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Unique finds for your Valentine in Galena Country

Posted on January 13, 2021 by Kirsten Bell

Image Credit: Orange Anchor Photography

The day of love and romance is almost upon us! Step aside teddy bears and chocolates; instead, sweep your soul mate off their feet with these unique finds from Galena Country, where romance thrives! 

Sensual Scents 

Imagine how romantic it would be for you to hand your sweetheart a bottle of perfume or scented candle that you made yourself? Make this a reality at the Scent Workshop, where you will learn French Perfuming techniques. Noty Kity stocks sexy lip balms, body lotions, massage oils, accessories, and more! Galena Apothecary not only offers a wide assortment of beautifully scented candles and natural beauty products, but they also sell circa 1850 salvaged wood boxes and trays, jewelry, books, and paper goods. For locally handmade soap, Beautifully Berkeley Botanical Bars are a treat for the skin! 

Made with local love    

A gift carefully handcrafted by local artisans holds value beyond the price tag! Galena Spoon Co. offers a wide selection of both new and vintage hand-carved wooden items. Choose from spoons, handcrafted kitchen boards, hand-turned bowls, and more to impress your loved one!

For exquisitely sculpted animals, roses, and even pens, visit Marie's Wood Carvings, where each artisanal piece has been hand-carved and finished with intricate detail. Now is your chance to give roses that last a lifetime. Find contemporary functional designs at Eshelman Pottery, showcasing stoneware that features glazed and unglazed surfaces for visual and tactile contrast.

Choose a bottle of local award-winning wine from FergedabouditGalena CellarsMassbach Ridge, and Rocky Waters, or grab one bottle from each! If your better half is more of a beer connoisseur, grab a growler of their favorite local brew from the Highway 20 Brewing CompanyPecatonica Beer Co. Tap House, or Galena Brewing Company. Cocktail kits are available from Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. and bottles of their premium whiskey, vodka, and gin. Of course, nothing shouts romance quite like a bottle of bubbly from Champagne on Main

For the love of leaves   

Nine Generals Cigar Shop curates the best selection of cigars for every palate, specializing in handpicked unusual choices to tease the taste buds of new and seasoned cigar smokers! They also carry a variety of men's shaving & grooming items for your bearded fella! 

For all things Hemp Botanicanna Herbal Hemp Co. and Sulcanna Hemp Cooperative carry extensive hemp products, including CBD and full-spectrum hemp. Find edibles, hemp seed, oil drops, topicals, and hemp-infused massage oils. 

For your cannabis lover, you may also consider a gift certificate to the Aldrich Guest House, Galena's first and only cannabis-friendly lodging. As a guest, you have access to their 'Potting Shed,' complete with snacks!

Quality Time  

If you really want to impress your sweetheart, give them the gift of quality time together in Galena Country! Book a romantic weekend escape or a day trip – just the two of you! Include the following unique experiences in your itinerary or give a gift card to use at a later stage. 

Float on cloud nine with your love in a hot air balloon ride with Galena on the Fly! Glide peacefully above the rolling landscapes of Galena Country, ending with a champagne toast and chocolates! Hike through beautiful native prairie and forest with some entertaining four-legged companions at Hoof It Goat Treks.

Does your partner have a love affair with coffee? Book a Coffee Cupping Experience with Galena Roasters, where the roaster will guide you through a sensory exploration of three delicious single-origin coffees. You will also walk away with coffee samples to take home. For more bucket list ideas, click here

Could this Valentine's Day be the day that you pop the question? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink! We also happen to know of an incredible wedding destination

In Galena Country, we've never been anything other than ourselves, and that's truer than ever today. Learn more about what this romantic destination has to offer by browsing the Digital Visitors Guide and you can even enjoy it as a couple from the comfort of your own home.

Please be prepared to enjoy Galena Country responsibly by wearing a mask and keeping your distance. For further information on COVID-19 guidelines in our area, please click here.

Social Distance in Style with your Sweetheart in Galena Country

Posted on December 30, 2020 by Kirsten Bell

Image credit: Orange Anchor Photography

Don't let the frigid temperatures, chapped lips, and social distancing put a damper on your romance! In Galena Country you may need to keep your distance from others but we're here to help with some safe but still fun activities to bring you and your sweetheart closer together. 

