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My Overnight at the “Richards House”

During the past year, I have been traveling much of the Midwest, staying safe and trying new places.  I had heard about Galena, IL and all of the charm with this small town that I had to try it out. But then I did some research and found that Dubuque, Iowa was 10 minutes away. Being the one to never shy away from adding another State and adventure to my growing list, it sounded like a plan! I would go to both Galena and Dubuque, but now was the ultimate choice I have every time…WHERE to stay. Now I will say the Internet has made it increasingly easier to make choices, based off reviews and current pictures, but experience first hand is just a thing of beauty. And so I came across on hotels.com a Bed & Breakfast called the “Richards House” which looked enticing. Why? Well, it looked like I would be spending the night in my own personal Haunted Mansion- yes you heard that right. The pics online did it no justice, including the scaffolding and yellow corvette, which was still parked there on my stay as well.

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I chose early September, a weeknight, and had no problem finding or driving to it after a beautiful day spent in Galena, IL.  Happy to be in Iowa, I pulled up to the 4 Story Victorian Home and felt like the Adams family may walk out at any time. Why? Well you see, the scaffolding is a bit distracting from what beauty this place could invite in from the outside world. Honestly it looked deserted, with the exterior a mess, one may think that this is the scariest home on the block. 

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I wound up parking on the side of the home, but I will tell you this neighborhood is a mess. The road that I had to park on was originally brick which was coming up in places, making it difficult to not only drivie on but also pull luggage on. Parking directly in front was taken by the corvette and other cars, and I should note, that street Is VERY busy.  Upon meeting the owner, a very kind gentleman, he instructed me to move my car to the lot adjacent to the home where there are video cameras so if there was any damage to it, they would have it recorded. Correct, this is not a SAFE area, so keep that in mind.

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Once past the stairs and through the heavy front doors, I was in a beautiful Victorian home. I LOVE old homes, and this was built in 1883 by the original owner B.B. Richards. The current owners are only the SECOND owners and that’s honestly impressive in itself! All of the original woodwork, light fixtures, fireplaces, basically anything that was nailed to the wall, floor, or ceiling was from 1883. I chose the Suite on the first floor, as it had tons of space and I thought it would be fun. “Thought” is the key word here.

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The owner starts to give me the tour, and shows me that my room is the only room on the first floor. I have the original, antique house key for the doors to lock the room, which was really cool too…..and then I was shown my room. First I am in awe of the sitting room, the fireplaces, the bedroom- and then I see the bathroom. It’s a tiny little room under the stairs with a toilet and vanity sink. Hmmm…where’s the shower?

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I ask, and the owner says, oh you didn’t see it when you walked in…and I turn around and see an old fashioned bath tub in the middle of this beautiful, Victorian sitting room with a privacy screen.  My sheer shock, again didn’t see this online, was “you want me to do what?”  Happy I only booked a night, I just went with the “flow”. But you have to admit, that’s weird right?

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Because it’s an older place, they didn’t have many outlets for charging my phone, plugging my fan in, etc… I forgot my golden rule of always bring a power strip when traveling, we all just have too many things to plug in these days! On a side note..they had a case full of old books. So I snooped to see if there was anything written in them and YES – Roberts signature and note to someone who he gave the book too with the 1800s year written in it. Surreal to be holding something from the 1800’s.

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The room had a tv, and there was Wifi, but I didn’t use much of either as I was too exhausted from my day.  I took my bath, tried not to kill myself getting out of the tub, and went straight to bed.  Thankfully I had a fan on for white noise during the night, or I’m sure I would have felt some of the Richards family stopping by to say hello. The noise level from the rest of the house was pretty good, again fan was on.

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Breakfast was served around 8 a.m. in the dining room area, and the owner served me with several courses of items.  For $80 a night, this was QUITE impressive! Breakfast delicacies galore came across my plate, and I enjoyed every bite! Now, ironically this was my second B&B this year, and I have to say I liked having it brought to my room so I could eat in bed more than eating among strangers (especially due to Covid).  But I give the food an A+!

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Thankfully my car was still there when I headed out, but most want to know would I stay here again. It’s close to the downtown Dubuque area, so that’s a plus. It’s under half an hours drive to Galena, IL- another hot spot for tourists.  The house is beautiful, but I would ask for a room with an ACTUAL shower. And even if they could provide that, the fact that owners were insisting of how I parked because it was a dangerous neighborhood, would give me pause to stay here again, but hey, I came out of it safely so you have that.  If anything, check it out if you’re in the area, it’s cool enough just to tour. Enjoy!

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