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Two lanes of color in Galena Country

Posted on September 16, 2020 by Kirsten Bell

The air is cool, with just a little chill to let us know a new season is at hand. The leaves are tinged with red, brown and gold as they slowly desert their branches to create an attractive mosaic of color below. What better way to watch this transformation of nature called fall, than to take a drive through Galena Country.  

Before you get started... take a stroll amongst historic cannons and monuments in Grant Park. This will definitely set the tone for the rest of your trip. With the heart of Galena as your backdrop, watch leaves dance their way to the carpeted ground and listen to the crunchy footsteps that you take. Cross the pedestrian bridge to downtown Galena and don’t forget to look back at the beauty left behind. Ready to hit the road? Let’s go…

Galena's Historic Main Street

Head north down the historic Main Street of Galena. This main attraction is lined with more than 125 shops and restaurants, one after the next. There are no chain stores here. It’s all about the unique, local independent shops and beautifully preserved red brick buildings that date back to Galena’s days as a booming 1800’s lead mining town. Steeped in history, 85% of the town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Stagecoach Trail

At the end of Main Street, continue on to the historic Stagecoach Trail via Field St. This road follows the original Galena-Chicago stagecoach route, passing scenic farms and near the highest point of Illinois. This pleasant, winding drive will take you through valleys dotted with small farms and dairy cows. The road, framed by a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges and yellows passes the Galena Cellars Winery & Vineyard, a great stopping point. Turn left onto Ford Road and follow the signs. Here you can relax on the comfortable wrap-around deck of the charming farmhouse turned tasting room, and soak in the gorgeous fall colors of the vineyards.

Council Hill Station

Leaving Galena Cellars, turn left onto N. Ford Road and continue as the road veers to the right onto N. Hill Road, leading you to Council Hill Station on the right. This is a unique and historic 1850’s general store and railway station which has been transformed into a watering hole and music venue. Ruins of a woolen mill, barn and silo also sit on the property.

Apple River

From Council Hill Station, journey onto W. Council Road. This road will lead back to Stagecoach Trail and the Town of Apple River. This town was established by the Illinois Central Railroad in 1854. Surrounded by dairy farms and corn fields, a must stop is the Thriving Thistle Market. This little gem offers freshly baked bread, pizza, burgers, smoothies and more! Most ingredients are grown in their own backyard.

Warren

Continue traveling east on Stagecoach Trail until you reach the town of Warren, named after Warren Burnett, the son of Alexander Burnett who was the founder. 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 Pecatonica Valley.

Apple River Canyon State Park

From Warren, take Route 78 south and turn right onto E. Canyon Road. This road leads you to the Apple River Canyon State Park, featuring limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and plenty wildlife. Brace yourself for a feast of fall colors. Step out, gather a heap of leaves and throw them in the air for the perfect Instagram shot.

Elizabeth

Exit the park on Scout Camp Road traveling south. When you reach Highway 20, travel west towards Elizabeth and Galena. You will travel through beautiful country scenery as the road swirls and winds its way to Elizabeth. Sit back, relax and enjoy the view of the multi-color magic that surrounds you. Speaking of views… a perfect way to experience the wonders of fall is to overnight at The View Motel in Elizabeth. Soak up the beautiful countryside scenery that this motel overlooks. While you are here, visit the Black Hawk War landmark called Apple River Fort State Historic Site for an intriguing history lesson. If you are into antiques, don’t miss the Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Co., a 28.000 sq. ft., antique mall that is sure to have what you are looking for. From here, your drive back to Galena is only a 15-minute drive, so make the most of the last bit of golden hues, vivid pinks, red and crispy earthen browns - a tapestry of fall.

