My mom had bought tickets for us to participate in this thing in Galena. It was called “Snowflakes and Sweets Stroll“. They give you 10 tickets to use throughout town at different restaurants, candy shops, chocolate shops, and stores.
Our first stop was Fried Green Tomatoes for a mint hot chocolate. For a little extra, you could have it “spiked”. I went for the spiked option. I had to giggle because they let me take it out. I know that’s a big no no in the US. Not a no no in Hong Kong.
I will say, I drank it quickly because I was not comfortable carrying it around.
We had lunch at a place we were pretty sure was just a myth. Victory Cafe. For all the years I lived in the area, I had never seen it open. Okay, I take that back, I’ve seen it open once. ONCE in the hundreds of times I have been to Galena.
It was actually open that day, and we chose to have lunch there. It was okay. It was a diner. One funny thing that happened was the waiter asked Monster if she wanted fries or chips. Okay, we live in a former British colony. Fries are chips. Chips are crisps. Monster looked at me, and I told her she wanted fries. There was a look of relief that washed over her face. She was just confused. My dad realized what had happened a few seconds later. He just started laughing. The waiter looked confused. My dad explained it to him. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was interesting that my daughter had grown so accustom to that difference in language that it would cause a moment of confusion.
It was such a nice lunch. Just being out with my parents and my brother. It was such a feeling of happiness and contentment. There was none of the anxiety or anguish I had felt the year before while I was home. B was in Illinois, but he was away from me. He wasn’t my concern at that point. I was able to just bask in the awesomeness that is my family and their love for us.
While my parents took the kids to the candy shop, Fruitbat and I went to this bar called Grape Escape. It is right next to the Japanese place we both love, but I had never gone in there. It was also on the far end of town, so if I had gone in for a drink, this was a bit out of the way. I wasn’t a big drinker when I was in the US. Being a teacher, we were discouraged from drinking anywhere in our town. That meant having to drive 30+ minutes, and I’m not going to go drink to drive home through hills and curves. No thanks.
Anyway, they had a pumpkin pie martini as their contribution to the Stroll. We went into the bar. It was packed. It was a lot bigger than I had thought it would be. The bartenders were incredibly friendly (and attractive. LOL). The drink was amazing. I would have loved to have another, but I wasn’t there for alcohol so much as just to try the drink. It was delicious. The bar was really nice. There was live music, and just about everyone there was super friendly. It was an environment I wish I knew existed when I lived there.
On our way back to the kids, we stopped at the Galena Brewing Company. This place has popped up in the last 10 years or so. I have had food there, and it’s pretty good. The beer is also pretty good. Years ago, when it first opened, we went for a tasting. I am not a huge fan of beer, but this was good.
So at this stop in the Stroll, they had hot apple cider. It was so good and perfect for the cold day.
This mug made me giggle. It was oddly specific.
Galena is a gorgeous town. It has a ton of history. As I have said, we spent a lot of time here when was a kid. It was a big part of my life when I was growing up and then again as an adult.
The shops tend to change as they do, but there have been quite a few that have remained over the long haul. One of those would be Poopsies. I think there was a period of a couple years when it closed because the elderly couple retired, but it wasn’t long before previous employees bought up the business and have grown it into something just incredible.
Restaurants are another thing that seem to be able to remain. Vinny Vanucchi’s is one that has been a main staple for us growing up.
There is a candy shop we loved as kids that my kids love now. Kandy Kitchen. This place has not changed in the over 30 years since we started going to Galena. In some cases, that would seem like a bad thing, but for this place, it was very much a good thing.
Galena is an amazing place to visit. It’s crazy to realize that this event has been happening for years in Galena, and this is the first time we’ve gone. My parents have been going to a lot of the other events as well. All things that were just outside our periphery over the years, but now actively seeking these things out.
Snowflakes and Sweets Stroll was a success. The kids loved the whole experience. They had a great time with my parents and brother, and we had a great time as a family. I am so grateful for this time.