About a week ago, we went to Chicago. It was amazing! We went on an arcitecture tour from a company called Inside Chicago Walking Tours. The tour guide and company owner is named Hillary, and she is awesome. Here’s a couple of things that make Inside Chicago Walking Tours unique:
1. Not only do you see the outside of tons of buildings, you get to see the interiors!
2. Hillary doesn’t give you long list of facts, like most tour guides do. Instead, she tells stories that you’ll remember.
3. The group is small (about ten people), so you can get to know everyone.
4. You’ll learn things about arcitecture that you can use in other cities, such as: Find out what this building is/was used for, then look for traces of that thing.

We hade tons of fun. It was honestly one of my favorite tours ever, and it made me absolutely love the city. I also like Chicago because it’s not quite so big as NYC. Sure, I like it there, but as I said in that post, it’s rather overwhelming. Chicago is sort of a happy medium.

My top three favorite buildings that we saw were as follows, from least to most:


311 South Wacker Drive
Although just named for it’s address, this building is awesome. It’s pink granite, and it’s octangular. Plus, it has crazy lights on top that shine at night! (So it’s also known as the Birthday Cake Building.) On the inside, there’s a big fountain of a Greek water god and palm trees! It’s just an office building! Who would’ve thought?

See all that gilded stuff? Frank Loyd Wright work.

The Rockery A rook is a kind of bird, so this building’s theme is: birds! There are birds carved on the outside, and in the inside there are birds on the walls, especially by the elevators. But although the outside look of the building is dark of fortress-like, once inside I felt like I was in a huge wedding cake! Frank Loyd Wright remodeled it in the 1980’s, and now it’s all white and gold, complete with a leak! (All of Frank Loyd Wright’s houses leaked, because his designs weren’t practicle.)  Read about another F. L. Wright house we saw here.

This picture can’t nearly capture it.

Chicago Culteral Center Previously a library, now the Chicago Culteral Center sits dormant and doesn’t really do anything. Which is a shame, because in my opinion it’s the most beautiful building in the Chicago. It’s all green inside, with mosaics everywhere. There are quotes from famous writers all over, too. There is an arch with names of Greek and Roman authors, one for American authors, one for European authors, etc. It’s really just too beautiful for words. If you have the chance, please go see it.

And then, of course, there are the classic Chicago favorites: The Bean and Sears Tower (Technicly called Willis Tower). How could we not go to them?

I liked The Bean a lot. When your inside, and you look up, it’s like there’s no ceiling, just a deep, deep reflection. Someone threw a soccerball up when we were there and it went all the way to the top! Then the security gaurd threatened to beat him up.

Did you know Sears Tower is actually nine different towers, all gathered together and all ending at different hights? It’s really cool to see. Today, as we passed through Chicago, heading to Milwaukee, it looked like the top of Sears Tower was floating above the clouds.


Lakeside Farms

We’re in Angola, Indiana. We’ll be here for a week, and we’re at a friend’s farm, Lakeside Farms. They have chickens, cows, and lots of non-GMO crops. They also sell farm equipment and mowers. The kids are Blake, age 7, Courtney, age 4, and Kendall, age 2. We met the Rager’s last winter in the Florida Keys, and have been friends ever since. Since we were passing through their neck of the woods, we decided to stop and hang out a while.

In the morning, at about 10:00, we get the eggs. Sometimes it’s just me and Blake, and sometimes Gordon comes, but most of the time I go by myself. I got attacked by the rooster once, when I was kneeling down to get a hard-to-reach egg. He attacked me again one time when I was trying to get out the door, and kept jumping at my legs. I kicked him until he finally retreated enough that I could get out the door without him escaping.

Me, Courtney, and Kendall washing eggs.
Me, Courtney, and Kendall washing eggs.

After the eggs are gathered you must carefully rinse the dirt and any stray feathers off of each one. Most of the time there are about 50 eggs to wash. Then you have to dry them and ether put them into egg cartons (to sell at the farm store) or into flats (to put into the big fridge in the confernce room). Afterwords you carry them to the place where that particular batch goes. We must do this twice a day, once at 10:00 A.M.-ish, and once at 5:00 P.M.-ish.

Then there are the cows to feed (which I’ve only done once), and the garden to work on. It’s just planting season right now, of course, and we can’t plant much because it rains almost every day.

Blake is building a tree house, so during free time we help him with that. When we got here he had already made a ladder, and almost finished the floors. The walls are about 2/3 done now, and the floors are reinforced. There’s even a hatch on hinges to climb through!

We also have Nerf battles, jump on the trampoline, play on the climber, and watch Shark Tank at night, after dinner when we’re all exhasted.

A big thank-you to Mr. and Mrs. Rager for letting us stay with you!!! We are enjoying it so much!!!


P.S. Photo credit on the top picture goes to Lakeside Farms!

Traveling Turtle Tuesday: Rainy Travel Day

It’s a travel day! (A 4-hour-long one. Ugh.) We’re headed to Buffalo, New York, and then driving more tomorrow. It’s raining terribly, and whenever there’s a big storm Shelldon curls up in his shell and tries to go to sleep. Well, after quite a bit of coaxing I got him to come out, since it is Traveling Turtle Tuesday. But he still insisted in staying in his cozy spot in my room with his friends.
P.S. At this very second we’re in a big truck stop, getting a bit of lunch.

Do you remember Alfred, from a previous TTT? Click on the picture to read that post.



