Galena Country® blog

Galena Country Blog®

Plan a Midweek Getaway to Galena Country!

Take a break from the daily stress of balancing work life, home life, and personal “you time” to regain sanity. It’s a no-brainer, trade that morning alarm clock for a midweek refresher to Galena Country! Book the perfect getaway with this three-day itinerary. 

Day 1

Make a pit-stop in Stockton for an early lunch at Stella’s Cafe’ & Catering. Take time to strike a pose in front of the murals; a stop into Sweet Alice’s is the perfect cure for a sweet tooth!  Make your way to Elizabeth for some retail therapy at Jane Marie Boutique, Village Treasures, and Common Cents Resale. Arrive in Galena just in time to check into accommodations, followed up with a savory dinner at the General’s Restaurant. Discover a different side of Galena’s history on a tour with the Haunted Galena Tour Company, or quench your thirst on Matthew’s Haunted Pub Crawl. Polish off the night with drinks and live music at The Cornerstone Bar.

Day 2

Begin with a hearty breakfast at Otto’s Place–be sure to ask about the quiche of the day and try a piece of warm, homemade coffee cake. Stroll across the Galena River for a fresh cup of locally-roasted brew from The Mean Bean or Big Bill’s Sandwich and Coffee Bar. Discover more than of 125 independently owned boutique shops, galleries, attractions and eateries nestled into Galena’s Historic Main Street. Whether you fancy yourself a foodie, fashionista, or history buff – Main Street is a treasure-hunting paradise!

Next up, lunch at The Market House Restaurant, followed up with wine tasting at the Massbach Ridge Tasting Room. Learn about gourmet wine pairings made from locally-grown grapes, then stop over to the Dowling House or the Old Blacksmith Shop for a little history before dinner. Enjoy a scenic drive along historic HWY 20 to East Dubuque for a delicious meal at Timmerman’s Supper Club, perched along the bluffs of the Mighty Mississippi River. Be sure to finish off dinner with a hand-blended grasshopper! If it’s a Thursday, take advantage of the live music and vintage rides at Cruisin’ Thursdays.

Day 3

After hitting the snooze-button, fuel up with breakfast at Victory Cafe in Galena, a leisurely morning walk along the levee and up to the Ulysses S. Grant Home for a tour. Take the scenic route home, this time via Stagecoach Trail, grab a delicious smoothie at Thriving Thistle in Apple River and a bite to eat at Chubz Pub & Grub or Wally’s Pizzeria in Warren. With Galena Country only being a few hours’ drive for many – it’s the perfect getaway at any time! Book your stay and let the planning begin with a browse through the digital visitors guide. 
 

Accessible Galena Country

Galena Country offers award-winning accommodations, incredible shopping, dining and attractions for memories-in-the-making! With so many great options, below is a compiled a list of businesses that promote accessibility.*

Accommodations
Whether you stay in the heart of downtown Galena or the rolling hills of the driftless area, Galena Country’s lodging options provide exquisite comfort and relaxation. 


Eats & Treats
From farm-to-table freshness to authentic Italian cuisine and locally made wines to craft brews, Galena Country boasts mouthwatering offerings everyone will savor!

Travel Tip: Galena’s Historic Main Street is best explored with a travel companion. Many of the shops have a step up into their entryway that can be maneuvered with the help of a friend.


Treasure Hunting
Whether shopping for yourself or for others, with more than 125 independently owned businesses in the heart of downtown Galena, you’re sure to discover unique, can’t-live-without treasures!

More to Explore
Be immersed in history with a visit to the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, see three different states at Horseshoe Mound Preserve, cool off at the Alice T. Virtue Memorial Pool/Galena Water Park, or enjoy a leisurely visit to Grant Park! Book your stay and let the planning begin with a browse through the digital visitors guide.

Travel Tip: Wheelchairs are available to rent at Hartig Drug Store, located two miles from Galena’s downtown.

