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Family Road Trip to Galena Country

Posted on May 6, 2022 by Kirsten Bell

Credit: @nholland_images

“Are we there yet?" The greatest part of a family road trip isn’t arriving at your destination, it’s the little memories made along the way! Gather the gang, get behind the wheel and get to Galena Country!

U.S. Highway 20 is an east-west highway that stretches from The Pacific Northwest all the way to New England, making it the longest highway in America. It also happens to travel through Galena Country… the best place to enjoy a family road trip.

But first, breakfast

Just off Highway 20, heading west towards Galena, is the charming town of Stockton! Enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast at Stella’s Café which is housed in the beautiful W.E. White Building. Listed on the National Historic Registry, the building is known for its beautiful original tin ceiling and artful ambiance, so don’t forget to look up!

Strike A Pose!

After breakfast, it’s time to strike a pose in front of Stockton’s beautiful murals found just steps away from Stella’s. These family shots are sure to receive loads of likes on Insta! Grab some homemade candy from Sweet Alice’s for the road and take note of the cute Alice in Wonderland themed store.

Take a piece of Galena Country home with you!

Once you’re back on Highway 20, heading west towards Galena, look out for Nature’s Treasures in Woodbine where you’ll find the most gorgeous items to remind you of your trip. Mom, you will love the organic gardening supplies, wind chimes, crystals and so much more!

Take your pick!

The kids are going to love this one! Stop at Terrapin Orchards, a U-pick strawberry and apple orchard offering a couple of hours of fun and loads of juicy and delicious fruit… mmmm!

History Lesson

Highway 20 takes you through the quaint village of Elizabeth. Time for a history lesson at the Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum. Watch the numerous model trains and railroads operate around the museum and step inside a full-size Milwaukee Road caboose.

Ice Cream Stop

As you depart the town of Elizabeth, there’s an adorable little candy store called the Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe. Stop for some refreshing ice cream and jump onto the giant pink chair for a great photo together… yes, the whole family can fit!

A Welcome Sight

As you continue your road trip on Highway 20, notice the stunning views of wooded countryside interspersed with neat farmsteads and hilly terrain dotted with cows. This would be a good time to play “I spy”! You’ll soon reach the Long Hollow Scenic Overlook which offers breathtaking views of Galena Country’s rolling countryside… a sight for sore eyes! Don’t miss this opportunity for a great family photo!

Time Travel

Enter the town of Galena on highway 20 and take a turn onto the town’s Main Street. This street is frozen in time and steeped in history! It’s lined with beautifully restored 19th Century buildings which house art galleries, eclectic boutiques, and restaurants.

Wow the kids

Conveniently located at the beginning of Main Street is a kid’s happy place called Poopsie’s. This store is fun, funky and beyond the ordinary! The children can check out the toys, games, and books on one side of the store, while you explore the one-of-a-kind art, jewelry, home décor and other gifts on the other. Another fun toy store to explore is Galena Kids Store and Learning Center, an educational toy, game and puzzle store for both children and parents!

Watch Sparks Fly

Once you reach the end of Main Street, turn right and you will find the authentic 1897 Old Blacksmith Shop to your left. Treat the family to a live demo of a blacksmith forging metal the way they used to in the 1800s. The shop is also filled with original tools for you to inspect.

Say Cheese!

For rumbling bellies, there’s a delicious treat waiting for you at Galena River Wine & Cheese as you head out of Galena! Choose any type of cheese from their wide selection for a mouthwatering grilled cheese sandwich. Mom and Dad… pick out that bottle of wine to savor later on!

Has your family ever seen the Mighty Mississippi River? Hop back onto Highway 20 traveling west and it will lead you straight to it! Stop at Gramercy Park in East Dubuque, a 10-acre city park overlooking the river. It’s also a natural heritage landmark, home to 26 ceremonial and burial mounds. Watch the sun go down at this beautiful site.

Dine at the water's edge

A great way to end a fun day of family adventure is to head down to Millennium Bar & Marina, tucked away in a slough in East Dubuque. Here you can enjoy some home cooking at the water's edge while you share your favorite memories of your road trip.

