On a recent mini-trip to Chicago, we dined at a nice Italian place (and then an Irish pub to fill up because the quantities were so small!). Then, we listened to blues with talent ranging from “there’s a reason he’s singing in this dive” to “why hasn’t she tried out for “American Idol,” yet?” The next day it was shopping. I had planned on visiting FAO Schwarz to get a doll fix, but much to my chagrin, I discovered the Chicago location doesn’t exist anymore.

Next, we stopped at the American Girl Place on Michigan Avenue. Its multi-storied magnificence would have had me euphoric at age 12 … the company was in its humbler, yet still enchanting, foundling stages then. Even as an adult, I was pretty awestruck, but I still hadn’t gotten my “big-girl” doll fix yet.

So, after visiting the Aztec exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago, I was determined to locate Gigi’s Dolls & Sherry’s Teddy Bears, previously turned up during a trip-planning Google search.

We plugged the 6029 N. Northwest Hwy. address into the GPS, and it quickly calculated an 11-mile distance. “Not bad,” I thought, so we hit the road. Thirty-minutes into the trip, with the GPS reporting six miles to destination, I was singing a different tune (hadn’t accounted for city driving!), but I wasn’t about to be deterred. A half hour later we arrived 20 minutes before closing.

The trip was worth it though. The shop fairly explodes with every doll (and bear) type imaginable, from vintage and antique beauties to modern-day favorites (Kish, Tonner, Himstedt, Integrity Toys, Mattel, etc.). Just when I thought I’d finished browsing, I woud stumbled into another room full of more doll and bear offerings. Finally, I made my doll selection (I’ll just say it was jazz-related … fitting for Chicago, right?), and checked out with the delightful mother-daughter owner combo (Gigi and Sherry).

Finally, we headed back to Wisconsin, with me in the passenger seat and sufficiently doll satiated … for the time being at least!