My grandmother never learned to drive during her entire 93 years of life. As a child, my sister and I joined her on adventures throughout Evanston and Chicago. It is surprising that I don’t remember much about the destinations, but more about the fun we had on the way. Walking, riding the train and cabs through city blocks and neighborhoods is more educational and enjoyable to me than any museum.
Last Saturday, my husband and I planned to take our children on an adventure to Des Plaines to check out The Choo Choo. Even the late February snow didn’t stop us from standing at the cold Northwest Metra stop to wait for the train to take us to Des Plaines.
My son insisted on sitting on the top level of the train, where we had a bird’s eye view of other travelers and the outdoor landscape. My husband and my faces mirrored our offspring’s in excitement of the unknown.
We easily spotted the small glass restaurant as we arrived in the quiet suburb. Luckily, my persistence to arrive early paid off as we got one of four prime booths. We sat right next to the train track, which circles around the counter and delivers the food to the table.
The small menu of burgers, hotdogs and milkshakes satisfied my family, although I did notice a veggie burger on the menu for Meatless Mondays. It was a low key and entertaining lunch, and we felt the small space getting louder and busier as the clock struck Noon.
After lunch, instead of jumping in our car to head home, we found ourselves with extra time before our homebound train arrived. Because downtown Des Plaines wasn’t too happening, we headed to the library (mostly to stay warm). I was shocked by the four-level modern building with a floor dedicated to children. My kids played on computers and checked out tree house reading nooks and boat benches. How do we get better libraries in the city?
Our train and cab ride home were smooth and uneventful. We arrived home smiling, tired and full. It was an adventure that I know my Grandma would have loved as much as my kids did.
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