Galena Country blog

Galena Country Blog

FAQ about Galena Country

You’ve decided that without a doubt, you want to visit Galena Country and you are about to start planning your trip… but you have so many questions and need answers fast! We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to save you time:

Where can I get visitor information once I get there?
The Visitgalena.org website is optimized to view on mobile devices and tablets, so take the information with you on vacation. If you cannot find what you are looking for, call the Galena Country Welcome Center at 815.776.9200 or stop by at 123 North Commerce Street (The Old Market House).

Where are the public restrooms in Galena?
Permanent public restrooms are located in downtown Galena at the Galena City Hall, 101 Green St. and at Hello Galena!, 121 N. Commerce St.

Where do I park in Galena?
Parking regulations in Galena vary depending on the location, day, and time of the day. Carefully read regulatory signs before parking. You will find a substantial number of free parking spaces downtown, however some are limited to three hours duration.

The City of Galena offers free all-day public parking lot on the east side of the river near the Old Train Depot. The lot is accessible from US Highway 20 via Park Avenue and Bouthillier Street. Pedestrian access is available from the lot over one of two bridges to the downtown. Another all-day public lot operated by the City of Galena is located downtown on Commerce Street between Green Street and Washington Street.  Parking in the lot is $1 per hour or $5 all day.

All day, free, on-street parking is available on Water Street next to the levee. When entering downtown from US Highway 20, access this parking by taking the first right after you pass through the flood gates.

View a map of downtown parking here.

Are all stores on Galena’s Main Street open on a Monday or on public holidays?
All stores are independently owned, have their own hours and sometimes close due to unforeseen circumstances. In busy season, most stores are open as much as possible due to the increase in traffic. Here is a directory of shops in Galena Country if you would like to call ahead of time to make sure that a specific shop will be open.

When is the big craft fair?
The annual Galena Country Fair is held in Grant Park, Galena on the weekend before the Columbus Day holiday. The fair attracts more than ten thousand visitors and lodging reservations should be made well in advance. The Autumn Craft Fair takes place on the same weekend in Hanover, where more than 90 artisans and crafters offer unique handmade artwork, crafts and jewelry.

What are the most popular, events in Galena Country?
There is always something happening in Galena Country and there’s never a shortage of events but some events have become longstanding and very popular over the years. The top three events that fall in this category are as follows:

Night of Luminaria and Living Windows
Galena Country Fair
Halloween Parade

Can you tell me about upcoming events?
For the latest information on upcoming events, visit the Galena Country Events Calendar.

When is the peak of fall color in Galena Country?
Mid-October. It’s hard to predict when the best fall colors are going to happen in Galena Country. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature and so many factors determine their intensity and timing, such as the amount of precipitation and temperatures. Generally, a hard frost happens right before the peak of fall colors. So, while we can’t predict the precise peak, if you contact us shortly before your visit we’ll be happy to give you an idea of how the colors are developing.

Are there any scenic motorcycle rides in Galena Country?
Absolutely. We have beautiful scenic drives that are great for a motorcycle ride. Just a heads up… many of the township roads have no shoulders or guardrails and some have gravel surfaces. Please try to travel along hard-surfaced roads. Read more about our most scenic routes and which trails are best for motorcycle rides on our Road Trip page.

Where can I rent a wheelchair?
Hartig Drug Store located at 11002 Bartell Blvd., about two miles west of downtown Galena, has wheelchairs for rent. There is fully-refundable deposit and a per day rental fee. You can reserve a wheelchair for use during your visit by calling 815.777.2700.

Where can I charge my Electric Vehicle?

Need a charge? Galena is not short of EV charges, here is a list to choose from:

Chestnut Mountain Resort – 8700 W. Chestnut Mountain Rd., Galena
Wall outlet (120v), EV Plug (J1772) and Tesla HPWC (Model S).

Culver’s of Galena – 11371 Oldenburg Lane, Galena
Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) are available to the public.

Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa – 444 Eagle Ridge Dr., Galena
Two Tesla Charging Stations Type: Level ll (80A) and one Clipper Creek (32A). Please see front desk.

Galena City Hall – 101 Green St., Galena
Universal charger located in the City Hall parking lot on the corner of Green St. and Commerce St.

Galena Brewing Company – 226 N. Commerce St., Galena
Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) and one Clipper Creek J1772 (48A) available to patrons from 4-9 p.m. Mon.-Thu. and 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Please see bartender.

Goldmoor Inn & Resort – 9001 W Sand Hill Rd., Galena
Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) and one Clipper Creek (32A) EV charging for guests and patrons. Please see front desk.

Jail Hill Inn – 319 Meeker St., Galena
One Tesla high power wall connector (80A) and one Clipper Creek J1772 (30A) available for patrons. Please see front desk.

What can we do with children?
Galena Country is definitely a family-friendly destination. In addition to learning about history, there’s plenty of outdoor activities that children will enjoy. Activities such as horseback riding, berry picking, skiing, canoeing/kayaking, an alpine slide and miles of trails to hike and ride will keep the little ones busy. Kids also enjoy the Lil’ General Miniature Golf Course and the outdoor Alice T. Virtue Water Park.

