The Dowling House…Galena, IL

I don’t know what it is about old homes that I just fall in love with- the architecture, the history, or the feel they bring. There hasn’t been an old mansion or home that I have toured without feeling eyes on me- friend or foe, who knows, but ALWAYS felt. So as I toured the beautiful town of Galena, I came across the “Dowling House.” An attraction for this sleepy little town, it boasts that it is the oldest home in the area, built in 1826.  To me, anything from the 1800’s seems to have something attached to it that hasn’t left. I saw this as a challenge- tour something historic, old, and maybe catch something (hopefully not Covid).

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There is a small building next to the home, located up the hill off of the Main Street and adjacent from the Restaurant “Fried Green Tomatoes.” Here you can purchase your ticket for a scheduled time to tour the home with a Guide.  My group had maybe 10 people in it, social distancing with masks on, as I tried to stay away from people in the confined space of the small home. There is a steep staircase in it, so it is not wheelchair friendly, as I always try to observe when touring places like these. Even with the small group, I found myself hanging back after every room so I could take the time for pics and videos. Not a fan when a tour rushes you through it so quickly that you had no time to enjoy taking pics because you had to keep up all the time. My guide was great and gave all of us plenty of time to look and explore. He shared a story of a family member who passed and that the family was so devastated that when the man was buried in the Cemetery across town, they made his tombstone so tall that it could be seen from the home on the hill- and you could see it from the upstairs windows. Pretty neat.

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Built all of limestone, John Dowling’s home was the scene of the only trading post in town. Fur trading and selling of goods in the lower part of his home, the second floor hosting his modest living quarters. He would go on to build his company right across from his home, which still stands there today.  My tour guide was informative and patient, and it only cost $10 to take it.  I was allowed to film and take pictures inside with permission as of September 2020 (Yes, ASK! I have been on MANY a tour that do NOT let you take photos inside historic buildings). Many ghost tours in town will make this place a stop to check out, so of course I made sure to walk by it in the evening as well- gave off quite the creep vibe!

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If you’re in town, this is definitely a cool thing to check out. I wouldn’t make a trip JUST for it, but Galena alone is worth the travels. Check it out and enjoy!

Thank you for your support!!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!1

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My Visit to Galena, Illinois

I love little towns, there is something to their charm of Main Streets lined with Bistros and Cafes. I love the feeling of community as those around you enjoy their ice cream cones and specialty coffees. Sure, you can probably get the same kind of feels at a Target, but nothing beats that hometown feel- especially when you can actually FIND parking!

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I visited Galena on September 13th, 2020, looking for fun in the Fall. Covid still very much a thing, still now it is, so I am always careful and picky about what my next venture is. Trying to get my IL bucket list checked off for 2020, I decided this was a now or never. Again, it IS 2020, Godzilla could be coming ‘round the corner any minute, so why waste a second? Let’s go!

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First, let’s talk about this town and the “Jurassic Park” gate they have to their Main Street…yeah, no joke. Because they are on a major waterway, they have a flood gate for the town, and it was a first for me to see.  How convenient when the Town just wants to be closed. What caught me off guard after the flood gate were the amount of people here, it was a busy little town! Most everyone masked, it was a beautiful 70 degree day, and I had a heck of a time finding parking. Hot tip for those headed there, park BEHIND the Main Street on the RIGHT as you head in, lots of parking there along the foot hill of “Grant Park.”

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I was excited because I had a ghost tour that night, so I just had to keep myself busy with a little light shopping and some bites at a local snack. Because of Covid, I get to play this game called “Can I eat inside or not?”  Thankfully they had pretty much everything open, and nothing says early lunch like a tasty treat, so I walked myself and I to the old fashioned Ice Cream Parlor and ordered me up my favorite ice cream- peppermint stick in a cone. You see back in Sheboygan, at the Mall there used to be an Ice Cream Parlor and as a kid my favorite ice cream was as such, and it just ties all the feels with that refreshing taste.

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I then came across a spooky store with dark tales of ghosts and ghouls…another touring company in partakings- it was so much fun to talk to them that I was there for what felt like a good hour. I told them I would’ve taken their tour instead but they weren’t offering it that evening, and they told me that due to Covid, they had been limited in their offerings. If I happen upon the town again, I will definitely do theirs. (Amelia’s Ghost Tours bailed on me because I was the only one on the tour and she didn’t want to do it just for me, even though I had paid ahead of time, so she cancelled. Buyer beware!) I wound up just checking out the Cemeteries in town and doing my own ghost hunting on the side. Even came past the tombstone “FELT” and the name came through my app- pretty cool!

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I loved “Poopsies”- a fun and light shop of travel goodies, kids toys, and kitschy stuff. My favorite being a National Parks map they had, I will own it one day, oh yes, I will.  Of course I had to grab a magnet and sticker here too, wanted to remember the day.  “The Root Beer Revelry” was a whole store full of fun soda flavors and root beers- reminded me of “Pops” on Route 66.  Candy and popcorn stores made everything smell sweet in town, until you got near the “Log Cabin” which just made your mouth water. I wound up having dinner at “Fried Green Tomatoes” which was referred to me- it was beautiful place where I had a window seat to the Dowling home. The oldest house in town, I toured it that day as well, VERY old and very cool. Dinner was lasagna- nothing over the top fancy, it was lasagna, but it was the ambience and I was tired, that made it worth the stop.

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Grant Park sits behind the Main Street, it’s well worth the time to go and check it out- along with the trains that come through.  Beautiful old homes decorate the hilly landscape of the town, like a Christmas town you would put together at home. Take the time to drive around and see the old cemeteries, the historic homes like Grant’s, and of course take a tour of DeSoto House Hotel.  You are WALKING among the steps of Lincoln and Grant…amazing. From the history to the shopping, the dining to the ghosts, this is an amazing town with a HUGE heart. Check it out!

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Thank you for your support!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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