For more fun ideas on ways to entertain the family, check out the Galena Country Visitors Guide. Explore scenic overlooks, picturesque trails and cultural sites… making family memories one road trip at a time.


No-Snow Fun in Galena Country!

Posted on February 18, 2022 by Kirsten Bell

No snow? No problem! Snow can be so much fun, but Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate! No worries, here are a few snow-free activities for you to enjoy in Galena Country

Winter Hiking

Bundle up and take a hike! The driftless area offers unique hiking opportunities on nature preserves, providing picture-perfect views and Native American burial grounds to explore. Barren trees give a clear view to all that nature has to offer and the deep silence warms your soul. If you're an animal lover, hike with some entertaining four-legged companions at Hoof It Goat Treks. Gear up with boots, binoculars and your camera. It's time to reconnect with nature!

A touch of Magic

Book a magic show with Galena’s Master Magician, P.T. Murphy. With his sleight-of-hand and mischievous sense of humor, P.T. will mystify you with a jaw-dropping experience! Located in the heart of downtown Galena, this intimate magic show is a precursor to a delicious meal at one of Galena's superb restaurants.

Tastings and Toastings

Warm-up with a locally made and award-winning beverage! Massbach Ridge Winery and Galena Cellars both have tasting rooms located on Galena's Main Street, open year-round. Take in the beautiful winter scenery and drive out to Rocky Waters Vineyard or Fergedaboudit Vineyard and Winery, where you can appreciate both amazing views and great wine!

How about taking a comprehensive tour of Blaum Bros. Distilling Co., located minutes from downtown Galena. Enjoy a cocktail and re-stock your liquor cabinet, all in one location! Craft beer lovers, you'll be happy to know that Galena Country is home to three craft breweries, Galena Brewing Co.Pecatonica Beer Co. Tap House, Highway 20 Brewing Company, and Mud Run Beer Co. Tour the Galena Brewing Co. to learn about the beer-making process from start to finish.

Dinner and a Show

Experience fine dining and exceptional entertainment in a unique Supper Club atmosphere at Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater.  New performances and a seasonal menu offer something new for each visit!

Learn and Create

Let the beauty of Galena Country inspire you! Cozy up indoors and create your own signature fragrance at Scent Workshop. Learn French Perfuming techniques to create custom perfumes, candles and more in a fun and relaxing setting. Explore more about one-of-a-kind experiences you'll be sure to share here!

Snow or no snow...Galena Country offers plenty to see and do and memories are waiting to be made! Check out the visitors guide for more ideas and find awesome events on the calendar.


Cozy Drink Spots in Galena Country

Posted on September 29, 2021 by Kirsten Bell

‘Tis the season to wrap your hands around a warm cup of comfort! We’ve rounded up some toasty ‘hot spots’ where you can relax and thaw out this winter in Galena Country!

Big Bill’s Sandwich Shop & Coffee Bar, Galena

Savor a steaming cappuccino, sip on a Chai Tea Latte or indulge in a Hot Chocolate topped with cream at this full-service coffee bar. They expertly roast their coffee in small batches – try their brew of the month and take some home with you! Make a meal of it and indulge in gourmet breakfast and lunch deliciousness!

Bread and Vine Bakery, Galena

Cozy up to a classy coffee at this French and Italian-inspired cafe. Pair your espresso with signature items such as flavored macarons, chocolate tart, French beignets, giant eclairs, pain au chocolat, pure butter croissants, and more!

Blaum Bros. Distilling Co., Galena

Visit this local craft distillery for a tour behind the scenes and then treat yourself to a Hot Toddy made with Bourbon, honey, fresh lemon juice, and hot water before heading back out into the cold!

Elle & Becks, Galena

This unique spot features a Coffee & Gelato bar within the confines of a lifestyle boutique that offers the latest in fashion, accessories, and homeware. You can even take their delicious coffee home with you!

E-Town Coffee Co., Elizabeth

This cozy spot offers freshly ground coffee, espresso, and other warm drinks. Enjoy a tasty sandwich and browse local art on display and choose a bottle of wine from the wide selection of wines.

Frank O’ Dowds Irish Pub, Galena

How about an Irish Coffee in an authentic Irish pub? This pub was designed and handcrafted in Ireland itself. Together with your coffee, the live entertainment and good Irish cheer is bound to warm you up in no time!

Galena Bakehouse, Galena

This high-quality grab-and-go bakery features delicious coffee, gourmet pastries, cupcakes, empanadas, and lunch options using local ingredients, always made from scratch.

Galena Cellars and Massbach Ridge Wine Tasting Rooms, Galena

Warm-up while sipping on a glass of mulled wine (Gluhwein) at one of these local tasting rooms situated on Galena's Historic Main Street. Browse many award-winning wines to enjoy at home.

Galena Roasters, Galena

This lovely local cafe prides itself in offering Specialty Coffee roasted in-house served on the bar as espresso drinks, brewed coffee, and cold brew. They carry Galena Roasters coffee in retail bags, including many different single origins and blends and different roast levels, so you can bring Galena Roasters home with you when you leave!

Kaladi’s Coffee Bar, Galena

Make yourself comfortable in this family-owned coffee shop. Enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up or delicious hot chocolate as well as a selection of delicious baked goods!

Mean Bean Roasters, Galena

Think custom gourmet coffee! Here you have the option to custom design a personal coffee blend and label. Choose up to five different mouthwatering flavors to create your own individual and unique blend. Enjoy a warm cup of freshly brewed java, made locally by fellow coffee lovers.

Millennium Bar & Marina, East Dubuque

Tucked away in a slough in East Dubuque, Millennium brings its style of home cooking to the Mississippi River but they also offer specialty drinks including boozy loaded cocoa, spiked coffee and even candy cane martini's... okay that's not a warm drink but it warm you up from the inside!  

Stella’s Café & Catering, Stockton

After “striking a pose” in front of Stockton’s famous downtown murals, warm up with Stella’s famous Caramel Macchiato! Housed in the W.E. White Building, listed on the National Historic Registry, Stella’s is known for its beautiful original tin ceiling and artful ambiance. Step across the street to Sweet Alice's for some take-home treats and blooming teas!

Thriving Thistle Market, Apple River

Situated on the famous Stagecoach Trail in Apple River, lies this little gem! Not only is it a gas station, but here you will find wholesome nourishment too! Grab a Bullet-Proof coffee (coffee with butter and coconut oil blend) a delicious bite to eat, and fuel-up for your travels!

Trolley Depot Coffee & Tea Co., Galena

This family owned and operated coffee and tea shop specializes in hand crafting each beverage with skill and precision. On the menu, you will find ethically sourced and locally roasted (Galena Roasters) coffee as well as an assortment of full-leaf Fair Trade Organic teas. Delicious pastries, pre-packed snacks and ice cream are also on offer. 

Now that we've got you all nice and toasty… you are ready to explore more of Galena Country! Spend the weekend in a place that's as original as you are. These dining options will take care of your hunger when the time comes and they will have cozy drinks to keep you going too!


Escape to Galena Country on a Romantic Road Trip

Posted on June 14, 2021 by Kirsten Bell

Beautiful year round, Galena Country offers breathtaking views, delicious food, one-of-a-kind boutique shops and priceless memories waiting to be made on a scenic road trip. 

Elizabeth

Traveling west on Highway 20 towards Galena, you will drive through the charming village of Elizabeth. Stretch your legs and enjoy a scrumptious breakfast at E-Town Coffee Co. Pick up a bottle of wine from their great selection for that sundowner later on, and browse the local art on display.

Before you leave, grab a cup of E-Town’s locally roasted, freshly ground coffee for the road! Elizabeth is where the battle of the Apple River Fort took place as part of the Black Hawk War in 1832. An exact replica of the fort lies on Myrtle Street if you want to take a peek.

