Sparkle soaks in Northwestern's beauty

With the Chicago skyline in the distance, Sparkle and Betsy check out the unusually warm water (in the 70s) at Northwestern's beach. A sociable campus dog ventures over to say hi.

Our next stop after Purdue was Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., just north of Chicago along Lake Michigan. It was a perfect summer day, clear and sunny but not hot.

While Betsy met with admissions officers and faculty early in the day, Sparkle and I circled the immediate buildings and did a little exploring in town.

Later, we all took a long walk around campus, venturing down to the campus beach and the lake. Classes had not started yet, so the setting was quite serene, unlike the hustle and bustle at Purdue, where school was already in session.

We finished up by driving into downtown Evanston and eating a late lunch at a Mexican restaurant. With Sparkle along, we always look for a place with outdoor seating. We found it -- almost underneath the elevated-train track, a true taste of Chicago.

Sparkle behaved perfectly all day. She was eager to explore when we were ready and content to rest quietly when we were waiting for Betsy during her meetings or eating our lunch.

Next stop: The University of Chicago