Friday, July 12, 2013

A Glamping We will Go

Fourth of July weekend, we were itching to get out of town.  The long weekend was perfect to give us some quality summer time in the city but also time to escape. We considered going camping, but given that the temperatures were in the 90s, that made it a big fat NO, having two bulldogs in our care.
Rather than give up, we decided to search on cabins in WI/IL/MI area.  After our stay in Duluth, we were in love with the idea of getting a way for a weekend in a cozy cabin.  We invited our couple friends, B&B, and their dog, Coda, to come along.
In the end, we were lucky to come across Bluff Cabins, in Savanna, IL.  Savanna is a three hour drive from Chicago, but their cabins are dog friendly, budget friendly and have air conditioning. Score!
Here's our little home away from home last weekend, or as I liked to refer to it, our glamping trip.
I should have tiedied up the yard
All of Bluff Cabins are set up to sleep four adults and two children.  They're simple, but quite nice.  There's the living space (complete with Direct TV, no wifi though), small kitchenette, bathroom (fairly big) and a lofted space with beds.
Pullout couch
We brought our own linens for a discount
There wasn't a "bluff view" as we anticipated, but there was a wonderful deck on the front off the cabin, surrounded by trees. Ben finally got to put his hammock he'd asked for at Christmas to use.
We attempted to take some family pictures. It's hard enough to get Oscar to look at the camera, let alone to get Ben to smile.  
What would be glamping without some burgers on the grill?  I also made a greek quinoa salad, modified from this recipe, and of course, we enjoyed some craft beer.  Ballast Point IPA is another one of those "top beers", which our local liquor chain, Binny's, just started carrying.
I also made my soon-to-be world famous sangria. Okay, maybe not world famous, but it is damn good and refreshing.  (recipe here for you booze hounds to enjoy).
Then came the trouble.  Last summer we when we went camping, Oscar and Coda were best buds (see evidence here. Notice post title too. Whoops.).  This trip? Not so much.  One would growl, the other would show their teeth, but both wouldn't hurt a fly.  It was fine, but a nuisance to have two growling dogs, so we kept them separated all weekend.  Of course, Oscar hated being away from us and hearing Coda up in the loft.  He perched himself in this chair and stayed on look out mode the entire night.
Savanna is a super small town.  It's a common spot for Harley riders to come to and otherwise, I think the only thing it's truly known for is the Mississippi Palisades State Park, being that it's right on the Mississippi River.

We debated between driving the thirty minutes to Galena, IL (cute town with stripes of shops and food/drinks), but in the end we decided that we were up for some hiking so we geared up and headed to the Palisades, right down the street.

There are several hiking trails in the park.
What was prettier than the trails themselves were the lookout points. How gorgeous is this view? (Note: ignore the brown Mississippi)
Of course, along with hiking there are lots of spiders (yuck), but we also found a few rocks to climb.  One of the most interesting parts of our hike was that as we walked down the trails, all around us, dozens of crickets (or maybe grasshoppers?) jumped around us. It was like something was always moving.
I also came across a dead bat. At first I thought it was a toy. The poor guy was so tiny!

At one point we ventured off the paths, seeing a barely made path. It took us to a great lookout spot, the only probably was that you had to jump a three foot wide, thirty food deep crack to get there.  Being the scaredy cat I am, I opted to stay on the safe side and get some action shots instead.
After our adventurous hike, we were all starving so we headed back to "camp" for another grilled meal, drinks, games and summer sun.
Now the Palisades are only an hour or so from my hometown of the Quad Cities, so on occasion my parents will drive up for a hike with friends.  During their last visit, their friends introduced them to Bombfire Pizza, with is on a tiny island in the town of Sabula, across from Savanna.
When I say tiny, I'm not kidding.  Here is Bonfire pizza and the river to the west...

...and here is the river, picture taken from the same spot, to the east. It's about four blocks wide!
I'd been told that Bombfire was a must-see, but always forewarned that it was pretty "eclectic", which, now having been, the description fits the place to a T.

The Menu
I'm not sure what was more exciting for me, discovering $3 drafts from Galena Brewing or the fresh root beer in a message jar? I don't drink pop (soda, soda-pop, coke, cola, whatever you call it), with the exception of an occasional root beer.  In my world, the perfect pairing with pizza is an ice cold root beer.
Here's some trivia for you, Galena Brewing started in the 1800s. What is now known as Jamaica's Red Stripe beer was actually first brewed by Galena Brewing and then purchased!
Or, perhaps, it was the plethora of old games, including every one's favorite, Guess Who?
The pizza turned out to be equally exciting and quite delicious.  We opted for Dick's Favorite (spinach, bleu cheese, Canadian bacon) and a plain 'ole pepperoni and sausage for my boring 'ole husband.
Because it was 90 degrees, a pizza place and no air conditioning, we were all rather toasty inside. Being that is is small town Iowa (yes, I was surprised to learn Sabula is in IA but Savanna is in IL), we were allowed to take our beer outside to finish, and of course, make some pretty pictures.  When is the last time you drew with chalk?
Ben has been drawing this goofy "fro-guy" since elementary school. Years later, he and Ben's skills, are still the same.
After dinner, we walked over to the river's edge to see the sunset.
And, like Denver's Little Man, I love scoping out ice cream shops in new places.  This little stand was too cute to pass up. Thankfully, B (the girl) and I both have a sweet tooth.
We took our tasty treats back to the river for a last view before heading back to the cabin for more drinks, camp fire and sparklers.
Linking up with Amy



  1. What a cozy looking cabin, we've been talking about renting a cabin this fall. It's been too long!

    And LOVING the pics of Oscar <3

    1. You should! It's such a nice way to switch things up!


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