5 VIP Nights, 4 Tour Days, 3 MLB Ballparks, and 2 Amazing Cities – This Meaningful Adventure is like no other, combining our love of sports with faith, wellness, and fellowship.
In the context of America’s favorite pastime, we’ll explore the relationship between baseball and belief, contemplating such core values as loyalty, teamwork, and resilience – with hosts Bill Miller, Herb Carver, and their special guests, sharing stories and lessons along the way. Note: This is an “executive level,” cityscape Adventure, which means you’ll be savoring great food, regional beverages, and unique activities in comfort and style!
- 5 Nights hotel suite accommodations at the Hilton Magnificent Mile
(including Executive Club access)
- Chicago Cubs home game (vs. Oakland A’s)
- Chicago White Sox home game (vs. Oakland A’s)
- Milwaukee Brewers home game (vs. Texas Rangers)
- Private Tour of Wrigley Field
- Tour of Holy Name Cathedral (seat of the Archdiocese of Chicago)
- St. Michael’s Church in Old Town – art & architecture
- Tour of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (traditional Hindu worship & cultural center)
- Midwest Buddhist Temple – sacred space established by Japanese-Americans released from internment camps during World War II
- Tasting some of Chicago’s finest culinary offerings at Harry Caray’s Steakhouse, 7th Inning Stretch, and the legendary Portillo’s Hot Dogs
- Progressive lunch through three neighborhood pizzerias (you’ll try it all from deep dish to smores!)
- Beer Capital of the World – “immersion tour” in Milwaukee (Visit major and not-so-major brewhouses)
- Welcome Reception plus breakfast, lunch and dinner each day
- Motor coach transport to all activities
Tuesday August 6th
3:00 – 6:00pm Hilton Chicago / Magnificent Mile Suites
6:00 – 8:00pm Hilton – Wheaton Ballroom
Kick off this exciting executive Adventure with a Welcome Reception! Enjoy the dinner buffet and drinks as you meet fellow attendees and our event staff.
Wednesday August 7th
Private Tour of Wrigley Field
9:30am at Wrigley Field
Go behind-the-scenes of the legendary home of the Chicago Cubs! Nicknamed the Friendly Confines, Wrigley Field is baseball’s second oldest ballpark – it’s where Babe Ruth called his shot in 1932 and the home of the 2016 World Series Champions. Stepping into Wrigley Field today is like stepping back in time. We’ll visit the Budweiser Bleachers, the Press Box, the Visitor’s Clubhouse, the Cubs Dugout, and even step onto the field. The surrounding neighborhood (called “Wrigleyville”) is filled with fans on game day… Ballhawks wait on Waveland Avenue to catch homeruns during the game… Fans sit atop buildings behind Wrigley Field and watch the game… Ivy still covers the brick walls in the outfield, the scoreboard is still manually operated, and flags still remind fans whether or not the Cubs won the day before, and where they are in the standings.
Chicago Cubs Gift Shop
11:00am Visit the Official Chicago Cubs Gift Shop
Pre-Game Warm-Up Lunch
11:30am Cubby Bear’s in Wrigleyville
Located across the street from historic Wrigley Field, the Cubby Bear Wrigleyville is “the place” for Cubs pre-game activities. We’ll be warming up in a semi-private room overlooking the Wrigley Field Marquee with Bratwurst and sauerkraut, Italian Beef with French Bread and Giardiniera, Mostaccioli with Marinara, Baked Mac & Cheese, steamed veggies, and a house salad.
