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Luxurious ways to enjoy Galena Country

Posted on February 20, 2020 by Kirsten Bell

Luxury Stays

Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa: set on 6,800 acres of pristine woodlands and gorgeous open countryside. Elle & Becks: 2,500+ sq. ft, four-bedroom loft suite overlooking beautiful downtown Galena. Goldmoor Inn & Dining: set high above the banks of the Mississippi River, offering stunning views and gourmet dining experiences. Inn at Irish Hollow: elegant amenities and spectacular meals on a 500-acre working farm. Jail Hill Inn: offering the ultimate in relaxation, luxury accommodations, and location and voted #1 B&B/Inn in the USA and #2 in the World by TripAdvisor in 2019.

Suite Victory #1: beautifully renovated apartment in downtown Galena with private parking and includes breakfast at Victory Café.  The Owl House: featuring luxury high-end furniture and renovated with a meticulous approach to detail. Vignettes Modern Luxury: overlooking Galena’s Main St., this apartment is professionally decorated by Vignettes of Galena. Tip: Few things say luxury like a relaxing spa treatment. Book a rejuvenating in-room massage during your stay.

Superb Drinks and Dining

Fried Green Tomatoes: delicious USDA Choice steaks, fresh seafood, and award-winning wine list. Fritz & Frites Bistro: a charming bistro offering mouthwatering German and French cuisine. Generals’ Restaurant: unique fine dining experience at the historic DeSoto House Hotel. Jamie’s Wine Studio of Galena: intimate wine, martini bar, and fine wine shop. Little Tokyo: home to the freshest Japanese style steak, sushi, and tempura.

Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape: delicious specialty drinks, cocktails, and a Bloody Mary buffet. Log Cabin Steakhouse: Galena’s oldest and longest-running restaurant since 1935, featuring tasty Greek specialty items. Timmerman’s Supper Club: fine dining with a breathtaking panoramic view of the Mighty Mississippi River. Woodlands Restaurant & Lounge: award-winning intimate dining overlooking the stunning Lake Galena.

Unique Experiences

Galena on the Fly: take in the beauty of Galena Country from above on a Hot Air Balloon ride. End off with a champagne toast and chocolates! Long Hollow Canopy Tours: reach speeds of up to 40 mph and heights of 75 feet! Rappel off of a platform and venture across our 140-foot sky bridge to reach our final 1,250-foot zip line. Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.: take a tour of the distilling process, raise a glass and you may be lucky enough to catch a Galena Reserve release… an extremely limited and one-off expression!

Indulgent Shopping

Chocolat’ 229: an exceptional collection of European chocolates. Cotton Club: fashion boutique complete with clothing, jewelry, shoes, and designer purses. Elle & Becks: latest in fashion and accessories as well as numerous charming homewares. Galena River Wine & Cheese: gourmet wines, beers, cheeses, sausages, and specialty foods. Gustafson & Grey, Ltd: fine jewelry, antiques, and consignments. Nine Generals Cigar Company: cigars, men's grooming accouterments, and barware.

Simply Elegant Boutique: distinctive women’s clothing, handbags, jewelry, and footwear. Skidmore Art Gallery: original artwork by professional artist Mark Skidmore. Union Leather: a fully dedicated leather store carrying a full line of leather products. Vignettes of Galena: full-service interior design; offering drapery, blinds, home furnishings, carpeting, lighting and more.

Enjoyable Entertainment

Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theatre: enjoy fine dining and exceptional entertainment in this unique Supper Club atmosphere. Haunted Galena Tour Co.: be led through the streets of historic Galena by candlelight and enjoy haunted tales of Galena. P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre: a fun night of magic entertainment in a private 24-seat theater located in the heart of historic downtown Galena. Be sure to book accommodation early and browse the official visitors guide for ideas on other ‘must-do’ experiences.


Drive the historic Stagecoach Trail in Galena Country

Posted on February 19, 2020 by Kirsten Bell

Tired of the highway? Hop off Highway 20 and take the Historic Stagecoach Trail Road through Galena Country instead! This gently curving and hilly two-lane road, originally established in the mid-1830s, flows across the scenic country landscape and is steeped in history.

What's the story behind it?

This road follows the original stagecoach route between Galena and Chicago. The stagecoach became the predominant mode of overland public transport for passengers and mail in the mid-1800s. The vehicles were called stagecoaches because they completed their scheduled routes in stages, traveling from stop to stop where tired horses could be exchanged for fresh ones and passengers could sometimes eat, rest or sleep overnight. It lasted only a few decades, but this period in the mid-1800s had a significant impact on the region, as settlements were linked, mail was managed and the groundwork was laid for future transportation systems.

As you drive along this historic path, think of the first travelers and what it must have been like. You will be traveling at a much a higher comfort level no doubt. Take in the beautiful countryside dotted with cows, enjoy the architecture and see what you can find in the local stores as you stop to stretch your legs along the way. Snap some pics and be sure to tag them with #GalenaCountry.

