Weekend Highlights from Galena

Stairs in Galena
I've just returned from a weekend in Dubuque, Iowa! I was able to spend the last two days with my sweetie and his family. We were celebrating a few birthdays and a first communion (happy Pentecost!). It was such a blast. The weekends go by so fast, eh?

Yesterday we did some exploring in Galena, IL which is just 20 minutes from Dubuque. Between the years of 2005-2009, I drove through Galena MANY times to travel from Iowa to Chicago, but it had been quite a while since I'd done much exploring there. A few Galena highlights/recommendations:

Golden Hen Cafe: This was our first stop on Saturday! Business was booming when we arrived, so we opted to sit at the cafe bar. The service was excellent, and the food was stellar, too. I had a delicious omelet with chorizo and jalapenos (and sour cream on the side). J had a skillet and pancakes which he found excellent. The coffee was good, too, and the refills kept coming!

Great American Popcorn Company: The fragrance of this place blasted down the block tempting all passersby! Samples of fresh, warm caramel corn were provided as soon as we walked in the door! We got two pieces of fudge for lunch (when in Rome!), and they were top-notch. We tried the peanut butter fudge and the chocolate walnut. The peanut butter fudge was extra soft. The chocolate walnut was a little dry. I'd definitely recommending stoping in for a treat.

Devour Cafe: Speaking of places to stop for a treat, try Devour Cafe. I had a large mocha. The shop owner said he makes his mochas with special dark chocolate. I thought it was very good. He also offered to make it with almond milk, my favorite milk variety. All the coffees in the shop are fair trade and made in environmentally-sustainable ways. Roasted locally. The cafe had a casual vibe with a comfy couch and chairs in back.

Ink and Stamp with Sue: This is the kind of store I could have easily stayed in for hours. They have an eclectic mix of books, paper, pens, stamps, cards, coloring books, markers, and paints. Perfect for those who love to write letters and dream of fountain pens.

Old Blacksmith Shop: This was a real gem and my favorite part of the day! What a great, informative, inspiring place! It's a real blacksmith shop where demonstrations are still regularly provided. The fellow working in the gift shop had such a contagious enthusiasm for blacksmithing and preserving history.

Galena & U.S. Grant Museum: After a dose of blacksmithing, we were ready for more Galena history. At the U.S. Grant Museum, we were given a brief introduction to the museum by Nancy (in costume). The museum is home to the famous painting "Peace in Union." It was really neat to see the painting in person! It's HUGE. Much bigger than I expected. Galena is a lot older than I realized - founded in 1826! In its prime, 14,000 people lived there. In the mid-1800s, more lead was mined in Galena than anywhere else in the United States!

We covered a lot of ground in about seven hours - but there's still so much more to see and learn. Galena is definitely a place I'd love to visit again. It would be especially fun to do a walking tour of the city and learn more about the architecture - so many neat, old homes.