When you tell people you’re spending the weekend in the quaint little town of Galena, particularly when it’s at a historic bed and breakfast, particularly when it’s at a historic bed and breakfast with your mom and your brother, particularly when it’s at a historic bed and breakfast with your mom and your brother in one room with two beds and hardwood floors so beautiful and old that they creak every time you step on them, well, no one knows how to react.
In fact, we didn’t know how to react either. Sometime in the middle of the weekend, Adam and I looked at each other and said, How did this whole weekend come to be, anyway?
We remembered the back-and-forth e-mails of I’m-traveling-this-weekend-and-you’re-busy-next-and-looks-like-we’ll-have-to-go-near-Thanksgiving-will-that-work-for-you-and-when-did-we-become-people-who-are-busy-with-stupid-things-EVERY-SINGLE-WEEKEND-and-well-this-whole-thing-is-really-far-away-from-now-so-whatever-we’ll-worry-about-it-later, but we didn’t remember how they’d started to begin with.
I guess it must have started with Mom, who has been wanting to go out to Galena, to go antiquing, she said, which is something all three of us like now, even though at least two of us didn’t growing up, and, after we kids had arranged to have Friday off work and Mom had booked a place to stay, we drove three hours through farms and fields and sleepy little towns until we reached the top of northwest Illinois, where, oh boy, antiquing is exactly what we did.
Just in case one of you out there is reading this now and thinking, Oh gosh, how cute, they go for a peaceful little weekend of quiet antiquing, let me clarify: that woman I call Mom who was leading things? She is serious about shopping, people. I don’t know how she does it.
After we’d covered downtown Galena and a mall just outside the town, we were headed north, to Hazel Green and Cuba City, Wisconsin, with stops along the way.
In Cuba City, I bought seven white (but dirty) Staffordshire plates that have rims like flower petals for a whopping $3 total, and Mom bought a plate for $5, and I bought a picture for $12, and Adam bought a chocolate amaretto truffle, I think, for $1, and, all of this coupled with the soft pretzel Mom came out of the gas station with, and we were doing very well.
Antiquing makes you hungry, though, and by the time we headed back to Galena for lunch, well, let’s just say that our meal at the Green Street Tavern inside the state’s oldest operating hotel, the DeSoto House — a veggie burger, fish n’ chips, toasted pitas with roasted pepper dip and sweet potato fries — was fabulous.
Then, just like that, we were on our way to Iowa, a decision, I’ll admit, that was pushed largely by me and my I-want-to-say-I’ve-been-to-all-50-states attitude, but, come on, we were a half hour from the border, and I’d never been and, I swear, the antique book said there were some shops there. Since we couldn’t make it to the town Mom had originally planned, we settled for Dubuque.
OK, so have you ever been to Dubuque, Iowa? No? Let’s just say I won’t be the one pushing to return.
I have, however, seen the Mississippi River now.
[More to come, including details about the. best. meal. we had in Galena and, honestly, in a very long time anywhere. Stay tuned!]
Want to see all the photos I took?
- Full Flickr album: Galena
Places mentioned in this post:
- Galena! You can find out more about it at its visitors’ site or in this Wikipedia article.
- (our B&B) The Aldrich Guest House (where the owners were as sweet as could be, and the breakfasts, quite nice)
- The DeSoto House, Green Street Tavern: Where else will you see a couple dressed up in 1800s clothes at the entrance?
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.