Road Trip: Gorgeous Galena!

Wow- it was a busy week! On Friday I demonstrated quilting at the Highland Park Historical Society. On Saturday I demonstrated rug hooking at the Lisle Depot Days with my Foxy Ladies Rug Hooking Group. Sunday was a wonderful rainy day of football. And on Wednesday, we went to Galena!

I have been working on my “passport” for the Northern Illinois Quilt Fest Shop Hop. Awhile ago I decided that I would try to complete both parts; there is an Eastern route and a Western one. Many miles and lots of gas later, I am nearing the end. Peter has been with me for many of the routes as he likes to bike while I am hopping. On Wednesday we drove the western most part of the route, stopping at 3 stores along the way with plans to spend the night in Galena. Galena is beside the Mississippi and borders Iowa, and Wisconsin is not far away! Somehow we hadn’t heard anything about Galena (the people we know seem to talk about Dorr County as the place to visit) and were really surprised – – – it is indeed gorgeous! Look at the main shopping street, which seems to go on and on…. (and was difficult to photograph!)

It evidently was a town that time forgot, as many of the most lovely towns in Colorado are as well. It’s boom time (as was Colorado’s) was the turn of the last century when Galena was the spot to stop along the Mississippi! The Indians who lived in the area discovered the lead mines, the French started trading posts in the 1600’s and by the early 1800’s the “Americans” had moved in and started the town. Interestingly enough, the town began to die when the railroad came and Galena froze in time. None of the buildings had ugly 70’s facades on the street level as we saw in some of the towns on the way there. Many of the interiors seemed to be original, with wonderful railings and lighting and – my favorite -tin ceilings! Wouldn’t this be a great hooked rug or applique pattern?

There are many restaurants and bars and interesting shops there, very few selling the junky touristy sort of wares. We were on a time schedule, be we want to visit again to really drive around to see all the gorgeous buildings; there are a huge number on the National Historic Register. You just wonder how much this sort of house would have cost the owner to build….. I just love the brick with all the gingerbread; it pops like a red and white quilt does.

The drive to Galena is a very spectacular one. Turns out it is in” the driftless zone” which means the land was not covered by glaciers. The result is that the land has hills and lots of lovely rock bluffs. Our part of Illinois is flat, flat, flat and in this part of the state the views are absolutely breath-taking and a delightful change! I’m not sure I’ve seen views quite like these in the US; it really made me think of an area of Italy we drove around last summer. This picture doesn’t really show the undulations as well as I’d hoped, but trust me, it does roll!

Many of the towns around Galena have great architecture as well, though none have so many. They all have interesting stories to tell. Here is a beauty in tiny Pecatonica.

This Northwestern section of Illinois is really worth a trip. And I didn’t even mention the Mississippi!

3 thoughts on “Road Trip: Gorgeous Galena!

  1. Galena is gorgeous! You need to go back to some of the tours, like Grant’s house. If you want to stay in a nice place, Eagle Ridge is nice. From out here, we just hop on Route 20 and head west. Wait a few weeks and the colors on the trees out there will be wonderful!


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