Real Chicago, Real People - "Coming home for the holidays"

September 06, 2011

With the implementation of this blog only a few months ago, it was a passion of ours to be a go-to-guide to all things Real Chicago- from the perspective of those who live Real Chicago each and every day. In its evolution over these past few months we have realized that, just as important to us as the "Real Chicago" experience of  the"Real Chicagoian" is, in fact, the memories made by visitors from around the country and our surrounding neighborhoods-- memories made when they visit this city and experience its magic. The memories experienced by Real People in Chicago = Real Chicago... and we want to hear these stories. We want to share these stories!! These stories are what epitomize the concept of Real Chicago--- and with that idea in mind we've created, via this blog, a Real Chicago, Real People series. Of course we will continue to include the "insider's scoop" per concierge recommendations, resident references, and staff picks- but we'd like to expand upon the quandary- "What does Real Chicago mean to you?" We start off with a recent email submitted to The Drake Hotel for inclusion in the Real Chicago Blog. This email encompasses the essence of all the things we want our visitors to feel when they come to Chicago, not just The Drake Hotel.   Although it's hard to fathom that summer has unofficially ended with the conclusion of Labor Day weekend, it's even harder to contemplate the approach of the upcoming season. Some may think winter=snow, ice, cold....

We here at The Drake think Holidays--- the cheer of the holidays--- the cheer of family and friends, and the warmth one feels when they see a familiar face in an

oh so familiar place.

September 4, 2011

 

My real Chicago Experience is traveling to The Drake in December to celebrate the holiday season.  Taking a four hour train ride in to embrace the Big City, the Windy City, with beautiful holiday storefronts and tree lined streets decorated with white lights.  Shopping on Michigan Avenue, hoping to find that perfect gift.

 

In recent years, we walked arm in arm to stave off the gusts of wind and stay upright in slush filled streets.  We found special moments purchasing gifts we hoped would bring joy to others.  When age dictated we were no longer able to wander the streets of Chicago, we shopped in the gift store on the lower level of The Drake.  A store filled with all kinds of treasures.  Who needed to fight the snow, cold and crowds, when we could marvel at items there for hours?  One year we purchased a Mark Roberts "Peppermint Elf".  Every holiday season our elf decorated the kitchen, keeping watch over our confections.  That year we were sure we had found the treasure from the trip, and indeed I thought we had, until I took my mother's picture in front of old St. Nick and his reindeer located just off the lobby.  What a lovely picture!  It became her photo Christmas card, sent so all could see our fun filled journey.

 

Years of memories - the Dickens Carolers, the beautiful Christmas tree in the lobby with presents nestled below, the train set running for hours.  How we enjoyed sitting in the lobby watching the guests come and go.  I wonder how many other mothers and daughters have made this trip, able to create wonderful memories while staying at The Drake?

 

For us, going to the Drake in Chicago was coming home for the holidays...

Sadly, in July, my mother passed at the age of 88.  This year I hope to start a new tradition and celebrate the holiday season with my brother's family at the Drake.  I look forward to sharing with my niece and nephew the fun that exists there; shopping, taking afternoon tea, seeing the beautiful holiday decorations, attending the Nutcracker ballet and enjoying a special evening at the Drake.  I will miss my Mom, but I know she will be there with us in spirit and in every story I tell them.

 

~Julie, Illinois

  Thank you, Julie, for your contribution and taking our visitors on a warm and inviting walk through your Real Chicago memory. We hope this post inspires more people to submit their Real Chicago experience for inclusion in our Real Chicago ~ Real People Blog series- for every moment in this city is someone's Real Chicago memory. Share yours. To submit your memory for inclusion in the Real Chicago, Real People blog series, please email us your story. Your memory will be included in the blog that same week and your name will be entered into a drawing for a one night stay at The Drake Hotel. *Drawing to occur once The Drake receives 100 entries.