A very rough cut of a project I’m working on: Cleaning Bubbly Creek. This section of the Chicago River is one of the most polluted and still has many of the problems it had 100 years ago.
Update: This article just won an award for Midwest Destinations Travel Writing by the Midwest Travel Journalists Association.
If a building can have a personality, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is pensive.
Housed in a curious industrial building off the highway in Skokie, the 6-year-old museum stands in contrast to the surrounding area. It is the third-largest Holocaust museum in the world, and is owned by a nonprofit started by Skokie-resident Jewish Holocaust survivors.
There’s a quiet heaviness as you walk through the entrance, and the busyness of life outside the doors seems somehow paltry.
“The mystery of this place is in the details,” said Jerry Lidsky, museum docent. “If you tune into this place, it begins to speak to you.”
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The most beautiful time of day in the hot, chaotic capital of Cambodia is just after 7 a.m. Phnom Penh rewards the early riser with the last smoky remnants of incense, placed in spirit altars by mothers just before sunrise. It wafts along side streets in half-stride, as restaurant owners sweep away the night’s dust and trash and tuk-tuk drivers lounge in their vehicles.
The best way to see it is by bicycle, weaving in and out of the tumultuous traffic. It’s a head rush.
By 9 a.m., the city is in full motion: See orange-robed monks sitting side-saddle on motos, tuk-tuks swerving around women pushing rattling coffee carts, children pedaling bikes in school uniforms and mothers supporting toddlers between their knees as they moto to the markets.
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The crisp cool evening was marred only by the smell of a large, lazy pig, but the kids didn’t seem to mind.
You could find them hanging over the bars of his pen staring at all his muddy glory, or on the other side of the farm peering through the fence to watch a rooster strut inside his coop.
Their parents watched them from the bonfire, eating grass-fed beef hamburgers, homemade potato chips and drinking apple cider sangrias. An indie rock band played on a grassy hill, and others threw bags and wandered the 4,000-square-foot garden.
Oktoberfest at Locavore Farm felt more like a well put together family reunion than a 500-person festival — and that’s kind of the point.
“We were drawn to the lost art of sitting around the table with family and with friends,” owner Rachael Jones said. “People step into wide open spaces and they’re around people they know and strangers, around food and music and drink. They begin to detach from the manufactured life, the hamster wheel.”
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It’s a city that has been a little off the nation’s radar for years — except for possibly negative headlines. It’d certainly be off the average vacationer’s radar.
But Detroit has a lot more to offer than just Motown and a car museum (although those are must-sees as well!).
It’s obvious from the second you reach the city that change and positive energy are at work. Its city neighborhoods of Greektown and Midtown are bursting with fun bookstores, unique brewery-meets-dairy-meets-restaurants, throwback record stores and a late-night bakery.
An easy five-hour drive away, it’s time to rethink Detroit as your next travel destination for its arts, history, vibrancy and spirit.
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