Chicago Cubs vs. Oakland A’s
1:20pm First Pitch
One of America’s most popular sports teams, the “lovable loser” Chicago Cubs with their faithful fans, have been consistent reminders of the power of loyalty and faithfulness. Ending a 108 year drought in 2016, the longest in American sports history, the Cubs finally won the World Series in the modern era, and one of the largest crowds ever assembled celebrated in Millennium Park. Being in Wrigley Field watching a Cubs game is one of the great moments in all of professional sports. See the stadium where the goat got booted out of the bleachers, instigating the legendary “Billy Goat” curse, the home field where Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams, Ferguson Jenkins, and Greg Maddux gave their all, and imagine singing along with the legendary Harry Caray on “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Chicago Sports Museum
6:00pm Cocktails and Games at the Chicago Sports Museum
7:00pm Dinner at Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch
There’s no better place to begin exploring Chicago’s love affair with sports than the Chicago Sports Museum. Our group fellowship begins with “cocktail hour” amongst interactive body-tracking technology games and the largest collection of Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series memorabilia (not to mention an impressive collection of game-used treasures and other artifacts including the infamous 2003 “Bartman Ball” that cost the Cubs the pennant). After exploring, we’ll enjoy dinner at Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch with presentation by William “Father Bill” Miller.
Thursday August 8th
Tour: Midwest Buddhist Temple & Garden
11:00am at the Midwest Buddhist Temple
We begin exploring Chicago’s cultural neighborhoods at the Midwest Buddhist Temple, founded by “resettlers” of Japanese descent after their release from relocation camps during World War II. We’ll learn a little about mindfulness and the role Buddhist traditions play in the West – meeting challenges with gentleness, steadiness, and humor.
12:30pm – Progressive Lunch
Feel like a local as you dine off the beaten path at four of the highest rated pizzerias in town. Deep-dish, caramelized crust, thin crust, Polish, Italian Beef, or even s’mores pizza – we’ll sample all the historic slices! Learn the science behind ingredient selection and baking methods, and the important role that pizza plays in Chicago’s neighborhood culture.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
The Mandir is a place of worship and prayer for followers of Hinduism. Built according to the Shilpa Shastra, Indian architectural treatises established thousands of years ago, the Mandir is designed with a single purpose: to elevate the soul. Here we’ll learn a bit about Hinduism amidst traditional art and architecture including a visit to the Haveli: a unique cultural complex showcasing the immense woodworking skill of Indian craftsmen developed during the Rajput period (15th century).
7:30pm at Portillo’s Hot Dogs
Portillo’s Hot DogThe first Portillo’s hot dog stand (known as “The Dog House”) opened in 1963 on North Avenue in Villa Park – and it’s been a Chicago institution ever since. Enjoy true Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian sausages, char-broiled hamburgers, shakes and malts surrounded by items from the original Chicago Stadium (including the original Chicago Blackhawks 1938 Stanley Cup banner!).
Friday August 9th
Tour: Holy Name Cathedral
10:00am Holy Name Cathedral
Built after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, this world-famous, Gothic Revival cathedral is home to one of the largest and most influential Roman Catholic archdioceses in the United States. The history of Holy Name Cathedral Parish is as much the story of Catholic immigrants and their new city, Chicago, as it is the story of bishops and seminaries. The Chicago Fire, the Chicago Subway, and most importantly, the dynamic changes within the city’s population and the Church itself, all left their mark on the Holy Name community.
Tour: St. Michaels in Old Town
11:30am St. Michael’s Church
Saint Michael in Old Town traces its roots back to 1852, when the Diocese of Chicago established the parish to serve the many German immigrants who had come to Chicago. It is perhaps best known for its 16 stained glass windows (designed and built by the Mayer Window Art Institute in Munich, Germany) that depict scenes from the life of Jesus and the Blessed Mother – as well as five alters; the largest of which is capped by an 8-foot-tall statue of St. Michael the Archangel, surrounded by the angels Gabriel and Raphael.
Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland A’s
2:10pm First Pitch at Guaranteed Rate Field
From their inception in 1901 as charter members of the American League, the Chicago White Sox have played on the city’s South side – now calling Guaranteed Rate Field their home. The club was originally called the Chicago White Stockings, but this was soon shortened to Chicago White Sox. The White Sox won the 1906 World Series with a defense-oriented team dubbed “the Hitless Wonders”, the 1917 World Series led by Eddie Cicotte, Eddie Collins, and Shoeless Joe Jackson, and the 2005 World Series led by Paul Konerko, Mark Buehrle, and catcher A. J. Pierzynski.
