Am taking a break from homework (groan). Figured if I don’t write this down soon, I might soon forget or have school overwhelm me. It’s good to have some enforced downtime to do fun things like this!
While Summer is meant to be vacation time for many people, the husband spent much of it being fairly busy with his internship program. We also missed out a substantial block of time to go traveling because of my visa issues and my trip back home to Singapore. He was dying for a break. So on the suggestion of my boss over here, we decided to check out Galena – a little town at the border of Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.
Now, the husband is not a road trip kind of guy. He has chronic neck and shoulder pains, so sitting in a car for hours is not really his thing. I can’t really help him since I still get freaked out from driving on American highways. We couldn’t be so ambitious for our first road trip in the US, so we had to choose somewhere relatively near. Galena at 3 hours away was kind of just right for us.
Chicago/Illinois generally isn’t very scenic. With the exception of Lake Michigan, Illinois is basically landlocked without many natural wonders. It pales in comparison to the beautiful coast lines and national parks that you see very much of in the west coast. Most Chicagoians love their city but often bemoan about its lack of nature.
So we were lucky to have found this little respite in Galena. We were truly in awe when we saw beautiful vistas and rolling hills appear as we slowly left the hustle and bustle of city life behind. There were vineyards (who knew Illinois produced wine?!), cornfields, pear trees, blueberry bushes (though already bare) and more. There was even a mountain resort that had skiing available in the winter.
We rented a tiny cabin through Airbnb, situated on a farm that was a care facility for old farm horses. The farm was actually in another even tinier town called Elizabeth, about 20 something mins from the town of Galena. For $80 per night, we had an absolutely charming little cabin with the cutest kitchen and seating area. It also had an attic which we had to climb up steep stairs to, to get to our bed. Everything was just so clean and pretty and we had all the creature comforts including wifi!
The best part was that our baby Rusty could come along on holiday with us. We giggled at this cabin’s description on Airbnb. That it was not family-friendly but was dog-friendly! 😀 lol. The owner also had 2 very friendly dogs who wanted to play as well. Unfortunately our Rusty wasn’t very interested to run about with them. Though I have to give him credit for being a good boy and for not acting all huffy and puffy (i.e. naughty) when he met them.
We felt so comfortable in the cabin for the 2 nights that we were there. I think Rusty loved the calm and quiet too as his favorite activity was snuggling up with us on the couch (so rare I tell ya!), getting head rubs and enjoying the peace of the place.
Actually, the farm that we send Rusty to for boarding when we go away is located near Galena as well. So we teased him that his holidays are so wonderful. No wonder he doesn’t want to come home!
Our only full day was spent exploring Galena town itself. We walked a short portion of a river trail and looked around this quaint little town that seems to be stuck in the 1800s. It was just one street, but every store a unique little place selling locally produced goods and wares. Sorry, no Starbucks or McDonald’s in sight. There wasn’t even a CVS (kinda like Singapore’s Watson) for me to pick up some extra toiletries. We picked up cheese, wine, jams, bourbon bbq sauce and yummy saltwater taffy from and old fashioned candy shop. Lunch was also at a local place that had cheap and good choices. Loved my breaded fried grouper and sweet potato fries. All homemade.
We only had a short trip there but felt relaxed and rested in such a tranquil setting. It’ll be hard to forget waking up to horses grazing on the field, beautiful sunsets and my most favorite part, being able to see a sky full of stars in the pitch black night. I never even knew our skies could be so dazzling in the night.