What are the historical must-see spots?

Ulysses S. Grant Home in Galena presented to Grant in 1865 on his return from the Civil War. The home contains original furnishings.

Apple River Fort in Elizabeth is the site of one of the battles fought during the Black Hawk War.

Desoto House Hotel in Galena is the oldest operating hotel in Illinois and its most notable visitor was President Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

The Dowling House is Galena’s oldest house, built of native limestone in 1826 as a trading post and residence.

The Old Blacksmith Shop is an authentic 1897 blacksmith shop with working forges and is filled with tools and equipment from its 100-year history.

The Washburne House State Historic Site was home to Elihu Washburne, a prominent Galena attorney and later a popular U.S Congressman. Visit the library where General Grant received the telegraph announcing that he was president.

Old Market House State Historic Site, constructed in 1845, this building sheltered vendors and shoppers until 1910. It is now home to the largest collection of Ulysses S. Grant memorabilia in the world. It also happens to be the Galena Country Visitor center.

Where can we go hiking?
Galena Country offers many scenic hiking trails. The Galena River Trail is very popular as it can be accessed from downtown Galena and it features 8.8 miles of Galena River and towering bluff views. The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation has done a fantastic job of rehabilitating, conserving and maintaining beautiful properties throughout Galena Country which offer picturesque trails.

Is Galena pet friendly?
Bring Fido along with you! Many hotels, shops and restaurant patios allow pets. Outdoor activities are plentiful in Galena Country and your dogs will love you for taking them along! If you need help navigating the best pet-friendly spots to visit, please call the Galena Country Visitor Center on 815.776.9200 or email galena@visitgalena.org.

Looking for a place to leave your fur-baby while you visit not so pet-friendly spots? Let Doggie Do’s & New Earth Animals Grooming & Daycare take care of your fur baby for the day. You could even treat Fido to a makeover while you are away.

Visit New Earth Animals on Main Street Galena with your pet and let him/her pick out a treat!

Where in Galena Country can I go to see the Mississippi River?
Chestnut Mountain Resort overlooks the Mississippi River and offers river cruises. Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve boasts some of the most commanding views of the Mississippi River and its backwater sloughs. Gramercy Park is located on the bluff in East Dubuque overlooking the Mississippi River.

Have a question that’s not listed above? Send us your query to galena@visitgalena.org or call 815.776.9200 and we will be more than happy to help.

Your guide to Ladies Getaway Weekend, Galena

Ladies everywhere are getting excited for the upcoming Ladies Getaway Weekend in Galena Sept. 7-9. What is this weekend all about? Special events, shopping deals galore, contests and more… all catered to Ladies. Grab your girlfriends and #GetToGalena for some retail therapy on the #HelluvaHalfMile. Here’s your guide to navigating the weekend’s events, shopping deals and contests:

First things first… get registered

To qualify for special offers, you need to be wearing the Ladies Getaway Wristband. Collect your wristband outside Poopsie’s on Fri., Sept. 7 between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. or on Sat., Sept. 8 between 9 a.m. and Noon. Collect your Scavenger Hunt Sheet at the same time. Whoever has the most correct answers, will win a prize from Riverbend Gallery!

Don’t forget

Save all of your receipts from the weekend (food, gas, retail, lodging and activities) and then turn them in to the Ladies Getaway Galena desk at the DeSoto House Hotel’s ballroom on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You will be given a raffle ticket for every $25 you spend. The grand prize is a two-night stay in a three-bedroom house – donated by Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa.

Exclusive events

Wine & Cheese Reception: Meet Geoffrey Mikol, the artist at River Bend Gallery for a wine & cheese reception on Friday Sept. 7 from 5-7 p.m. Be the first to see Geoffrey’s new collection of photos and amazing gift items. Enjoy exclusive Ladies Getaway offerings and receive a fee gift with your purchase.

Organized Chaos, Planning Workshop: Join in on a fun and relaxing planning workshop, hosted by Poopsie’s on Sat. Sept 8 from 9:30 – 11 a.m. The cost is $45 per person. Learn to organize your chaos but with a little twist! For more information and to purchase tickets, click here. The workshop includes your own sticker planner loaded with inspiration, stickers and planning prompts ($30 value), 20% off entire purchase at Poopsies, coffee, snacks and other bonus giveaways.

Galena Qaurtermania: Bring lots of quarters and meet at the Desoto House Hotel for a fun Quartermania bidding /auction event. Tickets cost $15 per person and includes your paddle and table snacks. Local vendors have donated great prizes that you can bid on using quarters. All items up for bid will be anywhere from a quarter to a dollar.

Make your own Succulent Planter: Book your space at this fun workshop held at The Neighborhood on Fri., Sept. 7 & Sat., Sept. 8 at 8-9 p.m. and on Sun. 6-7 p.m. Learn how to make a unique take home succulent arrangement! Learn how to propagate (make CUTE little ity bity plant babies) and how to nurse dying or sick cacti and succulents back to health! Costs $25 per person. For reservations, email Austin at: voyagedco@gmail.com. Free Drinks & Snacks will be served.

