Mar 30, 2009

Out of towners

Chitown is a pretty amazing place.  You can find reasonable accommodations anywhere.  Down the street about 3 blocks from our place is a world-renown Thai restaurant.  Up the street is a whole-in-the-wall thai restaurant with an amazing green curry plate.  Perhaps you want bistro?  Or bar and grill? with or without karaoke?  Organic foods and holistic ointments?  Imported European furniture? Scandinavian cheeses?  Two of the top 10 business schools in the universe?  Polish communities?  Exotic sports car dealers?  You’ll find it all in Chicago. 

This place is huge. Home to the three highest skyscrapers in the country (with the 4th tallest in construction—Trump Tower).  You can find a studio to live in throughout the shady neighborhoods for under $400, or perhaps one of the $9.7m penthouses is more alluring to you.

The point is that Chicago has so much to it that you can find anything in the world that you want right here and never have to leave.  That’s why Livia and I had to leave.  Sometimes you’d rather go off an look for, specifically, nothing.  We finally hit the tipping point and ran away from husting-busting cacophony of the big city and ended up in the halcyon town of Galena, IL.  This blog documents our trip.

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The first thing we have to appreciate is the expansive lack of modern infrastructure.  This shot was actually snapped at the end of the trip (it snowed Sunday morning) as we were heading back into town.  You may notice the reflection of a small tear in the windshield of the car. That tear was in effect the peripatetic realization that our destiny resides within the big city for now.  Scroll down and you’ll see exactly what we were leaving behind.


First up we will showcase the town Main Street, which is a tourist magnet for very obvious reasons.  The shops are distinctly antiquated.  Many of them sell antiques.


Livia Nufer on Main Street

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The shops are all very small, but nicely kept.  We enjoyed the variegation of Main Street and the expressivity of the architecture throughout the town.  I told Livia that many towns are trying to capture the small town/times-period Main Street feel (i.e. Gary IN of The Music Man or Disneyland).  This was indubitably the best Main Street that I’ve been to.


Another common theme in the town was “churches”.  There are so many that they are practically built on top of each other.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see stacked churches appearing as the next new Galena trend. 

Sean Nufer in Galena

You definitely have to worry about those shady back alleys.  They’re not safe and innocuous like what I’m used to in the big city.

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Here are the town post office and the town [important building of some sort]

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We took some nice drives through the more suburban parts of Galena.  I really enjoyed the houses.  The one of the right there was actually the house of Ulysses S. Grant.  It’s sort of a big deal (in Galena).


And then when you get out of the town for the more scenic drives, then you’ll come across a totally different breed of residential properties…

IMG_0350IMG_0351Livia Nufer standing beside the crazy quilt  

Small town life is often an incubator for quilters and sewing fanatics.  Livia felt right at home.

IMG_0361The souvenir the everyone needs…



This little establishment was some sort of Irish village.



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Back at the condo…


It’s pretty hard to go wrong topping off a busy Saturday with filet mignon, linguine with vodka sauce and romano-basil pesto, and sparkling pomegranate grape juice.  Maybe next time we’ll even throw in a vegetable of some shape or form.


We would have loved to stay for a few more days, but had to check out and head back to reality.  Anyway, that thesis is not going to write itself, no matter how hard I wish it to.  And if Livia isn’t able to prevent the director of The Joffrey Ballet from overbooking himself, then who will?  I’ll finish off this blog with a few of my favorite post-production pictures from our trip.













Thanks to Laura and Ryan for helping us book the condo.  We’ll see you guys at the reunion!

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