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

   OR   

Rediscover Romance in Galena Country

Posted on January 17, 2020 by Rose Noble

©Orange Anchor Photography

Sipping on a glass of local wine. Feeling the stress of everyday life melt away during a couple’s massage. Snuggling with that special someone in front of a fireplace in your cozy bed-and-breakfast suite. These are just a few of the reasons you’ll fall in love with making Galena Country, the destination for your next romantic rendezvous.

Nestled in the corner of Northwestern Illinois, along the Mississippi River, Galena is a hidden gem that offers activities to suit couples of all kinds. Below, are eight reasons to start planning a getaway today.

1. Spa-aaaah

Nothing says relaxation like a cozy couple’s massage or even a pedicure for two. For example, you and yours can head to the Galena Day Spa for a couple’s massage, which comes complete with complimentary champagne and chocolates. There’s also the Stonedrift Spa at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, which offers a menu of couple’s treatments, including the marine mineral soak in the private couple’s spa suite. But your spa options don’t end there. Indulge Day Spa, Healing Touch of Galena Massage (where the therapist will come to you), Sacred Sole Massage & Bodywork and the soon-to-open Studio One Green Spa and Salon are also stellar options for a little R&R.

2. Tee for two

If taking in 9 or 18 holes is a favorite pastime for the two of you, grab the clubs and schedule a tee time at one of Galena’s 10 courses. From taking on The General Golf Course to professional lessons at Lacoma Golf Club there’s an option for every skill level. Or try out a fun-filled round of mini-golf at the Lil' General, next to the Palace Campground.

3. Quench your thirst

Taste and tour your way through Galena Country and explore four vineyards, two craft breweries and Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. Wine enthusiasts can experience lovely scenic drive to Fergedaboudit Vineyard and Winery, The Rocky Waters Vineyard and Winery, Massbach Ridge Vineyard and Winery, and pet-friendly Galena Cellars Vineyard and Winery, all pairing years of winemaking talent with breath-taking views of the driftless region. Craft beer lovers will enjoy the variety of locally made brews at Pecatonica Beer Company Taphouse and the Galena Brewing Company! 

4. Explore the backroads

Cruise along historic Stagecoach Trail to the Thriving Thistle in Apple River and a picnic at Apple Canyon State Park, or explore the winding corners of Blackjack Road to for a bite to eat and to watch the sunset at Chestnut Mountain Resort. Historic Highway 20 is no stranger to incredible views, head to Elizabeth for jambalaya and live music at Cajun Jacks, or to East Dubuque for dining with a view at Timmerman's Supper Club.

5. Wine and dine

Make your meal for two special at one of Galena Country's culinary fortunes. From American tastes to Italian to German, there’s a cuisine for every type of palate. Partake in an intimate dining experience at the ‘chef’s table’ at Goldmoor Inn & Dining, or for a sample of European-fare, try Fritz and Frites Bistro. Savor tastes like a prime steak and fresh scallops at Fried Green Tomatoes, or be welcomed like family at the Log Cabin Steakhouse, Galena's oldest steakhouse. Taste a little bit of Italy at Vinny Vanucchi’s “Little Italy.” Or take in an intimate dinner at Woodlands Restaurant at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa overlooking the picturesque Lake Galena.

6. Shop around

Looking to do a little shopping on your getaway? Treasure-hunt along Galena's Historic Main Street, where you’ll find more than 125 shops, galleries, eateries and attractions. From curing your sweet tooth at confectionaries, such as Chocolat’ 229 and Galena's Kandy Kitchen, to finding something sexy at the Noty Kity, you're sure to find something for keeping and for gifting. If antiques and home decor are your cup of tea, furniture, collectibles, old toys, repurposed jewelry, albums, art and potteries are a few of the items you might find at shops such as A Bushel and A Peck and Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Co., and Anchors and Arrows.

7. Reconnect with nature

Explore via kayak, canoe, or paddle-board along the Galena River, discover new scenic views on Galena Country's 20 parks and trails, or cruise the Galena River Trail. Thrill seekers may enjoy speeding along a zip line at Long Hollow Canopy Tours or cruising down the Alpine Slide at Chestnut Mountain Resort. 

