River Road, St. Louis to Dubuque and back
Just a quick note on the trip. We took out of St. Louis and headed North through Hannibal and Quincy, IL to a stop in Nauvoo. This is a very nice stop, especially if you have school-age children or a personal connection of some kind to the LDS church (and if, unlike us, you manage to make it there on a day where the temperature is less than 100 degrees). Be sure to go by the wainwright and blacksmithery.
We stayed that night in Fort Madison. highlights of the day were Nauvoo (obviously) and the fried strawberries we had for dessert that night (at Alpha's - a restaurant in downtown Fort Madison -- the food was okay, but the fried strawberries were both very good and something I had not had before.)
The next morning we spent some time letting our toddler run off some energy at the riverside park in Fort Madison and then headed up the river. After a quick lunch in Burlington (be sure to drop by Mosquito Park in the Historic District for a nice viewpoint for the river), we headed away from the river to Wilton, IA to get ice cream at the Wilton Candy Kitchen. I spoke a little with Mrs. Napoulos who runs the place. She was a very nice lady who seems dedicated to keeping the place going as long as she can. If you are in the area, please stop by. And the ice cream is even really good as well.
Afterwards, we headed to the Quad Cities and toured the Mississippi River Visitor's Center (there was a barge going through the lock while we were there) and the Village of East Davenport (my wife found it rather disappointing as a shopping destination -- I am not a shopper so I will take her word for it.) From here we cut up to Dubuque.
After a very late night at Dubuque (our toddler decided she didn't want to go to sleep until 2 AM), we poked around Dubuque a bit -- the highlight for me was just hanging out at the overlook at Eagle Point Park -- this is an excellent spot for a picnic. There is a $1 entrance charge but it is well worth it. Beautiful sweeping views of the river.
We then spent most of the afternoon in Galena (a good place for shopping for those who enjoy it) and then took of back for Iowa City. I have a weakness for college towns and we hapened upon a concert in the pedmall in downtown Iowa City. I just love the energy and vibrancy of college towns and Iowa City had both (especially as the students were just starting to trickle back).
After a night there and another morning of poking about downtown (including Prairie Lights books -- a very nice book store downtown) we took off back for St. Louis.
All in all, not a bad trip. My list of highlights from the trip:
1) The riverside parks. Just a pleasant place to idle away some time and some wonderful views
2) Nauvoo. Try to pick better weather than we did.
3) Iowa City. Wonderful vibrancy
Shopping's not really my thing so I don't include Galena. Those who enjoy shoping will probably like it.
As for food, the trip was a bit of a bust. Aside from the the fried strawberries at Alpha's and the Wilton Candy Kitchen there was nothing really memorable. Those, however, were quite good.
So, we're probably not going to hit the road again until next Spring. Not sure where we're going yet, but I am still looking forward to it.
Thanks for sharing!
Next time you're in Dubuque, you might want to check out the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. Its right on the river, by the casino, and is a pretty neat place to spend a few hours.
Galena is an interesting little town. I hadn't been there until just a few weeks ago, when I took the IL River Road down to the Quad Cities. It really has geared itself as a getaway place for Chicagoans, and was a much much more upscale town than I ever expected.
Just Got Back
We just got back from a trip to two of the places you wrote about: Galena and Dubuque. Great destinations. We've been there many times and still find new places to see.
Galena is literally the "Town that History Forgot." When the lead mines played out, it was just left as is. What you see on the main street is an American city frozen in the 1840s. At one time, it vied with Chicago for importance in the state.
Dubuque is one of those tired old river towns that were once in decline, but now has a new sense of itself and is doing some great things to reestablish and take advantage of its location on the Mississippi River.
This is also a great place to view the bald eagles in the winter.
Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog