Last week was spring break from school for our kids. We took a trip as a family to the American midwest – starting in Kansas City, Missouri and driving across Missouri and Illinois to Chicago. As our oldest is getting ready to graduate from High School next year, we are starting to realize how little time we have with everyone still at home! (It’s kind of scary!) So we’re trying to knock out as many bucket-list items with the kids as we can.
I won’t give you a full travelogue of the whole trip, but I did capture some pictures that you might enjoy. There was lots of inspiration to be found – both antique and modern – along the way. The one thing I didn’t get great pictures of were all of the beautiful barns as we drove across the rural landscape. So many great places to hang quilts for pictures!! It was killing me.
One of my first stops was the little town of Independence, Missouri. I’ve been listening to David McCullough’s biography of Harry Truman off and on for a while, so of course I had to see the house they lived in on Delaware Street. Such a picturesque house.
Another historic house along the way was the author Mark Twain’s boyhood home in Hannibal, Missouri. My kids were in the play Tom Sawyer last year at school (including the painting the fence scene) so that made it a little more relevant. Plus, Hannibal had lots of personality in that Mississippi river town – it was my first time seeing the Mississippi river in person – it’s massive!
We stopped in another little town with some personal family history significance along the Mississippi river called Nauvoo in Illinois.
Nauvoo has a lot of historic homes and buildings that have been restored and opened to give you the feel of living in the 1840’s (think Sturbridge Village).
There was also a selection of beautiful antique quilts from the early 1800’s to the early 1900’s.
Loved this Victorian-era striped diamonds quilt full of velvets and other fabrics with texture.
I was feeling the solidarity with whoever made this 6-pointed star quilt after working on my own 6-point star quilt this year.
Sweet, antique child’s dress.
Loved this early 20th century fan quilt – I think I need to make one of these with my retro fabrics. Love how the bright yellow ties them all together.
As I mentioned, our final stop was Chicago (where it snowed!) Fortunately there is lots to do inside in Chicago including all of the museums – perfect for our kids – and the view from the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower.) The cold didn’t stop us entirely – I still got my steps in visiting the Bean (aka Cloud Gateway) sculpture (can you spot me in my green coat?) and walking up Michigan Avenue.
A little more inspiration from the Field Museum ceiling. (Chicago has some seriously great architectural gems.) Other beautiful design inspiration from ancient American pottery and this patchwork silk child’s coat from China. Love the colors!!
And then the absolutely not-to-be-missed, Art Institute of Chicago. One of my favorite places. I’ve only ever visited once before and that was 15 years ago. It was fantastic. (I studied Art History in college, so I’m a bit of a nerd in that realm. I was especially excited because there was a special Van Gogh exhibit – and he is my all-time favorite.)
Loved this pretty folk-art detail wood inlay.
Also some great modern inspiration at the Art Institute – including (clockwise) the iconic American Gothic by Grant Wood, Grey Diamond by Ilya Bolotowsky, Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, Sky Above Clouds IV by Georgia O’Keefe, and .
Finally, one last spot that we hit in Hamilton, Missouri, but it deserves it’s own post. So stay tuned! Any guesses? If you follow me on Instagram, you already know where this is. 😉