Bonus - Blackjack Road

Just in case you didn’t get enough color under your belt, here is a bonus drive for you… From Galena, take Route 20 eastwards and turn right onto Blackjack Road. This rural road twists and turns, offering breathtaking views, many of which are of the beautiful Mississippi River Valley. This is a perfect road for a motorcycle ride. There are many pull off spots for picture taking along the way. You will find Chestnut Mountain Resort nestled amongst the hills. This resort boasts an array of amenities, accommodation and activities, but the views are what are so impressive. Sit on their outdoor deck perched high on a bluff overlooking the Upper Mississippi River Valley – here you will find all of the fall color that your heart desires.

Explore what there is to do and see in Galena Country by browsing the latest Visitors Guide and choose from great lodging options or your overnight stay!


Have a farm-tastic time in Galena Country!

Posted on August 18, 2020 by Kirsten Bell

Corn, crops, and countryside, oh my! Have you ever toured a farm? Petted a cow? Enjoyed a hayride? Stomped grapes? Or watched a tractor harvest its crops? Well, get to Galena Country and experience all that and more.

You know you’re in the Midwest when the cornfields are endless and the pastures are sprinkled with classic red barns and bellowing cattle. To deepen your understanding and strengthen your appreciation of the land, Galena Country has the perfect spots to explore.

Terrapin Orchards Terrapin Orchards believes that if you’ve never had a farm fresh strawberry, you’ve never really had a strawberry! Pick your own delicious bursts of goodness or grab a bag of pre-picked berries. The strawberries have a red juice filled center, instead of the unripe white pith that we have come to view as normal. Be warned… children who wear a white colored shirt to pick strawberries typically leave with a red colored shirt and a huge smile! Strawberry season starts in early June and runs through to mid-June. Apples are king at Terrapin! Anticipated to be ready to munch on by September, the variety of apples and pears available are picked at the peak of perfection. One of the favorites is the first apple to ripen... the Zestar! Offering the perfect blend of sweet and tart in a beautiful crisp, red and green striped fruit, the Zestar doesn’t disappoint!

Orchard Landing Where can you find apple trees, airplanes and mini donuts? At Orchard Landing in Hanover. Yummy doesn’t begin to describe this extraordinary farm stand experience. It’s not only a visual treat with a large orchard, a grass runway for planes and a cute airplane hangar that doubles as the shop, it’s loaded with goodies from doughnuts, apples and dried cherries to syrup, jellies and honey mustard. The drive out (or fly in?) is lovely and it’s just minutes from the Helluva Half Mile in downtown Galena. Open August to mid-November, grab some pumpkins and enjoy any of nine varieties of apples as they come into season. Plan on flying in? The elevation is 970 feet.  

Erhler Ranch Get the best look at the countryside while learning about local growers and what it takes to supply and maintain successful crops. Along with a tour, there are plenty of activities and opportunities for kids with bean bags, picnics and pony rides, as well as the chance to splash their feet in Rock Bottom Creek. Spark your kids’ love of equestrian activities with a pony ride. Led by staff, not only can you ride a pony but also learn safety basics and the fundamentals of riding. Finish the day with a hayride for an up-close look into a real-life farm. Don’t be surprised if you see a tractor in the cornfield or a rancher wrangling cattle. These are just the normal day-to-day operations at Ehrler Ranch.

Dittmar Farms Although summer has just arrived, fall and Halloween will be here before you know it. With this in mind, experience your new favorite fall season getaway with the best place for corn, pumpkins and the ever-frustrating but hysterical corn maze! Just a few minutes from Galena, this farm is in Elizabeth, the heart of Galena Country! The most popular activity, besides navigating the giant u-pick pumpkin patch, is a hayride. The 20-minute excursion gives riders an opportunity to see the entire scenic span of the farm. Dittmar Farms are extremely kid- and family-friendly. Want to keep the kiddos busy for a while? They offer a 2-acre corn maze to burn off some energy with some innocent fun. End your trip at Dittmar munching on their homemade pumpkin bread and, yes, even pumpkin donuts. This farm is a must-visit.