Play in the snow

A little fresh air might be just what you need after being cooped up! With all of the fun outdoor activities that The Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa has to offer, you will soon forget the cold! Together, you can practice your triple axel on the ice-skating rink or take wobbly laps while holding on to each other for dear life. Build a snowman, make snow angels and a snow fight is a must! Have a snowshoe race or grab a sled and take the plunge down the hill together. Belly laughs are guaranteed and snuggle-time around the firepit is the prize at the end of the day!  

Walk hand in hand 

Hang out with the cool ’kids’ at Hoof It Goat Treks! While walking through a wooded winter wonderland, cute goats full of character will keep you company and play around you - watch out, they don’t stop for anyone! Make sure that you get a goat selfie to remember this unique experience. Check the online events calendar to see if your visit coincides with the Luminaria Night Hike at Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve. On this romantic hike, you will follow the warm glow of beautiful luminarias as they lead the way through the reserve. Take a self-guided Historic Walking Tour of Galena where you can take in the sights and sounds of the city while learning all about its rich history. Pop into a few of Galena's truly unique stores along the way! 

Explore magic & mystery

P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre entertains, mystifies, and inspires! P.T now brings the magic to your living room or vacation rental via his online performance! Witness new interactive mysteries and the magic will happen up close as well as in your own hands.

For something different, take part in an online psychic reading session with Psychic Medium Chris McBrien, with the emphasis being on detailed tarot reading with Psychometry and Spirit Mediumship. 

Enjoy romantic dining at a distance

Enjoy an upscale candlelit and safe dinner with your sweetheart in a private room at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa. Choose from a complete dining menu, full wine list, and drinks menu. Relax in a warm and safe atmosphere where service is just a call away!    

If you’re staying in a cozy vacation rental with a full kitchen, staying-in can be just as fun as going out! Pick up a Date Night Grill Box from Log Cabin Steakhouse which includes a bottle of wine or whip up a meal together using ingredients from these local foody stores (online shopping available): Grateful Gourmet, Galena Spoon Co., Galena Canning Company, Galena Garlic Company, Pasta Perfetta, Galena River Wine and Cheese and Spice & Tea Merchants. Snuggle up in front of the fire with a decadent dessert or hop into the hot tub with a glass of bubbly after dinner!

If not a lot of cooking gets done (no judgment here)... there is always curbside pickup! The Galena Brewing Company offers a unique drive-thru pickup service for beer and food. Just call to place your order and then drive through their garage to pick it up, no need to even leave your car!

Pick up a cocktail kit from Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. or a Quarantine Party Pack from the Grape Escape Cocktail Bar. While you’re out and about, you may as well treat yourselves to a freshly brewed coffee from Trolley Depot Coffee & Tea Co. Order online and it will be ready for you when you get there - no waiting in line! 

In Galena Country, we know the importance of taking the time for the things that matter most. We've always been known to have a good time... times may change, but that never will. Browse the lastest visitors guide for even more ideas for your romantic winter escape!

Please be prepared to enjoy our destination responsibly by wearing a mask and keeping your distance. For further information on COVID-19 guidelines in Galena Country, please click here.

Galena Country Vacation Bucket List

Posted on December 23, 2020 by Fallon Oldenburg

It's pretty amazing here, with endless opportunities to explore - we've compiled a list of six unique experiences that you don't want to miss! We understand that during the pandemic some of these expereineces are not possible, however... it doesn't stop you from dreaming and planning for the brighter days ahead: 

Take your vacation to new heights

Peacefully float above the rolling landscapes of Galena Country on a hot air balloon ride from Galena on The Fly. This incredible ride can carry up to 13 of your closest friends, flights last about an hour and end with a champagne toast and chocolates! Long Hollow Canopy Tours will have you soaring through the treetops at speeds up to 40 mph at heights of up to 75 feet! This 2 1/2 hour thrilling journey begins with a UTV ride through the woods to the first platform, followed with a 140-foot sky bridge and a quick jump or rappel to the finish.

