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Where to find the most 'Galena Country' gifts

Posted on November 4, 2021 by Kirsten Bell

Image: Eshelman Pottery 

It’s the most wonderful time to shop local! A gift, carefully handcrafted by local artists, artisans, brewers, distillers, roasters, and the like has value beyond the price tag! It doesn’t matter if your gift recipient prefers fine art, earthy crafts, potent libations, or canned locally-grown goodness - it can all be found in Galena Country

Artistic Creations

What do wooden spoons, perfumes, functional pottery pieces, and beautiful paintings have in common? They’re all made right here in Galena Country by local artists and artisans. Shop for one-of-a-kind-gifts from:

Artists & Artisans Galena Spoon Co. 
Carl Johnson's Gallery  Hello Galena 
Eshelman Pottery  Marie's Wood Carving
Galena Center for the Arts  Scent Workshop 

Craft Sips

Lift their spirits with a gift of locally handcrafted whiskey, vodka, and seasonals distilled by Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. Not just one brewery but three will have the beer lover in your life smiling from beer to beer with thirst quenching brews! Check out Galena Brewing Co.Highway 20 Brewing Co.Pecatonica Beer Co., and Mud Run Beer Co.

Captures of Galena Country

Breathtaking sunsets, lush rolling hills, majestic Mississippi River views, charming historic buildings and so much more! These priceless memories of Galena Country are captured by award-winning photographer Geoffrey Mikol from River Bend Gallery. Gift ideas include puzzles, coaster sets, calendars, inspire tiles, and even cutting boards showcasing Geoffrey’s beautiful artwork!

Foodie Finds

Find the gift of sweet indulgence provided by homemade confections or tastebud teasers like naturally grown gourmet garlic guaranteed to inspire any foodie to hit the kitchen.

Great American Popcorn Co. Galena's Kandy Kitchen
Galena Canning Co. Sweet Alice’s
Galena Garlic Co.  

Cloud Wine

Home to four award-winning wineries, your wino friends are spoiled for choice in Galena Country! Grab a bottle from each of them for a festival of flavors like no other:

Fergedaboudit Vineyard & Winery Massbach Ridge Winery
Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery Rocky Waters Vineyard & Winery

Home Grown

Clara Joyce Flowers offers fresh cuts of high-quality blooms grown along the rolling hills of the driftless region. Their botanically based; hand-crafted soaps will make anyone excited for bath time! For all things hemp, from cooling muscle gels to hemp tinctures - Sulcanna Hemp Farm is the place to shop!

Freshly Ground

Freshly roasted coffee beans have no rival! Quality-focused roasters in Galena Country offer small batch, single origins, signature blends as well as custom blends. Find your coffee lover's fix here:

Big Bill’s Sandwich & Coffee Shop Isabella's Ltd.
Galena Roasters Mean Bean Roasters

Some might call it overkill, but we say go ahead and find a local Galena Country gift for everyone on your list! It will not only impress the recipient but will also support local businesses. In Galena Country, we've never been anything other than ourselves, and that's truer than ever today. Learn more about what this charming destination has to offer by browsing the Digital Visitors Guide and how you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home.

Galena Country's Greatest Grapes

Posted on October 4, 2021 by Jamie Bartosch for Galena Country Tourism

Photo taken at Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery

Growing perfect grapes in northwest Illinois takes years of practice. The Galena-area families who do it have spent generations experimenting and fine-tuning their crops and winemaking processes—and wine-loving visitors profit from the results.

Depending on the vibe you’re after, you can uncork these lovingly produced wines in tasting rooms along Galena’s bustling Main Street, or enjoy a scenic drive out of town to the vineyards where the grapes are grown and the wines are perfected.

One of Galena Country’s loveliest vineyard views is from the wraparound porch at Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery. The winery and its landmark Red Barn have been owned by the Lawlor family for three generations.

Tours are available, but people mostly come to relax in the countryside and sample the 40 wine varieties. Favorites include the Sparkling Frontenac Gris, a semi-dry sparkling rosé that won Best Wine in Illinois at the 2019 Illinois State Fair. Their popular flagship wine, Eric the Red, is a dry red infused with American Oak, with notes of spearmint, tart raspberry and cherry. On a hot day, visitors might opt for wine slushies or the popular Señor and Señorita Sangrias.

Galena Cellars’ Wine Tasting Room & Gift Shop, located on Galena’s Historic Main Street, is set in a 3-story Italianate style building, originally built in the 1860s. Enjoy a tasting while listening to live music on the weekends. *

At the Main Street location of Massbach Ridge Winery, guests are welcome to bring in popcorn, chocolates and other foods they purchase in town to pair with the wines. Year after year, people return for a bottle of their sweet red Träumen wine. The Daffodil white is another crowd pleaser.

Located on an 18-acre farm, 10 miles off Highway 20 in Elizabeth, Massbach Ridge offers informal tours, tastings and shopping. The annual pre harvest festival promises hayrides through the vineyard—laden with clusters of plump grapes— and live music performances.

The style is more Italian than Illinoisan at Rosario Bruno’s Fergedaboudit Vineyard & Winery in Hanover. Bruno, who is of Sicilian heritage, learned winemaking techniques from his Italian friends. They would purchase California grapes right off the trains near Chicago’s famous Taylor Street, having sampled different grapes and haggled for the best prices.

Part of the charm at this winery is that it produces great wine, but the owners don’t take themselves too seriously, as their lighthearted name suggests. In a tasting room designed to look like a Tuscan village, fans uncork popular wines, like Cabernet Franc, Syrah or Moscato. The wine can be served with an Italian antipasto or cheese plate.