Long Hollow Scenic Overlook

As you leave Elizabeth, you will be treated to views of wooded countryside interspersed with neat farmsteads and hilly terrain. Who says Illinois is flat? Not here! A must-stop is the Long Hollow Scenic Overlook. The breathtaking scenery of Galena Country’s rolling countryside is quite something! Be sure to use this perfect backdrop to snap your selfies!

Tapley Woods

Traveling just a little further will take you into the Tapley Woods Conservation Area, home to the Long Hollow Canopy Tours. Driving through this area is a special treat in any season! The forest crowds in close to the roadside, and with low speeds and open windows, you can enjoy the sounds of birdsong and the buzz of insects. There are spots where the trail breaks clear of the woods and opens up to views of the hilly landscape.

Galena

Ahhhh, Galena! Such beauty and so much history! As you enter this town, you feel like you’ve stepped into a movie set. Frozen in time, the Historic Main Street is lined with beautifully restored 19th Century buildings which house art galleries, eclectic boutiques, and stores as well as restaurants. Nearly every scene offers a picturesque background you won’t forget.

Stop in at the 1864 American Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor which features an old-fashioned fountain and original cabinets. Grab a refreshing ice cream and take a seat on a sidewalk bench to take in the sights and sounds of Galena. Directly next door to the ice cream parlor is Galena’s Kandy Kitchen. You can’t pass up the opportunity of purchasing some lip-smacking homemade candy for the rest of the drive!

Menominee

While you munch on that delicious candy, continue west to Menominee. This quaint village is located on the Little Menominee River near East Dubuque. J.M.’s Tap is Menominee’s hidden gem! This family-run restaurant specializes in homemade pizza and features all-you-can-eat Friday fish fry! Enjoy a hearty meal as you get to know the locals and share your Galena Country experience with them.

Everywhere you go in Galena Country turns into a classic road trip, packed with adventure and places to explore. There is no hurry, take your time and soak it all in. Start planning your trip today by browsing the latest Galena Country visitors guide, and be sure to book your accommodation early!


Mother's Day in Galena Country

Posted on April 13, 2021 by Kirsten Bell

Whichever way you look at it… Mom is a superhero! She sacrificed her waistline, she spent countless hours cheering you on at sports practice, she even dried your tears after crash-landings that she warned you about time and time again! Not to mention mom’s taxi service. We all know what we must do… show her that we appreciate her this Mother’s Day, but how when love means keeping your distance during the pandemic? We have some suggestions for you…

Send Locally Grown Blooms

Choose from mixed bouquets, mason jar arrangements and potted plants at 'Petals on the Porch' self-serve flower stand at Clara Joyce Flowers. If you can’t make it out to this specialty cut flower farm in Stockton, hop onto their website, choose from several different floral designs and have it shipped directly to mom’s doorstep! Murphy’s Gardens offers flowering shrubs, hanging baskets culinary herbs and a selection of trees for mom’s garden too!

Build a Pamper Hamper

A hamper of beauty products would allow any self-isolating mom to indulge in well-deserved self-care. Throw in some muscle soak bath salts and delicately scented candles from Galena Candle and Bath Company, or make make for her yourself at The Scent Workshop. What about clarity calming face oil and organic lip balm from Galena Apothecary? If mom loves the spa and nothing else will fill its shoes… purchase a gift voucher from Galena Country’s highly-skilled, full-service spas for a future visit!

Pack a Picnic for Mom & Dad

Grab a bottle of wine from one of the local wineries, pick up some gourmet cheeses, sausages and pates from Galena River Wine & Cheese and deliver them to Mom and Dad. Suggest that they enjoy a sunset picnic atop Horseshoe Mound Preserve overlooking stunning views of Galena Country or even in their own yard.

From Galena Country with Love

Spend some time browsing online stores and send Galena Country to Mom's doorstep. From locally roasted coffee, award-winning wines, or popcorn to a new outfit, handbag or accessories... she is sure to love any of it! Not sure of what she would like? A gift certificate from her favorite store or restaurant will keep her looking forward to her next visit! In Galena Country we know the importance of taking the time for the things that matter most.These gifts are bound to bring a smile to the face of the special women in your life.