Harry Caray’s Steakhouse
7:00pm Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse
Named “Best Steakhouse in Chicago” by the Chicago Tribune Dining Poll, Best of Citysearch Poll and Metromix on CLTV, Harry Caray’s serves the finest prime, aged steaks, chops and Italian favorites. The sophisticated, high energy restaurant pays tribute to the beloved Chicago Cubs sportscaster (born Harry Christopher Carabina) for whom the restaurant is named (and just to stay on theme, the restaurant is housed in what was once home to Frank Nitti, the infamous “enforcer” in Al Capone’s gang).
Saturday August 10th
Beer Capital of the World
10:30am Board the Motor Coach for Milwaukee
We’ll begin our day with lunch at one of Milwaukee’s favorite craft brewers for today’s program: On Wellness from Living Compass Director, the Rev. Scott Stoner. Afterwards we’ll check out some of the latest craft-breweries of “beer city” – including a visit to the Pabst Milwaukee Brewery Taproom (located in a 145+ year old building that was once the First German Methodist Church!) – where we’ll also take time to sample everyone’s wears – and enjoy select readings from the Rev. William Miller, the author of “The Beer Drinkers Guide to God.”
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Texas Rangers
5:00pm Northwestern Mutual Legends Club
6:10pm First Pitch
The Milwaukee Brewers are for real – making the playoffs in 2018, the recent acquisitions of superstars Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich (giving the Brewers one of the best outfields in the National League), and the electric atmosphere combine to form an unforgettable experience. One of MLB’s modern legends, Miller Park goes “old school” as a grand structure with its red brick facade, arched windows and a clock tower at the homeplate entrance – then adds a taste of “modern” with a 12,000 ton retractable roof like no other and a massive (105 feet high by 168 feet wide) HD video/scoreboard above centerfield. Tonight you’ll enjoy the Brewer’s home game from the Northwestern Mutual Legends Club, named one of the top 5 luxury areas in all of baseball by Forbes Magazine.
Sunday August 11th
9th Inning Gathering
10:00am St. James Commons
We’ll “close out” our pilgrimage by gathering at St. James Episcopal Cathedral, a short walk from our hotel, to reflect on the highlights of our Adventure, sharing what we’ve learned and what we hope to take back home.
11:00am St. James Cathedral
You will have an opportunity to join other pilgrims to give thanks to God in this historic sanctuary.
"Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too." -- Yogi Berra
Hilton Chicago / Magnificent Mile Suites
198 E. Delaware Place, Chicago, IL 60611
Located in Chicago’s vibrant and affluent Gold Coast neighborhood, our downtown Chicago basecamp is the perfect venue for this executive adventure!
Go for a run on the Lakefront Trail, visit Navy Pier and shop along Michigan Avenue on the Magnificent Mile. Water Tower Place, a 74-store skyscraper and shopping mall, is only a block away. Soak in the views from the top of the John Hancock building, one of Chicago’s signature skyscrapers, just across the street. The local area is a hive of activity with retail outlets, landmarks and superb restaurants.
Your tastefully decorated suite offers separate living and sleeping spaces, 42-inch HDTVs and unique Chicago themed touches. Relax in the Hilton Serenity Bed and enjoy the 50MB bandwidth high-speed internet access, microwave, mini fridge, in-room coffee & tea and other included convenience items. Or just take in views of Lake Michigan and the city from your suite, fitness room, or the top-floor indoor swimming pool. And because you’re a VIP, enjoy access to the Executive Lounge for included daily breakfast, all-day beverage service, and nightly hors d’oeuvres.
* Your suite and amenities are included in your registration – Single and Double Occupancy registration packages enjoy the same facilities and privileges.