Special offers and other happenings

Discounts and special offers apply to registered Ladies Getaway Weekender’s only.

A Darkness Lovely
Fri, Sat, Sun: 15% Discount on all merchandise

Amelia’s Tours
Fri, Sat, Sun: Ghost Tours, Seances, Haunted Pub Tours, Vineyard Tours

Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater
Saturday 7-10 p.m.: Dinner and Show – Jerry Armstrong’s Legends of Las Vegas. $64.95

American Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor
Fri, Sat, Sun:  $1.00 off any purchase

At Home Galena
Fri, Sat, Sun: Buy 4 wickless candles and get the 5th free.

Bangles and Bags
Fri, Sat, Sun: Free select item with $20 purchase.

Bella Rosa
Fri, Sat, Sun: 15% off your purchase.

Beyond the Horizon
Fri, Sat, Sun: 25% off all Red Lined Sale Merchandise. Free gift with any purchase over $20

Carlotta’s Studio
Fri, Sat, Sun: Draw for discount.

Chocolat ‘229
Visit Galena’s New Chocolate Shop and meet the new owners, Antonella and Michael. They would love to talk Chocolate. Fine European and Domestic Chocolates.

Cotton Club
Fri, Sat, Sun: 25% off all summer clothing, hats, and shoes.

DeSoto House Hotel
Saturday: 5:00 PM Quartermania – Presented by Best of Galena Innkeepers

Dowling House
Fri, Sat, Sun: Tour Galena’s Oldest Home – Receive 20% off the regular tour price.

Dream Catchers
Fri, Sat, Sun: Receive a free gift of Galena Art with a purchase over $10.00.

Dreams Boutique
Fri, Sat, Sun: $25 drawing every day. 20% Discount Storewide. Free Gift with $30 purchase.

Earth’s Treasure
Fri, Sat, Sun: Spend $25 and receive a free gift.

Elle & Becks
Fri, Sat, Sun: 20% off clothing and accessories.

Ethyl’s
Fri, Sat, Sun: Draw for discount.

Fan Zone
Fri, Sat, Sun: $5 off any $25 or more purchase.

Floral Chic
Fri, Sat, Sun: 20% off regular priced merchandise.

Fried Green Tomatoes
Friday: 4 p.m.- Close: 50% off Bottles of Wine – Dine in only.

Gabby’s Gifts
Fri, Sat, Sun: 20% off.

Galena Candle & Bath Company
Fri, Sat, Sun: Free gift with $30 or more purchase.

Galena Brewing Company
Friday: 8 p.m. Live music with Bryce Parks
Saturday: 8 p.m. Live music with 5th Fret

Galena Canning Company
Saturday and Sunday: 8-11 a.m. Free pastry and cup of coffee with any purchase. Special samplings.

Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery
Friday 5:50-7:30 p.m.: Sangria Sunset at the Vineyard
Saturday: 10 a.m.: Yoga in the Vines at the Vineyard

Galena Cellars Wine Tasting Room
Sunday 10-Noon: Build your own Mimosa and Bloody Mary Bar
Fri, Sat, Sun: 15% discount on merchandise

Grape Escape    
Friday 8:30 p.m.-Midnight: Live Music with Justin Morrissey
Saturday 11 a.m.–3 p.m.: Build Your Own Bloody Mary or Mimosa Bar
Saturday 2-5 p.m.: Live Music with Jef Spradley
Saturday 8:30 p.m.-Midnight: Live Music with Mojo Busted
Sunday 12-4 p.m.: Scott Rische’s Acoustic Open Mic (free hot dogs, brats and brownies and $5 Bloody Mary’s and Sangria)
Sunday 1-4 p.m.: Guided Painting Class with Jan Ketza
Sunday: 8-11p.m. Miss Kitty Quiz Show (chance to win up to $500 just for watching)

Grateful Gourmet
Fri, Sat, Sun: 20% off and tastings

Gustafson and Grey       
Fri, Sat, Sun: 20% discount

Head to Toe Sportswear
Fri, Sat, Sun: Extra 10% off select clearance items

Hello Galena
Saturday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Ladies Create for Ladies on the lawn. Beautiful wearable, readable, gift-able handmade items by women for women. Just one block off Main Street.

Honest Johns Trading Post
Fri, Sat, Sun: Check in to see all of the great offers during Ladies Getaway Weekend.

Honest Johns Emporium
Fri, Sat, Sun: Free Jewelry Snug with purchase over $75. 20% off

LuLu and LuLu2
Fri, Sat, Sun: Free gift with a $30 purchase

Maggie Black
Saturday 3-5 p.m.: Paint and Pour event with Carrie Baxter: Sign up with the Maggie Black Gallery (815) 599-1724. Cost $45.

Mangelsen – Image of Nature Gallery
Fri, Sat, Sun:  Our expert Art Consultants are ready to help you find the perfect work of art for your home or office.

Myrtle’s Pies
Fri, Sat, Sun: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Stop by and enjoy some of our wonderful pies. We sell pies either whole or by the slice.