The perfect place for a picnic date with a view, Horseshoe Mound Preserve is located off of Blackjack road and boasts some of the best scenes of Galena. Use the viewing scopes to see geographical mounds of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa, while enjoying the stone-henge style gathering space. A lovely location for a hike with the kids, pets or alone.

Epic Events

Full of infinite opportunities, from cemetery walks to hot air balloon races to incredible parades and magical holiday festivities. There’s always something to discover in Galena Country! Check the events calendar when planning your vacation. While there's fun to be had at every event, the following events made it to the bucket list.

Experience the 1860s through a Living History Encampment and Civil War Battle at Grant's Home Front Reenactment on the banks of the Galena River. Free admission to those dressed in fully scout or military uniform. The Galena Country Fair is one of the area's most popular events, overflowing with original handmade arts and crafts, live entertainment and mouthwatering fair food. Indulge in the Gazebo Wine Garden featuring award-winning local wines and take advantage of the complimentary shuttle service available on both Saturday and Sunday.

Bringing in thousands of spectators, the Halloween Parade & Festival is something you don't want to miss. Featuring spectacular floats, marching bands, costumed participants, prizes and treats, you can expect this to be an unforgettable weekend! Romantic, nostalgic, and magical are just a few words to describe the Night of the Luminaria and Living Windows event. Stroll down Galena's Historic Main Street as more than 40 storefronts come to life with extraordinary holiday scenes. Thousands of twinkling, candle-lit luminaria brighten streets and walkways throughout the town, making for a lovely tour on foot, shuttle or via trolley.

All things Ulysses S. Grant

Stepping onto Galena’s Main Street is like something out of a movie. Looking much like it did when President Grant strolled the streets, it's easy to see why Galena is often called the 'City that's Frozen in Time'

We've added a few historical 'Grant features' to the bucket list. First up, the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site. The stunning, Italianate style home, was gifted to Grant upon his return home from the Civil War. With no detail overlooked, the home was fully furnished and proudly overlooks the city. In 1904, the Grant children donated the house to the city. It's open year-round for tours and features original furnishings.

Another must-see is the Elihu B. Washburne House State Historic Site, just a block away from Grant's home. Washburne was a prominent attorney and later a popular U.S. Congressman, political advisor to Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Grant, and an ambassador to France. Visit the library where General Grant received the election night news via telegraph, that he was elected as President. The DeSoto House Hotel, located in the heart of town was the center of Galena's social and political activities. Being Illinois' oldest operating hotel, it's dripping with history. For a true 'Grant experience', you'll want to book rooms 209 and 211, where he ran his presidential headquarters.

Take in the Mighty Mississippi

Being the second longest river in the North American continent, the Mississippi River is a must-see while in Galena Country. Part of the driftless region, this captivating location is lush with rolling hills and breathtaking views for miles. Here are five amazing ways to experience the Mississippi River while on vacation.

Chestnut Mountain Resort is a premier destination from which to experience the river. Whether taking it all in from the dinner table, chair lift or river cruise, it's an incredible year-round adventure. For the perfect romantic getaway, stay and dine at the Goldmoor Inn. Here you will take your dining experience to the next level at the chef's table, an intimate experience in the heart of the kitchen. Nestled along the bluffs of the river, this castle-like Inn offers an unforgettable, luxury experience.

Bring the dog, have a picnic and explore sacred grounds overlooking the river at Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve.. Located just 10 minutes from downtown Galena, it's an excellent location to unplug and reconnect with nature. Take some time to check out the 51+ Native American burial mounds, including one Thunderbird effigy. Iconic Timmerman's Supper Club offers another dining opportunity with a view.

Perched along the bluffs of the backwaters, Timmerman's offers a mouthwatering experience with no 'bad seat' in the house. Just up the street from Timmerman's, is Gramercy Park. A 10-acre park located on the bluffs in East Dubuque. This site is home to 26 ceremonial and burial mounds from the Hopewell Native American culture. Journey along the walking trails while the kids explore the playground, or relax and take it all in at the overlook pavilion.

Fascinating History

Galena, established in 1826 offers many awe-inspiring opportunities, here are a few favorite facts to share and explore. The Dowling House, Galena's oldest home, is really something to see. Nestled amongst the shopping and restaurants in downtown Galena, is a home built out of limestone, furnished with primitives and a collection of Galena pottery.

