My Favorites FAVS Join Our Newsletter BOOK A ROOM
Galena Country Blog


Cooped up couples in Galena Country

Posted on November 20, 2020 by Kirsten Bell

These days, date night may not look like sharing a bottle of wine at a romantic restaurant, singing together at a concert or snuggling up in a movie theater, but with a little creativity, you can still have fun together in the comfort of your vacation rental, or if you're a local, at home while still supporting local businesses in Galena Country!

Set the Mood

No matter what you’ll be doing... no date would be complete without that romantic ambiance we all love. Set the mood for your special night by ordering a few floral candles from Galena Candle & Bath Co. or Scent Workshop.

Kiss the Cook

Find a fun recipe that neither of you has tried before and visit the following local online shopping stores for the ingredients or even utensils that you may need: Grateful Gourmet, Galena Spoon Co., Galena Canning Company, Galena Garlic Company, Pasta Perfetta, and Spice & Tea Merchants. Divvy up the kitchen duties and enjoy some undivided couple time. Feel like a grill instead? Grab a Date Night Grill Box from Log Cabin Steakhouse. If not a lot of cooking gets done (no judgment here)... there is always a curbside pickup, drive-thru or delivery service!

Wine Tasting for Two

Fergedaboudit, Galena Cellars, Massbach Ridge and Rocky Waters wineries are waiting for your curbside pickup orders! Spend the evening tasting award-winning local wines while deciding which of the two is the better sommelier. Pair these delicious vino's with gourmet cheese and sausage from Galena River Wine & Cheese. By the end of the night, you will have your list of favorites for future date nights.

Sip & Paint

Speaking of sipping… why not get a little crafty at the same time? All you need is some poster board or canvas, paint, markers, perhaps some glitter and your creativity! If wine is not your thing, grab a growler of your favorite brew from the Highway 20 Brewing CompanyPecatonica Beer Co. Tap House or Galena Brewing Company, pick up a Cocktail Kit from Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. or a Quarantine Extravaganza Party Pack from Grape Escape Cocktail Bar. Be sure to frame your masterpiece for future reminiscing!

Refresh Your Love Nest

Spring is the perfect time to change things up a bit! Rearrange the furniture, paint over that decades-old color in your bathroom and throw out that chipped vase. Out with the old, in with the new… choose a new rug or lamp from Vignettes Home, a gorgeous sunset picture from River Bend Gallery or a beautiful functional piece from Eshelman Pottery.

Holiday Shopping 

In Galena Country, there's something for everyone on your list! More than 135 independently owned stores are open, stocked up, and decked out in their magical Christmas attire! If you feel safer staying indoors, grab a hot cup of cocoa and check out these exciting online stores instead. You can always take a drive to enjoy the Christmas cheer from your car. On Dec. 5, watch out for the spectacular fireworks display in Galena called Holiday Fire in the Sky and on Dec.12, take a drive or walk through Galena to witness the Night of the Luminaria where more than 5,000 candlelit luminaries light the streets, steps, and sidewalks - a magical sight! 

Snuggle Up

Did you know that some of the scenes filmed for the award-winning movie, The Field of Dreams was filmed in Galena? Grab some popcorn from Great American Popcorn Company, snuggle up with your sweetheart and see who can spot Galena first! While you're snuggled together, browse the Digital Visitor's guide and make plans to explore more of Galena Country when you feel safer to do so in the future! 

In Galena Country, we know the importance of taking the time for the things that matter most... it's what unites us all!

Winter Events in Galena Country

Posted on November 13, 2020 by Kirsten Bell

There’s something special about the holiday season. Maybe it’s the sense of wonder and amazement looking at the beautiful light displays, or the smell of hot cocoa and a crackling fire. Or maybe, it’s the sentiment of gift-giving, family and traditions.

There’s no better way to cultivate those special feelings about the holidays, than a trip to Galena Country. Whether you’re on a family vacation, romantic getaway, or want to start a new tradition with friends, it’s the perfect addition to an exciting holiday experience. Enjoy these uplifting 2020 events and activities during your ‘Christmas in Galena Country’ stay!

