It's becoming a tradition in our little family to take a trip to the country in the fall - in October - when the trees are painted to perfection in their Autumn splendor, when the days are still warm but nights crisp, when back-to-school has passed us by and we need to take a breather. This past weekend, we headed to one of our favorite fall destinations: Galena, Illinois.
We rented a lovely townhome at Eagle Ridge Resort. Since we were traveling with Nonno and Nonna (now visiting us from Italy), we needed the extra space. The three level townhome was just perfect - we all slept like a dream - even the baby slept like a baby in the sturdy crib provided by Eagle Ridge (much comfier than the usual pack n' play). The little kitchen meant that we could do breakfast and dinner at our home away from home without the usual stress of dining out with a baby. That said, the Sunday buffet at Eagle Ridge's Woodlands Restaurant was delicious, and since there were comfortable highchairs for Pupa (not the hard wooden ones, but comfy, cushioned highchairs) as well as a pianist playing (very bizarre but funky) tunes on a synthesizer, we were all comfortable and entertained, and enjoyed a drawn out brunch (which included my favorites - waffles and omelets made on the spot, and bread pudding with brown sugar sauce for dessert). I found the entire resort and its restaurants super kid and baby friendly.
We windowshopped in downtown Galena, took a tour of Grant's home, stopped for a spell at a blacksmith demonstration (where Fratellone watched in awe - he told me last week he wants to be a blacksmith so this was a treat for him), took a ride up the curving country roads to Chestnut mountain, where we rode the ski lifts (scccarrrrry!) and walked a long trail overlooking the mighty Mississippi. Fratellone went for a swim in the hotel pool and at night, we played Trival Pursuit and enjoyed a glass of wine and snacks, while the baby and the Nonni slept peacefully. One thing that we didn't find the time to do but will be sure to do next year is rent some bikes at Eagle Ridge and bike the trails - they have babyseats and kid's bike on hand for rental too.
On the way back to downtown Galena from Chestnut mountain, we stopped at a little farm where I found mini-pumpkins and colorful, oddly shaped gourds to decorate our home, as well as a beautiful, large butternut squash. I'm hopeful that Nonna will teach me how to make ravioli with zucca - squash-filled ravioli (Tonight she's teaching me how to make homemade gnocchi. Is it dinnertime yet?)
The fall colors of Galena were simply spectacular, and at night, my husband and I, blanket wrapped, enjoyed looking up at the star covered sky - something we never see in Chicago - from our patio.
Amy Bizzarri is a mom of two living in Logan Square. She also blogs at tiramisumom.com.
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