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Forever Original Galena Country

Posted on January 24, 2023 by Emily Tepper

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! 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 Galena Country 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 the 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., and Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe. 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 Galena Bakehouse. 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 Dowling 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!

Experience Galena Country From Home

Posted on December 27, 2022 by Kirsten Bell

So, you're at home wishing you were on vacation in Galena Country. Never fear, there are ways for you to enjoy this wonderful destination right from the comfort of your home.

Online Shopping

Have Galena Country delivered to your doorstep! Here is a list of businesses offering exciting online shopping for your convenience! Start filling those carts...

Bangles & Bags Honest John's Trading Post
Beyond the Horizon Jane Marie Boutique
Carlotta's Studio Knot's a Problem
Country Crafts & Sports Lulu's & Lulu's Too 
Earth's Treasures Massbach Ridge Winery
Elle & Becks Millenium Bar & Marina
Eshelman Pottery Mean Bean Coffee Roasters
Fergedaboudit Winery Murphy's Garden
From Head to Toe Sportswear New Earth Animals
Fergedaboudit Winery Noty Kitty
Gabby’s Gifts Outside The Lines Art Gallery
Galena Apothecary Pasta Perfetta

Galena Brewing Company-Apparel Poopsie’s
Galena Candle & Bath Company Rustic River Finds
Galena Canning Company Savvy Scavengers
Galena Cellars Winery Simply Elegant Boutique
Galena Garlic Company Spice and Tea Merchants
Galena's Kandy Kitchen Spotsie's
Galena Spoon Company The Feathered Nest
Galena Roasters The Neighborhood Trading Co.
Grateful Gourmet Co. Trolley Depot Coffee
Great American Popcorn Company Union Leather
Honest John's Emporium Vignettes of Galena

Gift Certificates

Are you looking for a unique gift for someone special in your life? Just a few ideas include... Knock their socks off with a gift certificate for a journey in the sky with Galena on the Fly or a flight through the trees with Long Hollow Canopy Tours. How about a night or two at a cozy B&B or at a luxury resort? A romantic dinner for two at a fine dining restaurant will always be appreciated and a winery, brewery, or distillery tour is a really fun experience to gift someone. The village of Elizabeth offers a Chamber bucks gift card, featuring participating restaurants, stores, attractions and more. This makes it easy to gift an Elizabeth experience in one package. Contact your favorite business in Galena Country to find out how you can purchase a gift certificate from them.

Online Vacation Planning

Plan your well-deserved escape to Galena Country from the comfort of your home. We've got you covered with heaps of digital information to inspire you! Check out the following links and get that itinerary going:

Visitors Guide Instagram
Website Pinterest
Galena Country Blogs You Tube

Fresh Air & Healing Nature

If you are close-by and need to escape the four walls, Galena Country has just what you need to recharge your soul! Take the kids to Horseshoe Mound Preserve for stunning views and experience the children's adventure found there. Grab your pup and head down the Galena River Trail to the Buehler Preserve where you can both stretch your legs. Pack your binoculars for a morning birding expedition to the Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary.

Enjoy a picnic in the prairie at the Wapello Reserve or learn about native trees on an exciting self-guided tour at Schurmeier Teaching Forest. Take in majestic views of the Mighty Mississippi River at Casper Bluff or at Gramercy Park ... just stop and stare for a while. Otherwise, join the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation on Facebook for their nature-related, educational Facebook Live events from the comfort of your home.

In Galena Country, we've always been known to have a good time... times may change, but that never will!  

11 Hidden Gems of Galena Country

Posted on December 15, 2022 by Kirsten Bell

West Street Sculpture Park, Galena

Tucked away on two acres of woods and paths, you will find more than a dozen large, welded steel sculptures created by award-winning local artist John Martinson. Sculptures include two 40-foot towers, contemplative artworks, a giant Tinker Toy, unique signs and humorous assemblages. Relax in the park as you enjoy the interplay of art and nature.

Nora Bar, Nora

Your exploration of Galena Country should include the village of Nora, the farthest east extent of the county and a great place to stop for a break. Most likely, that will mean the Nora Bar, the very epitome of a small-town friendly watering hole including late-night dining and take-out.

Gramercy Park, East Dubuque

This 10-acre city park situated on the bluff in East Dubuque overlooks the Mighty Mississippi River. As an Illinois Natural Heritage Landmark, this site is home to 26 ceremonial burial mounds from the Hopewell Native American culture. Enjoy the walking trails, scenic picnic sites, playgrounds and overlook pavilion, where many stunny sunsets are witnessed.

Nature's Treasures, Woodbine

Climb the wooden steps to this enchanted little store conveniently situated on Highway 20. Find yourself immersed in a delightful wonderland bursting with beautiful offerings such as gems, artfully crafted wind chimes, birdhouses, garden decor, crystals and seasonal items.

Rocky Waters Vineyard & Winery, Hanover

This family-owned winery, situated in the rolling hills of Galena Country, overlooks the village of Hanover and offers expansive views of the Mississippi River Valley. Enjoy the spectacular scenery from the beautiful deck while sipping superb wines from the 25-acre vineyard.

Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary, Stockton

This 409-acre preserve run by Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation offers over 6 miles of trails to explore. There have been documented sightings of over 100 different bird species that call the sanctuary home. In the winter, groomed cross-country ski trails are available.

Oak Hill Farm, Apple River

Imagine a wedding ceremony in an adorable white chapel, along a path of twinkling pine trees, or framed by two majestic oak trees. This authentic and memorable 170-acre historic estate oozes vintage elegance and is what a bride dreams of!

