The weekend of Sept 9th to Sept 12th I traveled back to Dubuque to catch the Dubuque Dragon Boat Festival and their annual Riverfest festival. On this trip I left Ross at home in favor of a girls getaway with three girl friends from back in my high school days.
We stayed at the Hotel Julian Dubuque, a refurbished historic hotel whose roots go back to 1839 at this location. In 1839 it was known as the Waples House. After a renovation In 1854 it became the Hotel Julian. That structure was destroyed by a fire in 1913 and then rebuilt in 1915. As you can see from the picture the current Hotel Julian retains much of the elegance from that era . . . but of course now with modern conveniences. Instead of dining at the hotels restaurants we decided to explore. We had pizza at the Shot Tower Inn and caught breakfast at Dotties Café, a popular hang out of locals only two blocks from our hotel.
On Saturday we watched the Dragon Boat Races. It was a beautiful day to spend by the water enjoying food, fun, and the races. Of the 39 teams in the race one came from Germany and another from far away Chatham-Kent Ontario. The Taiwan style dragon boats look a little different than the ones we’ve seen in the Lake Superior Dragon Boat races. The Lake Superior boats are more streamlined which seem to match the competitiveness and athleticism of the Superior racers. The Dubuque boats are more festive, perhaps more closely resembling the classic asian boats. Likewise the racers themselves were as much into the festival spirit as they were into winning a race, although there were some teams who could give the Superior racers a good run for the money. The Dubuque boats also had an additional team member. Normally a team is 20 members: 18 paddlers, a drummer,and helmsman or steerperson. The Dubuque teams added an additional person in the bow whose job was to capture the finish line flag which triggered the race timer.
In the afternoon instead of watching the second heats we visited the RiverFest celebration held in the Clock Tower Plaza and Washington Park. Music, food, crafts, and a flea market. Quilt Shops. As long as I was in town I had to stop in some quilt shops. Checked out the new digs of the Cotton Cabin Quilt Shop and then traveled out on Highway 20 West to see a shop I only recently discovered: The Quilt Shack. I like how they organize their fabrics. The bolts were laid out on horizontal shelves rather than stacked on the end like you see in most shops. You could “see” more of the fabric and pattern making shopping for a particular color and pattern much easier. Reasonable prices too. Have to add them to our River Road Quilt Shop Directory.
Oh almost forgot one of favorite trips of the weekend.
After having lunch at the Potosi Brewery on Friday that evening we decided to try another beverage when we visited the Stone Cliff Winery’s Tasting Room (located in the Star Brewery complex at the north end of the Dubuque Riverwalk). After sampling several different varieties our favorites were their Red Dog (semi-sweet red) and their Sweet Cranberry Wine (a sweet fruit wine that we found more tart than sweet).
A great time and lots of fun with the girl friends.