Early last week I received a surprise telephone call from one of my best friends during my grade and high school years. Seems she was heading out to Galena, Illinois for a mini vacation this weekend, and seeing as we hadn't seen each other in some 30 years, could we get together? Hell to the yes!
Galena is an historic little iron mining town located in north west Illinois just about an hours drive from me. Turns out she picked the busiest week end of the year, Country Fair, a huge craft show in the city park. She also picked the BEST EVER weather. It was, no lie, close to if not 90 degrees out on the 9th of October! My only complaint is that I should have worn shorts, I was hot. There were tons of shoppers, lots of vendors and well crafted items. My only purchase was two pieces of over priced fudge from a fund raising tent ( I really do not have the 'shopping gene'), but there was certainly something for every one.
Main Street was extremely congested, but we did find an out-of-the-way restaurant in the lower level of the DeSoto Hotel that had immediate seating and Boogie allowed us about 15 minutes of peace to look over photographs before he was completely bored.
We wandered over to the Belvedere Mansion, built in 1857, and took a somewhat disappointing tour. While Grants home and the Dowling House (circa 1826 and the oldest stone building in Illinois)are historically accurate depictions of their original uses, Belvedere is basically home to an eclectic collection that has very little to do with the post civil war era or the lifestyle of its builder. Two rooms on the main floor, the ladies and men's parlors, are interesting, however the Tiffany lighting in the dining room, while beautiful, is just another, albeit valuable, piece of the owners collection. Other unrelated items included pieces from the Liberace estate, movie memorabilia like the green curtains from 'Gone With the Wind' and furnishings from Teddy Roosevelt's Chicago office. Not worth the over-priced tour fee, at least in my opinion.
Regardless, we had a very nice visit and it was nearly 5 o'clock before Boogie and I headed home.The Boogie-man was a very good boy once again. He enjoyed the shuttle bus rides to and from the car, walked for hours and stayed out of trouble with only a minimal melt down at the end of the day when he was completely exhausted (I was exhausted too!). Little guy was fast asleep before we covered the 8 miles to the Wisconsin state line.I'm looking forward to visiting with her again in spring, but right now I need to figure out what to make for dinner!