Painting class with wine
This spring, Hotel Lincoln hosts "Moonshine + Monet," a new BYOM-style (bring your own moonshine) painting class. Combine your artistic instincts with liquid libations for a fun, visit-to-the-city excursion. Each class will be taught by an experienced professional who provides step-by-step instruction on a preselected image, ranging from Chicago skylines to some funky Abe Lincoln-inspired art. "Moonshine + Monet" is BYOB, so grab a bottle of wine or favorite drink and snacks to pair with your liquid refreshment. You may even want to book a room for the night and awaken to gorgeous views of Lincoln Park.
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 22 and May 20; 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 27 and May 25. Hotel Lincoln, 1816 N. Clark St., Chicago. Classes are $30 per person and accommodate up to 25 people. Sign up at http://tinyurl.com/pnwk8yf or call the hotel for accommodations at (312) 254-4700.
Take the 'C' train
Meet more than 100 culinary artisans from around the globe, sample their products, and celebrate small batch food, beer and wine at Pastoral's fourth annual Artisan Producer Festival. The free event features venerable cheesemongers from Nebraska, Wisconsin, California, Minnesota, Indiana and Marcoot Jersey Creamery in Illinois. Additionally, learn about crafting salumi; taste a special line of artisan charcuterie; sip small batch wines from Napa Valley and Ohio among others; delight in farmstead goat's milk caramels; try beers from small batch producers in Germany, Belgium, England and the Netherlands. Scheduled stage events throughout the day include cooking demonstrations with award-winning chef Stephanie Izard of Little Goat Bread, raw food advocate of RAW Chicago and artisan bread-making with La Fournette Bakery. The Chicago French Market is inside Metra's Ogilvie Transportation Center.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, April 12. Chicago French Market, 131 North Clinton St. Free admission and sampling; pastoralartisan.com or (312) 575-0306.
Relax with no tax
IRS stands for imbibe, relax and save when you book a tax break package at Chicago's Hotel Monaco. Snag a $25 beverage credit at South Water Kitchen, the on-site restaurant; a $50 in-room spa credit during your stay; and save with no occupancy or lodging taxes on your room rate.
Valid for stays now through April 30, 2014. Hotel Monaco, 225 N. Wabash Ave. Call (866) 610-0081 and mention rate code NOTAX. Rates are subject to availability, blackout dates may apply.
Whisk your young paleontologists to Kenosha's Dinosaur Discovery Museum to dress up, pretend and learn about the incredible beasts. They'll dig up dinosaur skeletons in an excavation, clean them, learn how to wrap them up for transportation and see how bones are prepared in a real, dinosaur laboratory. Even better than this fun, quick trip out of the house? It's free.
1 to 4 p.m. Sunday April 13 and May 4. Dinosaur Discovery Museum, 5608 10th Ave, Kenosha, Wisconsin. kenosha.org/wp-dinosaur/events or (262) 653-4450
Midway Village Museum in Rockford hosts an expansive World War I era living history event, "The Great War: World War I at Midway Village Museum." See re-enactors portraying soldiers from the United States, France, Great Britain, Belgium, Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary. Walk near encampments, talk to the re-enactors about life as a soldier, see cavalry and medical units, battles and skirmishes in the Village. Indoor displays will include WWI weapons and artifacts.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 12; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 13. Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Rd., Rockford. Purchase tickets online or at the event gates. Ticket are $10 for adults; $5 for children ages 17 and under. (815) 397-9112 or midwayvillage.com.
Hot stuff in Indiana
Those with a fetish for hot spices should head to historic downtown Madison, Indiana for the 18th annual Hot Luck and Fiery Foods Marketplace. Held at the Thomas Family Winery in Madison, Indiana, the event features assorted vendors of chili products so you sample salsas, cheeses and sauces, purchase dried and fresh spices, hot breads, chili powder, vinegars and pepper plants to grow back home. Count on live music, cooking demos and professional and amateur salsa contests. When you're not lighting your tongue on fire, visit some of the town's historic sites or drive through the rolling hills and forests of eastern Jefferson County, which is splendid during spring.
p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, April 11; noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 12; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday April 13. Thomas Family Winery, 208 East Second St., Madison, Indiana. (800) 948-8466 or indianahotluck.us.
Worth the Trip
It's a smart time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort in central Florida, with such special events as the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival; Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studio; and the opening of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a new family coaster in the Magic Kingdom. Plus, you can get in on special "Spring Getaway Rates" offered by the seven Downtown Disney resort hotels, boasting locations that are an easy walk to shopping, dining and entertainment in the Downtown Disney area, and complimentary shuttle transportation every 30 minutes to all four Walt Disney World theme parks, two water parks, and the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Rates start at $87 per night.
Available May 1-June 30, 2014, the special rates start at just $87 per night. The Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels' "Spring Getaway Rates" are available for stays at: B Resort; Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel; Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa; DoubleTree Suites by Hilton; Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista; Holiday Inn Orlando Lake Buena Vista; and Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort. For info on the special rates or to make a reservation, visit DowntownDisneyHotels.com/spring-getaway-rates. Rates are based on availability and some blackout dates may apply.