The oldest continually owned and operated Post Office in America is located on the corner of Green and Commerce St. in Galena. The building featuring Federal style architecture was constructed out of the best quality granite, shipped up the Mississippi from Nauvoo. An excellent location to send off your postcards and stop for a picture!

Another piece of treasured history is the Galena Fire Department, Illinois' oldest fire department. Once comprised of five fire companies, Liberty house No. 1, located on Bench Street, is recognizable by its bell and can be seen from Main Street. The Galena Fire Department is now located at 101 S. Bench Street and has been a 100% volunteer department since inception in 1830.

The best in the U.S.

Galena Country is not only home to some 'firsts' and 'oldest' but is also the proud home to Jail Hill Inn. Rated the #1 B&B in the U.S. and #2 in the world by Trip Advisor, this romantic, luxury stay is one you don't want to miss. Featuring a multiple-course breakfast that's loaded with delicacy and indulgences, paired up with unique features in each room, the Jail Hill Inn has many 'repeat offenders', who come to experience the exclusivity of each room.

Galena Country transports people to another time and place to enjoy one-of-a-kind experiences and adventures. Some historic, some timeless and some brand-new, but always original. 

Start planning a trip today by browsing the latest Galena Country Visitors Guide and be sure to book your accommodation early!

6 Places to spot Bald Eagles in Galena Country

Posted on December 21, 2020 by Kirsten Bell

Everything about the American Bald Eagle is larger than life, right down to its nest! It’s no wonder it is are our national symbol! The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolize the strength and freedom of America.

Illinois is home to the second largest population of wintering Bald Eagles, behind Alaska. Galena Country offers the rare opportunity to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat along the mighty Mississippi River and lakes! The open waters draw them in as they escape the ice in the north. 

Look for eagles gathering by the hundreds, soaring in solitude, or chasing other birds for their food. The optimal time to view them would be in January and February. Visiting the following six locations will increase your chances of spotting this regal bird! 

Chestnut Mountain Resort, Galena 

This slope-side resort is located on a wooded palisade overlooking the Mississippi River, the perfect vantage point for eagle watching! Rated by Ski Magazine as one of the top ski resorts in the Midwest, Chestnut Mountain goes all out with 19 runs ranging from novice to black diamond, and a snowboarding park containing more than 25 rails and an array of features. 

Goldmoor Inn & Dining, Galena 

Located just next door to Chestnut is the only Galena bed and breakfast located high above the banks of the Mississippi River. Featuring whirlpool suites, private fireplaces, a private in-room gourmet breakfast, and a romantic dining experience, this is the perfect couple winter escape! The bare trees frame exquisite river views where you can spot bald eagles soaring down to fish the river. Binoculars are conveniently available at the front desk for a closer look! 

Did You Know: Up to 2,500 bald eagles winter along the Mississippi near the lock and dams. The turbulence created below the dams provide open water and a smorgasbord of stunned fish for eagles to feast upon. In addition, the wooded bluffs that overlook the Mississippi are excellent habitat for roosting and an increasing number of cases nesting.

Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, Galena

Set in one of Northern Illinois' most beautiful and secluded locales, the 6,800-acre Galena Territory, Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa is a truly one-of-a-kind getaway from hotel accommodation to vacation rentals. One of The Galena Territory’s most cherished amenities is Lake Galena, boasting some of the best fishing in the area and Bald Eagles know it! Enjoy exciting winter activities at the Nordic Center, including ice-skating, sledding, and snowshoeing while keeping an eye on the sky, 

Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve, Galena

Experience a commanding view of the Mississippi River and the only known intact thunderbird effigy mound in Illinois. Enjoy 85 acres of scenic Mississippi River bluffs where you are sure to find Bald Eagles soaring in their natural habitat! Don't forget a pair of binoculars and your camera!

Apple River Canyon State Park, Apple River

This scenic canyon was formed by the action of the winding waters of the Apple River. Limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams, and wildlife characterize this area which was once a part of a vast sea bottom that stretched from the Alleghenies to the Rockies. To watch soaring Eagles in this setting is a special treat! 

