Rose Noble

Strike a pose in Stockton, Galena Country

Considered the eastern gateway to Galena Country, Stockton is a community rich in historic treasures and is the birthplace of the first Kraft Cheese plant in 1914! It is also home to gorgeous larger-than-life murals painted throughout the downtown area.

Discover these colorful and story-telling murals while exploring the historic Stockton. Strike a pose!

© Greater Galena Marketing, Inc.

At the corner of E. Front & N. Main St. This was the first mural to embrace historic downtown Stockton in 2016.

116 N. Main St. next to Ace Hardware. Next up is an ode to our native settlers, with this colorful mural of an American Indian by artist Chris Shannon.

At the corner of N. Main St. & West Front Ave. This one might not have as much detail, but there is something beautiful in the simplicity of its large singular rose.

At the corner of N. Main St. & E. Front Ave. This stunning floral design has the perfect home on the side of a florist & home décor store.

At the corner of Main and E.Queen Avenue. The newest mural can be found opposite the historic Great Western Hotel, named after the Chicago Great Western Railroad that had a depot nearby.

Just like the area represents, Galena Country is full of great stories and colorful characters! Discover more by browsing the latest digital Visitors Guide.

Rediscover Romance with a Getaway to Galena Country

©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. 

 

2020 is heating up in Galena Country!

The air is crisp, but Galena Country is heating up with these exciting events! From fine-tuning writing skills to discovering savory eats and locally crafted beer to sipping on wine and whiskey and being immersed in thrilling outdoor winter activities, there’s much to discover this winter in #GalenaCountry!

Winter Carnival Weekend

 

And more…

Stay up to date by following the events calendar on VisitGalena.org. Plan your stay around epic events and happenings such as The Great Galena Balloon RaceGalena Country Fair, Oktoberfest Weekend, Galena Halloween Parade and the Night of Luminaria and Living Windows. Be sure to book accommodations early and browse the official visitors guide for ideas on other ‘must-do’ experiences.

5 winter activities in Galena Country that don’t require snow

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. 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 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 two craft breweries, Galena Brewing Co. and Pecatonica Beer Co. Tap House. 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 learn how to style your own jewelry, design a hand-crafted card, spin some pottery, paint beautiful landscapes and more! Learn more about creative classes here. A one-of-a-kind experience you’ll be sure to share!

Snow or no snow… #GalenaCountry 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.

Galena Country Shopping Guide – Naughty List

Shopping for someone who’s been put on the naughty list? Check out this list of Galena Country favorites that are sure to carry what you’re looking for.

Head to Noty Kity and shop sexy lip balms, body lotions, lingerie, massage oils, accessories and more! Whatever your desires…, Noty Kity can get it! The staff is focused on providing the best and largest variety of products and the highest level of customer service and satisfaction.

Nothing says family gathering like a bottle of liquor from Blaum Bros Distilling Co. Visit the gift shop, pick up a comfy tee and some tasty spirits for that special scoundrel in your life. While there, check out the guided tour. This is not a standard 5-minute talk but, rather, a full sensory experience. Touch, taste and feel the ingredients that make Blaum Bros. spirits unique!

Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer? Pick up a few gift certificates from Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape. Throw in a bottle of Kouzabel wine as a delicious bonus. Enjoy a savory martini while you shop and don’t miss the outstanding appetizer selection and sinful desserts.

Does your special someone prefer money over gifts? Give them some cash to double at Nancy’s Slots, Silver Spoon Restaurant, Cajun Jack’s, Dillon’s HM Pizza & Tavern, or The Paradise Bar and Grill for the gaming machines! Who doesn’t like walking away with more cash?

Poopsie’s has everything that is ‘beyond the ordinary’… sure to suit those who make it to the naughty list. Find just the right gift to match their personality. Unique games, funny books, contemporary crafts, home accessories, one-of-a-kind art and so much more can be found in this fun store!

Does the naughty list qualifier have a potty mouth? Galena Canning Company has just the gift for them… Chef Ivo’s locally made hot sauces! Sample the old-fashioned jams, jellies, salsa, BBQ sauces and more while you’re there!

For the cannabis lovers on your list, you may consider a gift certificate to the Aldrich Guest House, Galena’s first and only cannabis-friendly lodging. In addition to impeccable service and accommodations, the property offers a separate ‘Potting Shed,’ where guests can comfortably smoke outdoors and chill indoors, complete with snacks! Enjoy this new feature in early 2020.

Let’s hope that next year, ‘they’ll be good… for goodness sake!’ For more shopping and ideas, check out the digital visitor’s guide.

9 Reasons to visit Galena Country this winter

Whether you look at winter as a time for an outdoor adventure to embrace the elements or a call to head indoors for cozy relaxation and family downtime, Galena Country offers the perfect winter escape. From a couple’s retreat to a family vacation, from skiing to sleigh rides, from a Winter Carnival to wine tastings, here are 9 reasons winter is the best time to visit Galena Country.