*Note, it’s recommended to check accessibility with locations prior to visiting. Galena Country Tourism holds no liability, businesses are responsible for accessibility and maintaining current building codes.

How to plan an intimate and meaningful wedding in Galena Country

Overwhelmed by the thought of gathering hundreds of your friends and family together for your wedding day? Eloping is an option, but that’s not the only way to avoid the crowd. Instead, have all the beautiful elements of a wedding, but on a much smaller scale.

Limit the guest list. When planning a wedding, the guest list can easily get out of hand. For those committing to an intimate wedding, it’s a good idea to cap the number of guests you’d like to invite. Micro-weddings with a smaller guest list offer an opportunity to really connect and make special memories with everyone in attendance.

Plan a destination wedding. Having a destination wedding doesn’t mean you have to go to another country, but it does allow you to plan an intimate wedding that is a better reflection of you, your partner and closest friends. Celebrating together allows for more connections and memory-making, for example zooming through the treetops at Longhollow Canopy Tours or hitting a round of golf before tying the knot.

Alternative venue. One of the easiest ways to keep the budget and guest list down is to book a venue that suits a limited number. Intimate properties like the Jail Hill Inn, Goldmoor Inn & Dining, The Eagles Nest, and The Hellman Guest House all offer romantic opportunities for the micro-wedding of your dreams! Check out vacation rental booking sites like AirBnB and VRBO for private estates that are suitable for your special event. There’s nothing more personal than hosting an intimate affair in a place that is meaningful to the couple!

Splurge on a smaller budget. With a smaller guest list, you might decide that a four-course dinner for 50 people is better than cake and punch for 100. Small weddings give you the opportunity to really go ‘all-out.’ Guests can enjoy luxurious accommodations or a rehearsal dinner featuring fine dining that they may not usually purchase themselves. The shorter guest list makes things more accessible, think boxes of chocolates instead of a single truffle, exceptional live music filling the air and luxurious arrangements of flowers as far as the eye can see.

The best of both. Keep things intimate with your partner, have a private ceremony with just the two of you – exchange vows the morning of in a special location of your choice. Imagine, floating over the rolling landscape of the driftless region in a hot air balloon, hiking to a special place in one of Galena Country’s 20 parks and trails, or overlooking the Mississippi River. Then, party on! If an intimate ceremony is most important, you can create a separate, larger guest list for the reception—and inform your guests of the arrangements.

Think outside of the box. Often times, brunch, lunch or an afternoon affair is a great way to share your moment, while keeping it personal. Imagine, brunching together in a private room, at one large table while overlooking the backwaters of the Mighty Mississippi. Exchanging vows in a craft brewery, the gardens of a beautiful Inn, or along the vines of a local vineyard, can be a dream come true in Galena Country. Let the planning begin with an inquiry at foldenburg@visitgalena.org and a browse through the 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. 

 

Tie the knot in #GalenaCountry

Say ‘yes’ to Galena Country.  Nestled among the rolling hills of Northwest Illinois, Galena Country offers a picturesque background paired with 19th-century charm and everything necessary for a dream wedding! Check out these top reasons to say ‘I do’ in Galena Country.

Photo credit: Unposed Photography

Nonstop Beauty

From historical architecture to stunning waterways and breathtaking views, this place is a photographer’s dream! Whether one’s style is simple or regal, they’re sure to have gorgeous portraiture when photographed in Galena Country.

Adored Destination

Rich with history, shopping, lodging and entertainment, guests will more than enjoy a destination wedding in Galena Country! Wedding nuptials offer a special reason for a ‘getaway’ and for many, Galena Country is only a road-trip away!

Enchanting Venues

Choosing a venue that suits style and accommodations is an essential part of planning. Romantic, vintage, rustic, modern, bohemian or traditional, it’s all in Galena Country. From intimate elopements to grand celebrations, whatever the setting, we’ve got it covered.

