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9 ways to experience Galena Country on a budget

Posted on August 28, 2019 by Fallon Oldenburg

In Galena Country, an awesome getaway doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many opportunities to experience local food, nature, history, special events, and even shopping that are perfect for any budget. Get to Galena Country for an affordable and amazing adventure!

Explore the Natural Wonders of the Driftless Area

Whether you want to hike and bike or just observe the beauty of nature, Galena Country has many beautiful locations where you can enjoy the outdoors for free! Check out: Horseshoe Mound Preserve, Apple River Canyon State Park, Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve, Galena Gateway Park, Wapello Land & Water Reserve, and Galena River Trail.

Discover Local Works of Art

Being surrounded by beauty, it's only natural that Galena Country would be home to an abundance of talented artists. Take in the creativity of local artists by visiting art galleries, sculpture parks, pottery studios, and more! Don't miss: West Street Sculpture Park, Outside the Lines Art Gallery, River Bend Gallery, Skidmore Art Gallery, Chicago Skyline Art, Mangelsen Images of Nature Gallery, Galena Center for the Arts, Scenic Art Loop, and the Stockton Murals.

Stargazing

Escape to the countryside to experience the night sky as you’ve never seen it before -- it's nature’s free light show! Travel tips: Book your stay nestled amongst nature, watch for meteors on the mound, camp under the stars, take the scenic route for a late-night drive!

Immerse yourself in history

What does General Ulysses S. Grant have in common with Kraft cheese? Both are parts of Galena Country’s fascinating history that you can learn about at museums and historical state sites! Must dos: Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, Elihu B. Washburne House State Historic Site, Apple River Fort State Historic Site, Desoto House Hotel self-guided tour, Stockton Heritage Museum, The Old Blacksmith Shop.

Time Travel Tour

Grab some brochures from the Welcome Center, and check out the Historical Room in the Galena Public Library before strolling down Galena’s historic Main Street that is “frozen in time." Nearly every building you’ll pass has a fascinating background and story to tell! Download: Galena Tours App

Amazing Annual Events

Galena Country features epic events all year long! Before planning your trip, check out the calendar of events to plan for a unique and authentic local experience! 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! Travel tip: Check out the spring and summer sidewalk sales event!

The Real Deal

Skilled musicians can be found sharing their talents in restaurants, bars, and even out on Galena’s Main Street. Pay a visit to The Cornerstone, Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape, Galena Brewing Company, and Council Hill Station.

Take a Scenic Drive

There's no shortage of scenic routes in Galena Country! Explore the back roads and experience some of Illinois' best (and breathtaking) views! Recommended routes: historic Stagecoach Trail, Family road trip, and U.S. Hwy 20.

Window Shop Until You Drop

Galena's historic Main Street features more than 125 independently owned businesses for your eyes to explore. Window-shopping is best done in the early morning or late evening when the shops are closed. Make a list and come back during business hours to complete the treasure hunt! 

Let the planning begin with a browse through the visitor's guide and booking your stay.


Lodging that caters to Special Diets in Galena Country

Posted on August 28, 2019 by Kirsten Bell

Visitors with dietary restrictions, whether it be allergies or personal preference, can relax when it’s time to eat in Galena Country! Not only are there a host of restaurants to choose from, but the following accommodation establishments also make life a lot easier with their tasty special dietary options.

Credit: Aldrich Guest House

Take a look at these mouth-watering options that are available:

Aldrich Guest House

Dairy-free and Vegetarian: seasonal baked French toast  Gluten-free & Dairy-free: ham, cheddar & chive potato waffles (Can be made Vegan) Gluten-free and Vegetarian: Southwest crustless quiche, broccoli, spinach & tomato frittatas Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Vegan: veggie tofu scramble, maple apple cinnamon oatmeal, warm nutty quinoa

Cloran Mansion

Gluten-free: granola French toast, waffles, Ebelskivers, and pancakes Vegetarian: options offered daily

Farmer’s Guest House

Gluten-free: caramel apple French toast Vegan: breakfast burrito

Goldmoor Inn

Gluten and Dairy-free: snapper ceviche, shrimp and lobster cocktail, fois gras, 8oz USDA choice filet mignon, smoked white Peking duck breast, grilled rack of lamb Gluten-free: grilled pork belly, in-house dry-aged USDA prime 16oz ribeye, pan-seared red snapper, Ora king salmon fillet with jumbo lump crab, roasted chicken Fresca Vegan and Vegetarian: salad options