Chestnut Mountain Resort

1. Skiing & Snowboarding at Chestnut Mountain Resort

It doesn’t matter if you’re an avid skier or a novice, you should hit the slopes during the winter at Chestnut Mountain Resort. Chestnut’s over 220 rolling acres and 475-foot vertical drop are home to 19 ski trails and a 7-acre terrain park, The Farside, featuring over 25 rails and structures. With two quad lifts, four triple chair lifts, two conveyor lifts, and one surface lift, you won’t be waiting in line to get back to the peak.

2. The Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

For other winter activities, Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa has a 1.5-mile skating pond for that authentic outdoor ice skating experience. Or maybe a winter wonder sightseeing expedition is more your style? You can explore the snow-covered countryside when you cross-country ski or snowshoe over the Center’s 7 miles of groomed trails. And for the kids, there’s nothing more fun than sledding over their golf course at the famous 18th hole. All equipment is available for rent from Fever River Outfitters.

3. Winter Carnival Weekend at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

Take advantage of the long Presidents Day Weekend and come for Winter Carnival Weekend at Eagle Ridge. The Nordic Center activities will be available plus an assortment of carnival fun, including balloon glows, pony rides, wine tasting, ice-turkey bowling, snow painting, live music and more.

4. Nature Reserves

The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation works to protect the land near Galena. Casper Bluff is one of the areas under their protection and worth a visit if just for the scenic views of the Mississippi. The real star here is not the view but, rather, the archaeological finds found on this 85-acre site. Fifty-one burial mounds from the Aiken Mount group, a culture that lived nearly 3,000 years ago, rest on these grounds. On select winter dates, they light up the night with a luminary hike via snowshoes or skis, complete with bonfire. For other parks and trails, check out this link. For a peaceful trek through the countryside, visit the Galena River Trail. The trail is perfect for families going cross-country skiing or a snowshoe hike with views of the Galena River and bluffs.

5. Shopping

Shop Galena’s Main Street. With more than 125 independently-owned businesses, offering everything from crafts to vintage clothing to fine chocolates, this shopping excursion is sure to keep you warm. The purchase you make for yourself or a loved one at one of these specialty shops will be something you’ll find nowhere else. The towns of Elizabeth and Stockton offer even more boutique stores to pique your interest. Visit Sweet Alice’s for some sweet treats, Nature’s Treasures for new home or garden decor, or how about Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Mall for that unique treasure!

6. Cozy Dining 

Whether you’re looking for farm-to-table, like One Eleven Main, fine dining, like Goldmoor Inn, or just a really good sandwich, Galena Country offers amazing dining establishments with a full range of culinary choices. There’s breakfast with ambiance at Stella’s Cafe & Catering, great ethnic options, such as Campeche Restaurant, or romantic dinners for two at Fried Green Tomatoes or Log Cabin Steakhouse, two iconic Galena restaurants. From fine dining to intimate cafes and coffeehouses, personal service, fine food and good wine, including locally-produced wines, reign in Galena Country.


7. Wine, Beer, and Spirits 

Galena Cellars offers more than 40 varieties of wine. Stop by their Main Street tasting room, located in a historic 1840s granary building. Massbach Ridge Winery also offers visitors the ease and accessibility of a tasting room right in downtown Galena. Ask to sample their St. Pepin, displaying “a whiff of citrus and cuts with a spray of green apple.” For beer lovers, Galena Brewing Co. offers a full microbrewery experience from tours to tastings to dining and live entertainment and Pecatonica Beer Tap House is hoppin’ (pun intended) with seasonal brews and great company. But if a martini or shot of whiskey is more to your liking, visit Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. for daily tours and tastings of the premium spirit of your choice – whiskey, vodka, gin and more – produced right in downtown Galena.

8. Cozy B&B’s

Named the B&B Capital of the Midwest, Galena Country is proud to offer a variety of warm and intimate places to stay. Check into a historic 1800s bed & breakfast right in town, such as Abe’s Spring Street Guesthouse, and you’ll be just steps away from Main Street. Here you’ll get all the conveniences of home, complete with breakfast in the morning, dessert and coffee at night and your own key to the house. Other B&Bs, such as The Felt Manor Guest House, is situated in the hills, offering a beautiful view of Galena from above. And all of these private residences and inns offer their own style of historic charm, breakfast and personalized service, along with great suggestions of where to go and what to do in the area.

9. Nightlife and Festivals

When night time comes and you want to know where to go… enjoy live music venues, such as Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape, Galena Brewing Company and Frank O’Dowd’s Irish Pub & Grill. For family fun, make it a night out at P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre, an intimate 24-seat theatre where the magician dazzles his audience with optical illusion tricks and a mischievous sense of humor. Experience fine dining and exceptional entertainment in a unique Supper Club atmosphere at Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater. Annual events to look forward to include Holiday Fire in the Sky, Night of the Luminaria & Living Windows, Galena Whiskey Weekend, Java, Chocolate & Champagne Stroll, Galena Goes 50’s, and Wine Lovers Weekend. Check out even more events here.

Bonus tip: 

For the history buffs out there, some historic attractions are indeed open in the winter! Keep warm in the Ulysses S. Grant Home, learn all about the history of Galena Country at these museums, and make sure that you stop by the Old Market House in Galena where you will find the largest collection of Ulysses S. Grant memorabilia in the world! It also happens to be the Galena Country Welcome Center where you can gather some more information on what to do in the area.

