Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Three-Legged Trip: Part 2 - Galena

It's about time to get back to talking about our trip.  I've been limping along on just one leg for the past week. 

After a few days in Lanesboro, we took off and searched for the Highland Store & Cafe which, from their website, sounded like a great place for organic food and allergy free options.  Unfortunately after driving 30 miles, we found it was closed for that day.  If you go, call ahead to make sure they're open!  

The second destination of our trip was Galena, Illinois, but on the way there we decided to stop in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin to tour Villa Louis, a Victorian mansion.  I had been on the tour before when I was in 7th grade when I took a trip downriver with my parents on their houseboat.  I didn't remember much about it except that I thought it was really neat. 

Villa Louis
Dousman Office Building

Just a brief history:  The Villa Louis estate was built in the late 1800s by the Dousman family.  It's been restored over the years.  The house is rich in detail from the elegant first floor receiving room, parlor and dining room, to the upstairs bedrooms, and then down the back stairs to the servants' quarters and kitchen. Out back there is also an office building and an ice house and preserve house for food prep, and the laundry building.

The tour gives a very accurate picture of their lives at that time in history.  Villa Louis is not so much about H. Louis Dousman, but about his wife Nina who lived there with their five children and took charge of the estate after he died at the age of 37.  You can read more about the history here. If you go, be sure to try the Artesian water from the well.
Onward to Galena, Illinois...

Galena's early claim to fame was that of a mining, smelting and steam boating center.  When the railroad went through and missed it, the industries dried up until it was preserved during the later part of the 20th century.  Now it's a great tourist area with historic buildings and specialty shops marching up and down Main Street.  It reminds me of Stillwater, Minnesota only ten times larger, plus it has flood gates at one end that they close when the river gets too high.

We had been to this historic area before while staying in Dubuque, Iowa, but this time we decided to stay at the Aldrich Guest House B&B across the river from the downtown area.

Aldrich Guest House
We stayed in the south-facing Jones room, which was bright and sunny with lilac and green-flowered wallpaper.  Innkeepers Fran and Brian get special kudos points for accommodating all my food allergies.  I don't know what everyone else ate for breakfast, but I had pancakes one day, a fruit plate, sausage and tomato the next, and on the last morning, Belgian waffles.

The biking trail was shorter and a lot more rugged than in Lanesboro, but in 90+ degree weather, a short trip is all we really wanted anyway.

"Official" Galena Bike Trail
3 1/2 miles one way, 1 1/2 miles the other

 Of course there are other places worth mentioning:

The Market House Restaurant
A second floor restaurant above Main Street.  A great place for pizza, pasta and sandwiches. They also had a gluten free, dairy free, egg free bread. 

Otto's Place
A few blocks from our B&B.  We picked up an Asian Chicken Spinach salad for lunch one day and took it back and ate on the porch where we were staying. 

One Eleven Main
Highly recommended by several people.  Locally-sourced ingredients.  Very busy on Saturday night, though the waitstaff and management were very helpful.  Great food and gluten free menu.  Very succulent walleye.

Herb-broiled Walleye
Roasted Tomatoes and Sweet Peas
Almond Rice Pilaf
 Fried Green Tomatoes
Also highly recommended.  They were a little more confused about the gluten free thing, but they made it work with their very unique cuisine.

Espresso-Encrusted Filet Mignon
and Roasted Potatoes

Tuscan Mac 'N' Cheese
Pasta w/ Italian sausage, roasted peppers, gouda and gorgonzola
bread sticks w/ olive oil
(not gluten or dairy free)
Pasta Perfetta
Huge variety of pasta of all colors and shapes.  Flavors such as spinach, tomato, wine, basil, mushroom, chocolate!  They also have a few gluten free and vegan choices.

Kaladi's Coffee Bar
Ok.  We went here three times.  Great coffee.  You can also get breakfast items and sandwiches (not gluten free) and gelato (not dairy free) or sorbet.

And of course you can visit the other shops for wine, clothing, a store that sells hundreds of different hot sauces, boutiques, art galleries and bars.  There are also museums and historic ghost story tours.  As we were taking a walk one day through the upper streets of downtown, I told myself that I'd probably forget most of the details when I got home from my trip - the brick buildings, the lit up store fronts at night, the historic charm hovering about in the nooks and crannies. 

All the more reason that we'll probably go back again soon.

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