Hawk Valley Retreat

Gluten-free: bacon quiche with a potato crust, buttermilk pancakes or waffles, country scramble with veggies and home-made cookies and muffins. Sides include fruit, muffins, and sausage/bacon Dairy-free: traditional pancakes (no milk), potato and vegetable hash, tofu scramble with veggies, yogurt with homemade granola and home-made muffins 9no milk). Sides include fresh fruit, dairy-free yogurt, sausage/bacon Vegan: tofu and spinach scramble with black beans, potato hash, breakfast burrito Vegetarian: quiche with phyllo dough crust and veggies, scratch-made buttermilk pancakes or waffles. Sides include fruit, muffins, yogurt or cottage cheese Nightshades: sweet potato hash with eggs with meat, sweet potato hash browns with eggs with meat, scratch-made buttermilk pancakes or waffles with meat

Jail Hill Inn

Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lactose-free, and individual sensitivities to foods such as nuts, seeds and everything in between are catered to in fully customized meals. The three-course, made-from-scratch breakfast begins with a seasonal fruit course followed by a fresh bakery selection and concludes with a hearty savory entrée.

Lamberson Guest House

Gluten-free: cappuccino chip muffin, fresh berries in brown sugar glaze, crustless cheese pie with tomato bacon gravy and bacon Dairy-free: a dark chocolate walnut muffin, peaches, and blueberries, omelet with bacon, spinach and tomato, and roasted red potatoes Vegetarian: cherry cheese danish, melon with kiwi in a sweet champagne glaze, spinach, tomato, and swiss frittata, roasted red potatoes

 ** Please Note: If you have celiac disease or a severe allergy, we recommend calling ahead to see what practices the restaurants have in place in their kitchens to avoid contamination.**

Book your accommodation now and make sure to note your dietary requirements. For ideas on what to do and see while in #GalenaCountry, browse through the latest Visitors Guide.


Oktoberfest Weekend in Galena Country

Posted on August 23, 2019 by Kirsten Bell

It's almost here... Galena’s annual festival that celebrates German heritage, Oktoberfest Weekend Oct 4-5 in Depot Park. Prost! to barrels and barrels of fun ahead! This ever-popular event promises family fun, live music, wiener dog racing, German-style food and of course lots of beer! For a detailed schedule of events, click here but for the highlights… keep reading:

Movie in the Park

Kick-off the Oktoberfest celebrations on Fri., Oct 4 in Depot Park with live music, delicious food-truck-eats and craft beer, followed by an outdoor screening of the Field of Dreams movie.

2019 Midwest Health & Fitness 5K Fun Run/Walk

Fun for the whole family along the scenic Galena River Trail! Pets and strollers are welcome on this fun run or walk.

Live Music and Dancing

Oktoberfest on Oct. 5 features non-stop live music all day and into the night. Enjoy tunes from the Jim Busta Band, a Czech-German, five-piece polka band with many vocal arrangements, The Goodtime Dutchmen, an award-winning Dutchmen-style band that plays German Bohemian and Polish music and Back Seat Betty playing classic rock, current hits, and all your favorites.

Wiener Dog Races

Who will be the champions in this year’s Wiener Dog Races? Don't miss the wiener dog parade and a best-dressed contest for both male and female wiener dogs.

Polka Lessons

Learn how to dance the Polka (originally a Czech dance) with Tim and Kathy who have been dancing together for 10 years and travel around to various polka festivals.

The New Glarus Alphorners

Join George Albright & Heinz Mattmann in celebrating this awesome tradition. These long wooden horns were used for centuries by mountain dwellers in the Alps for music and communication.

Beer Stein Endurance Contest

How long could you last? The goal of this well-known and competitive Bavarian strength contest is to hold a stein at shoulder height, parallel with the ground as long as possible. If the contestant waivers (or spills), he/she is eliminated. How long could you last this test of both strength and endurance? For more details click here.

Bean Bag Tournament

Pre-register for this single-elimination format tournament (participants must be 16 years or older). First prize is $100 and the second is $50! For more ideas on what else to do and see while in #GalenaCountry, browse through the latest Visitors Guide and be sure to book your accommodation a.s.a.p!


6 cool places to get ice cream in Galena Country

Posted on August 8, 2019 by Kirsten Bell

Are you screaming for ice-cream? Chill out, we’ve got the scoop on where to find that sweet, cold fix in Galena Country! Photo credit: Great American Popcorn Co.

American Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor, Galena Galena's ice cream parlor since 1970, serving homemade waffle cones, floats, shakes & malts, and banana splits. Elle & Becks, Galena While browsing their selection of clothing and accessories, grab some homemade gelato. Gluten-free and vegan options available. Great American Popcorn, Galena Famous for their gourmet popcorn in more than 50 flavors, but also well-known for their delicious ice cream!