Book your accommodation and start planning your winter escape using this helpful visitors guide.

Shop Galena Country – Thrift in the Driftless

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.

Red’s Iron Yard & 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.

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, also known as the Helluva Half Mile, is home to Grammy’s Attic and Gustafson & Grey Ltd. These stores feature antiques, fine jewelry and unique finds.

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.

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!

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.

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!

8 Reasons You’ll Strike Family Vacation Gold in Galena Country

Whether it’s spotting an eagle while hiking trails along the Mississippi River or catching a show performed by master magician PT Murphy, Galena Country offers up activities to put smiles on every face in your family.

Read on to find out why this northwestern Illinois gem should be the next place to visit on your family vacation destination list.

1. Be natural. If the name of your family’s game is nature, there’s no shortage of outdoor spaces to visit. Head to Apple River Canyon State Park, which is an ideal spot for boating, camping, hiking and fishing. There’s also Horseshoe Mound Preserve, where you can hike, bird-watch and picnic while learning about local geology and taking in picturesque views of the area. Or if you’re looking for a place to enjoy a nice bike ride, head to the 9 mile Galena River Trail. If you’re bringing your pets, don’t worry! All of the spots mentioned above are pet-friendly.

2. Summer Camp on a farm. Book a unique summer sleepaway camp for the kids (ages 7-12) at The Country Experience – Amztutz Family Farm Camp. Children enjoy hands-on learning, using real-world tools to build an appreciation for the value of time and effort, a respect for life and nature, and the development of important life skills. They will also get to relax and make new friends, including furry and feathered ones… such as goats, pigs, sheep, cows, donkeys, chickens, and rabbits!

3. Make a little magic. “How did he do that?” Whether you’re 13 or 93, that’s the question you’ll be asking yourself throughout the 65-minute show delivered by Galena’s master magician, P.T. Murphy. Murphy, known for his personal style and mischievous sense of humor, believes in magic, and his goal is to leave you feeling mystified and inspired. The location for the show, an intimate 24-seat theater— located in the heart of historic downtown—only contributes to the fascinating experience. Shows are offered Wednesday through Sunday, and advance purchase of tickets is recommended.

4. Travel back in time. History runs deep in Galena. For example, your kids can get to know Grant—Ulysses S. Grant—that is. Yep, one of Galena’s most famous faces was Grant, whose family moved to town one year before the Civil War. Before the war, the top Union general, and future president, worked at his father’s leather goods store, Grant & Perkins. At the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, you can tour Grant’s home, which was given to him by a group of Galena citizens after the war.

Another option for a lesson is in history is to visit Apple River Fort State Historic Site, a Black Hawk War landmark. In 1832, Black Hawk and his warriors attacked the fort. Today, you’ll find a reconstruction of the long-vanished fort (completed in 1997 and modeled after findings from a 1995 archaeological dig), where Black Hawk and the early settlers’ stories are shared. The site is open year-round, Wednesday through Sunday.

5. Spin your wheels. Work smarter, not harder while navigating Galena’s hilly landscape and rent an electric bike from Fever River Outfitters; this a good option and fun activity for people 18 or older. These easy-to-ride bikes allow you to glide down one of the area’s many trails or visit destinations such as the four wineries located in Galena Country. Rentals are available for two-hour increments.

6. Take a hidden hike. Burn a few calories while checking out some of Galena’s lesser-known hikes. For example, there’s the 230-acre Winston Tunnel State Natural Area, where you can find the historic Winston Tunnel, which was completed in 1888 for the Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad. Although the tunnel is closed to the public, the area is a great spot to view a little history in the midst of nature. Or visit Galena’s 4-acre Linmar Gardens, which are situated on natural limestone outcroppings that overlook the town. Here, your family will find water features, a small mine replica and an exquisite sunken garden situated in the ruins of one of the first African-American churches in Illinois. Last but not least, take the family to the West Street Sculpture Park, where they can wander through an outdoor gallery of more than a dozen large steel sculptures created by award-winning local artist John Martinson. You’ll see sculptures including two 40-foot towers and a giant TINKERTOY. The park is open year-round, and there’s also an on-site studio where Martinson is often working.

7. Try the trolley. Give those tired feet a rest and take a Galena Trolley Tour. Choose from a one-hour nonstop tour of Galena’s Historic district or a 2 ½ hour tour of homes, including admission to Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, Belvedere Mansion and Dowling House.

8. Sleep and swim. No trip is complete without a little swim time. Your kiddos will be beyond content with the pools at hotels, such as Ramada Galena Hotel & Day Spa, which offers a catch and release pond, indoor pool, whirlpool and fitness room;  Stoney Creek Inn, which offers complimentary breakfast, an indoor pool and fitness center; Country Inn & Suites By Carlson in Galena and Stockton, offering complimentary continental-plus breakfast and an indoor waterpark featuring a 72-foot waterslide, whirlpool and wading pool/frog waterslide; and Best Western Designer Inn & Suites, which offers an indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub, in-room fireplaces, and complimentary hot breakfast.