Ah, long weekends! The delightful lack of responsibility. The languorous passage of time. The metric assload of work you end up having to catch up upon your return… So in case anyone actually wondered where I went or actually missed me, I decided to take a week hiatus after our Dubuque trip. With everything at work last week, plus hip pain and doctor appointments, I wasn’t feeling terribly entertaining.
But I’m feeling better now, so let me tell you a small tale about a small podunk town on the Mississippi River…
I’d like to start by saying that Dubuque, Iowa is a lovely city with a lot of fascinating history, beautiful architecture and a unique setting along the Mississippi River. You also can’t turn your head 45 degrees without seeing at least 2 church steeples on the horizon. Dubuque: Land of a Hundred Thousand Lutherans. Seriously, this town is like, 29 square miles and I counted at least 12 churches in the parts of the city I actually saw.
Of course, we stayed on Sunday night, so we arrived at the hotel around 2:30 on Sunday afternoon. Immediately, we noticed that EVERYTHING was closed. Upon checking in, the front desk clerk was pointing out the lounge and the restaurant, both of which were closed at the time. At one point, we tried to stop at the city welcome center to get a brochure to find a coffee shop, and it was closed too. Apparently, idle hands are as much God’s fault as the Devil’s work, particularly when they are confounding tourist plans.
When I said before that we were staying in a swanky hotel, I was mostly kidding, because seriously? It’s Dubuque – how upscale can it really be? But this place was GAWgeous! The lobby of any given hotel is usually fairly well decorated, but even the suites here were perfection right down to the $2.00 honor bar candy bars. My only complaint was that there was no jacuzzi tub in the room, but there was a hot tub and we were the only people in it.
Now most people, when they think weekend getaway, think about dining out. While we did do plenty of that, it wasn’t really spectacular. I stopped at a little local chocolate shop and bought 6 truffles in different flavors but for $7, I would rather have bought a couple bags of Dove chocolate. They used the same kind of molds that I use when I’m molding chocolate, only they didn’t tap the air bubbles out of their molds, so the chocolate was all bubbled and a little streaky. I ate my chocolate, but I didn’t enjoy it!
We went to an Italian place for dinner that was a Mom & Pop version of a Macaroni Grill. (Nothing wrong with that – I love Macaroni Grill.) The bruschetta was pretty good, but I prefer mine (naturally). Ken got a pizza, and I did the make your own pasta for our main course. Ken enjoyed his pizza, but my pasta was terrible. It’s like the bucatini wasn’t drained before they slopped unseasoned sauce on it. It was so bland and flavorless that I actually added salt and I NEVER do that in a restaurant. Not even the generous serving of wine (which was also rather uninspiring and lacking in complexity) could make up for the mediocre food. It’s a good thing that we had a bottle of champagne in the hotel room that I brought from home…
Our hotel stay also included at $25 dining credit at the restaurant downstairs, so we tried our hand there for breakfast. Whatever salt had been missing from my dinner the previous evening was clearly added to my biscuits and gravy. I didn’t even bother to finish it and then I spent half an hour after breakfast laying down in our room fighting off tummy rumbles. At least the orange juice was good, and we ended up finishing the rest of our champagne in mimosa form.
Being that we were in the most industrious little city on the Mississippi, and because the husband and I are the biggest nerds, we decided to take a tour of the Mississippi River Museum. They even had some river wildlife on display in giant tanks throughout the building and it was both awesome and terrifying at the same time. Some of the wildlife even posed for us.
We followed up our two hours of educational recreation with a stroll along the Mississippi River Walk where we were treated to some of the most bizarre “art” I’ve ever seen in my life. At one point, I’m pretty sure we were the victims of a mile long trolling, but if that’s the case then they’ve been doing it to the locals every year for the last 5 years. Art on the River is apparently a big deal there.
Seriously, if anyone can tell me what in the actual fuck those were about, you have my complete and undivided attention.
We capped off our stroll with lunch at the Star Ultra Lounge and Brewery, and let me just say that it was the best food I ate all weekend. Their sweet potato fries were sublime and the peach infused iced tea was delightful. It was the first meal I walked away from not feeling stabby and or queasy. Ken had red snapper tacos or something stupid like that. Whatever, mine was better.
And then we took some more pictures of church spires and spent the next hour and a half driving home. Happy Birthday To Us!
I also promised you kids prizes or some such thing, so hubby drew a name at random from the Badger Hat of Win and Awesome.
Without further adieu, the winner is:
I have your address but I’m pretty sure the post office wants a last name or something, so send me a secured cipher or something later. The other 3 of you that actually participated are fabulous too, and I already have everyone’s address but Jana, so make with the deets, woman. Everyone else, watch your mailbox.
Happy Monday: all uphill to Wednesday.