This weekend, we went to Galena to witness the wedding of my wonderful friend Arin. We arrived into the picturesque historic river town as a light rain fell, and I got to sit out on the Victorian B&B porch with the bride while she got ready.
Arin looking radiant on her wedding day.
Arin is co-owner of Ephemera and, as such, is around brides and invitations and pretty things every day. So in this inspiration-board and wedding blog world, it might surprise (and delight) some to know that she put her faith in her fiance when he offered to surprise her with wedding plans. She knew the date, but not the details! Josh certainly delivered, and friends and family pitched in with their talents. (When out friend James sang at during the ceremony, it brought even the reverend to tears!) I won’t share too much, because it was Arin’s day and she might want to write about it, but I loved to see how happy she was at each little moment. (UPDATE! Arin and her ring on APW. I know she’ll absolutely need to write about the whole experience and I cannot WAIT to read it!)
A quick hug with the bride after the ceremony.
It was a tiny little wedding at a sweet little chapel a few miles out into the country off the main street, and then dinner at a Greek restaurant in the heart of things. Simple. Special. Lots of happy crying and even some flaming fried cheese!
Doesn't Joe look dapper? I'd enjoy a supper club dinner reception with him any time!
Have you ever been to Galena? It’s the most darling town just east of Dubuque. We went there a few times as a family growing up, but I think Joe and I will have to return for a romantic weekend full of walks up the winding roads, historical haunted tours and canoeing on the river.
P.S. We camped in north-eastern Iowa on our way to James and Katie’s wedding last fall and I blogged about a few of the stops here.
There are sunrises worth waking up for. Like a crisp, fall morning overlooking the Mississippi on the way to see your two dear friends say “I do.”
Sunrise at Pike's Peak, Iowa
Joe and I took the long route to Dubuque a few weeks ago, camping in Backbone State Park and Pikes Peak State Park on the way to a wedding. We got to Backbone around 5 p.m. on a Thursday and three of the four entrances were closed off to cars. I was a bit worried we’d have to set up a camp outside the gates, but luckily we were able to enter from another side.
Joe almost fell off the dock trying to take this.
Backbone had a sweet little lake (that’s me trying to balance on the swaying dock), but I’d say that it’s comparable to the much closer Lake Ahquabi for Des Moinesians. If you’re traveling to Backbone, though, you have to go into Strawberry Point and take the obligatory tourist photo:
World's largest strawberry?
Leaving Strawberry Point (where we had some morning coffee and chai at the old hotel in the center of town), Joe and I took a lovely scenic leaf-peeper kind of drive past small towns. I’m so enamored with Elkader. It seemed like the Stars Hollow* of Iowa to me. My heart stopped as we pulled into town, passing a cemetery just as a funeral honor guard of sorts pointed and shot their guns at the sky. The funeral party wore all black, in contrast to the brilliant trees and I was overwhelmed by the moment. In town, a group of red hat ladies and a motorcycle club shared space along the main strip. I didn’t really get many photos here, but you’ll have to trust me that it’s quite scenic with bridges over the Turkey River and an old-time looking movie theater, bakery and quilt shop and Opera house on the main street.
* Obligatory Gilmore Girls reference!
… Next up, lunch with a brewmaster (which was definitely one of Joe’s favorite parts.)