William “Father Bill” Miller is an Episcopal priest, speaker, and writer. He is the author of two popular books, The Gospel According to Sam: Animal Stories for the Soul, and The Beer Drinker’s Guide to God: The Whole and Holy Truth About Lager, Loving, and Living. He formerly owned Padre’s – a bar and music venue in the funky West Texas arts town of Marfa, and may be the only priest ever to own such an establishment! He has founded music festivals in Texas, Hawaii, and Louisiana. He is passionate about music, travel, sports, food, beverages, animals, compassion and creativity. His favorite teams are the Houston Astros and the New Orleans Saints. He was at games 5,6,and 7 of the 2017 World Series and was the only fan in attendance wearing a clerical collar. He has lived in Houston, Austin, Chicago and the island of Kauai, and now resides in the charming town of Covington, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans, with his rescue dogs Sinbad, Mahalia Jackson Queen Liliuokalani, Waylon Wailua “Jellyroll” Jennings, and Mano “Professor Shorthair” Miller. Learn more at www.fatherbill.net or www.facebook.com/williammillerauthor.
“Bill Miller gives religion a good name.” — Vince Poscente, New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Speed
“A magician with language, Father Bill writes with eloquence and great humor – reminding us that Christianity is a religion of joy, celebration,and love.” –– William Broyles, Jr. Screenwriter, Cast Away, Apollo 13, The Polar Express
“William Miller reminds the world that being a Christian should be fun and theology should be real.” — Sam Candler, Dean, St. Philip’s Cathedral, Atlanta
The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner is the founder of LivingCompass, a faith and wellness initiative—has served his community for more than 30 years as an Episcopal priest, marriage and family therapist, retreat leader, spiritual director, and author. A life-long baseball fan, at various times in his life he has attended the Church of Baseball at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia, Wrigley Field in Chicago, and now Miller Park in Milwaukee. He believes that spirituality pervades all aspects of life, a truth that is especially evident when one gains an in depth understanding of the game of baseball.
$2,795 per person single occupancy
(Single person full registration with private suite accommodations)
$2,195 per person double occupancy
(Full registration for 2 persons with shared suite accommodations)
Full Registration Includes:
- 5 Night Hotel Accommodations in 2-room Suite with Executive Club access
- Welcome Reception
- Breakfast in Hilton Chicago’s Executive Club each morning
- Private Tour of Wrigley Field
- Game dinner at TGI Friday’s Homerun Patio suite
- Dinner at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse
- Dinner at Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch
- Dinner at Portillo’s
- Progressive Pizzeria Lunch
- Hosted Lunch at Guaranteed Rate Field
- Riverboat Architecture Tour Admission
- Beer Capital of the World Tour (some adult beverages provided)
- Entrance to Buddy Guy’s Legends
- Entrance/Admission fees to all other activities noted
- All game tickets
- Transportation to all events
- Free in-room WiFi
- On-site Registration Gift
What’s Not Included:
- Transportation to and from Chicago
- Airport transfers
- Alcoholic beverages
Registration & Payment:
Single & Double Occupancy – $700 deposit
Remaining balance due 120 days prior to the event.
- Cancellation received 30 or more days before trip departure receives a full refund, excluding deposit.
- Cancellation received less than 30 days before trip departure only receives a refund (excluding deposit) if a replacement traveler can be found.
Can we arrive earlier or stay afterward at the hotel??
Yes you can! The Hilton Magnificent Mile Suites will gladly extend your stay at the group rate of $189 (plus applicable taxes) per night. We’ll even handle the reservation for you – just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, tell us what you need, and we’ll take care of you booking.
Is there anything special we should pack??
Not really – the main thing is to be comfortable. Stadium tours and excursions do require some walking so plan on bringing your sneakers or other good walking shoes. The weather in Chicago is generally in the 70’s in August (and it does occasionally rain) so perhaps a light rain jacket. And of course, bring your baseball jerseys and hats!
Here are the special events to give some consideration to:
- The dinner at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse is a bit more upscale. They officially list their dress code as “business casual.”
- The visit to the Buddhist Temple is a sacred space and we want to be respectful (we’ll take off our hats, for example) but no special dress code is required.
- There is a church service on Sunday morning.
What if I have special dietary needs??
No problem – we’ll ask more about any special needs you might have (including dietary restrictions) individually after receiving your registration.