Nora

Take the W. Galena Road/Stagecoach Rd. exit off Highway 20, drive through Lena, Waddams Grove and continue to Nora… where Galena Country begins. Nora, once a bustling railroad community (after the Stagecoach era) is now a small village with a population of 112. A popular local hangout in this village is the Nora Bar.

Warren

This town was named after Warren Burnett, the son of Alexander Burnett who was the founder in 1843. The town of Warren began to flourish when the Old Stone Hotel was built in 1851. It served as a stopover along the crossing of two major stagecoach routes and hosted prominent visitors such as Ulysses S. Grant. Today, the former hotel serves as the Warren Community Building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A great annual Christmas event that takes place in this building is the Festival of Trees.

Pop into Dusty’s Closet Antiques, a small-town antique shop featuring antique furniture, vintage collectibles, and a small gift selection. Craft beer enthusiasts will love visiting the Pecatonica Beer Company. Enjoy a selection of cold brews and experience the regional flavors of the Pecatonica Valley. The town of Warren hosts the oldest County Fair in Illinois, dating back to 1860, held in late July/August every year and the Annual Warren Pumpkin Festival in September.

Apple River Canyon State Park

As you head towards the town of Apple River, there is a 6.5-mile detour, that’s worth it… turn left onto N. Canyon Park Rd. which will lead you to the Apple River Canyon State Park. Discover incredible limestone bluffs carved by the Apple River, deep ravines, springs, streams and plenty of wildlife. This park is ideal for outdoor activities and camping in the summer. In the fall, this park puts on an impressive show of color bursts. A little history to this area… Millville (1838) is a village that was established in Apple River Canyon but no longer exists. It became an important rural service stop along the Stagecoach Trail since Millville had a blacksmith. In 1853–54, the Illinois Central Railroad bypassed Millville, relegating it to backwater town status.

Apple River

Head on back to Stagecoach Trail where you will turn left to continue to the town of Apple River. This town was established by the Illinois Central Railroad in 1854. Surrounded by dairy farms and cornfields, a must-stop is the Thriving Thistle Market! This is a gourmet gas station! It supplies zero-ethanol fuel for your vehicle and delicious fuel for your belly! Enjoy freshly baked bread, pizza, burgers, smoothies and more! Coming soon is a brand-new Wellness Center and Bistro that will be attached to the market.

Scales Mound

Upon reaching the area of Scales Mound, the road becomes West Stagecoach Trail Road. Turn left onto N. Elizabeth Scales Mound Road for a detour to the town of Scales Mound, where 90% of the town buildings are on the National Historic Register. Just north of here is Charles Mound. At 1,235-feet, it is the highest point in the entire state of Illinois. (Note: it is on private land and not open to the public). Scales Mound has a fitting motto… “At the Top of Illinois.” If you prefer to skip the town of Scales Mound, continue on Stagecoach Trail Road until you get to W. Council Hill Rd. on your right, where you can take a detour to an interesting place called Council Hill Station.

Travel on W. Council Hill Road to North Hill Road where you will take a left. This is a unique and historic 1850s general store and railway station which has been transformed into a watering hole and music venue. Ruins of a woolen mill, barn, and silo can also be found on the property. From here, as you continue on North Ford Road to get back to Stagecoach Trail Road, you will pass the Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery. This is a great stopping point! Here you can relax on the comfortable wrap-around deck of the charming farmhouse turned tasting room, and soak in the gorgeous views of the vineyards. If you don't have enough time on your hands, you could wait until you reach Galena, where they have a tasting room downtown. How convenient!

Galena 

Arriving at the southeast corner of Galena marks the end of the Stagecoach Trail Road. The trail ends near the 1854 John Westwick Foundry. Ironically, 1854 is the same year that the railroad came through and the old stagecoach line began fading away. As the Stagecoach Trail Road enters Galena, it rapidly transitions into Field, Claude and Meeker Streets. Just after the bend in Meeker Street, turn left onto N. Main Street.

This historic Main Street is a major attraction in the area and has been dubbed the “Helluva Half-Mile.” It’s lined with more than 125 independently owned stores housed in beautifully preserved buildings that date back to Galena’s days as a booming 1800s lead-mining town. Steeped in history, 79% of the town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Grab a bite to eat at one of Galena’s renowned restaurants before you check in to your accommodation.

Check out the official visitors guide for ideas on things to do and sites to see, such as historic sites, outdoor activities, tours, art galleries/studios, and more!