Nov 27-Dec 26: Toys Through Time: Holiday Antique Toy Show Dec 12: Night of the Luminaria and Living Windows
Dec 4-Jan 9: Warren's Festival of Trees  Dec 19: Snowflakes and Sweets Stroll
Dec 5: Christmas in the Village of Elizabeth Feb 12-15: Winter Carnival Weekend

Some other fun things to do during the holidays include a horse-drawn wagon ride at Shenandoah Riding Center, an indulgent spa treatment, creating your own signature fragrance at the The Scent Workshop or making one as a gift for that special someone! Coffee lovers... have fun mixing your own coffee blend at Mean Bean Roasters

For even more ideas on things to do, check out the Winter Escape to Galena Country blog and 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 our destination responsibly by wearing a mask and keeping your distance. For further information on COVID-19 guidelines in Galena Country, please click here.

Winter Escape to Galena Country

Posted on November 6, 2020 by Kirsten Bell

Whether you look at winter as a time for an outdoor adventure to embrace the elements or a call to head indoors for cozy relaxation and family downtime, Galena Country offers the perfect winter escape. From a couple’s retreat to a family vacation, from skiing to a Winter Carnival, here are some great reasons to visit Galena Country in the winter:

Skiing & Snowboarding at Chestnut Mountain Resort

It doesn’t matter if you’re an avid skier or a novice, you should hit the slopes during the winter at Chestnut Mountain Resort. Chestnut’s over 220 rolling acres and 475-foot vertical drop are home to 19 ski trails and a 7-acre terrain park, The Farside, featuring over 25 rails and structures. With two quad lifts, four triple chair lifts, two conveyor lifts, and one surface lift, you won’t be waiting in line to get back to the peak.

The Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

For other winter activities, Nordic Center, located at the Highlands Complex at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, features exciting winter activities to keep you entertained! Skate like no one's watching on the ice-skating rink which is open daily until 9 p.m. and warm up at the fire pit to keep you going! Grab a sled and race down the hill or try your hand at snowshoeing! All equipment is available to rent from the Nordic Shop. Missing the golf course? Never fear, enjoy a round on the TrackMan Golf Simulator and feel like the seasons never changed! 

Winter Carnival Weekend at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

Take advantage of the long Presidents Day Weekend and head for the Winter Carnival Weekend at Eagle Ridge. The Nordic Center activities will be available plus an assortment of carnival fun, including balloon glows, pony rides, wine tasting, ice-turkey bowling, snow painting, live music and more.

Nature Preserves

The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation works to protect the land near Galena. Casper Bluff is one of the areas under their protection and worth a visit if just for the scenic views of the Mississippi. The real star here is not the view but, rather, the archaeological finds found on this 85-acre site. Fifty-one burial mounds from the Aiken Mount group, a culture that lived nearly 3,000 years ago, rest on these grounds. For other parks and trails, check out this link. For a peaceful trek through the countryside, visit the Galena River Trail. The trail is perfect for families going cross-country skiing or a snowshoe hike with views of the Galena River and bluffs. Please take note of closures due to hunting season before heading out. 


Shop Galena's Historic Main Street! With more than 125 independently-owned businesses, offering everything from crafts to vintage clothing to fine chocolates, this shopping excursion is sure to keep you warm. The purchase you make for yourself or a loved one at one of these specialty shops will be something you’ll find nowhere else. The towns of Elizabeth and Stockton offer even more boutique stores to pique your interest. Visit Sweet Alice's for some sweet treats, Nature's Treasures for new home or garden decor, or how about Elizabeth's Grand Antique Mall for that unique treasure! Fuel up on some cozy drinks between stores.

Wine, Beer, and Spirits

Experience the different flavors of Galena Country! Pick up award-winning wines from Galena Cellars Winery or Massbach Ridge Winery tasting rooms on Galena's Main Street. For beer lovers, smile from beer to beer with Galena Brewing Co. and Pecatonica Beer Tap House local brews to-go. But if a martini or shot of whiskey is more to your liking, visit Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. for the premium spirit of your choice – whiskey, vodka, gin and more – produced right in downtown Galena.