Local Talent

Not to brag (okay, maybe a little), but Galena Country is loaded with talent. From musicians and catering to dresses and designers, all vendors can be hired locally! No one knows the ins and outs of Galena Country, like someone straight from the community. Utilize local resources, schedule tastings and gather information with event coordinators and vendors. They are a wealth of knowledge!

Extraordinary Parties

The perfect location for bachelor/bachelorette parties! Plenty of opportunities for tastings and toasting, delicious food, indulging spas, and epic adventures…this is a no-brainer! Not only are there endless memories in the making, let’s not forget about amazing lodging. Choose from resorts, hotels, vacation rentals, small inns, and b&bs! Stay nestled amongst nature, or lodge right downtown where the action is!

Romantic Tradition

A lovely idea to commemorate where it all began. Start a tradition and head to Galena Country for wedding anniversaries, explore different locations or re-visit your favorites. Though it looks like ‘Galena is frozen in time,’ new lodging, restaurants, shopping, and outdoor activities await!

Congratulations on your engagement!

Get to Galena Country, let the celebration begin! Plan a scouting trip with help from the Welcome Center staff at galena@visitgalena.org.

Fitness in Galena Country

With a new year comes the opportunity for a fresh start and usually, that comes in the form of New Year’s Resolutions. Most of the time physical exercise makes the top of the list! We have a list of fitness facilities to help you stick to your goal while exploring Galena Country!

Core Fitness Galena
This community-based workout facility is centered on functional based fitness, guided by personal coaches. Multiple fitness class options are available including strength training, team or individual sport-specific training and yoga.

Fitness Center at Midwest Medical Center
Featuring scenic views of Galena’s rolling hills, this fitness center includes a fully appointed exercise studio, indoor cycling, sports training, group fitness classes and yoga & Pilates classes.

Galena Arts & Recreation Center
The Galena ARC offers sports and fitness programs including adult exercise classes, spin classes, yoga, and dance exercise classes.

Galena Fitness
This gym has 24-hour access and includes the usual exercise equipment, free weights as well as treadmills, stationary bikes, and TV displays. The Kindred Spirit Integrated Health and Well Spa is also on site.

The Galena Territory Owners’ Club
If you are staying at a rental home or at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, situated in The Galena Territory, you will have access to a state-of-the-art fitness center with a spectacular view of the valley. There are also three swimming pools to choose from, indoor and outdoor.

Bonus tips 

  • If you prefer the crisp winter air, you will find awesome parks and trails in Galena Country. Some even provide exercise equipment along the way! While you’re out and about, look for wintering Eagles… always a sight to behold.
  • Skiing and snowboarding at Chestnut Mountain Resort will also give you a good workout if you prefer to play in the snow!
  • Baaaa-Maste! Original Goat Yoga, Galena is perfect for animal-loving groups or individuals looking for an unforgettable activity. For more traditional yoga enthusiasts, check out Awake 4 Yoga for pop up, private, and group yoga.
  • There’s no shortage of stairs along Galena’s Main Street! Take a stroll down half a mile of Galena’s 19th-century downtown featuring more than 125 independently owned storefronts and keep an eye out for steps in between that leading you the hill. Check out the Green Street Steps for the greatest stair challenge!
  • Treat yourself (guilt-free) to a deliciously healthy organic juice or protein shake at Galena Juicery & Meal Prep or a healthy meal at Thriving Thistle Bistro.


Once you’ve worked up a sweat, you deserve to take some time out to unwind! Here are 6 ways for you to do just that. Browse the Official Visitors Guide for ideas on what else you can do and see during your stay!

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.

Cozy Drink Spots in Galena Country

‘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!

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 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.

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! Please note this is a cash-only establishment.

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.

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!

Now that we’ve got you all nice and toasty… you are ready to explore more of GalenaCountry! These dining options will take care of your hunger when the time comes and they will have cozy drinks to keep you going too!

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.