8. A romantic night in

Draw a bath and pop open that bottle of locally made wine! Galena Country's award-winning B&B's and Inns offer the perfect opportunity to snuggle up for the night. For something luxurious, check out the Jail Hill Inn, home to suites with gas fireplaces and steam showers or bubble massage tubs. The Inn at Irish Hollow offers luxury cottages on a 500-acre working farm in the Galena countryside. From resorts and hotels to B&B’s and vacation rentals, choose to lodge immersed in mother nature, amidst history, or in the heart of downtown Galena.

What are you waiting for? Book your stay and let the planning begin with a browse through the visitors guide.   


Thrift in the Driftless, Galena Country

Posted on March 9, 2019 by Rose Noble

Steeped in history, Galena Country is the perfect setting for antique treasure hunting. Admire ornately carved legs of an antique coffee table or, perhaps, a funky lamp with a hand-molded base. Though many items have lost their luster, they stand with glory and pride intact.

Steeped in history, Galena Country is the perfect setting for antique treasure hunting.

Red's Wholesale Barn offers a unique thrifting experience in Galena. The Barn stores hundreds of metal items waiting to be customized into a piece of art. The Yard, located downtown, showcases cast iron, yard décor, weather vanes and even whiskey barrels.

The Galena Antique Mall, located on Highway 20

There’s also The Galena Antique Mall, located on Highway 20, just two miles east of downtown Galena. This mall includes more than 55 dealers selling antiques, collectibles, jewelry, furniture and vintage toys.

Galena’s historic Main Street, is home to Grammy's Attic and Gustafson & Grey Ltd. These stores feature antiques, fine jewelry and unique finds.

Galena’s historic Main Street, also known as the Helluva Half Mile

Bookworms enjoy sifting through 30,000 quality used books at Peace of the Past! These books are surrounded by other interesting finds, including vintage advertising memorabilia and retro furniture. Speaking of retro, Tin Pan Alley carries pieces that span centuries, including art deco, mid-century modern and primitives.

Common Cents Resale

Explore Elizabeth for exciting antique gems! Located just a few miles outside of Galena, Elizabeth is known for antiquing. Check out Common Cents Resale. They pride themselves in keeping the shop fresh by treasure hunting for product throughout the country. Here, you will find a large amount of furniture as well as art pieces, ornaments, crockery you name it!

A Bushel and a Peck

While perusing new, used and antique furnishings at A Bushel and a Peck, stock up on local, and uber tasty, homemade and homegrown products. The Shop on the Hill’s antique selection fills the entire first floor of a Victorian home.

Elizabeth Grand Antique Co. promises to keep one occupied for hours on end with its 28,000-sq. ft. antique mall. Touch a piece of history at every turn and imagine the life lived at the time of its creation.

Check out Sullivan's Antiques in Hanover

Need a bit more of a thrift fix? Check out Sullivan's Antiques in Hanover, which offers antique and vintage furniture as well as a little bit of rock-n-roll! Antiques Etc. is a 100-year-old farmhouse in Stockton, showcasing ever-changing collections. Dusty’s Closet Antiques in Warren, welcomes shoppers to explore their 1856 brick house full of beautiful antique furniture, vintage collectibles and small gifts. Treasures await!

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... we call it being original! Start planning a trip today by browsing the latest Galena Country Visitors Guide and book your accommodation early. 