Grapes are a crop, too Witness the wine-making process from the field to bottle and enjoy a tasting at one of Galena Country’s four vineyards. These wineries are set among the beautiful countryside in charming historic towns. Enjoy award-winning Illinois wines and during the fall season, you can even stomp grapes at one of the harvest celebrations.


Forever Original Galena Country

Posted on July 10, 2020 by Fallon Oldenburg

Galena Country is an area with a rich and storied past and just like the area it represents, it is full of great stories and colorful characters. While it's many years in the making, our story only gets better with time!  Image Credit: @EnjoyIllinois

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. Explore the 11 unique locations that makeup #GalenaCountry with this adventure-filled, 4-day itinerary!

Day 1

Plan to have lunch in Stockton. With fun features for the whole family, this is the perfect spot to get out and stretch your legs. Fill up on a juicy burger at JJ & Freddies, shop at Savvy Scavengers and bag-your-own candy at Sweet Alice's. Stroll the town to find memory-making opportunities with the artistic murals and the Kidstown wooden playground! Everyone loves a good story. And here, one story always leads to another. Learn something new at the Stockton Heritage Museum, featuring N-scale model trains and Kraft Foods’ history (Fun fact: Kraft started in Stockton, Illinois).

Take in magnificent views while heading to Apple River for an outdoor adventure! Fuel up at Thriving Thistle Market and stock up on organic goodies and fresh-made smoothies for a picnic lunch. One is sure to find plenty of delectable items to enjoy now and later! Journey along to Apple River Canyon State Park with a picnic lunch and camera! Unplug and enjoy each other!

After exploring, cruise historic Stagecoach Trail and head towards Scales Mound. Stop into Pat's Country House Grocery for last-minute essentials, snacks, and yummy treats! Follow the route to Galena and check into your lodging to rest up or drop off suitcases and explore Main Street for live music performed by local musicians in one of the many entertaining pubs. In Galena Country, we've never been like anywhere else and we're proud of it.

Day 2

Elizabeth: Arrive early, come hungry and ready to shop! Be sure to stop by the Scenic Overlook on the way! Start the morning off with a breakfast sandwich and coffee from E-town, followed by treasure hunting at Common Cents Resale, Elizabeth Grand Antique Co., Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe and Jane Marie Boutique. Make time to check out the Apple River Fort State Historic Site and Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum to experience a bit of history. To us, history isn't about endings, it's where stories begin. And one good story always leads to another.

Take a break to indulge in a tasty lunch at Cajun Jack's and delicious local brews at the Highway 20 Brewing Company before heading to Hanover. In Galena Country, you'll find us running, cycling or hiking up hills, gliding through trees or paddling on the water! Enjoy a scenic hike at the beautiful Wapello Land & Water Reserve, nestled along the Apple River. For the drive back to Galena, consider following Blackjack Road for a scenic pit-stop at Chestnut Mountain Resort, an all-seasons resort, with zip-lining, alpine slide, mini-golf, segway tours, boat rides, and winter sports!

East Dubuque is calling! Delight in dinner at Timmerman's Supper Club, nestled among the bluffs of the Mississippi River, the food and views offer a memorable experience for the family or romantic dinner for two. Millennium Bar & Marina and Frentress Lake Marina are great spots to watch beautiful sunsets! Head back to Galena for an epic magic show with P.T. Murphy! We've always been known to have a good time. Times may change, but that never will.

Day 3

Breakfast in Galena: some local favorites include Otto's Place, Dillon's, Paradise Grill and Victory Cafe. Hit up Galena's Main Street for an incredible shopping experience with more than 125 independently owned stores. Get your history fix with a tour of Grant's Home, the Elihu B. Washburne House, and The Old Blacksmith Shop. Sight-see the streets of Galena via trolley to further discover the beautiful homes and views that are often raved about. The best thing about being where time forgot, is that you lose all track of it.