New Earth Animals
Fri, Sat, Sun:  Bring your furry friends in and check out all of the great items. Ask about their Doggie Do’s Location.

Paradox Apparel & Accessories
Fri, Sat, Sun: 15% off your purchase.

Pasta Perfetta  
Fri, Sat, Sun: Buy 3 bags of novelty shaped pasta and get the 4th free.

Petals and Primitives
Fri, Sat, Sun: Spend $25 or more to be entered in a drawing for a $25 gift certificate

Poopsie’s
Friday: Stickers and Stamping Donate Stickers for kids in need.
Saturday 9:30-11 a.m.: Organized Chaos Workshop
Saturday: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Honey House Lotion Product Demos

River Bend Gallery
Friday 5 p.m. -7 p.m. Wine & Cheese Reception. Free gift with purchase.

Root Beer Revelry
Fri, Sat, Sun: 15% off Root beer and floats.

Rustic River Finds
Fri, Sat, Sun: Buy 2 pairs of earrings/get 3rd free. For every $50 spent, enter a drawing for a necklace / earring set. Receive 20% off a $50 or more purchase.

Seasons Remembered
Fri, Sat, Sun: Draw from the Discount Bowl to get a discount percent off your entire purchase.

Serendipity
Fri, Sat, Sun: Play Pin the Machon on the Man and win either 10,15,20 or 25% off. Also Play Piñata at 6 p.m. on Saturday for chance to win 50% off.

Simply Elegant
Saturday 10 a.m.: First 25 Ladies through the doors will receive a $20 gift certificate.
Saturday 2p.m.: Girlfriends Rock Fashion Show

Skidmore Gallery
Fri, Sat, Sun: Stop by and check out the different artist’s work.

Spice and Tea Merchants
Fri, Sat, Sun: 10% off purchases of $20 or more
Friday: Sampling and open late.

The Neighborhood
Fri, Sat, Sun: Receive a *free gift card* for a mystery amount of $5-$15! Gift cards are given at random. Door Busters will take place thought the event, including, $3 bath bombs, $5 headbands, $10 Candles, $10 scarfs and hats, $16 graphic t-shirts.
Friday and Saturday 8-9 p.m.: Succulent Plant Arrangement Class $25.  To make reservations: Email Austin at: Voyagedco@gmail.com
Sunday 6-7 p.m.: Succulent Plant Arrangement Class

Towne Rebel
Fri, Sat, Sun:  Spend $25 and be entered to win a computer bag made from recycled army tents.

Union Leather
Fri, Sat, Sun: Spend over $25 and receive a free gift.

Vignettes
Fri, Sat, Sun: 20 % of Regular Price

Wild Birds Unlimited
Fri, Sat, Sun: $5.00 off a $25.00 purchase.

Wooden Wardrobe
Fri, Sat, Sun: Lizzy James Trunk Show – Win a Lizzy Wrap. First 20 receive a free charm with purchase of wrap.

Sit outside!

A vacation really feels like a vacation when you can sit outside and relax with a cocktail, ice-cream or enjoy a full meal in the shade while you take in beautiful scenery. From secret backyard gardens, to sunny sidewalk-seating, to large covered patios, we have created a list of great outdoor spots in Galena Country:

Sunset Grille – Chestnut Mountain Resort

Cajun Jack’s Bar & Grill, Elizabeth
Talented musicians will entertainment you while you enjoy your favorite Southern dish on the covered patio.

Campeche Restaurant, Galena
Listen to live music and the bubbling fountain on the outdoor patio, as you sip your margarita at this authentic Mexican restaurant.

Fergedaboudit Vineyard and Winery, Hanover
Sit on the covered deck, offering breathtaking views over the vineyards while you sip on your favorite wine and nibble from a cheese platter.

Galena Cellars Wine Tasting Room, Galena
Enjoy a wine tasting, peruse the gift shop and then make your way to the hidden courtyard at the back of the gift shop to enjoy a glass or wine or a Bloody Mary in the shade.

Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, Galena
Relax on the spacious wrap-around deck with a glass of wine and take in the gorgeous view. Furry friends are also welcome to join you.

Galena River Wine & Cheese, Galena
Grab a snack from the extensive gourmet cheeses, sausages and specialty foods and enjoy it at the sidewalk table just outside the store.

Gobbies Sports Pub & Eatery, Galena
Serving Chicago-style pizza and other pub fare, this restaurant features a spacious and beautifully decorated courtyard on Main Street. Sink into one of their outdoor sofas and enjoy the weather!

Goldmoor Inn, Galena
Fine Dining at its best with exquisite views of the Mississippi River and the rolling hills of Galena from the outdoor patio.

Grape Escape, Galena
This wine and martini lounge situated on Main Street, offers live music and a chilled atmosphere! Relax on the back patio with a martini and bring your fur baby with you, as it is pet friendly too!

Green Street Tavern in the DeSoto House Hotel, Galena
Sit alongside the oldest operating hotel in Illinois! This corner pub serves your favorite wine or cocktails with great appetizers, salads, sandwiches and special entrees.

