Monday, April 19, 2010

A Whirlwind in Galena, IL

Monday, Monday, Monday... I'm just sitting here, surrounded by half-colored pictures of Barbie, random bits of smelly soccer gear, and rapidly-emptying plastic bags of old-fashioned candy. Do you ever have so much to say that your brain freezes up and gets stuck on something mundane? Like Barbie coloring pages and plastic bags? Yeah. That's me, this morning, as I wait for my coffee to kick in.*

In the meantime, I simply HAVE to share some of my pictures from this weekend getaway that the CVB of Galena, IL sponsored for me and 7 other Mom bloggers. To say that we connected instantly is putting it mildly. And to say that we had fun doesn't even touch the surface...

Val, Kris, Brandie, Lisa, Celestino, Kim, Barb, Michelle, Me

Inside of Ulysses S. Grant's home in Galena, IL. The tour was so informative and engaging. I plan on taking the kids back for a field trip someday soon.
Barb aka Weaselmama and one of our guides, Celestino at Cannova's in downtown Galena. I highly recommend the bruschetta...
General Grant and Mrs. Grant were kind enough to answer every question we could throw at them regarding their lives in the 1860's. Don't they look fabulous for their ages?
I think Brandie should be commended for not swiping the fabrics and antique clothing in the archives of the Galena Historical Museum.
Being allowed to pilfer through the museum's boxes and rooms and archived memorabilia from over 150 years ago was an experience that all of us loved! It took me a few minutes to get past the whole "look with your eyes, not your hands!" mentality. Obviously, I was able to get past that when this Civil war hat called my name.... The Executive Director, Nancy Breed, was extremely generous and accommodating by allowing this special treat. Thank you so much, Nancy!
The kindness and generosity of Galena was mentioned often by our guides. But nothing they told us spoke as loudly as the true hospitality repeatedly shown by the residents who love their town so very much. Thank you to Brad and Roth for opening up your private and historic home, the Seal House, to us. You also can't fake the genuine kindness of the volunteer who, after seeing us peeking through the windows of the Blacksmith shop by the river, opened up the closed shop so that we could look around. He thought we were just an group of women, walking by. Little did he know that we were there on a trip to get the scoop on Galena! Thank you so much! You are yet another example of the type of people that populate Galena; Kind, generous and proud of their city's heritage. Good luck with the Boy Scouts next weekend!
Galena Cellars hosted a wine tasting! I had my SVMoms notepad and took notes on all of the samples before picking out my own favorite. More on that, later!

Val as one of our Bottle Models...
Kris after a few drinks... Clearly, we were very, very shy around each other. Obviously, none of us were having a good time at Fried Green Tomatoes... (FYI, The Lobster Ravioli is absolutely to die for. I couldn't finish my huge plateful, so I finished it for breakfast the next morning!)
Nope. Not even Brandie. She certainly wasn't dropping questionable jokes about how very, very much she loved that ice cream dessert. And she DEFINITELY never threatened our host Dorian's life if he didn't pass the quickly melting ice cream BACK to her. She's way too sweet for that...
Note to self: 5 am in Illinois in April = COLD. Never mind that your daughter was wearing a tank top and shorts 2 days ago! If you're going up in a hot air balloon at 6 am, BRING A WARMER COAT!
But being a little chilly is worth the view of Galena from 3,000 feet!
I FINALLY got to do something adventurous BEFORE my husband!! Hot air ballooning was so thrilling! I can't believe we go to experience it! Thank you to our hilarious pilot, Andy. His ability to "cue the wildlife" and keep the conversation full of laughter made the day so special...
Our backyard at the luxury home that Eagle Ridge generously provided for our stay. I only wish that we had had a few more hours to enjoy it all! The house my group stayed in had 5 bedrooms, a pool table, a HUGE kitchen, and a gorgeous yard. It was so private and secluded!
I can now cross off "walking an Alpaca" from my bucket list of things to do before I die. (Speaking of which, I need to make a bucket list...) Very gentle creatures and extremely soft! We toured the grounds and rooms of the Chestnut Mountain Resort before having a delicious lunch in their restaurant. Chestnut Mountain is known for its ski hills, for sure, but did you know it has an Alpine Slide in the warmer months? When I found that out, I KNEW we would be coming back as a family in the summer! And when Justin found out that they had affordable skiing lessons for kids? He was beyond thrilled and begging to go.

Downtown Galena is what most people initially think of when they talk about Galena. We were so busy in our day and a half that we barely touched upon it! You could honestly spend an entire day just exploring their stores. This is obvious proof that there is a TON to do in Galena for families, couples and groups.
I could PERSONALLY spend an entire day taste testing in the Galena Canning Company. I wanted to buy 20 different products, but had to settle on the Chocolate Amaretto topping for Patrick**. It's SO good with pretzels!

I am pooped. Beyond, beyond. As in, past infinity and all. After that whirlwind of activity (how did we fit all of that and MORE into the 32 hours we were there?) and today's ventures into making authentic Brazilian fare with Justin for our homeschool club meeting tomorrow (pictures to follow. FOR SURE), AND linking to everyone above? All I can do is lean back with my glass of mystery wine from the Galena Cellars (heh heh. You'll have to wait and see what my favorite was!) and try not to pass out before the children do...

* It seriously took me from 8 am to 8 pm to finish this post. Just had to document that fact...

**I only ate half of it. Swear to God.
Post a Comment
Related Posts with Thumbnails