My Travel Memories (also a Northern Illinois Destination): Galena, Illinois

In 1979, we also took a several-day trip to Galena, Illinois.  We stayed at what is apparently the ski resort in Galena.  It was the off-season, so we got to stay there for less than the ski season cost and it was a lovely trip.

Westward view from Galena Illinois.
The view westwards towards the Mississippi River from the top of the ski lift.

We went into downtown Galena and enjoyed the small-town ambiance.  We also walked down to the Mississippi River just to do it and walked along the banks through clouds of dragonflies (or maybe they were damselflies, I’m not much of an entomologist, and this was 36 years ago).

I also got to go horseback riding for the second time in my life.  My first time horseback riding, two years earlier with my Girl Scout troop, had been . . . unexciting.  Since I was the smallest girl in my Girl Scout troop, I got the “gentlest” horse, which was also the slowest.  As the group walked, I fell further and further behind.  Eventually the person leading our group saw me way, way back there and literally dragged the horse up to the rest of the group.  I feared that the same thing would happen on this vacation, but, to my surprise (and pleasure) they gave me a horse with a bit of pep and I was able to keep up with the group.

My parents and I went on a riverboat.  It wasn’t a big paddlewheel boat, but it was a nice outing up and down the river.  This was the farthest west I had ever been in my life, so it was pretty momentous.

And, since my mom had a thing for historic houses, we fit at least two in, that I can remember. With the aid of photographs, I was able identify one house as the Dowling House, which was the oldest building in town.

The other was more memorable.  It was the big red brick house that is now the Ulysses S. Grant State Historic Site.  It’s a red brick house, where Grant lived.  Apparently, he only stayed in Galena for eight years (four of which were the Civil War, so that makes it actually four years, I guess) and once he was elected President, he never returned.  That’s a ringing endorsement of Galena if I’ve ever head one, so I don’t think I’d want to live there myself.  As a place for my family to take their first “just the three of us” vacation, though, it was quite pleasant indeed.

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