So, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking “Dubuque? Why in the h e double chopsticks did they spend two days in Dubuque.” Well, there isn’t really a good answer to that. Bottom line is we needed to stop somewhere between Kentucky and Minneapolis and, after much hemming and hawing, we decided on Dubuque.
And, I have to say, the best part of Dubuque is the stuff around Dubuque. The stuff around Dubuque is amazing.
We loved the Mines of Spain recreation area.
We did two hikes (the Prairie Ridge Trail and the Cedar Ridge Trail), both of which were correctly designated as easy. The trails were either grass or packed dirt. The scenery was prairie covered in yellow, white and purple flowers or slightly wooded (which was great for shade).
We didn’t see much in the way of critters — just birds, bugs, and one tiny little bunny (the beavers must have been hiding that day). But the bugs put on quite a show for us, showing us the circle of life.
We also spent a morning hiking at Swiss Valley Nature Preserve. The trails here were also well groomed and easy enough to hike (although not very well marked). Interestingly enough, the scenery was completely different than at Mines of Spain — more trees and streams and completely different plant life. Once again though, no interesting critters.
We also enjoyed spending some time walking around Galena, Illinois. It is a cute little place and we are kicking ourselves for not spending a weekend there back before we retired and back when we had more disposable income and back when we liked to buy things. If you do go to Galena, check out the alpine slide at Chestnut Mountain Resort just outside of Galena. Not as big as those out west, but still a good time.
In town, the best thing we experienced was the street art. For such a small city, Dubuque has some incredible street art.
But you know what Dubuque is seriously lacking? Good food. Seriously, we were shocked at how bad most of the food was in Dubuque. We went to a food truck fair and only four trucks showed up (ok, fine, I lie, there were six, but one only sold coffee and one only sold cupcakes). And, the place was packed with people — we waited nearly 30 minutes to order something and then it turned out to be bland and boring. There is also a brewery in town known for their pretzel crust pizza — we can’t tell you how it was because the two nights we tried to eat it the dough failed and they didn’t have any pizza. If you are in Dubuque, the best place we ate at by far was Brazen Open Kitchen. The chef was on Top Chef and the food was pretty darned good.
Bottom line, if you like hiking, Dubuque is a lovely spot. And, I can’t believe I just said that….