Eve’s Tour, Day 12, October 13, 2014: Magritte in Chicago!

The Magritte exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago was so much more challenging than I expected– far beyond “Ceci n’est ce pas une pipe!”

The day was perfect for all the mystery and puzzlement of the Belgian painter’s symbolic logic and explorations of dream states: misty, street lights blazing even mid-day. Beautiful in its own glimmering way.

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Sidewalk Delights

I love a walkable downtown, and I met one in Brunswick, Georgia. On a hot, hot day, I stuck to the shade under magnificent oaks and colorful crepe myrtles, following the hexagonal sidewalk bricks (smooth–very disability-friendly) past all the delightful things one might want to do on a Saturday: have coffee or breakfast, get your watch repaired or buy a present for a friend, visit a lawyer or dentist, or take a music or art lesson. Then I saw it–a sprightly, red-heart-adorned sign: Pam Pam Cupcakes. And right next to that, words I yearn for, but so rarely see: gluten-free. If you have Celiac’s disease or are just gluten- intolerant, like me, you know the pitfalls of finding desserts while traveling when you can’t eat wheat, soy, etc. Joy! I went in, of course. And of course I ordered some cupcakes–chocolate, still warm from the oven, with mounds of vanilla icing–and there were more delicious choices.

Yet it turns out that the real treasure in Pam Pam is Pam herself, the owner. A jolly red-trimmed apron, big brown eyes, gorgeous curls, and the friendliest smile you can imagine. I talked to her for a half hour or so about how she came to gluten-free baking through a request from friends, about how to combine gluten- and dairy-free recipes, and more. I would love to have visited longer with her, but she had plenty of customers to attend to.

When you meet great people while traveling, I think you should share their stories. It’s a lonely enough business being out there without your usual safety nets, especially when you have dietary restrictions. Even if the trip itself is fun or fulfilling, every body needs an uplift. And Pan is certainly that.

Brunswick’s gorgeous downtown– think flowing fountains, pocket parks, flowers galore, and friendly people who hold doors for you–is only a mile or so off I-95, about halfway between Savannah and the Florida state line. A perfect lunch stop or break. Don’t forget to top off your side trip with a visit to Pam Pam’s. She sells ice cream and more. Look at her picture attached to this post. Doesn’t she make you want to tie on an apron and spend the afternoon frosting cupcakes alongside her. Or maybe you’d rather tie on a napkin. Either way, you’ll drive away satisfied.

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