September 1 - 7, 2009
Orangeville, Illinois is the home of Gale and Gerry Turner my twin brother and sister-in-law. We had a great time visiting with my twin brother, Gerry, their kids and grandkids. We also managed to do some site seeing around the area. Around the (village) of Orangeville are miles and miles of corn, soy bean, and hay fields in every direction. Everything was green and lush this year at summer’s end. What still amazes Rita and I is that they don’t water and get such green yards and fields. The whole area is watered by subterranean springs coming up through the limestone base into the soil above. The temperatures were very mild and great for being outdoors while we were there. We ate many meals inside the outside covered screened gazebo on their back deck. We had the perfect parking place in their front driveway with water and electricity supplied. The whole week was very nice.
The Northwestern corner of Illinois area has lots of early American history because of it’s location on the Mississippi River and great farming land. Both have had a great impact upon the development of the area. Many towns and villages can trace their heritage back to the early 1800’s when many Germans, Dutch, and Swiss moved in to work the fertile fields with such rich soils. We spent a day at one of our favorite towns visiting Galena, IL. Not too far from the Mighty Miss, it was a key town in the early days of the area. Established for lead mining and easy steam boat transport. It also became the town where many Civil War generals stayed after the (war of Southern Rebellion) as labeled by the North. It was also the town where President Grant spent a couple of years before his Presidency. The town is filled with many historic building that are placed on the National Registry for Historic Buildings. Of course there are more than a few shops down main street that cater to tourists. Some very interesting places to stop in. One we especially enjoyed browsing through was a shop that catered to the more daring pallet. You wouldn’t think of Illinois as a place to buy salsa. Well this place had some mighty fine stuff. And a very large variety of salsas, jelly’s, jams, pickles, chips, pretzels and other products. The Galena Canning Company had lots of tasting stations which we particularly enjoyed. They had many salsa’s classified from 1 to 10 in the caspian scale. I found one that had to be very close to 8 that tasted pretty good after a couple of minutes and some water. “Fire In The Whole” was pretty good after the heat.. We settled on the Baja for purchase since most folks don’t go for the numbers 7 and above. From the main street we went over the river and railroad bridge into a very nice park that had lots of cannon and monuments.
You really don’t appreciate energy until you have been around twin boys that are almost two years old. Wow could they move. Elizabeth (Liz) my niece and Jeff brought their twins Andy and Mike (Mic) up to grammy and granddad’s so that Uncle Dale and
Aunt Rita could see them. What a couple of cute boys and are they full of energy. We also got to see Alex who is almost 3 in October. She is the daughter of our other niece Leslie and her husband Chad (who is a twin too). We had a great time getting together with all of them.
We also made a side trip to a Swiss Colony and one of the oldest continuously running brewery’s in the US. We took a very interesting tour through the Minhas Craft Brewery. Minhas beer is not a brand you hear much about on the west coast. Most of it’s brew is sold all over the middle section and eastern part of the US as well as over seas. They have been able to stay in business through the years by adapting their brews to the tastes of those drinking them. During the Prohibition they were able to survive by brewing root beer and near beer. They still brew many soft drinks that are very popular and quite tasty. It was a fun tour and we enjoyed the sampling too.
Our next stop is Bear Caves Resort in Buchanan, MI.