Journey west brings back memories

Editor’s note: The following is an account of Theater Critic Edith McCauley’s journey to and from a recent showing of Blessings to Share at Galena’s Main Street Players Theatre. For more about Main Street Players, call the theater at (815) 777-2787.

Many days of my childhood were in this part of Illinois, west of Rockford. Growing up in Lena, just west of Freeport, I found the entire countryside completely familiar.

My cousin lives in Elizabeth, and we still keep in touch. Driving on Route 20 and bypassing Freeport, we stopped at “The Rafters” just outside of Lena for lunch. The big red barn once stood on the outskirts of Lena and was moved and renovated. The interior, which includes a limestone wall waterfall, is the setting for a delicious meal.

Taking the back road, the old Stagecoach Trail, we drove through a lush countryside. At Scales Mound, we drove east to Elizabeth, then on to Galena. The shops on Main Street require an entire column. There is something for everyone. The drive back to Rockford after a late performance is a bit much, so we booked a room at the Ramada. The town is filled with restored mansions that now are bed and breakfasts, and downtown is the historic DeSoto House.

At this time of the year, farmers’ markets abound. Take a cooler, and on your way home, be sure to stop at the Kolb Cheese Company, just west of Lena on Route 20. Their baby Swiss and brie are exceptional.

The Rock River Times can be found in many venues including Galena. Columnist John Huschik writes “Western Report.” His work is timely and informative. We hope our readers in Galena enjoy our writers and the details of cultural events in the area.

From the Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 2006, issue

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