Jamie’s Wine Studio of Galena
Hidden behind this intimate wine and bar martini bar, you’ll find a small garden with a seating area… but sshhh, don’t tell anyone!

JJ & Freddie’s, Stockton
Stop at the Gateway of Galena Country on US Hwy 20, and grab a bite to eat outdoors while watching the activity of Stockton pass you by. Enjoy home-cooked food in a fun environment.

Kaladi’s Coffee Bar, Galena
Take a seat at the sidewalk table outside this European-style coffee bar. Enjoy your coffee, pastry or homemade gelato as you watch the buzz of Galena go by.

Little Tokyo, Galena
Sit in the shaded courtyard away from the buzz of the town while you savor the finest Japanese food in the Tri-States area.

Massbach Ridge Winery, Elizabeth
Relax, unwind and savor your new discovery on the deck or in the garden while you take in the beautiful views of the vineyards.

Rocky Waters Vineyard & Winery, Hanover
After your wine tasting, take a seat on the shaded deck with your favorite wine and take in the spectacular views.

Silver Spoon Restaurant, East Dubuque
Watch the sunset from the dining courtyard bordering the peaceful waters of Fentress Lake. Silver spoon offers elevated comfort food in an upscale, yet casual modern atmosphere.

Small Town Saloon, Elizabeth
This small-town restaurant offers burgers, a farm-to-table menu, fully-stocked bar and daily specials. Enjoy the good food out on their deck.

Sunset Grille at Chestnut Mountain Resort, Galena
Perched high atop a wooded palisade overlooking panoramic views of the Mississippi River, the restaurant features a 4, 400 square-foot outdoor dining deck. Savor the sunset while enjoying great food and drinks!

The Corner Tap, Stockton
Every Saturday from April through October, The Corner Tap offers a Steak Fry on the patio area and corn hole games.

Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe, Elizabeth
Visit this charming sweet shop just 15 minutes east of Galena. Choose your favorite flavor ice cream, cupcake or pie and enjoy it in the garden seating area.

Thriving Thistle Market, Apple River
Not your typical gas station! Stretch your legs and enjoy made-to-order salads, sandwiches, smoothies and more out on the patio.

Vinny Vanucchi’s “Little Italy”, Galena
Enjoy classic Italian dishes on the patio which is nestled in the historic building’s courtyard, next to a cobblestone road. Sit under the colorful umbrellas and enjoy the music form street performers nearby!

Woodstone Restaurant at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, Galena
Offering magnificent panoramic views of the tri-state region and the resort’s largest golf course, The General. Enjoy signature dishes, including wood fired pizzas!

Strike a pose in Stockton!

Hit the road and cruise out to Stockton, Illinois to find these beautiful murals waiting for your epic selfie.

 

The first mural to embrace historic downtown Stockton went up in 2016. Find at the corner of Front & Main St.

Next up is an ode to our native settlers, with this colorful mural of an American Indian by artist Chris Shannon. Find it right on Main St.


This one might not have as much detail, but there is something beautiful in the simplicity of its large singular rose. Find it right on Main St.


The newest mural to go up in Stockton is this stunning floral design. Find it on the side of Beautifully Berkeley, 101 N. Main Street

How to have a green vacation in Galena

Galena is known for its scenic locations that are the perfect backdrop for capturing memories of adventure, laughter and romance. What most people don’t know, is that the city of Galena is a sustainability leader in its region and in Illinois.

The City of Galena has implemented, and is continuing to develop, a variety of sustainability initiatives for this quaint, Midwest city. These activities earned Galena a Governor’s Sustainability Award in 2014. The award recognized the city for its demonstrated commitment to the economy, society and environment through outstanding and innovative sustainability practices. In other words, it’s greena in Galena! Find out more here.

Do you want in on all of this sustainability? This is how you can make your own contribution during your vacation:

Book your stay at one of Galena’s green lodging properties. Eight lodging properties in Galena have taken measures to ensure that they are operating in the green. To be recognized as a green leader, each property must fulfill the required green lodging criteria, as determined by the Galena Area Green Designation Committee. The Committee is one of several entities that aims to develop green initiatives throughout Galena, Illinois, and Jo Daviess County.

Galena’s designated green lodging properties are:

Aldrich Guest House
Alice’s Snyder House Bed & Breakfast
Augustus Chetlain Home & Log Cabin Guest House
Belle Aire Mansion Guest House
Country Inn & Suites
Farmers Guest House
Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages
Jail Hill Inn
Ramada Galena Hotel & Day Spa

Park your car and pedal around town. Bike from shop-to-shop on the Helluva Half Mile, pedal across the pedestrian bridge to Ulysses S. Grant’s home, reconnect with nature on a ride along the Galena River Trail, journey to an award-winning vineyard or cruise through a historic cemetery. Fever River Outfitters makes it easy to explore Galena by bicycle with regular and electric bike rentals – perfect for conquering hills and long distances.