Cozy B&B's

Named the B&B Capital of the Midwest, Galena Country is proud to offer a variety of warm and intimate places to stay. Check into a historic 1800s bed & breakfast right in town, such as Abe's Spring Street Guesthouse, and you’ll be just steps away from Main Street. Here you’ll get all the conveniences of home, complete with breakfast in the morning, dessert and coffee at night and your own key to the house. Other B&Bs, such as Inn at Felt Manor, is situated in the hills, offering a beautiful view of Galena from above. All of these private residences and inns offer their own style of historic charm, breakfast and personalized service, along with great suggestions of where to go and what to do in the area.

Winter Events

Annual events to look forward to this winter include: Holiday Fire in the Sky, were the sky comes alive with a spectacular show of fireworks to kick off the holiday season in downtown Galena. The magical Night of the Luminaria & Living Windows where you can enjoy the beautiful sight of more than 5,000 candlelit luminaries lining the streets, steps and sidewalks of Galena, slay your sweet tooth on the Snowflakes and Sweets Stroll and take part in fun-filled winter activities at the Wnter Carnival at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

Bonus tip: For the history buffs out there... keep warm in the Ulysses S. Grant Home where you will learn all about Grant's life and how he lived while in Galena! 

There are a lot of places out there, but there's nowhere like us! Book your accommodation and plan your escape to Galena Country where our story only gets better with time! 

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.

Winter Group Getaway in Galena Country

Posted on October 31, 2020 by Fallon Oldenburg

Everyone loves a good story, and here, one story always leads to another. Make plans to visit Galena Country with your closest friends and let the stories begin with this fun-filled, three-day itinerary. 

Day 1

Arrive in time to enjoy lunch at Vinny Vanucchi’s “Little Italy,” and fuel up for a day of exploration! Following, stretch your legs and explore Main Street before checking into the historic Desoto House Hotel, Illinois’ oldest operating hotel. After getting settled, take some time to delve into the 125 boutiques, galleries, attractions and eateries situated on Main Street. Head back to the hotel to freshen up before a gourmet meal at Fried Green Tomatoes. Begin with a mouthwatering fried green tomatoes appetizer, and finish with a house-made, vanilla bean crème brulee for dessert.

Day 2

Delight in breakfast across the river at Otto’s Place for a unique homemade dish, paired with a signature Bloody Mary or mimosa. Make your way up the street to the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site for a tour the home of the 18th President of the United States, where most of the original furniture remain. Head back for a stroll on Galena’s Historic Main Street before indulging in lunch at the Galena Brewing Company. Next, experience the Blaum Bros Distilling Co., for a complete look at the art of distilling. Be sure to grab a handcrafted cocktail in the cocktail lounge, following the tour. Relax back at the hotel and freshen up for dinner and a show at Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater. Finish the evening off with live music and a martini at Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape

Day 3

Arise for breakfast at the hotel or venture up the street to Victory Café, a casual café located in the heart of historic downtown Galena. Following breakfast, take part in a Galena Country Original Experience, Coffee Cupping with local roaster, Earl Thompson at Galena Roasters. On the way out of town, stop in Elizabeth for a photo-op at the Long Hollow Scenic Overlook, and for coffee and lunch at E-town Coffee Co

If you want to make the most of your time, go to a place frozen in it. Experience Galena Country with friends, because we have a history of seeing things others don’t. And when you’re here, you’ll see and do things you won’t see anywhere else. For further information on safety guidelines regarding COVID-19 and travel, please click here.


Galena Your Way

Posted on October 23, 2020 by Lisa Lubin for

Galena is a small town that packs a big punch. Whether you’re a foodie, a couple looking for a romantic escape, an art enthusiast or even a ghost hunter, there’s no time like the present to follow your passions in Galena.

Time to Eat

Come hungry (and thirsty!) because you’ll be spoiled for choice thanks to all the restaurants in Galena. Its proximity to local Midwest farms and its downhome yet cosmopolitan vibe make it the perfect place for foodies.For that small-town welcome, stop into Small Towne Saloon in Elizabeth. The cozy, wood-paneled restaurant offers one of the best burgers in the state, a farm-to-table menu and a fully stocked bar.

You’ll feel like you’ve turned back the clock on Galena’s charming Main Street, which is full of dining options for every palate. Situated in a historic building, Fried Green Tomatoes steakhouse originally housed a leather shop where Galena’s famous son, Ulysses S. Grant, worked. Down the block, Klein’s Market Bakery offers up fresh bread, cookies and cinnamon rolls. Who could resist?