Enjoy lunch at Green Street Tavern in the Historical DeSoto House Hotel before continuing to Warren for a beer tasting at Pecatonica Beer Company and Tap House. To further extend the scenic adventure, swing back onto Stagecoach Trail and make way towards Nora. A small community with a hoppin' bar! Kick back and enjoy a refreshing beverage and appetizer before journeying on to the next stop! Venture back onto the beautiful Stagecoach Trail, pass through Galena and connect onto Hwy 20 towards Menominee, to another 'small town with a hoppin' bar.' JM's Tap makes the must-visit list, offering local craft brews and incredibly delicious pizza.

Day 4

Enjoy locally roasted coffee and a delicious breakfast sandwich at Big Bill's in downtown Galena before a little shopping and wine/spirits tasting. Begin the leisurely trip home with lunch at Small Town Saloon in Elizabeth. (Vegan's...get excited about the Impossible Burger!) Might as well stock up on apple cider donuts at Dittmar Farms Orchard station while in town.

Last stop to complete the tour of Galena Country - Woodbine. Search for specialty gifts at Nature's Treasure's and stop for a round of golf at Woodbine Bend, at the very least, indulge in their delicious fish fry! (Did you know that Galena Country is home to 10 golf courses?)

There it is... 11 wonderful Galena Country locations included in one itinerary. Switch it up and try new things each visit, with so much to do, it's always an adventure! 

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!


Field of Dreams walking tour in Downtown Galena

Posted on June 16, 2020 by Fallon Oldenburg

It’s been more than 30 years since Field of Dreams first charmed viewers with its endearing narrative of how baseball helps an Iowa farmer reconnect with figures from the past, including his own father. In the film, downtown Galena pinch-hits for Chisholm, Minnesota. Take a stroll and experience a walking tour along Galena’s Historic Main Street, showcasing a dozen key locations featured in the iconic movie. Photo Credit: Internet Movie Cars Database DeSoto House Hotel, 230 S Main St., Ray Kinsella and Terrence Mann search the local Chisholm phone book in an old phone booth, for Graham’s contact information. Also in this scene, you can see the Chisholm, Minnesota banner hanging across Main Street. Green Street Stairs, Bench St., Ray Kinsella and Moonlight Graham are spotted walking together in the evening hours to Graham’s office. Embe Eatery & Lounge, 233 S. Main St., Where Ray parks his VW Van while looking for Moonlight Graham in Chisholm, MN. Another scene where the Chisholm banner can be spotted hanging over Main Street. Klein's Market Bakery, 118 S. Main St., This building is predominately spotted in the background as Ray strolls the streets of Chisholm looking for Moonlight Graham. In the movie, you can recognize the building by the old vehicle parked in front of it. Dreams Boutique, 116 S Main St., This scene features the third symbol of Ray’s apparent time-travel back to 1972. He spots an old car and rubs the dirt off of the license plate to reveal the 1972 sticker confirming the travel back in time. Country Crafts & Sports, 113 S Main St., This location is the movie theater where Ray smirks at the marquee advertising The Godfather movie title, stating “One of this year’s ten best”. It's the second moment of Ray’s realization that he has travelled back in time. Great American Popcorn Co., 110 S. Main St., Ray spots the Re-Elect Nixon presidential campaign poster. The first sign of Ray’s apparent time-travel back to 1972. Petals and Primitives, 111 S. Main St., The first quick glimpse the viewers receive of Moonlight Graham, as he passes by in the background. Outside the Lines Art Gallery, 101 S. Main St., The iconic scene where Ray Kinsella meets Moonlight Graham for the first time. Big Bill's Sandwich Shop and Coffee Bar, 301 N. Main St., This is the location featuring the bar scene where Terrence Mann interviews Chisholm locals about Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham. Fritz & Frites Bistro, 317 N. Main St., The bar in this quaint restaurant is the bar used in the 'interview scene' mentioned above, with Terrance Mann and residents of Chisholm. Galena Chiropractic, 400 Broadway St., The location of Moonlight Graham’s Optometrist office. During this scene, Ray and Archibald chat about his one-game in the majors with no bat. Explore and reminisce the amazing locations showcased in the movie, make a few stops along the way and discover even more eateries, galleries and boutique shopping! But first, book your stay and let the planning begin with the digital visitors guide. There's a lot of places out there, but there's nowhere like us!