TurtleTells as a Travel Index

Recently, a reader left a comment saying she wanted to use TurtleTells as a travel index to look for things to do in North Carolina.

We love getting requests from our readers.

We love getting requests like that. We are working on setting up a state-by-state index so you can click on a state and find a list of things to see, do, and eat.

Here are links to some of the North Carolina posts. If you want more you can type “North Carolina” in the search bar at the top right corner of the home page.

Asheville Architecture




The Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate pt2

We hope this post is helpful and hope more people are interested in using TurtleTells as a travel index. If you have a suggestion or feedback, please leave a comment. We would love to hear from you.



We Made it: Maine!

This spring’s goal was to get to Maine. We’re here, and we’re seeing some pretty cool things! (My favorite was the old fashioned library, to be honest.)

The Coolest Library in the World

I could spend hours here… Who am I kidding, I could spend years! This place is filled to the brim with bookshelves, which in turn are crammed with old books. But what makes the Ogunquit Memorial Library so magical is the building itself. Made out of cobblestone, with a tower reaching up a little above the tall roof, this is the prettiest library I’ve ever seen! It had shining wooden doors with beautiful  metal hinges, and lots of lovely windows letting the light in. I found The Children’s Hour, a collection of books with stories from old Greek poems. There were lots of beautiful books like that, just begging me to read every one.


Hikes at Acadia

We went on two three hikes in Acadia National Park last week. Sand Beach, South Bubble, and The Beehive. When we did Sand Beach, we decided to make it a little more interesting by climbing along the cliffs. Because we were planning on doing another hike that included climbing, Mom didn’t want me to scale anything in case I got hurt. So I went along the easier stuff, climbing onto a ledge right over the ocean, or on some little platform where big waves almost touched my feet. It was great.


The second hike we did, that same day, was the South Bubble. I guess this could be considered two hikes, since there is one (the Jordan Pond Loop), that you have to take to get the Bubbles. The Jordan Pond is really clear, and it was an amazing hike to be on, as far as sights go. But the South Bubble hike was spectacular! Not only was it awesome to climb up the rock, using little foot holds here and there, or pulling yourself up, but it was gorgeous to see Jordan Pond from above. We could see the ocean, all the way to were the fog swallowed it up.
On the walk back, along Jordan Pond, Gordon fell into the lake a lot. And I mean, more than seven times!

The Hike Back


Our third hike was The Beehive. We did this with one of Dad’s friends, Bob. It had an awesome climb to the top, involving hand rails and metal bars along thin areas of the ground. The view from the top (Sand Beach and the ocean straight ahead, with millions of trees to each side) was breathtaking. This was my favorite hike by far. Plus, Gordon and I ran nearly the whole way down, on a trail the was extremely steep. That was fantastic.



Traveling Turtle Tuesday: A Chocolate Moose!

This Tuesday Shelldon, Mr. Stanley and I are dreaming about eating this moose! (Just kidding Lenny, we would never eat you!) Lenny the Chocolate Moose weighs 1700 pounds! He is surrounded by his three bear friends, also made of chocolate, and stands in a delicious pond of dyed white chocolate. We met Miss. Nancy there. She works at Len Libby’s Chocolatier, and was very sweet. She even showed us their turtles: delicious caramel-chocolate nut clusters. Thanks Miss. Nancy!

Mr. Stanley even got a moose ride!
Mr. Stanley even got a moose ride!

The Indy 500

We’re in Maine right now, not Indiana, but yesterday Dad and I went to see the Indy. We found a sports bar in northern New Hampshire , were we had a big TV. It was a great race.

My favorite driver, James Hinchcliffe, wasn’t in the race this year. Although he won the Grand Prix, Hinch got badly hurt practicing for the Indy itself. Instead Ryan Briscoe, his replacement driver, drove the awesome gold-and-black car.

The 99th Indy 500 was a very eventful race. In the first lap, Conor Daly’s exhaust system over-heated and caused a small fire, taking him out of the race. Poor guy, he was “Fueled by Bacon.”

That same lap, Sage Karam had the first crash, due to Takuma Sato’s carelessness on Turn One. Sato’s car was fixed, but Karam was out of the race permanently. Here’s what he Tweeted afterward:

@TakumaSatoRacer thinking he can win the indy 500 in the first turn. Thanks man. I have some of your front wing when should I return it?

Ryan Briscoe was almost pulled into this crash, as he got caught up in debris, but escaped it.

Before that Yellow Flag was even over, Simona de Silvestro crashed into Juan Montoya, breaking his rear wheel guard. Montoya had to have his whole spoiler replaced, but it only took his pit crew ten seconds.

There were only three more crashes, although six people were involved. One crash had three people, another two. By the end of the race over one-third of the racers were out. It was one of the most eventful races in years, especially considering all the things that happened during practices. (Five racers crashed in the same week!)

Dad and I ate nachos while we watched. I had my computer off to the side, and whenever we wondered who a racer was I looked him up. I even had a notebook with every racer written down, and their car numbers.

At the end, when it was up against Scott Dixon, Will Power, and Juan Montoya, I was rooting for Power. Montoya beat Power in the end, but only by 0.1046 seconds! He won as a rookie in 2000, so this was his second win, and a big deal to him. We were happy for Montoya. It was amazing how he came back from having his spoiler replaced in the beginning.

Overall, the 99th Indy 500 was a great race, and I had an amazing time with Dad.