FAQ about Galena Country

Posted on September 26, 2018 by Kirsten Bell

You’ve decided that without a doubt, you want to visit Galena Country and you are about to start planning your trip… but you have so many questions and need answers fast! We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to save you time: Where can I get visitor information once I get there? The Visitgalena.org website is optimized to view on mobile devices and tablets, so take the information with you on vacation. If you cannot find what you are looking for, call the Galena Country Welcome Center at 815.776.9200 or stop by at 123 North Commerce Street (The Old Market House). Where are the public restrooms in Galena? Permanent public restrooms are located in downtown Galena at the Galena City Hall, 101 Green St. and at Hello Galena!, 121 N. Commerce St. Where do I park in Galena? Parking regulations in Galena vary depending on the location, day, and time of the day. Carefully read regulatory signs before parking. You will find a substantial number of free parking spaces downtown, however some are limited to three hours duration. The City of Galena offers free all-day public parking lot on the east side of the river near the Old Train Depot. The lot is accessible from US Highway 20 via Park Avenue and Bouthillier Street. Pedestrian access is available from the lot over one of two bridges to the downtown. Another all-day public lot operated by the City of Galena is located downtown on Commerce Street between Green Street and Washington Street.  Parking in the lot is $1 per hour or $5 all day. All day, free, on-street parking is available on Water Street next to the levee. When entering downtown from US Highway 20, access this parking by taking the first right after you pass through the flood gates. View a map of downtown parking here. Are all stores on Galena’s Main Street open on a Monday or on public holidays? All stores are independently owned, have their own hours and sometimes close due to unforeseen circumstances. In busy season, most stores are open as much as possible due to the increase in traffic. Here is a directory of shops in Galena Country if you would like to call ahead of time to make sure that a specific shop will be open. When is the big craft fair? The annual Galena Country Fair is held in Grant Park, Galena on the weekend before the Columbus Day holiday. The fair attracts more than ten thousand visitors and lodging reservations should be made well in advance. The Autumn Craft Fair takes place on the same weekend in Hanover, where more than 90 artisans and crafters offer unique handmade artwork, crafts and jewelry. What are the most popular, events in Galena Country? There is always something happening in Galena Country and there's never a shortage of events but some events have become longstanding and very popular over the years. The top three events that fall in this category are as follows: Night of Luminaria and Living Windows Galena Country Fair Halloween Parade Can you tell me about upcoming events? For the latest information on upcoming events, visit the Galena Country Events Calendar. When is the peak of fall color in Galena Country? Mid-October. It’s hard to predict when the best fall colors are going to happen in Galena Country. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature and so many factors determine their intensity and timing, such as the amount of precipitation and temperatures. Generally, a hard frost happens right before the peak of fall colors. So, while we can’t predict the precise peak, if you contact us shortly before your visit we’ll be happy to give you an idea of how the colors are developing. Are there any scenic motorcycle rides in Galena Country? Absolutely. We have beautiful scenic drives that are great for a motorcycle ride. Just a heads up… many of the township roads have no shoulders or guardrails and some have gravel surfaces. Please try to travel along hard-surfaced roads. Read more about our most scenic routes and which trails are best for motorcycle rides on our Road Trip page. Where can I rent a wheelchair? Hartig Drug Store located at 11002 Bartell Blvd., about two miles west of downtown Galena, has wheelchairs for rent. There is fully-refundable deposit and a per day rental fee. You can reserve a wheelchair for use during your visit by calling 815.777.2700. Where can I charge my Electric Vehicle? Need a charge? Galena is not short of EV charges, here is a list to choose from: Chestnut Mountain Resort – 8700 W. Chestnut Mountain Rd., Galena Wall outlet (120v), EV Plug (J1772) and Tesla HPWC (Model S). Culver’s of Galena – 11371 Oldenburg Lane, Galena Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) are available to the public. Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa – 444 Eagle Ridge Dr., Galena Two Tesla Charging Stations Type: Level ll (80A) and one Clipper Creek (32A). Please see front desk. Galena City Hall – 101 Green St., Galena Universal charger located in the City Hall parking lot on the corner of Green St. and Commerce St. Galena Brewing Company – 226 N. Commerce St., Galena Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) and one Clipper Creek J1772 (48A) available to patrons from 4-9 p.m. Mon.-Thu. and 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Please see bartender. Goldmoor Inn & Resort – 9001 W Sand Hill Rd., Galena Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) and one Clipper Creek (32A) EV charging for guests and patrons. Please see front desk. Jail Hill Inn – 319 Meeker St., Galena One Tesla high power wall connector (80A) and one Clipper Creek J1772 (30A) available for patrons. Please see front desk. What can we do with children? Galena Country is definitely a family-friendly destination. In addition to learning about history, there’s plenty of outdoor activities that children will enjoy. Activities such as horseback riding, berry picking, skiing, canoeing/kayaking, an alpine slide and miles of trails to hike and ride will keep the little ones busy. Kids also enjoy the Lil’ General Miniature Golf Course and the outdoor Alice T. Virtue Water Park. What are the historical must-see spots? Ulysses S. Grant Home in Galena presented to Grant in 1865 on his return from the Civil War. The home contains original furnishings. Apple River Fort in Elizabeth is the site of one of the battles fought during the Black Hawk War. Desoto House Hotel in Galena is the oldest operating hotel in Illinois and its most notable visitor was President Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. The Dowling House is Galena’s oldest house, built of native limestone in 1826 as a trading post and residence. The Old Blacksmith Shop is an authentic 1897 blacksmith shop with working forges and is filled with tools and equipment from its 100-year history. The Washburne House State Historic Site was home to Elihu Washburne, a prominent Galena attorney and later a popular U.S Congressman. Visit the library where General Grant received the telegraph announcing that he was president. Old Market House State Historic Site, constructed in 1845, this building sheltered vendors and shoppers until 1910. It is now home to the largest collection of Ulysses S. Grant memorabilia in the world. It also happens to be the Galena Country Visitor center. Where can we go hiking? Galena Country offers many scenic hiking trails. The Galena River Trail is very popular as it can be accessed from downtown Galena and it features 8.8 miles of Galena River and towering bluff views. The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation has done a fantastic job of rehabilitating, conserving and maintaining beautiful properties throughout Galena Country which offer picturesque trails. Is Galena pet friendly? Bring Fido along with you! Many hotels, shops and restaurant patios allow pets. Outdoor activities are plentiful in Galena Country and your dogs will love you for taking them along! If you need help navigating the best pet-friendly spots to visit, please call the Galena Country Visitor Center on 815.776.9200 or email galena@visitgalena.org. Looking for a place to leave your fur-baby while you visit not so pet-friendly spots? Let Doggie Do’s & New Earth Animals Grooming & Daycare take care of your fur baby for the day. You could even treat Fido to a makeover while you are away. Visit New Earth Animals on Main Street Galena with your pet and let him/her pick out a treat! Where in Galena Country can I go to see the Mississippi River? Chestnut Mountain Resort overlooks the Mississippi River and offers river cruises. Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve boasts some of the most commanding views of the Mississippi River and its backwater sloughs. Gramercy Park is located on the bluff in East Dubuque overlooking the Mississippi River. Have a question that’s not listed above? Send us your query to galena@visitgalena.org or call 815.776.9200 and we will be more than happy to help.


