Resolutions and Best of the Year lists: Twelve Best Places of 2012

Joining the spate of year-end round-ups; I thought I'd offer my list of 12 favorite and fantastic places I had the joy of being in at some point during this passing year. Below are images I made at each one along the way. Some of these places I've written about and some I plan -- shall I say 'resolve'? -- to share more about in the coming year.

Highlight of the year for me was a unique disjointed Circle Tour we manufactured during the summer.  Starting in Door County followed by a quick jaunt over to central Wisconsin to visit my ailing elders (what an unparalleled honor to have them here on this earth relishing our visits!), then home to gather the dog and head for Sleeping Bear Dunes. Why we did not camp there for a week I will never know, but then again, if we had, we'd have surely missed some of the wonderful 'what else' we came upon, following our noses to the U.P., Mackinac Island, the "big lake" (amazing!) and beyond. We followed around, inspired by Hemmingway's wonderful short story, toward the mouth of the "Big Two-Hearted River", never arriving exactly there, but finding it nonetheless in a way far more rewarding ... (read more about that below).

Closer to home, the Monadnock (also known as my favorite building in Chicago), the Museum of Contemporary Art’s amazing Skyscraper exhibit, and, again as part of that disconnected-yet-always-integrated circle tour, the grand North Beach in Racine, the Milwaukee Art Museum with Saarinen’s aging War Memorial Center and Calatrava’s airborne wing next door. There was also the curiously lovely Mt. Baldy in Indiana. A couple of visits to see excellently done Shakespeare at American Players Theater in Spring Green, each one making me resolve to return more often.

I love these places around the Neighborland, and I hope you enjoy this journey looking back toward the future on this cusp between the years. Here’s to a new year of exploration in rich places.

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