great coffee and coffee shop moments come to mind. The one that sticks out occurred during a random 4.5 mile walk I took one morning from the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago to the Loop (Downtown area) primarily along N. Milwaukee Avenue.

My feet took me from Ipsento Coffee, passing through Wicker Park and The Wormhole Coffee, into the River West neighborhood and Big Shoulders Coffee. At Big Shoulders I grabbed an iced coffee which really hit the spot on that muggy morning.I continued the rest of the way with the iced coffee at my side. The coffee decided to take a break on a random park bench in West Town.

Big Shoulders Coffee, Chicago, iced coffee

Big Shoulders Coffee, Chicago, iced coffee

The travel goosebumps were in full force at that moment. I was roaming in one of my favorite cities, with a good-looking java. 🙂 A coffee moment I will always remember.

Do you have a memorable coffee and/or travel experience from 2014?

Chicago: Bucktown’s Ipsento Coffee.

While in the Bucktown (Logan Square) neighborhood of Chicago recently, I was hanging out in a couple of coffee shops. I was tweeting about my whereabouts, posting pictures online (surprise, surprise) and interacting some with the locals. Some of the comments I received online and the questions I was asked face-to-face had nothing to do with where I was at, but where else I should go in the neighborhood, Ipsento Coffee.

So in the early morning the next day I returned to Bucktown and this is what I came up to along N. Western Avenue just north of N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

Lots of bikes, racks and outdoor seating in front of the entrance to Ipsento Coffee. It immediately reminded me of the setup in front of Four Barrel Coffee in San Francisco. 🙂

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

Walking inside Ipsento Coffee the baristas were busy making individual coffee’s as the customers waited amongst the warm, cozy, retro and wood like atmosphere. I ordered my coffee and set up shop on one of the bar stools seen to the left.

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

The baristas were knowledgeable and friendly asking new customers what their names were and talking to regulars about how things were going. The coffee shop definitely had that true neighborhood vibe. I soon had my coffee, a Nutella Latte made with beans roasted in-house, and laid it to rest on the wooden counter.

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee, Nutella Latte

My pre-sipping routine always involves capturing the caffeinated beverage in all its form. This coffee definitely passed the eye test. A fun backdrop, some latte art and a colorful mug with the coffee shop logo displaying front-and-center. All these things say a lot about the care Ipsento takes in making for a great coffee experience.

Oh yeah, I did put the camera down to experience the Nutella Latte. Outstanding. It was recommended from more than one person. Note: I always post my coffee Instagram pictures after consumption has already begun so the coffee doesn’t get cool haha. 🙂

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee, Nutella Latte

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

Loved the retro Pepsi storage containers that were used as shelves through out. I enjoyed the rest of my latte while reading the paper, brainstorming my future Chicago roamings and using Ipsento Coffee as my #coffice, home base for that early morning. I’m so glad I listened to all the feedback I received the previous day.

If you are ever in Chicago and especially around the Bucktown neighborhood, make Ipsento Coffee your coffee destination. 🙂

Chicago, Bucktown, coffee shop, Ipsento Coffee

Some additional information:

  • Get there early to grab a seat.
  • You can learn Coffee 101, classes offered up on what Ipsento has learned in their coffee travels.
  • 6 AM! Looking for that very early cup of coffee before work? They open up earlier than others in the area.
  • Quieter seating options are available in the back, away from the hustle and bustle of the counter/entrance area.
  • Get the Ipsento Latte! I didn’t have a chance too. Tell me what you think?
  • Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

What’s a neighborhood in a city you frequent or have come across in your travels that has a great coffee shop, cafe scene?

Chicago: A Grant Park Skyline Walk.

When in the big city, I’m always looking for that next skyline shot. Chicago is no exception. One my favorite places to go for a walk and capture the Windy City is from Grant Park. On my most recent walk through the park I hopped off Michigan Avenue onto E. Balboa Avenue. The skyline was already in plain site as I walked over the train tracks coming and going from Chicago Union Station.

Grant Park, Chicago, skyline

Can you see the Sears, I mean Willis, Tower peeking out from behind?! 🙂

Grant Park, Chicago, skyline

After crossing the bridge I turned and headed north on S. Columbus Drive.

Grant Park, Chicago, skyline

I started playing peekaboo with Willis Tower, as it was coming in-and-out of view along with the rest of the skyline from behind the trees.

Grant Park, Chicago, skyline

Nothing like seeing a baseball field in summer right in the heart of a city.

Grant Park, Chicago, skyline

The taller trees soon became shorter opening things up. There you are Chicago. It was a cold winter and Spring in the Midwestern United States, but everything is green, in full bloom and beautiful now.

Grant Park, Chicago, skyline

Grant Park, Chicago, skyline

Love and marriage, love and marriage. Go together like a horse and carriage. Walking further along S. Columbus Drive. you’ll come up to Buckingham Fountain on your right (at E. Congress Parkway) which many will recognize from the title sequence of the television series Married with Children. The fountain marks the center of Grant Park and is one of the largest you’ll find anywhere, providing wide open panoramic skyline views.

Grant Park, Chicago, skyline, Buckingham Fountain

Grant Park, Chicago, skyline, Buckingham Fountain

Grant Park, Chicago, skyline, Buckingham Fountain

It’s time to lay down on the brick walkway, relax and soak in all the tall buildings.

Grant Park, Chicago, skyline, Buckingham Fountain

I went back to the peekaboo continuing north past Butler Field until I reached E. Monroe Street and Millennium Park. It was a short, but nice summer day stroll through Grant Park checking out the high-rises of Chi-town.

Grant Park, Chicago, skyline, Buckingham Fountain

Checkout my previous post, Chicago: The Agora Sculptures of Grant Park, for more Chicago skyline walking fun within Grant Park. You’ll see some pretty cool and interesting sculptures too.

What city parks have you walked in in your travels or around home that provide great skyline views?

“The” Chicago Coffee for Me.

Chicago has a thriving independent, non-chain coffee shop scene. Every time I’m in the Windy City lots of coffee exploration of course takes place. Each new trip brings new coffee experiences with one exception…

The Wormhole Coffee, Wicker Park, Chicago, coffee shop

…The Wormhole Coffee in Wicker Park. I always find time to walk into the sci-fi themed coffeehouse and order “The” coffee drink for me in Chicago. One Peanut Butter Koopa Troopa coming up.

The Wormhole Coffee, Wicker Park, Chicago, coffee shop

I’m enjoying one as I write this post. So good. There is a DeLorean parked in the back of the shop. Does that mean Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown are here?!

What is “The” coffee drink for you in Chicago? In the city you live near?