Desserts to savor in Galena Country

Posted on February 14, 2020 by Fallon Oldenburg

From gourmet icebox cake to homemade vanilla bean creme brûlée, be sure to save room for these mouthwatering desserts while tasting your way through Galena Country.  Durty Gurt’s - Milkshakes and Malts Unique flavors, fun names, and premium quality ingredients make handmade milkshakes and malts from Durty Gurt’s an excellent choice for a cool treat. Indulge in an “Elvis” peanut butter and banana shake or the “Chandler Bing” featuring chocolate, cherry, and vanilla. You can also choose from 13 specialty boozy shakes, or create your very own flavor combination to tantalize your taste buds.  Foodie Tip: Pair a milkshake or malt with a “Shut the Front Door” burger for the ultimate in American comfort food experience. Served on a glazed donut and topped with bacon and melted cheese, this burger is the perfect compliment to a frosty treat.  Embe Eatery & Lounge - Bread Pudding Sweet, rich, warm, and topped with a fluffy cloud of whipped cream, bread pudding from Embe Eatery & Lounge is like heaven in your mouth. House-made rum sauce and soft pillows of french bread melt in your mouth while almonds and raisins add texture and extra sweetness. This decadent dessert is the perfect finale for an incredible meal. Try the gluten-free and made-from-scratch cream of mushroom soup with the pulled pork sandwich, and stay for a drink and live music!  Fried Green Tomatoes - Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée Savor each bite of dinner at Fried Green Tomatoes, but save room for the divine flavor explosion some call creme brûlée. The signature robust vanilla flavor of the custard derives from premium Madagascar vanilla beans. After the custard is carefully made from scratch, it receives a caramelized sugar shell that melts in your mouth and provides a satisfying break as your spoon dives into the creamy deliciousness. Velvety, decadent, and rich, this dessert is best enjoyed after a gourmet meal and a glass of wine. Bon appétit! Log Cabin Steakhouse - Grasshopper Who doesn't love an ice cream dessert topped with fire? That's right - fire. Not to be confused with the signature Greek starter, Flaming Saganaki (OPAAAA!), the minty hand-blended ice cream after dinner 'drink' is the perfect finish to a satisfying Log Cabin Steakhouse meal. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture the moment, then dig in! Foodie Tip: Have your meal prepared Greek-style, and don't forget to take home a bottle of Rigopoulos Grove Olive Oil! Otto's Place - Icebox Cake Sweet, light, and wonderfully balanced icebox cake makes for a mouthwatering dessert from Otto’s Place. Be sure to ask about the daily flavor options--all are delicious and made from scratch! Layers upon layers of moist chocolate cake with fluffy chocolate frosting is a perfect choice for any cocoa lover. The carrot and lemon cakes are also show-stoppers when it comes to curing a sweet-tooth. Be on the look-out for special pop-up-dinner events and take advantage of the hearty, yet unique breakfast options!  Whether here for the day or an extended weekend, go ahead and treat yo'self while you taste and tour your way through Galena Country! You never know what favorite memories await! Let the foodie adventure begin with a browse through the visitors guide, we look forward to seeing you soon!


Plan a Midweek Getaway to Galena Country!

Posted on February 4, 2020 by Fallon Oldenburg

Take a break from the daily stress of balancing work life, home life, and personal "you time" to regain sanity. It's a no-brainer, trade that morning alarm clock for a midweek refresher to Galena Country! Book the perfect getaway with this three-day itinerary.  Day 1 Make a pit-stop in Stockton for an early lunch at Stella's Cafe' & Catering. Take time to strike a pose in front of the murals; a stop into Sweet Alice's is the perfect cure for a sweet tooth!  Make your way to Elizabeth for some retail therapy at Jane Marie Boutique, Village Treasures, and Common Cents Resale. Arrive in Galena just in time to check into accommodations, followed up with a savory dinner at the General’s Restaurant. Discover a different side of Galena's history on a tour with the Haunted Galena Tour Company, or quench your thirst on Matthew's Haunted Pub Crawl. Polish off the night with drinks and live music at The Cornerstone Bar. Day 2 Begin with a hearty breakfast at Otto’s Place--be sure to ask about the quiche of the day and try a piece of warm, homemade coffee cake. Stroll across the Galena River for a fresh cup of locally-roasted brew from The Mean Bean or Big Bill's Sandwich and Coffee Bar. Discover more than of 125 independently owned boutique shops, galleries, attractions and eateries nestled into Galena's Historic Main Street. Whether you fancy yourself a foodie, fashionista, or history buff - Main Street is a treasure-hunting paradise! Next up, lunch at The Market House Restaurant, followed up with wine tasting at the Massbach Ridge Tasting Room. Learn about gourmet wine pairings made from locally-grown grapes, then stop over to the Dowling House or the Old Blacksmith Shop for a little history before dinner. Enjoy a scenic drive along historic HWY 20 to East Dubuque for a delicious meal at Timmerman’s Supper Club, perched along the bluffs of the Mighty Mississippi River. Be sure to finish off dinner with a hand-blended grasshopper! If it's a Thursday, take advantage of the live music and vintage rides at Cruisin' Thursdays. Day 3 After hitting the snooze-button, fuel up with breakfast at Victory Cafe in Galena, a leisurely morning walk along the levee and up to the Ulysses S. Grant Home for a tour. Take the scenic route home, this time via Stagecoach Trail, grab a delicious smoothie at Thriving Thistle in Apple River and a bite to eat at Chubz Pub & Grub or Wally's Pizzeria in Warren. With Galena Country only being a few hours' drive for many - it's the perfect getaway at any time! Book your stay and let the planning begin with a browse through the digital visitors guide.