Sunday, July 29, 2012

Galena, IL

Ah finally a three day weekend! We've been on the go go go so while we had initially planned a three day trip (2 nights camping) we decided a day trip and then two days at home would be grand!

Friday Morning:
We slept in! After a couple cups of coffee we hit the road in the orange mobile, using the Garmin to take us on the shortest (and more scenic) route to Galena, IL. I often use this when not in a hurry and wanting to check out the road less travel. From Stoughton it took us about 1 hour and 50 minutes. While, I've been to Galena several times Brett has never been and so before we left we decided that we were going to take a tour of Galena. We arrived at about 12:30 to get tickets for Galena Trolley tour at 2:00 pm. We gave ourselves a little time to wander. We also considered a carriage ride tour.

Lunch: Benjamin's right on the main drag. Brett went with the Echo Burger (1/3 lb burger with sliced ham, Dijon/ranch sauce and raw onions) while I went with the Pita-Q (BBQ shredded pork and American cheese between pita bread) both served with thin homemade French fries. Delicious.

Tour: After lunch we took the tour with our Guide Joe. Joe was great, he gives you a overview of the history while taking you around the East Side, West Side and then downtown area. (we then went back to the car to move it, there are 3 hr parking limits from 9a-5p) and proceeded with a little shopping and wine tasting. The most enjoyable for me was just learning the history of the town and why it is what it is today. The most enjoyable for Brett was the older homes and churches that over looked the downtown, especially the high school and the stairs that the kids had to go up everyday to get to school (over 175 stairs).

Wine tastings! We sampled Massbach Ridge Winery (Elizabeth, IL)  and Galena Cellars Winery (Galena, IL) both have store fronts in downtown Galena. Each of us sampled 6 wines for $5 (total $20 between the two wineries) and found our favorites. At Massbach we tried: St Pepin, Seyval, Sunrise Red, Cool Breeze, Daffodil White, Berry Sweet, Windsong White, Vignoles, Massbach Reserve, and Ridge Red. At Galena we tried: Bubblin Blanc, Proprietor's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, General's Reserve Red, Country Red, 2011 Seyval Blanc, Illinois Traminette, Senorita Sangria, Marechal Foch/Eric the Red, Vineyard Red/St. Croix, Daffodil/LaCrosse, Oktoberfest, Vineyard Rose, and Senor Sangria. Our winery of choice? Galena Cellars. We took home the Bubblin' Blanc (dry with tiny bubbles), Proprietor's Reserve Cabernet (yum), Vineyard Rose (tasty), and the Senorita Sangria (white sangria).

After all that wine we decided to take a walking tour of our own (and walk up the crazy flights of stairs in town). After wandering and walking, and saying "Hello" to the town folk sitting on their porches we settled on Vinny Vanucchi's. Not being overly starving we split a lasagna (which was big enough for the two of us), added on an extra salad (it was already family style), add in garlic bread and Tiramisu (of course) and we were stuffed. A little walk across the river to the park and back and we hit the road. A good day all in all. The best part? The walk together around town and a slow lazy dinner.

Next time: Hoping to camp at Palace Campground, ride the bikes into town, Kayak the River and visit The Belvedere Mansion and maybe a river cruise on the Mighty Mississippi.