If you’re looking for a romantic getaway near Galena, and you love Victorian-style architecture like I do, you may want to check out The Hancock House in Dubuque, Iowa.
A few weeks back my husband and I decided we needed a mini escape. Initially we thought we’d stay in Galena, but as the majority of hotels and bed-and-breakfasts there require a two-night stay, we decided to check out Dubuque instead. And we are glad we did!
While Galena is lovely, of course, Dubuque has its charms as well. The walking path along the Missisippi River, for example. Or, the fact that the city seems oddly calm and people do not appear to have the same sort of road rage that is common near Rockford and Chicago. But what we enjoyed most was the lovely Hancock House itself. One could easily just spend a day there relaxing.
The historic home-turned-bed-and-breakfast sits on a bluff looking down on the city and the river. There’s a nice big porch where guests can unwind with a glass of complimentary wine at the end of the day (though of course, as I’m expecting, I didn’t indulge in this temptation) and take in the sweeping views.
The property dates back to 1891 and you can read more about its extensive history via The Hancock House website.
Throughout the home, visitors will find charming decor and antiques that make one feel as if they have stepped back in time. The ambiance of the place is truly captivating – from impressive focal points such as an award-winning fireplace featured at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, to the lovely Queen Anne style furnishings, to the little gnome figurines hiding out in the little guest pantry adjacent the elegant dining room – there is something magical and alluring about the property. The two downstairs parlors are also very inviting and provide great photo opportunities!
The property’s present owners, Chuck and Susan Huntley, have managed the home for more than two decades. Visitors will find the couple to be very welcoming and hospitable (and Susan makes a very delicious breakfast). Chuck will be more than happy to provide information about the house and share some stories; Susan also has a little gift shop downstairs where she sells items such as her beautiful handmade cards.
The whole environment is extremely laid-back and relaxing (despite the house’s fantastic elegant ambiance, which at first may make you feel like you’ve been invited to a Victorian tea party where you must put on airs, don period clothing, and hold one pinky in the air while drinking from a dainty tea cup).
There are several unique rooms to choose from, all marvelous and all boasting period decor. My husband and I stayed in Florence’s Room and were both impressed with the fact that we actually got to sleep in a turret, something neither of us had done before. The room was very nice and cozy. Aside the thrill of the turret, I especially enjoyed the vintage pull-chain toilet!
We also got to peek in on some of the other rooms before guests arrived. Any of the accommodations would make a lovely night’s stay. I would add, however, that the property is geared more toward adults and would not be a good place to bring children. They’d probably be bored anyway.
My husband and I only stayed one night at The Hancock House, but we had an amazing time and I hope to have the chance to visit again in the future!
Our verdict? This bed-and-breakfast gets an A+! Definitely be sure to check it out if you’re in the area.