Moments A Suburban Respite
If you've made it up to the Baha'i Temple, take a stroll across Sheridan Road to
Gilson Park for a taste of northern suburban life. Check out the sailors prepping
their boats for a lake tour, families picnicking and playing Frisbee, and kids frol-
icking on the sandy beach. Access to the beach is restricted in the summer (the
locals like to keep the Chicago riffraff out), but in the fall and spring , you're wel-
come to wander (just don't expect to take a dip in the frigid water).
is just a short drive away, as is one of the country's oldest malls, Westfield Old Orchard
Shopping Center ( www.westfield.com/oldorchard ). This upscale, open-air mall fea-
tures a fun hill-r unning outdoor play ar ea, and is anchor ed by top-notch depar tment
stores including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and Macy's. If you decide to stay, one hotel
that caters to families is Hampton Inn & Suites ( & 847/583-1111; www.hamptonsuites
skokie.com). Not only do they hav e king and double suites with full-siz e kitchens (the
bedrooms have their own televisions), but they also hav e a good-size pool with kid to ys
supplied, and free breakfast that's a cut above the average free hotel buffet.
While you're in the area, do some North Shore sightseeing with a drive over to Sheri-
dan Road in Wilmette and the most visited of all the sights in the nor thern suburbs, the
Baha'i House of Worship, an edifice that seems not of this ear th. The gleaming white
stone temple, designed by the French Canadian Louis Bourgeois and completed in 1953,
is essentially a soaring nine-sided 135-foot dome, draped in a delicate lacelike facade,
which strongly reveals the Eastern influence of the Baha'i faith's native Iran. Surrounded
by formal gardens, it is one of seven Baha'i temples in the world, and the only one in the
Western Hemisphere. The dome's latticework is even more beautiful as you gaze upward
from the floor of the sanctuar y, which, during the day , is flooded with light. Temple
members give informal tours of the building to anyone who inquires; older children and
adults with an interest in architecture will get the most out of a tour of the interior. Not
only is the temple itself r eally a sight, but the driv e on Sheridan Road is also one of the
most beautiful in the Chicago ar ea.
A word of caution if you're driving: The temple seems to appear out of nowhere as you
round a particularly tight curve on Sheridan Road, and it can distract even the most focused
of drivers. Take it slow and wait until you're safely parked before gazing skyward.
100 Linden Ave. (at Sheridan Rd.), Wilmette. & 847/853-2300. www.us.bahai.org/how. Free admission.
Visitor center daily May-Sept 10am-8pm; Oct-Apr 10am-5pm. Temple daily from 7am. Devotional ser-
vices are held Mon-Sat at 12:15pm and Sun at 1:15pm (with choral ac companiment). To get there from
Chicago, take the Red Line of the El nor th to Howard St. Change trains f or the Evanston train and go t o
the end of the line , Linden Ave. (Or take the Purple/Evanston Express and stay on the same train all the
way.) Turn right on Linden and walk 2 blocks east. I f you're driving, take the Out er Dr. (Lake Shore Dr.)
north, which feeds into Sheridan Rd.
WHERE TO EAT
After you see the B aha'i Temple, backtrack south on G reen Bay road to Walker Bros.
Original Pancake House, at 153 G reen Bay Rd. ( & 847/251-6000; www.walkerbros
oph.com). The place is decorated with color ful Tiffany-style lamps, warm woodwor k,
deep booths, and extraor dinary stained-glass ar t windows. Expect a wait on w eekends.
Top choices ar e apple pancakes, which arriv e bubbling hot and glaz ed with cinnamon,