Any true foodie can’t leave town without popping into some of Main Street’s gourmet food shops like Galena Garlic, Pasta Perfetta and the Great American Popcorn Co. Bring home some tasty delicacies (if you can resist snacking in the car!) so you can keep enjoying a taste of Galena long after you’re gone. After all that delicious food, treat yourself to some homemade goodies! Candy, chocolate, cupcakes, oh my! Sweet Alice’s, in Stockton, has everything to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Time for Romance

Any time is the right time for an enchanting weekend with your sweetheart. Galena is the perfect place for that romantic rendezvous - just for the two of you. For a dreamy stay, hide away at the super-romantic Inn at Irish Hollow, a country resort with luxury cottages on a 500-acre working farm in the Galena countryside. Take advantage of the full gourmet breakfast, enjoy massage treatments and, at the end of the day, sink into your cloud-like organic bed.

What’s a romantic getaway without some pampering? Take time for yourselves at one of the many spas (Galena Day Spa, Indulge Day Spa and Stone Drift Spa at Eagle Ridge, to name a few) for full-service,deluxe body treatments. Plus, many accommodations will help you arrange spa services right in your room. There’s no better way to take a piece of Galena Country home with you than in a bottle of wine. While the budding wine region has many options to choose from, the views from Fergedaboudit Vineyard will leave you with memories that will last for years to come.

Time for the Arts

For years, artists have been inspired by Galena’s beauty. Wander through the many art galleries and discover one-of-a-kind pieces created by local artists and artisans. Start your arts tour at the Galena Center for the Arts. The Center has galleries highlighting regional artists, rental studios, regular music and theatrical performances, plus historical photos of Galena and Jo Daviess County. Galena’s Main Street is chock-a-block with independent boutiques and galleries. At Pinder Pottery you can pick out a piece of hand-thrown stoneware crafted right here in Galena.

Ride over to Elizabeth and visit acclaimed Eshelman Pottery, which offers contemporary stoneware. Featured in art shows across America, each piece—from cups to plates to serving dishes—is inspired by the vision of bringing everyone together around the table. Hightail it to Stockton to see its unexpected, colorful murals. Located along U.S. Route 20 in eastern Jo Daviess County, Stockton has one of the most beautiful main streets, with some buildings now lovingly adorned with large-scale paintings. The Welcome to Stockton mural makes that picture-perfect selfie photo op.

A great way to take in all the arts is to do the self guided 113-mile Scenic Art Loop. Meet various photographers,painters, jewelry designers, musicians and wood carvers in their studios while also making time to visit nearby wineries, craft breweries and restaurants.Real shutterbugs can join a bespoke photography workshop with Joint Photography Adventures. From beginner to expert, any photographer is welcome and will come away with incredible images and new skills.

Have a Ghostly Time

When it comes to ghosts, Galena is notorious for tales of spirits who haunt old buildings and roam the countryside looking for that eternal rest. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, join the fun with some of these spooky tours. Every Saturday, bootlegger” Ted Williams takes you into three allegedly haunted Galena establishments during the Spirits and Spirits Tour with the Haunted Galena Tour Company. Learn about the ghosts who haunt these buildings and a bit about the area’s dark history while enjoying some real happy hour “spirits.”

On Matthew’s Haunted Pub Crawl, one of Galena’s best storytellers guides you to different haunted pubs in and around Galena. He might even let you use his special “ghost equipment” to interact with spirits. Hop on a bus for the Ghost Tour with Amelia. Learn about the “Lady in Black” who roams the basement of the DeSoto House Hotel and the spirits who dwell at Galena Cellars One Eleven Main, a funeral home-turned-tasting-room. For those who want to balance history with the hereafter, All About A Ghost Tour may be more up your alley.

For more frightful fun, you can explore haunted Galena on your own. If dead bodies don’t scare you, wander through Greenwood Cemetery. It’s the final resting place of many Civil War veterans along with some staff from President Grant’s administration. When the witching hour comes, join a psychic evening with Chris McBrien. McBrien gets in touch with those on the “other side” at his Victorian parlor on Main St.

Written by Lisa Lubin for Galena Country Tourism

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!