J. wanted to take his camera and lenses to a store in La Grange to be sent out for cleaning and let me tag along to take advantage of the sunny if nippy, windy day (March 21).
After leaving the camera shop around 4 p.m., we headed west to Graue Mill and Museum on Salt Creek in Oak Brook, which I’d discovered online when looking for nearby forest preserves or walking trails. Opened in 1852, Graue Mill served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Although the mill and museum weren’t open yet (the building opens for the season in mid-April), we could still photograph the mill exterior, its wooden wheel, and Salt Creek, which has wide trails along its banks — something to check out in warmer weather. Near the mill, at the point where Salt Creek narrows before passing under York Road, a wide swathe of water rushes over a dam that’s as attractive as a dam can be. Here in Illinois, you take waterfalls in any form you can find. The trails near Graue Mill appears to be popular with families.
On the way back down York Road, I noticed ostentatious houses, both finished and under construction. I saw them only in passing, but they looked like something developed at Disney — a cartoonish 21st century contortion of poorly conceived fictional, flat medieval architecture. A man’s home is his castle indeed. I’d rather spend the money on less house and more land. And an architect.
Our next stop was at the Drake in Oak Brook, where the door was locked but opened for us by a woman with a mobile phone glued to her ear. From the bathroom, I heard J. talking to a man in the strangely quiet hallway off the strangely unpopulated lobby. It turns out that the Drake had undergone remodeling and wasn’t open to the public (including us) yet. That explained the mysterious and eerie dearth of people.
Finally, we returned to the city and Julius Meinl, where my gulaschsuppe was followed by gulasch, because I was in that kind of hearty mood. Bon appetit.