JM's Tap, Menominee

Test your limits with their all-you-can-eat Friday fish fry or dig into a specialty, homemade pizza! Try the house signature, the Menominee MaiTai, and munch on fried pickles, mac and cheese bites, cheese curds, or one of the other many appetizers they serve. All while enjoying the game on their flat-screen TVs with the locals.

Terrapin Orchards, Elizabeth

Make a family-fun stop at Terrapin Orchards. Enjoy strawberry picking in the month of June and apple picking in the fall. Located on historic Highway 20, this orchard is the perfect location for visitors heading west from Chicago.

Pecatonica Tap House, Warren

The founders have adopted the origins of the Pecatonica River's name – meaning "slow water" and use the same patient nature to perfect their brews. Its mission is to impress the enthusiast with well-balanced full-bodied beers and celebrate the rich history of Wisconsin brewing.

Council Hill Station, Scales Mound

A unique and historic 1850's general store/railway station with a silo, ruin of a woolen mill, and barn on the east fork of the Galena River is now a watering hole and music venue. It features food, 90-plus beers, & live music year-round, country breakfast on Saturdays, summer barn dances on Saturdays & Sundays, and historical tours are available on request.

Nowhere packs as much fun and adventure into the year as Galena Country, where memories are waiting to be made! Find some great ideas on places to see and things to do in Galena County by browsing the official travel guide.

Luxury Stays in Galena Country

Posted on December 9, 2022 by Kirsten Bell

Image Credit: Ulysses Suites

Whether it’s a luxurious spa, high-end furniture, or a private campfire… we all love a little opulence every now and then. We have compiled a list of 11 accommodation properties in Galena Country that offer luxury in their own unique ways.

Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

Eagle Ridge is set on 6,800 acres of pristine woodlands and open countryside in The Galena Territory. It boasts 4 award-winning championship golf courses, a luxurious spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center with pool, sauna and steam room. That’s not all, you will find miles of biking, hiking and horseback trails as well as tennis, hot air balloon rides, boating and fishing on the picturesque 225-acre Lake Galena and four distinctive restaurants to choose from.

Elle & Becks Loft Suite

This enormous 2,500+ sq. ft, four-bedroom loft suite overlooks downtown Galena just steps away from main street shopping and dining. The living room, featuring a wet bar, is ideal for hosting party events. An on-site massage therapist is available by appointment and Elle & Becks Lifestyle Boutique is right downstairs for the latest in fashion, homeware, gelato, and coffee!

Galena Chalet

Designed with European influence of the charming Chalets of the Swiss Alps and wall to wall elegance, this five-bedroom chalet offers 360 degrees breathtaking views of nature and wildlife. Enjoy the 2000 sq. ft wrap-around deck that overlooks Lake Galena or cozy up on the couch beside the stone wood-burning fireplace.

Goldmoor Inn

High above the banks of the Mississippi River, Goldmoor Inn boasts stunning views of the Mississippi. Whirlpool suites, spa treatments, private fireplaces, and private in-room gourmet dining experiences make this the perfect romantic getaway. To top it off, it features a fine dining restaurant offering warm and attentive service.

Inn at Irish Hollow

Nestled in the countryside surrounded by nature, this Inn offers luxury cottages, elegant amenities and spectacular meals on a 500-acre working farm. Organic beds, massage therapy treatments, and four-course picnics are just some of the delights on offer. Enjoy Wine & Cheese in your suite, a private campfire or table for two.

Jail Hill Inn

Voted #1 B&B/Inn in the USA and #2 in the World by TripAdvisor in 2019, this 135-year-old, 4-story brick building served as the county jail for nearly 100 years and has been lovingly transformed into a premier inn. The unique luxurious three-room suites offer the finest of amenities and guests can enjoy an in-room massage on request. Arrive to chilled champagne, a nightly wine and cheese reception, and a daily three-course gourmet breakfast.

Ulysses Suites

This well-deserved building, once ran as the Grant Hotel from 1895 to 1932. It has been lovingly renovated with a nod to the hotel from the turn of the century. Enjoy luxury and modern comforts in these tastefully decorated suites, conveniently situated on Main Street in downtown Galena! Choose from 3 or 2 bedrooms suites, studios, or bring the whole family - there's enough space for everyone.  

Vignettes Modern Luxury

Professionally decorated by Vignettes of Galena, this two-bedroom vacation rental overlooks Galena’s  Main Street. Each well-appointed, superbly decorated bedroom has a flat-screen tv, plush mattress, high-quality sheets, and private access bathrooms. The apartment features a large living area, beautiful kitchen with granite countertops and all new appliances. Conveniently situated just steps from shops, restaurants, and nightlife on Main Street.

The Owl House

This circa 1880 house has been renovated with a meticulous approach to every detail of the home and has been furnished with luxury high-end furniture. It features a fully equipped kitchen and the house is wired for Sonos so guests can enjoy music through the audio system or listen to the nostalgic vinyl collection on the record player.

U. S. Grant Guest House

The pre-civil war home of Ulysses S. Grant has undergone an extensive restoration and renovation and is currently operating as a high-end vacation rental. The home has been fully restored to it's original 1860s time period. The house has been furnished with a convincing blend of period furniture, discreetly disguised with modern conveniences. It is a short two block walk to the beautiful historic downtown.

Suite Victory

Located on Historic Main Street above the Victory Café, Suite Victory is the perfect location for shopping, dining and evening entertainment. This lovely vacation rental is spacious and newly renovated with beautiful views of downtown Main Street and the old cobbled Perry Street. Enjoy parades and fireworks from the comfort of your own suite!

For more accommodation options and for ideas on things to do and see during your stay, browse the Galena Country Visitors Guide.

Visitors Guide