Enjoy a meal and spirits made from local ingredients. Located on the Helluva Half Mile, One Eleven Main is dedicated to supporting local farmers, artisans and food purveyors. Their mouthwatering menu includes locally-sourced ingredients and specialty items recommended by their food partners. After a delicious meal, get to Blaum Bros. Distillery for some tasty drinks. The two fun-loving brothers at Blaum Bros. source nearly all their grain from Illinois and their tasty spirits are made on-site. What little grain they use beyond Illinois happens to be sourced from the neighboring farms in Wisconsin.

Shop till you drop but don’t leave a trail. Bag up your retail finds in an eco-friendly bag. Ditch the plastic shopping bags and purchase a My Green Galena reusable bag at the Galena Welcome Center, Galena Library or City Hall. These bad boys are quite large and are perfect for carrying all those Helluva Half Mile gifts and goodies. Plastic bag pollution is environmentally damaging and completely avoidable. Shopping with a reusable bag is the way to go. The best part? My Green Galena bags are recyclable!

Need a charge? Galena is not short of EV charges, here is a list to choose from:

Chestnut Mountain Resort – 8700 W. Chestnut Mountain Rd., Galena
Wall outlet (120v), EV Plug (J1772) and Tesla HPWC (Model S).

Culver’s of Galena – 11371 Oldenburg Lane, Galena
Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) are available to the public.

Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa – 444 Eagle Ridge Dr., Galena
Two Tesla Charging Stations Type: Level ll (80A) and one Clipper Creek (32A). Please see front desk.

Galena City Hall – 101 Green St., Galena
Universal charger located in the City Hall parking lot on the corner of Green St. and Commerce St.

Galena Brewing Company – 226 N. Commerce St., Galena
Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) and one Clipper Creek J1772 (48A) available to patrons from 4-9 p.m. Mon.-Thu. and 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Please see bartender.

Goldmoor Inn & Resort – 9001 W Sand Hill Rd., Galena
Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) and one Clipper Creek (32A) EV charging for guests and patrons. Please see front desk.

Jail Hill Inn – 319 Meeker St., Galena
One Tesla high power wall connector (80A) and one Clipper Creek J1772 (30A) available for patrons. Please see front desk.

Relax, knowing that you have reduced your carbon footprint!

Have a farm-tastic time in Galena Country!

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.

Run the Galena River Trail

Our intern, Ally explored the Galena River Trail and beyond! Here is a recount of her adventure… 

Raise your heart rate, get a good work out and find mental serenity in Mother Nature. What better way to distract yourself from your own heavy breathing and running fatigue than the scenic trails and country roads found in Galena Country?

The Galena River Trail is located just steps away from the hustle and bustle of Galena’s Helluva Half Mile. Tucked away in the woods lining the Galena River, this serene 8-mile trail is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. It’s mostly flat terrain, which makes cycling and running a breeze.

In fact, running seems less horrific when you get to experience one of the best views of Galena. As I explored the trail, the diversity of scenery and people with dogs, bikes and grand kids who passed me was fascinating. With two knee surgeries and my personal preference, this trail is especially perfect for me because it is flat. No hills or inclines, just a nice, relaxing path to get those steps in.

As I walked, calmness came over me. There are spots on the trail with great views of the river but also with stretches of lush greenery and timber. For runners who might need a quick break or breather, there are benches perfectly located throughout the trail. Each bench is surrounded by a unique collection of colorful plants.

I didn’t make it to the end of the trail but I plan to ride my bike to the end next time. The trail follows the Galena River all the way to the backwaters of the Mighty Mississippi. Lush marshland plants and river species of all sorts call this beautiful landscape home and the trail continues to the bottom of Chestnut Mountain Resort.

From there, I plan on riding the ski lift to the top of the “mountain” to enjoy a light meal and drink at Sunset Grille. From the top, I’ll also be able to take in the view of the Mississippi, with sights of Iowa and Wisconsin in the distance. The best part about taking the lift is that I can load my bike and ride up to the top for free.

Another unique feature about the Galena River Trail is the landing and boat launch. With picnic tables, it’s the perfect spot for a quick lunch with a view of the Galena River and downtown Galena. Not a runner? Anyone can use the landing for kayaks, canoes, paddle boats and as a great fishing adventure launch.

Speaking of Chestnut, they’ve got some great wooded trails worth exploring. With more than 143 acres, their grounds are perfect for family hikes, solo runs or endurance mountain biking and hiking. I decided to check out the trail by foot and stayed close to the main lodge. The front desk was helpful in providing guidance on which trails led where, so I chose the Yellow Trail Loop. It starts in the woods and ends at North Grandview Pointe. More on that in a minute.

As I began my hike, I heard what sounded like machines. A few seconds later, a group of Segways zipped by. They all seemed to be having a lot of fun and it was definitely something I wasn’t expecting to see. I learned later that Chestnut offers guided Segway tours. How cool!

After the group was out of sight, it was just me and my thoughts. I couldn’t believe how the trails reminded me of paths I have hiked in upper Michigan and Wisconsin. The thick canopy of trees was just what I needed but the best was yet to come. As I approached the end of my trail, I noticed the beginning of one of the best views I have ever laid my eyes on. I’m talking about the panoramic view of the Mississippi River that was waiting for me. My trail ended in an open, grassy knoll overlooking the river valley. I don’t know if it was the sheer surprise or the timing of the sun beginning to set but I suddenly found myself breathless, completely lost in the moment. It was an experience I will never forget and one I hope you can find on your own journey to Chestnut Mountain Resort.

