A Guest House of Artistic Inspiration

I am woefully overdue in publishing this post … perhaps it is because, subconsciously, I don’t want to share this delightful retreat in Galena, Illinois, for fear its two rooms will both be occupied the next time we return to the area! Abe’s Spring Street Guest House is special lodging located just a few blocks from the historic district.  While we found Abe’s to be the perfect spot for an overnight visit, we left wishing we could stay the entire weekend.

Abe's Spring Street Guest House historic plaque
Historic plaque at Abe’s Spring Street Guest House, marking its spot as the icehouse for the city’s old brewery.

Abe's Spring Street Guest House ~ Galena, ILWe stayed in “Albert’s Glen” — the room named after the owners’ St. Bernard, whose likeness graces the spacious bathroom.

A bust of Albert, in the bathroom of one of rooms at Abe's Spring Street  Guest HouseThe unique, artistic touches throughout the large apartment-like suite create an ambience unlike any bed and breakfast we have stayed in.

Statuesque Four-Poster Bed at Abe's Spring Street Guest House

Each post of the king-sized bed in the bedroom area of Albert’s Glen provides a base for elegant sculptures made by the owner, whose studio is located next door.

Cozy gas fireplace at Abe's Spring Street Guest House

While you may think of exploring a historic city like Galena only in the warmer months of the year, the gas fireplace in Albert’s Glen would make for a cozy retreat.

Unique fireplace surround at Abe's Spring Street Guest HouseNot only are the tiles surrounding the fireplace a feast for the eyes, but as you sit next to the warmth, looking up you appreciate the hand-made metal light shades hanging from the ceiling.

Metal foliage makes light dance, at Abe's Spring Street Guest House

No detail is overlooked — from the local candies at the bedside, to the exquisite door handles and bathroom fixtures.

Doorway to the bath in Albert's Glen, Abe's Spring Street Guest House

A clawfoot soaking tub, tiled walk-in shower, and more of the owner’s imaginative accents greet you as you enter the brightly-lit bathroom.

Artistic touches throughout Abe's Spring Street Guest House The other room offered at the Guest House is just as inspired and full of creative energy.  Since we were traveling through Galena with our college-aged son, he enjoyed the other private suite — “Rudolph’s Retreat” — and then joined us for breakfast the following morning.

Breakfast at Abe's Spring Street Guest HouseWalking up the hill behind Abe’s, guests are welcomed into the owners’ kitchen where hot coffee, juice, and a gourmet breakfast is served — along with friendly conversation as the aromas of the day’s morning menu fills the room.

French toast breakfast at Abe's Spring Street Guest House

Abe’s Spring Street Guest House has all the desirable features of a bed and breakfast, with the added bonus of spacious, private accommodations (even a spa hot tub and sauna for use by guests in the building next door).  Hoping to return again soon!

For more on Galena, Illinois, revisit my post from a few year’s back, Charming Old Galena.

Ciao! ~ Kat

I Don’t Really Care About Your Blog, But Will You Post This Photo?

Periodically, I will send my husband a link to my latest blog post or pull it up on the screen of the laptop in the kitchen while he is cooking and say, “hey, take a look at this” — being pretty proud from time to time of my creative efforts.  Last time I did that, I had to ask if he actually read it, he scrolled so quickly — I mean, how could he really have absorbed my thoughtful text paired with carefully selected photos?!

On more than one occasion over the past few months, I have been summoned to the kitchen with the request that I have camera in hand.  Dutifully, I have taken the requested photos and, not surprisingly, my husband has not provided a proposed blog post for publishing alongside of them.  I would even give him guest blogger billing.  But, no . . .  apparently, the grilled pizza is supposed to write its own post.

The grilled pizza without a post . . .
The grilled pizza without a post . . .

As I looked at photos of the grilled pizzas he made in November, I was reminded that he used some of the flour my son and I picked up for him as we traveled back from a college visit in Illinois, day-tripping along the Mississippi River Road to Galena, Illinois (a completely charming river town I featured in this post).  Along the way, we stopped in Fulton, Illinois, and visited “De Immigrant Windmill Cultural Center.”


The Dutch windmill on the banks of the Mississippi River is fully functional.  It is an interesting stop along the River Road, with volunteers available to answer questions regarding the history of the city, the windmill, and the flour milling process.  The cultural center across the road also is staffed by volunteers who provide a brief overview and history of windmills through the working models.  The links below to the Windmill and Cultural Center provide more history and background information on these sights, if you are interested.

To help support the center’s operations, we purchased several bags of the fresh stone-ground flour made in De Immigrant Windmill, including different wheat flours.  My husband made not only the grilled pizza crust with the flour, but also some wonderful breads.  The quality of this flour was evident in the taste and texture of the foods in which my husband used it — no additives or preservatives, refrigeration required to maintain its freshness.

Perhaps I owe that grilled pizza an apology.  It did seem to write its own post, which so often seems to be the case when I start down a path writing about one thing, and then end up writing about another . . . photos often tell the story better than any words could do.

Grilled pizza
Grilled pizza

Ciao! ~ Kat

Related resources:

Charming Old Galena

While taking the long way home after a college visit with my son recently, we stopped for several hours to explore the town of Galena, Illinois.  Over 85% of the buildings in Galena are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which is recognized by the National Park Service:

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.

As you walk through the character-filled streets, and climb the steep flights of stairs to the overlook by the old high school, you can imagine life in the 19th-century, as Galena appears to be frozen in time in many respects.  The preservation of the architecture is amazing, and the city full of charm.  We picked up a walking map and self-guided architectural history tour booklet from the Visitor Center in the old train depot, so I could learn more about some of the history-filled buildings we passed as my son geocached throughout the historic district.

Enjoy the gallery below, hovering over the photos for a brief description, or clicking on any of them for a more expansive slide show.  Our brief visit merely scratched the surface of this lovely river town.

Ciao! ~ Kat B

Other links of interest regarding Galena, Illinois: