One of the greatest perks of living in Southern Wisconsin has got to be the proximity to some amazing cities. Just 40 minutes north is Madison, 1.5 hours northeast to Milwaukee, and 2 hours south to Chicago.
Only a few weeks ago, when my brother and the girls were out to visit, we decided it was time to see the Windy City. We chose the time honored system of transportation: the Metra.
The only downside to this otherwise solid plan is that the Metra stops an hour south of us. This required a bit of driving to the adorable town of Harvard, Illinois (not the Ivy League university, obvs). However, a drive through some beautiful countryside wasn't too bad a of a sacrifice.
We left at about 8:00AM and made our way to the small train station where the Metra line begins (or ends depending on your destination). Harvard is a tiny town laden with small speakers that play cheery, season-themed music. It was almost like having a soundtrack to your morning.
It didn't take long for the train to arrive and we all quickly boarded, a sense of adventure tangible. The Metra is an easy way to commute between Chicago and Harvard, with about twelve stops in between each end of the line. The morning ride was blissfully empty as most people headed in to Chi Town for work leave much, much earlier. We picked our seats, sat back, and watched town after town pass by. It was fun to see the progression from farm lands and hills to slowly growing suburban neighborhoods and eventually the city.
I wish I had been prepared when we got off the train in Chicago (I think I have a few images somewhere I need to find) because the bustle of the station was just amazing. If it's not entirely obvious by now, you can probably tell I haven't lived in a city in a very long time.
I had a blast people watching and just getting to enjoy the journey rather than battle traffic and potentially getting lost, which is a forte of mine.