Galena River Trail Picnic Area

For those more interested in road running, I have a few suggestions. After my hike at Chestnut, I drove the more scenic route home, exploring the country roads between Galena and Hanover. It was filled with scenes straight out of a movie with everything from immaculate horse ranches to classic red barns and historic cemeteries to old farmhouses. The winding back roads of Galena Country are well worth exploring with a long run or bike ride.

  • Irish Hollow Road will lead you by babbling brooks, hidden train tunnels and limestone cottages covered in vines. It’s a setting pulled straight out of a Thomas Kinkade painting.
  • Pilot Knob Road winds by endless fields of prairie grass and climbs up and down bluffs on its way to Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve.
  • Devil’s Ladder Road has a few tight curves with limited vision for vehicles but if you’re a runner up for a challenge, it warrants some of the best views of Galena Country farmland you’ll ever see.

For even more road running ideas, check out the Galena Geo-tag on Map My Run.

Those who have conquered the trail by foot, a post-run recovery and one of the spas in Galena Country is an option. A relaxing massage is a great way to reward oneself for hard work and effectively treat sore muscles to prevent injuries.

Barefoot Adventures in Galena Country

Our intern, Ally, jumped in with both feet as she experienced Galena Country mostly barefoot! Here is a recount of her adventure… 

“I can’t keep my foot in my mouth any longer about my time at Apple River Canyon State Park. It was a muggy morning but Pine Trail was completely shaded, which made for a nice, cool hike. There are a variety of trails, but we chose this one as it was only 1 mile and the sign promised some things along the way. We buckled up our fanny packs and entered.

It was quiet and peaceful as we made our way through the trail. You realize why it’s named Pine Trail when you see a host of beautiful pine trees lining the walkway. After storms rolled through a few days prior, the timber was lush and filled with beautiful plants and flowers.

Once we found the river, I ditched the shoes and went barefoot. The mud felt sweet between my toes and it made the experience feel extremely natural. The water was off the trail a little but the natural bluffs carved away by the river are a must-see. Before I knew it, we were sitting on the edge of the trail, resting in the grass and listening to the sweet sounds of nature.

It was just what the doctor ordered – a decent dose of sunshine and relaxation.

To add to my natural, holistic foot adventure, I stopped by Sacred Sole and Massage. Most people cringe when I tell them I was getting massaged by someone’s bare feet. I set them straight right away because not only was the massage the most amazing one I’ve ever had but the woman was also even more beautiful. Inside and out, Theresa Young was so great that I had to give her a hug at the end of my session because it wasn’t just a massage. She informed me of why she practices the way she does, background information about the Fiji-style massage and made it a unique experience.

I do CrossFit, which puts a lot of stress and soreness on my body, and she said she massages 3-4 other CrossFitters who come to her regularly, which made me feel even more at home. So, whether you’re an athlete, parent, grandparent or anyone looking for a “not-too-soft” but “not-too-much” pressure massage, go to her!

What she does with her feet, I doubt anyone could do with their hands. Like I said, Theresa has me wanting to come back for more. And if you want to leave a session feeling brand new, choose Sacred Sole & Massage located in the heart of Galena’s Helluva Half Mile.

If you’re not into the idea of a massage from feet but you like the idea of being primped, foot massages and pedicures are another great option. Galena Country is home to top-notch spas, all specializing in a variety of pampering experiences. Treat yourself to an afternoon of bliss and book a spa foot treatment. Soon, it’ll be time to find the perfect pair of sandals to show off your new pedicure.

That’s right. Make it a shopping adventure and explore the Helluva Half Mile for the perfect pair of kicks. Honest John’s is just one of many shops who carry top-quality brands, including my favorite sandals, Birkenstock.

Other barefoot adventures in Galena Country include kayaking and canoeing. While you’ll want to wear shoes while loading your vessel in and out of the water, during your float, you might just find yourself kicking off those shoes and dipping them into the cool current of the Galena River. You can float all the way to the Mississippi River with your toesies hanging out.

So, quit tiptoeing around the idea and #GetToGalena Country to experience these barefoot adventures.”

Galena, Illinois Travel Diaries

Post by guest blogger, Nicole at Uniquely Women

Galena, Illinois is a great Midwest Town to make a day trip out of. The city is a popular tourist destination known for its history, historical architecture, and ski and golf resorts. Galena was the residence of Ulysses S. Grant and eight other Civil War Generals. The downtown area and Main Street is booming full of wineries/breweries and distilleries, antique shops, and candy shops. Here is a breakdown of what we did:

Where we ate:

Vinny Vanucchi’s “Little Italy” – Old World Italian Neighborhood Restaurant. Great food, amazing atmosphere.

Green Street Tavern – Cute pub. Serves great sandwiches/soups and has the best Bloody Mary’s.

