Monday, October 26, 2015

Galena Again

Hello! My family visited Galena for the first time in August, and this past weekend my husband and I made a return trip. Then, the weather had been very hot and humid. Saturday, it was overcast and in the upper 50's. It was supposed to be sunny all day but the sun apparently didn't know the forecast and stayed hidden the whole time. The pretty vistas on the way to Galena were shrouded in fog.

We hoped the iffy weather would keep people away but it did not. We'd thought Galena was crowded enough in August but it seemed there were even more people in town this visit. Later on, we were told that fall is Galena's busiest season. Nevertheless, we had a pleasant afternoon there. 

One advantage of the cooler weather was going here for lunch:

Otto's Place is highly rated on the online restaurant review sites, but its daytime weekend offerings are more along the lines of breakfast or brunch. The food seemed a little heavy for the blazing hot weather during our August jaunt, but the menu looked perfect for cooler weather. 

Like so many buildings in Galena, the structure that houses Otto's Place oozes charm - dark red exterior with nice trim details, and inside there was a tin ceiling. The building dates from 1899 and is named for the man who had it built to house his own eatery. (Sadly, he died before it could open, but the Otto's Place owners named their business after him.)

It is a bit off the beaten track, on the edge of a neighborhood located a few blocks away from the busy downtown. The quieter setting made the restaurant all the more pleasant, we thought. 

Waits to be seated aren't uncommon, but we lucked out and were shown a table almost right away. I was a bit dismayed when the waitress informed me that both of the two entrees I was trying to pick from to order were both sold out. I "made do" with a spinach, Swiss and bacon omelet. It was perfectly made, as were the home fries that came with my order. My husband had a veggie omelet, also very good according to him. 

Thus, I can recommend Otto's Place if you visit Galena. 

As I'd said, Otto's Place is in a neighborhood, and as I hadn't been to this part of town during the previous visit, I decided to walk around and take a few pictures:

The above plaque, which reads "Miner's Cottage Circa 1840" hangs by the side porch of the house in the first photo. 

A bit of gingerbread trim.

Besides Christmastime, older homes seem to look their best in the fall.

This looks like the sort of house that could be haunted. There is a ghost tour business in downtown Galena, but I don't think this is on the tour. 

The neighborhood is also home to Grant Park, named after one-time resident U.S. Grant. The park sits atop a hill, giving visitors a view of the downtown area and beyond:

Note the houses up on the hill. Part of downtown Galena is in the foreground. 

A statue of Grant presides near one end of the park that bears his name.

It's a short walk of maybe all of five minutes to take a pedestrian bridge across the Galena River from the neighborhood to downtown. The crowds were in full force there, strolling up and down the blocks and popping in and out of shops. I did the same, but didn't buy anything. It was too crowded in some of the stores to even get a good look at the wares. That's okay, I wasn't really in a buying mood anyway. I was perfectly content with windowshopping. 

Actually, I did make a couple purchases - at a sale being run by an antiques dealer getting rid of some of his stuff; it was going on a couple of blocks from Otto's Place. Prices were reasonable. I spent a whopping two dollars for a large piece of fabric and a vintage wooden Santa figurine from Sweden. I collect wooden Scandinavian Christmas objects, so this little Santa will be grouped with the collection come Christmastime. 

It may sound like a rather tame day away: eating breakfast food for lunch, followed by time spent looking at looking at old houses, buying a couple of things at a garage sale and ignoring all the brand-new, pricey goodies in downtown Galena. But I had a very nice time anyway!



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