Valerie serves as the Chicago editor for Where. “In this role, my sandbox isn’t just writing about one of the biggest metropolitans in the U.S.; it’s actually living the experiences I share with our readers. So far, I’ve lucky enough to skydive indoors, tilt out of 360 Chicago and sample tasting menus from top-rated chefs. Work truly is play.”
Valerie’s Take on Chicago: Chicago is a city of contradictions. We love our Michelin restaurants, but sometimes crave Italian beef. We understand the craftsmanship behind craft cocktail lounges, but can also kick it just fine at a beer-and-shot bar. There’s an undeniable sense of camaraderie here that gets us through these frigid winters, and makes out-of-towners feel like they’re locals.
Most memorable travel experience: I was on my honeymoon in Ireland. We had rented a car to drive all around the country. One day we inched upon a herd of sheep that parted as we drove up. Above, a rainbow arched over the Kerry Mountains. As a child, I’d always envisioned this green land dotted with shamrocks and bogs. I’d finally seen both.
Last notable trip: Big cities with our girls: San Francisco, Boston and Vegas. In SF, we had brunch in The Mission, Chinese in Pacific Heights and even escaped to Sonoma and Marin County for the day. In Boston, we walked the freedom trail and sailed on a friend’s boat in Rockport. In Vegas, we started and ended every day at the pool, walked the Strip and gorged at every buffet between New York New York and The Mirage. Surprisingly, even with‑ahem‑the adult content around us, we unearthed lots of family gems—Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat and the sundaes at Serendipity.
The place you always return to visit: Florida. After 12 winters in Chiberia, I know the full meaning of “snowbird.” Something happens when that plane lands on the tarmac, and you’re stepping into the tunnel into a Florida airport. The winter stress just melts away. And I haven’t seen a purple-pink horizon any prettier than above Pass-A-Grille Beach.