Durty Gurts Burger Joint – Unique burger place. Fun sayings on the wall & fun atmosphere. Great for kids!

 

 

Beers, Wine & Spirits:

Galena Brewing Company – Loved this place. Bartender was awesome – very friendly and helpful. HAVE TO HAVE: 2 lb Baked Pretzel. You will not be disappointed. Comes with Beer Cheese as a dipping sauce. Oh yea, and great beer selection!

The Cornerstone – The live music is spot on. Laid back atmosphere. In the heart of Galena’s downtown.

Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery – Wine tasting. 12 different wine samples of your choice for $5. Their Rhubarb wine is my personal favorite.

 

Where we shopped:

Peace of the Past -For you Antique lovers this is the place to go. Vintage books galore. Fun place to go in and take a peek

Poopsie’s – Kids will love this place. Small crazy shop full of unique art, gifts, jewelry, and crazy games!

Bella Vintaj – Handmade jewelry. Kinda pricey, but love the look of the place and great looking jewelry.

Galena’s Kandy Kitchen – Candy you can buy by the pound. They offer a ton of old school candy.

 

 

We went walking along the “Pathway of the Levee.” The half-mile long pathway offers wonderful views of the Galena River, Galena’s historic downtown, magnificent bluff homes and church steeples. Great views.

XO – Nicole

Credit to Nicole Floss for all pictures. 

Bring your Bachelorette party to Galena Country

Credit: @calliekaekramer

We’ve noticed more brides-to-be are visiting Galena for their bachelorette parties and we couldn’t be happier. Galena is already recognized as a destination wedding hot-spot. The beautiful rolling hills of Galena Country, its picturesque churches and a Main Street frozen in the 1800s are just a few things that catch their attention. That said, it might be surprising to learn that maids of honor are drawn to the area for different reasons. Those reasons make Galena one of the best cities to plan bachelorette party adventures.

 

 

Happy hour – With 13 pubs on Main Street there are plenty of places to celebrate the bride-to-be with a drink. Each pub offers a variety of beverages in a unique atmosphere with a little something for everyone. From quiz-bowl trivia, martinis and live music at Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape, Galena Brewing Company and The Cornerstone to and karaoke at Gobbie’s Sports Pub & Eatery, the Galena pub scene is one big party happening on the Helluva Half Mile every night. Don’t worry about driving. All pubs are located within walking distance to one another and, when the night is over, call one of Galena’s cab services to transport the party back to your lodging.

Brunch – Galena’s dining scene is superb and bachelorettes looking for the ultimate brunch experience will find it here, mimosas and all. The Courtyard Restaurant, Goldmoor Inn, Fritz and Frites, Victory Café, Paradise Bar & Grill and Otto’s Café all offer a delicious brunch menu. Don’t forget to order a glass of Rosé and toast the bride-to-be. If the group is coming off a late night and brunch isn’t in the cards, there are plenty of dining options to explore for a late lunch or dinner.

Fun shopping – Who doesn’t love a good boutique? Galena’s Helluva Half Mile has more than 130 independent businesses, making it a shopper’s paradise. Check out the scents and pleasures of Noty Kity. Savor the flavors of Galena with a taste through the Galena Canning Company, The Grateful Gourmet or Galena River Wine & Cheese. Design a custom necklace at Rustic River or create your own personalized wooden sigh at Creative Expressions Galena. Bachelorettes love the variety of shops, gourmet food stores and design studios that line our marvelous Main Street.

 

 

Arts & Crafts – Be inspired by the beauty of Galena County and learn how to spin some pottery at Artists’ Annex, paint beautiful landscapes with artists Jan Ketza, Sandra Principe or take a tour the Pinder Pottery Studio and more. Most of our art shops, studios and galleries are open year-round, so come inside to warm up on a cold day or cool off in one of the amazing art studios.

Unique attractions – Galena is a booming tourist destination with attractions galore. Spend the day exploring the city’s rich history with a trolley tour through the historic district. Embrace Mother Nature with the breathtaking view on top Horseshoe Mound. Walk the same halls that President Ulysses S. Grant roamed with a tour through the Grant Home. Be fearless with a zip line journey through the scenic Tapley Woods with Long Hollow Canopy Tours. The possibilities are endless and with so much to see and do, bachelorette party goers love having options.

Even more spirits – Enjoy more than a drink at one of four wineries, namely Galena Cellars Winery, Massbach Ridge Winery, Fergedaboudit Vineyard & Winery and Rocky Waters Vineyard. Take a tour of the Galena Brewing Co. with beer in hand or learn all about the distilling process at Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. Each business offers a tour of and a behind-the-scenes view into how they make their product. If your group is too large to fit in one vehicle, consider booking a tour with Countryside Tours. Ride comfortably and enjoy a drink while they do the driving.

Safety – This is a top priority for many when choosing a travel destination. Bachelorettes can rest assured knowing Galena is one of the friendliest and safest cities around. Party goers can plan on having have big fun while enjoying the benefits of small town safety including low crime and welcoming locals.

 

Pic credit to @kaitveld on Instagram