Last night I pulled in after a whirlwind road trip to Iowa City, IA. The goal was visit this place, which was rad. We spent about an hour and a half there yesterday so that we could basically interrogate one of the owners (super, super nice girl) about her business and how they make it work. It's a craft supply store/workshop for sewers/knitters/printers/more. It's a pretty sweet idea, and they have a great setup there.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We took our time getting there... a six hour drive turned into closer to nine hours. We took all the scenic routes, only jumping on the freeways for short distances to catch up on time a little bit. Once we got down into the southwestern corner of Wisconsin, the drive became much more interesting. I used to drive around west of Madison in my spare time when I lived there, taking my camera with me down small country roads that curve around bluffs and hills in that area. This time, we went through Mineral Point to check out the Pendarvis Cornish Restoration site, which mom and I had both driven by before on separate occasions, but this time we stopped and did a self-guided tour.

I'm a sucker for historical sites.

It was quiet there that day, so we had the place mostly to ourselves. The woman at the gift shop was entertaining to talk to, and we left with Cornish saffron cake, old-fashioned sodas, and a recipe card for making not only the saffron cake, but Cornish pasties. Yummy. Can't wait for that!

We worked our way down toward the very northwestern corner of Illinois, where we stumbled upon Galena, another historic treasure that I didn't expect. We drove around in some of the neighborhoods where some pretty impressive old brick houses stood in good form, and then we walked around in the (touristy, but cute) downtown. We stopped into a couple vintage shops and a nice little yarn shop.

I was mostly impressed by the architecture, which is usually what draws me to these places. I wouldn't mind heading back there sometime to spend a little more time.

And to add to the other historical sites visited that day, we saw U.S. Grant's house, too. ;)

We kept driving on into Iowa, which was gorgeous in its midwestern way. It's high corn season, so the fields were full -- and a little unnervingly big when feeling a little lost in the country. The last time I was through Iowa was on I-80 en route to the west coast in 2003, so it's been a long time, and it was pleasant to be able to take it easy and drive the scenice Mississippi bluff scene routes.

I was pleasantly surprised by Iowa City. I'm thinking a lot of it had to do with the University of Iowa, which has an obvious presence there, even in the summertime. We had gelato at a total college-type coffee/ice cream place called Capanna (it was made all the more college-y because it was connected to a) a library, and b) a pizza place. Anyway, it was great. We stayed at the Sheraton downtown.

I have to say, I want to purchase all of Sheraton's furnishings. And not limited just to the bed, coverings, and desk chair, but this bathroom sink stand also:

It's pretty much the one thing on the Sheraton at Home shopping site that you can't purchase. Ha!

The drive home on Saturday was even longer, but I wouldn't have traded the curvy, scenic route we took for a quicker journey.

We stopped a few times to take in views and grab snacks, but mostly we enjoyed the view from the car and arrived back home around 9:30. A long day, but a fantastic little road trip. And as always, it was good to be home. :)

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