Also in Hanover, located on a bluff overlooking a 25-acre vineyard, is Rocky Waters Vineyard & Winery. The tranquil, boutique winery, run by the Spahn family, produces 14 wines, including the Marechal Foch Tower Red, the sweet Leon Millot Meadow Blush and the Prairie Gold Dry Riesling.

For ideas on what else you can do and see in Galena Country, browse the latest Visitors Guide

*Edited by Galena Country Tourism to reflect updated location.


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!

Top reasons to host your company retreat in Galena Country

Posted on August 10, 2021 by Kirsten Bell

Image: Hoof It Goat Treks

Hardworking teams need some time out together to refocus and reenergize. What better place to increase team collaboration than in historic, scenic, and fun-loving Galena Country! From gliding through treetops on a zipline tour to watching spark fly at an old blacksmith shop demo, there's something for every interest and personality on your team. We have highlighted some ideas to choose from when planning the perfect retreat.  

Group Accommodation 

Whether you have three or twenty team members, Galena Country has everything from cozy B&B's, to large resorts to accommdate everyone. Some ideas include the following: 

Brixen Ivy Ranch Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages
Chestnut Mountain Resort Inn at Irish Hollow 
DeSoto House Hotel  Irish Cottage Inn & Suites
Eagles Nest  Le Fevere Inn & Resort
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa  Ramada Hotel & Day Spa
Goldmoor Inn Stoney Creek Inn 

Experiential Activities

Experience authentic offerings perfect for groups. Take a peek behind the scenes on a tour of a brewery or distillery, create your own scented candles, be entertained at a magic show or go on a ghost hunt in haunted Galena.  

Amelia's Under the Lamplight Dinner Theatre Galena on the Fly
Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.Tours Haunted Tours in Galena
Forever Original Experiences Marie's Wood Carving
Galena Brewing Co.Tours P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre
Galena Country Wineries  Scent Workshop Galena
Galena Goat Yoga  

Outdoor Adventure 

Galena Country's rolling terrain creates a natural playground for unique outdoor activities! Feed your hunger for adventure with these fun team-building experiences: 

Chestnut Mountain Resort activities  Nuts Outdoors
Golfing  Parks and Trails
Hoof It Goat Treks Shenandoah Riding Center
Long Hollow Canopy Tours  

History Explored 

Learn about the history of Galena Country together! Gain an insight into the 1832 Black Hawk War with a visit to the Apple River Fort or follow in Ulysses S. Grant's footsteps with a visit to his home, frozen in time!

Apple River Fort State Site Galena History Museum Step-On Tours 
Galena Trolley Tours The Old Blacksmith Shop 
Grant Home State Historic Site  


One-of-a-kind shopping in Galena Country means that the name of the game is boutique! From leather apparel, cigars, locally roasted coffee, and sportswear to delicious food items, everyone in your group will find something on Galena's Historic Main Street. This charming half-mile is lined with morre than 125 shops and restaurants! 

Group Dining 

Break from chain dining with singular eateries offering artisan-inspired dishes from around the world at every corner! Some group-friendly restaurants include the following:

Cajun Jack's Bar & Grill Sunset Grille at Chestnut Mountain Resort 
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa The Generals at DeSoto House Hotel
Fried Green Tomatoes The Summit at Chestnut Mountain Resort
Galena Brewing Co. Timmerman's Supper Club
Green Street Tavern at DeSoto House Hotel  Woodbine Bend Golf Course & Restaurant
Log Cabin Steakhouse  

Take the guesswork out of your next Group Tour with a message to the Group Experience Director and a browse through the digital visitors guide.  In Galena Country, we've always been known to have a good time... times may change, but that never will. 

Fall Group Getaway in Galena Country

Posted on July 29, 2021 by Fallon Oldenburg

If you want to make the most of your time, go to a place that’s frozen in it! Gather a group of friends and experience fall in Galena Country!

Day 1

First up is lunch with a view at the Sunset Grille located at Chestnut Mountain Resort. Feast your eyes on incredible panoramas of the Mighty Mississippi while enjoying lunch, followed by check-in. Settle into your room before venturing downtown to Galena’s Historic Main Street, where you’ll be immersed in history on a Trolley Tour. After the tour, experience more than 125 boutiques, galleries, attractions and eateries. Finish the day with a savory meal at Galena’s oldest supper club, the Log Cabin Steakhouse. Start the meal with an order of saganaki and finish with a flaming grasshopper!

Day 2

Enjoy breakfast at the resort or off site at Big Bills Sandwich Shop & Coffee Bar on Main Street. Next, head to the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site to tour the home of the United States 18th President. Take note of the many original furnishings, still on display! Next, journey outside of town to Horseshoe Mound Preserve, where you can take in views of Galena and the rolling hills of the driftless region. Be ready to snap some photos of these unforgettable views! Grab a bite to eat at Green Street Tavern at Desoto House Hotel for lunch, followed by a ‘behind the scenes’ tour at Blaum Bros Distilling Co. Make your way back to the resort to freshen up for fine dining at Timmerman’s Supper Club, a nostalgic restaurant perched along the bluffs of the Mississippi River backwaters.

Day 3

Finish breakfast at the resort with a relaxing chairlift ride overlooking the Mississippi River, then venture to town for shopping and wine tasting. Fuel up at Gobbies’s Sports Pub and Eatery for lunch before heading to Hoof it Goat Treks, where you’ll experience a peaceful hike through the forest while baby goats follow and play along the trails.

Everyone loves a good story, and here, one good story always leads to another. Make plans to experience Galena Country with the best of friends, because we may be old, but never the same old thing.