Top places to dine outside in Galena Country

Posted on August 14, 2018 by Kirsten Bell

A vacation really feels like a vacation when you can sit outside and relax with a cocktail, ice-cream or enjoy a full meal in the shade while you take in beautiful scenery. From secret backyard gardens, to sunny sidewalk-seating, to large covered patios, we have created a list of great outdoor spots in Galena Country: Sunset Grille - Chestnut Mountain Resort Cajun Jack’s Bar & Grill, Elizabeth Talented musicians will entertainment you while you enjoy your favorite Southern dish on the covered patio. Campeche Restaurant, Galena Listen to live music and the bubbling fountain on the outdoor patio, as you sip your margarita at this authentic Mexican restaurant. Fergedaboudit Vineyard and Winery, Hanover Sit on the covered deck, offering breathtaking views over the vineyards while you sip on your favorite wine and nibble from a cheese platter. Galena Cellars Wine Tasting Room, Galena Enjoy a wine tasting, peruse the gift shop and then make your way to the hidden courtyard at the back of the gift shop to enjoy a glass or wine or a Bloody Mary in the shade. Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, Galena Relax on the spacious wrap-around deck with a glass of wine and take in the gorgeous view. Furry friends are also welcome to join you. Galena River Wine & Cheese, Galena Grab a snack from the extensive gourmet cheeses, sausages and specialty foods and enjoy it at the sidewalk table just outside the store. Gobbies Sports Pub & Eatery, Galena Serving Chicago-style pizza and other pub fare, this restaurant features a spacious and beautifully decorated courtyard on Main Street. Sink into one of their outdoor sofas and enjoy the weather! Goldmoor Inn, Galena Fine Dining at its best with exquisite views of the Mississippi River and the rolling hills of Galena from the outdoor patio. Grape Escape, Galena This wine and martini lounge situated on Main Street, offers live music and a chilled atmosphere! Relax on the back patio with a martini and bring your fur baby with you, as it is pet friendly too! Green Street Tavern in the DeSoto House Hotel, Galena Sit alongside the oldest operating hotel in Illinois! This corner pub serves your favorite wine or cocktails with great appetizers, salads, sandwiches and special entrees. Jamie’s Wine Studio of Galena Hidden behind this intimate wine and bar martini bar, you’ll find a small garden with a seating area... but sshhh, don’t tell anyone! JJ & Freddie’s, Stockton Stop at the Gateway of Galena Country on US Hwy 20, and grab a bite to eat outdoors while watching the activity of Stockton pass you by. Enjoy home-cooked food in a fun environment. Kaladi’s Coffee Bar, Galena Take a seat at the sidewalk table outside this European-style coffee bar. Enjoy your coffee, pastry or homemade gelato as you watch the buzz of Galena go by. Little Tokyo, Galena Sit in the shaded courtyard away from the buzz of the town while you savor the finest Japanese food in the Tri-States area. Massbach Ridge Winery, Elizabeth Relax, unwind and savor your new discovery on the deck or in the garden while you take in the beautiful views of the vineyards. Rocky Waters Vineyard & Winery, Hanover After your wine tasting, take a seat on the shaded deck with your favorite wine and take in the spectacular views. Silver Spoon Restaurant, East Dubuque Watch the sunset from the dining courtyard bordering the peaceful waters of Fentress Lake. Silver spoon offers elevated comfort food in an upscale, yet casual modern atmosphere. Small Town Saloon, Elizabeth This small-town restaurant offers burgers, a farm-to-table menu, fully-stocked bar and daily specials. Enjoy the good food out on their deck. Sunset Grille at Chestnut Mountain Resort, Galena Perched high atop a wooded palisade overlooking panoramic views of the Mississippi River, the restaurant features a 4, 400 square-foot outdoor dining deck. Savor the sunset while enjoying great food and drinks! The Corner Tap, Stockton Every Saturday from April through October, The Corner Tap offers a Steak Fry on the patio area and corn hole games. Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe, Elizabeth Visit this charming sweet shop just 15 minutes east of Galena. Choose your favorite flavor ice cream, cupcake or pie and enjoy it in the garden seating area. Thriving Thistle Market, Apple River Not your typical gas station! Stretch your legs and enjoy made-to-order salads, sandwiches, smoothies and more out on the patio. Vinny Vanucchi’s “Little Italy”, Galena Enjoy classic Italian dishes on the patio which is nestled in the historic building’s courtyard, next to a cobblestone road. Sit under the colorful umbrellas and enjoy the music form street performers nearby! Woodstone Restaurant at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, Galena Offering magnificent panoramic views of the tri-state region and the resort's largest golf course, The General. Enjoy signature dishes, including wood fired pizzas!


