Friday, December 5, 2014

A Sister Trip to the State Capitol

As I've mentioned before on this blog, I am a lucky lady to have two brothers and one sister (and two, soon to be three, siblings-in-law as well!)  Especially as we have grown older, I am especially grateful for my relationships with them.  I feel content and happy with my place in the sibling order, and I love knowing that we all have the same origin story, that we are connected even as we forge different paths.  My older brother lives out in the desert, my sister lives near the Ozarks, and my younger brother just moved into a condo with his fiance not too far from where we grew up, but still an hour and a half away from me.  Needless to say, we do not connect as much as I would like.

So when the opportunity arose to meet up with my sister in Springfield, Illinois, halfway between where she lives and where I live, there was no possible way I could say no!  It turned out that she was going to be there at the same time that I would be on my weekend, and she asked me if I would be willing to drive down and spend my weekend there.  I agreed immediately and we quickly put plans into motion.  A. had an exam earlier on in the day--she is a very involved and very busy student of pharmacy in a distance program to get her degree and soon become a pharmacist--and I had a few things to take care of around the apartment before I left. We made plans to meet up on Thursday afternoon.

More to come--and lots of photos!--after the jump!  Thanks for reading!

A. reserved us a room at Inn at 835, an adorable bed and breakfast right downtown.  I wasn't aware of just how charming the place was until we checked in, but I'm getting ahead of myself.  The drive from Chicagoland down to Springfield was lovely.  I borrowed T.'s Honda Civic for the trip, and I enjoyed listening to good tunes as I cruised.  I stopped about halfway to stretch my legs and buy a coffee, hopping back in the car and making good time the rest of the way down to Springfield.

I pulled into the parking lot at the bed and breakfast only minutes before my sister did.  As it turned out, our timing was perfect!  We checked in at the front desk, got the tour from the innkeeper, and got settled in our accommodations for the evening, the Iris room.  It was just lovely!  The building was completely restored, classically styled, and super comfortable, yet elegant.  In a way, I felt like I had stepped back in time.

We took a few moments to settle in and soak in our surroundings before making a quick decision to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.  We ended up getting there an hour before close, but still had a great time exploring the exhibits and learning about President Lincoln's life.  One thing A. and I were both impressed by was how interactive and versatile the museum was--it utilized all of your senses and a wide variety of materials and mediums to portray and share the information.  I definitely wish we could have had longer, but I loved visiting the museum, and it was especially wonderful to be there with my sister--someone who is as much of a nerd as I am!

After ending our visit with a trip to the gift shop, we left the museum right around closing time and walked around downtown for a little bit.  Our stroll may or may not have included photographs with a conveniently placed statue of President Lincoln, heh.  We chatted and got caught up on life as we walked, definitely enjoying being together.  While it was getting closer to dinnertime, we still weren't quite hungry yet.  We were, however, ready and willing to participate in the free wine and cheese being offered by our home for the night!  When we got back to the Inn at 835, we spent a little time walking around and peeking in some of the other rooms on our floor--some more extravagant than others, they were each so beautiful!

A. and I checked out the collection of menus from all of nearby Springfield, had a few glasses of wine, and noshed on cheese and crackers.  We ultimately settled on an Italian restaurant, Bella Milano, for our dinner destination.  If you're ever in the area, I'd definitely recommend it!  We had excellent service, got a ton of food for a really reasonable price, and it was all delicious.  It was the perfect choice for a chilly night and we both went home with leftovers.  After stopping at a local grocery store for two bottles of what turned out to be pretty delicious Moscato, we headed back to Inn at 835, where it was pajamas and wine and staying up late talking about everything--life, love, family, school, the future--and in true sister fashion, because that's what we always do.  Such a fantastic night!

The next morning, we slept in, inadvertently missing the Inn's complimentary breakfast.  Though we were slightly sad, we got a move on our day and made it to Abraham Lincoln's Home just in time for a tour! Definitely another awesome place worth seeing.

Once our tour of the Lincoln Home concluded, A. and I drove to meet her guy, B., for lunch.  We made our way over to D'Arcy's Pint, and I ordered a Horseshoe, which is apparently a Springfield delicacy.  Texas Toast, roast beef, and french fried, covered in a tasty and delicious cheese sauce... it was right up my alley (even if it was the most carb-y lunch ever!)   Even better than the food, though, was the conversations and laughs, and it was one of the highlights of the trip for me!  Like everything else, it passed far too quickly, and it wasn't long before we were driving B. back to work and then, right down the street, to the Inn where my car was waiting to take me back to Chicagoland.

It was definitely bittersweet, as it is every time we say goodbye, but A. and I hugged and parted ways there in the shadow of the big, beautiful building that had housed us and kept us cozy and warm for the night, underneath that sunny, blue sky, with promises to talk to one another soon, to see each other soon, too (even if it's never as soon as we would like).  My drive back to Chicagoland passed by quickly, unremarkably, and when I arrived home, I dove headfirst into chores and five days of holiday madness leading into Thanksgiving.

We had a whirlwind of a trip, but I am so grateful and glad for the time I was able to spend with my dear sister!  It was an impromptu adventure, but completely and totally worth it.  It was also a wonderful way to spend the weekend right before an incredibly busy workweek.  I really do hope we see each other again soon!  In the meantime, Facebook, Snapchat, and texts will have to do.  Though we aren't able to physically be together, at least we have have technology to stay in touch.  And that is one thing I'm definitely grateful for.

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