This weekend I took a quick trip with my girlfriend to get away from Chicago. We headed out to the quaint and historic town of Galena, Illinois. Galena is on the fringe of Illinois where the Mississippi River draws the state boundary with Iowa. Making the trip across Illinois you see many flat cornfields but after you pass Rockford, Illinois the fields began to roll and you feel like you are in a different place. We passed many scenic points and even a scenic view lookout tower.
Upon arriving in Galena we realized that it was a celebratory weekend in Galena. It was the 175th anniversary of the Galena Fire Department which included a parade followed up by a street dance party featuring a live band. We checked into the DeSoto House Hotel on Main Street, which has hosted the likes of Ulysses S. Grant, and Abraham Lincoln. After checking in we headed to Main Street to get a feel for the city and formulate a plan on how we were going to enjoy the evening.
First, we decided to head to the Galena Cellars Winery to taste some wine. We tasted twelve different wines (6 wines for $2) and then proceeded to purchase bottles of our favorites from the tasting. We viewed many extraordinary images of nature at Thomas Mangelsen’s gallery. We also passed Galena's oldest home the Dowling House built in 1826.
Next, we headed up to a very simple but fabulous Italian restaurant called Cannova’s. Since they had a bit of a wait (45 minutes) we passed the time by heading across the street for a drink at Oscar’s Pub where a few friendly locals were gathered. One in particular introduced himself as David “The Nightmare” Sproule and gave us this insight on Galena including that we should try out the Irish Cottage Inn a new Irish hotel about a mile outside of the downtown Galena strip. Ironically, he is also the local stone-mason that build the relatively new Inn.
Finally, we returned to Connova’s where we were seated immediately. The place was very quaint and filled to capacity and it made sense since their menu consisted of several different pizzas, pastas and sandwiches and were all priced less then normal market value. I had the fettuccine alfredo which was amazing. It was well worth the wait. A bottle of red wine later we finished dinner and were dancing in the streets with the rest of the townies and tourists to a local "Hawaiian shirt wearing" band’s rendition of the Steppenwolf song Magic Carpet Ride.
The celebration was wrapped up by 10pm but since the night was still young we took a walk to enjoy the darkness of the night and bright starry country sky. We walked through a memorial park where we saw U.S. Grant’s statue as well as Blakey, the first rifled barreled cannon from the beginning shots of the civil war and a Howitzer cannon from World War I, 1913. After a walk around the city we finally we retreated to our floral decorated hotel room at the DeSoto House and called it a evening.
We returned to Chicago on Sunday after a restful weekend away. Before departing we made a quick stop by U.S. Grant's house. It was nice to see opened country, rolling hills and trees. We needed to reset after a rather long week that was in the big city.