Galena is located in the northwest of Chicago, about 3.5-hour drive away. Its rolling hills, its 19th century architecture, and the surrounding picturesque vineyard wineries make it a great choice for a weekend getaway from the city life.
The population of Galena is less than 4000 people but its vibrant lifestyle with year-round outdoor activities attract nearly a million visitors every year. Galena was the home of Ulysses S. Grant and eight other generals. Grant's house was located at a hilltop with a perfect view overlooking Galena river and downtown Galena. The link here provides the addresses for each historic site.
Due to the July fourth and our last minute decision for this getaway, we ended up staying in EastDubuque, 11 miles from Galena. Do make hotel reservation in advance if travelled on holiday weekend.
The scenic drive between Galena and Hanover on Highway 20 and 84 South reminded me greatly of the beautiful England countryside road between Bath and Bradford-on-Avon. While on this route, be gentle on the car escalator pedal. Go slow, relax, and bask in the lush green rolling hills view on both sides of the road. There is a lookout view stop on the left in the outskirt of Elizabeth and before the turn onto 84 South to Handover. Time permissible, pull over for the great photo opportunity.
We had two unexpected surprises on our 1.5 hour drive to Fulton from Galena on Highway 84 South. First, we visited Mississippi Palisades State Park, and unexpectedly found a lookout point in in the Park that overlooked the magnificent Mississippi River. Second, we passed by a rather big Antique and Collectible store. That was my first experience shopping in Antique and Collectible store. The store definitelyhas many oft-overlooked gems. My friend found two new vintage Naritake stoneware (small and medium) covered casseroles for only $10, $5 each.
I was utterly thrilled to see an authentic Netherland-made windmill in American soil, Fulton Illinois. This town used to have 75% of Dutch descendents, but has since dropped to roughly 50% now.
We indeed journeyed through Illinois nooks and crannies in the trip.
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