Three Sisters Sweet ShoppeElizabeth Grab a cone from this delightful little shop, owned by three young sisters with a little help from their parents. Try out the giant chair for a great photo op. Root Beer Revelry, Galena How about some ice-cream that floats?... in Root Beer, a Root Beer float! Change up your float with a gourmet flavor of your choice, like orange cream, key lime or black cherry. Slim’s Eats & Treats, Warren Try out some great flavors like Blue Moon, Orange Sherbert, Green Tea, Toffee Crunch and more…

Remember… never settle for just one scoop. A balanced diet is ice cream in each hand! For more ideas on things to do and see in-between ice cream stops, check out the official Galena Country Visitors Guide.


Your guide to Ladies Getaway Weekend in Galena

Posted on August 2, 2019 by Kirsten Bell

Ladies everywhere are getting excited for the upcoming Ladies Getaway Weekend in Galena, Sept. 6-8. What's this weekend all about? Special events, shopping deals, contests and more… all catered to Ladies. Grab your girlfriends and get to Galena Country for some retail therapy on Galena's historic Main Street. Here’s your guide to navigating the weekend’s happenings:

First things first... get registered

To qualify for special offers, you need to be wearing the Ladies Getaway Wristband. Pick up your wristband at Poopsie’s on Fri., Sept. 6 between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. or on Sat., Sept. 8 between 9 a.m. and Noon. Don't forget the scavenger hunt list, whoever has the most correct answers, will win a prize from Riverbend Gallery!

Save your Receipts!

Save all of your receipts from the weekend (food, gas, retail, lodging, and activities) and then turn them into the Ladies Getaway Galena desk at the DeSoto House Hotel’s ballroom on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You will be given a raffle ticket for every $25 you spend. The grand prize is a two-night stay in a three-bedroom house – donated by Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa.

Exclusive Offers

*Discounts and special offers apply to registered Ladies Getaway Weekender’s only

Special Events & Happenings

Desoto House Hotel Fri. at 7 p.m. and Sat. at noon: Janet Checker Art Workshop $20 advanced purchase only. Bookings: fineart@janetcheckerstudio.com or 815-541-3286. Sat: 4:30-7 p.m.: Galena Quartermania. Bring lots of quarters and meet at the Desoto House Hotel for a fun Quartermania bidding/auction event. Tickets cost $15 per person and includes your paddle and table snacks. Local vendors have donated great prizes that you can bid on using quarters. All items up for bid will be anywhere from a quarter to a dollar. Book now, tickets limited to the first 125 people.

Galena Brewing Company Sat. from 10 a.m. to Noon: A selection of Galena’s Fashion Boutiques will be showcasing their head-turning apparel and accessories on the runway. Grab a pint, some appetizers and enjoy the fashion show displaying trends from the following boutiques: Dreams Boutique, Editrix Row, Fan Zone, From Head to Toe Sportswear, Honest John's Emporium, Peddlers Boutique, Simply Elegant Boutique, Towne Rebel  Wooden Wardrobe. Reserve your free space at the show here: http://bit.ly/334H497

Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery Fri. from 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Sangria Sunset – enjoy a white or red sangria for $5 while watching the sunset Sat. at 10 a.m.: Yoga in the Vines at the Vineyard. Ends with a glass of Sangria. $20 per person.

Galena Cellars Wine Tasting Room Fri, Sat, Sun: 15% discount on merchandise (excluding wine)

Hello Galena  Sat. from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Mini Art Fair and demonstrations. Come at 10 a.m. for a free cup of coffee and cookies. Just one block off Main Street.

Poopsie’s Sat. from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m: Patricia Locke Jewelry Pop-Up Event. Stop in at Poopsie’s to view Patricia Locke's beautiful jewelry. They will be displaying special pieces that aren't typically shown on the floor, just for you! Experience the unique styles and colors for yourself. There will be Poopsie's Perks and deals during the event as well so don't miss out!

River Bend Gallery Sat. at 7 p.m.: Learn to Create and Hang your Own Photo Gallery Free 30-minute class providing tips & tricks on how to hang your artwork (includes handouts). All participants will receive a coupon for 15% off everything in the store for attending the class. Learn how easy it is to make a gallery wall.

The Neighborhood Fri. & Sat. at 6:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. as well as Sun. at 5:30 p.m. Make your own Succulent Planter: learn how to make a unique take-home succulent arrangement!

For more ideas on what else to do and see while in #GalenaCountry, browse through the latest Visitors Guide and be sure to book your accommodation a.s.a.p!