Gramercy Park, East Dubuque

This 10-acre park housing Native American archaeological & historical trails overlooks the Mississippi River which offers many opportunities for eagle watching! Bald Eagles generally choose to roost in large trees in protected places within eight miles of their feeding grounds. Be sure to check the surrounding trees! The bridge that you will see crossing the Mississippi River is called the Julien Dubuque Bridge, connecting the state of Iowa to the state of Illinois. 

Eagle Nature Foundation, Apple River 

This foundation conducts a variety of exciting programs to save our national symbol and other endangered species from extinction, and to increase public awareness of unique, endangered plants and animals. Every year, the foundation offers bus tours where participants have the opportunity to observe wintering bald eagles along the Upper Mississippi River. The tour provides enjoyable education about the eagle: its past, present, and future. Due to COVID restrictions, tours are not currently running but this is a tour to add to your list for future visits! 

Bonus Tip: Dawn and dusk prove to be the best times to photograph eagles, especially a little before sunrise as they begin to get active! 

As warm weather arrives, most eagles will begin their journey back north to northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Canada to prepare for the nesting season while we patiently wait for their return visit!  For more ideas on things to do and see, browse the latest visitors guide. Don't forget to book your cozy lodging spot! We've always been known to have a good time... times may change, but that never will.  

Please be prepared to enjoy Galena Country responsibly by wearing a mask and keeping your distance. For further information on COVID-19 guidelines in our area, please click here.

Shopping for the Naughty List in Galena Country

Posted on December 11, 2020 by Kirsten Bell

Image: Miss Kitty's Grape Escape taken by  

Are you shopping for someone who made the naughty list this year? Unlike Santa, we won’t be suggesting coal... instead, we have some fitting Galena Country favorites for the 'badly behaved'! 

Miss Kitty's Grape Escape 

It's beginning to look a lot like cocktails! Pick up a few gift certificates from Galena's hip and happening cocktail lounge featuring signature martinis and a bloody mary buffet. Throw in a cocktail kit or party pack as a delicious bonus!  

Serendipity of Galena

Expect the unexpected at this fun store! It's unique for all the things you didn't realize you need 'till you walk through the door! Find everything from puzzles, lazy onesie pajama sets, funny games, quirky, rare, and playful gifts.

Galena Canning Company

Does the naughty list qualifier have a potty mouth? Chef Ivo’s locally made and award-winning hot sauces will take care of that! Pick up a few old-fashioned jams, jellies, salsa, BBQ sauces, and more while you're there.

Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. 

Nothing says festive like a bottle of liquor from a local distillery. From the milling of the raw grains to the mashing, fermentation, and distillation... it's all produced right here in Galena! Pick up a comfy tee and some tasty spirits for that special scoundrel in your life. 

Nine Generals Cigar Company  

Curating the best selection of cigars for every palate, this store specializes in handpicking unusual selections to tease the taste buds of new as well as seasoned cigar smokers! They carry a variety of men’s shaving & grooming items for the bearded fella, as well as fun barware items.

Noty Kity Boutique

Shop sexy lip balms, body lotions, lingerie, massage oils, accessories and, more at this boutique! Whatever your desires.... Noty Kity can get it! They are focused on providing the largest variety of products and the highest level of customer service and satisfaction.

Mean Bean Coffee Roasters

Create it, name it, and label it! Choose any combination from up to 60 unique flavors and make a unique blend for your mischievous gift recipient! Be adventurous, make something wild from flavors such as Blackberry Brandy and Chocolate Seduction! Think of a fitting name for your blend and then design your very own label. You can really have fun with this one! 

The Potting Shed

For the cannabis lovers on your list, you may consider a gift certificate to the Aldrich Guest House, Galena's first and only cannabis-friendly lodging. In addition to impeccable service and accommodations, the property offers a separate 'Potting Shed,' complete with snacks! 

Naughty list complete! Let's hope that next year, 'they'll be good... for goodness sake!' For more shopping ideas, check out the digital visitor's guide. 

Please be prepared to enjoy Galena Country responsibly by wearing a mask and keeping your distance. For further information on COVID-19 guidelines in our area, please click here.