My pack of friends had been talking for weeks about have a get together sometime, as COVID numbers were climbing and summer was waning. We’d also been talking about summer vacations. No one wants to fly and then Cook County started putting quarantine restrictions on people coming in from different states. In the end, three of us decided to do a short road trip to Galena, Illinois. Galena is one of those river towns that was a big deal in the 19th century and is now a favorite weekend getaway for Chicagoans. I haven’t been there in several years.
Galena has loads of B&Bs, but I felt like we would be more comfortable in a real hotel where there is no expectation that one would socialize with other guests. We decided to do Sunday – Thursday so as to further avoid other people. We landed on Stoney Creek Inn. A small, simple, comfortable hotel a couple of miles from the “downtown” area. The rates were great, the parking was free and there was a Piggly Wiggly next door, in case we couldn’t find sufficient outdoor dining.
There are two state parks near Galena – three if you want to cross the border into Iowa. Our idea was to spend the mornings hiking around, spend the afternoons in town, and be exhausted at the end of the day. I didn’t take many pictures, but this was at Apple River Canyon State Park. It had a few shorter hikes, including one that involved many, many stairs. We skipped that one.
After hiking, we would have a late lunch, then go back to the hotel and chill for an hour or so before going into town.
Galena was once filled with antique shops. It is now filled with coffee, wine bars, and restaurants. The shops on Main Street are mostly closed on Mondays – some also on Tuesdays – so we needed much less time (but more planning) to shop. Which means we started drinking at about four.
There was a bar called Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape that I would be happy to go to for the rest of my life. Sangria was lovely, martini specials were fantastic, and the outdoor seating was like sitting in the backyard. But with better people watching.
The best restaurant in town remains Fried Green Tomatoes. They are on Open Table and you can reserve a table outside.
Overall I am very happy that we went. The weather was fantastic, the company was fabulous, and I managed to pick up a few bottles of Merry Merry Cranberry which my mother really needed before we all go on lockdown again.
I feel somewhat better now.