Run the Galena River Trail

Posted on June 6, 2018 by Kirsten Bell

Our intern, Ally explored the Galena River Trail and beyond! Here is a recount of her adventure… 

Raise your heart rate, get a good work out and find mental serenity in Mother Nature. What better way to distract yourself from your own heavy breathing and running fatigue than the scenic trails and country roads found in Galena Country? The Galena River Trail is located just steps away from the hustle and bustle of Galena’s Helluva Half Mile. Tucked away in the woods lining the Galena River, this serene 8-mile trail is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. It’s mostly flat terrain, which makes cycling and running a breeze. In fact, running seems less horrific when you get to experience one of the best views of Galena. As I explored the trail, the diversity of scenery and people with dogs, bikes and grand kids who passed me was fascinating. With two knee surgeries and my personal preference, this trail is especially perfect for me because it is flat. No hills or inclines, just a nice, relaxing path to get those steps in. As I walked, calmness came over me. There are spots on the trail with great views of the river but also with stretches of lush greenery and timber. For runners who might need a quick break or breather, there are benches perfectly located throughout the trail. Each bench is surrounded by a unique collection of colorful plants. I didn’t make it to the end of the trail but I plan to ride my bike to the end next time. The trail follows the Galena River all the way to the backwaters of the Mighty Mississippi. Lush marshland plants and river species of all sorts call this beautiful landscape home and the trail continues to the bottom of Chestnut Mountain Resort. From there, I plan on riding the ski lift to the top of the “mountain” to enjoy a light meal and drink at Sunset Grille. From the top, I’ll also be able to take in the view of the Mississippi, with sights of Iowa and Wisconsin in the distance. The best part about taking the lift is that I can load my bike and ride up to the top for free. Another unique feature about the Galena River Trail is the landing and boat launch. With picnic tables, it's the perfect spot for a quick lunch with a view of the Galena River and downtown Galena. Not a runner? Anyone can use the landing for kayaks, canoes, paddle boats and as a great fishing adventure launch. Speaking of Chestnut, they’ve got some great wooded trails worth exploring. With more than 143 acres, their grounds are perfect for family hikes, solo runs or endurance mountain biking and hiking. I decided to check out the trail by foot and stayed close to the main lodge. The front desk was helpful in providing guidance on which trails led where, so I chose the Yellow Trail Loop. It starts in the woods and ends at North Grandview Pointe. More on that in a minute. As I began my hike, I heard what sounded like machines. A few seconds later, a group of Segways zipped by. They all seemed to be having a lot of fun and it was definitely something I wasn’t expecting to see. I learned later that Chestnut offers guided Segway tours. How cool! After the group was out of sight, it was just me and my thoughts. I couldn’t believe how the trails reminded me of paths I have hiked in upper Michigan and Wisconsin. The thick canopy of trees was just what I needed but the best was yet to come. As I approached the end of my trail, I noticed the beginning of one of the best views I have ever laid my eyes on. I’m talking about the panoramic view of the Mississippi River that was waiting for me. My trail ended in an open, grassy knoll overlooking the river valley. I don’t know if it was the sheer surprise or the timing of the sun beginning to set but I suddenly found myself breathless, completely lost in the moment. It was an experience I will never forget and one I hope you can find on your own journey to Chestnut Mountain Resort. Galena River Trail Picnic Area For those more interested in road running, I have a few suggestions. After my hike at Chestnut, I drove the more scenic route home, exploring the country roads between Galena and Hanover. It was filled with scenes straight out of a movie with everything from immaculate horse ranches to classic red barns and historic cemeteries to old farmhouses. The winding back roads of Galena Country are well worth exploring with a long run or bike ride.

  • Irish Hollow Road will lead you by babbling brooks, hidden train tunnels and limestone cottages covered in vines. It’s a setting pulled straight out of a Thomas Kinkade painting.
  • Pilot Knob Road winds by endless fields of prairie grass and climbs up and down bluffs on its way to Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve.
  • Devil’s Ladder Road has a few tight curves with limited vision for vehicles but if you’re a runner up for a challenge, it warrants some of the best views of Galena Country farmland you’ll ever see.

For even more road running ideas, check out the Galena Geo-tag on Map My Run. Those who have conquered the trail by foot, a post-run recovery and one of the spas in Galena Country is an option. A relaxing massage is a great way to reward oneself for hard work and effectively treat sore muscles to prevent injuries.