12 Sweet Spots in Galena Country

Posted on June 12, 2020 by Kirsten Bell

Sweet dreams are made of these! Whether you count chocolate, candy, ice cream or milkshakes as your guilty vice, embark on a taste adventure at these 12 sweet spots in Galena Country.

American old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor, Galena

Galena's ice cream parlor since 1970, serving homemade waffle cones, floats, shakes & malts, and banana splits. This 1846 shop features original cabinets & old-fashioned fountain and is the perfect spot to dig into a piece of homemade pie with ice cream.

Chocolat' 229, Galena

This charming candy store features an exceptional collection of European chocolates imported from Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland. Find the ideal gift or to treat yourself to a sweet indulgence.

Candy Carnival, Galena 

Oh my... sugar high! Choose from a selection of nostalgic candy, taffy, jelly belly’s and more! Take home one of their famous fair food snacks from lemonade shake-ups to delicious cinnamon sugar mini donuts!

Chew Chew Cookies, Galena 

Tempt your tastebuds with fresh-baked confections such as cookies, brownies, orange & cinnamon rolls and bars at this sweet spot! Try a bite of one of the 15 varieties of cookies!

Elle & Becks Coffee & Gelato Bar, Galena 

Grab a scoop of refreshing gelato from this adotable bar tucked inside Elle & Becks home and fashion boutique! Browse the latest in fashion and accessories while savoring your delicious scoop!

Galena's Kandy Kitchen, Galena

Fresh homemade candy for 45 years. Fill a bag with candy treats from barrels and glass candy jars, like saltwater taffy and Jelly Bellys. Ths signature items being the "Georgie", a turtle candy made-from-scratch. Fans also swoon for the chocolate-covered strawberries, dipped in quality chocolate!

Great American Popcorn Company, Galena 

For a crunchy munch, pick from more than 60 flavors of gourmet popcorn, popped and seasoned in small fresh batches. Try the cookies & cream or cherry cheesecake for some sugary goodness! That's not all... check out their wide selection of ice cream, chocolates and candies!  

Klein's Market Bakery, Galena 

The smell of fresh cinnamon rolls, loaves of poppy seed or lemon bread and homemade pies with lure you into this family owned bakery. The inventory goes quickly, so don't wait too late into the afternoon to visit.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Galena

This store permeates odors of sweet caramel and chocolate, naturally tempting one to stop in and sample the numerous varieties of fudge and chocolate made on site. Watch delicious treats being crafted on the spot including caramel apples dipped in a traditional copper kettle. Try their giant chocolate chip cookies dipped in chocolate!

Root Beer Revelry, Galena

Hard-to-find root beers and craft sodas from around the country fill shelf after shelf at this this old fashioned root beer shop, serving varieties of the delicious, historic beverage in bottles and on tap. Their selection of root beer can also be enjoyed over ice cream. Change up your float with a gourmet flavor of your choice, like orange cream, key lime or black cherry.

Sweet Alice's, Stockton 

Sporting a unique Alice in Wonderland theme, this charming store offers professionally made and designed chocolates and other treats such as The Berkeleys, Traighton’s Truffles, and Kylie’s Caramels. If you however are more of a “candy person”, you can bag your own gummy candies, licorice, wax bottles, etc., too! It’s a trip down memory lane for some who remember the old candy stores.

Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe, Elizabeth

For the perfect indulgence on a hot summer's day, enjoy a hand dipped ice cream from this delightful store! Grab a fresh backed cupcake and some candies for the road while you wait to be served. Don't forget to take a selfie in the giant pink chair! There's a lot of places out there, but there's nowhere like us! Book your accommodation and plan your escape to Galena Country where you will make sweet memories!