Galena Country® blog

Galena Country Blog®

Escape to Galena Country on a Romantic Road Trip

There’s no better time to enjoy a scenic drive than right now. Beautiful year round, Galena Country offers breathtaking views, delicious food, one-of-a-kind boutique shops and priceless memories waiting to be made.

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Elizabeth

Traveling west on Highway 20 towards Galena, you will drive through the charming village of Elizabeth. Stretch your legs and enjoy a scrumptious breakfast at E-Town Coffee Co. Pick up a bottle of wine from their great selection for that sundowner later on, and browse the local art on display. Before you leave, grab a cup of E-Town’s locally roasted, freshly ground coffee for the road! Elizabeth is where the battle of the Apple River Fort took place as part of the Black Hawk War in 1832. An exact replica of the fort lies on Myrtle Street if you want to take a peek.

Long Hollow Scenic Overlook

As you leave Elizabeth, you will be treated to views of wooded countryside interspersed with neat farmsteads and hilly terrain. Who says Illinois is flat? Not here! A must-stop is the Long Hollow Scenic Overlook. The breathtaking scenery of Galena Country’s rolling countryside is quite something! Be sure to use this perfect backdrop to snap your selfies!

Tapley Woods

Traveling just a little further will take you into the Tapley Woods Conservation Area, home to the Long Hollow Canopy Tours. Driving through this area is a special treat in the fall! The forest crowds in close to the roadside and with low speeds and open windows, you can enjoy the sounds of birdsong and the buzz of insects. There are spots where the trail breaks clear of the woods and opens up to views of the hilly landscape.

Galena

Ahhhh, Galena! Such beauty and so much history! As you enter this town, you feel like you’ve stepped into a movie set. Frozen in time, the Main Street (dubbed as a Helluva Half Mile) is lined with beautifully restored 19th Century buildings which house art galleries, eclectic boutiques, and stores as well as restaurants. Nearly every scene offers a picturesque background you won’t forget. Stop in at the 1864 American Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor which features an old-fashioned fountain and original cabinets. Grab a refreshing ice cream and take a seat on a sidewalk bench to take in the sights and sounds of Galena. Directly next door to the ice cream parlor is Galena’s Kandy Kitchen. You can’t pass up the opportunity of purchasing some lip-smacking homemade candy for the rest of the drive!

Menominee

While you munch on that delicious candy, continue west to Menominee. This quaint village is located on the Little Menominee River near East Dubuque. J.M.’s Tap is Menominee’s hidden gem! This family-run restaurant specializes in homemade pizza and features all-you-can-eat Friday fish fry! Enjoy a hearty meal as you get to know the locals and share your Galena Country experience with them.

Everywhere you go in Galena Country turns into a classic road trip, packed with adventure and places to explore. There is no hurry, take your time and soak it all in. For more ideas on where to go and what to do, check out the online visitor’s guide.

5 Fun things to do with the Family in Galena Country

Fun for the whole family!

While there is much to do in Galena Country, you may plan your family adventures a little different than your girlfriends’ getaway. Check out these fun things to do on your family vacation in Galena Country.

Explore the great outdoors

Boasting incredible terrain for outdoor adventure, Galena Country offers many options for a variety of skill-level and ages. Children, toddler age and up may enjoy speeding down the Alpine Slide at Chestnut Mountain Resort and finishing off with a game of mini-golf onsite or at the Lil’ General. For those more ‘serious’ golfers, make plans to hit a-round on one of eleven gorgeous golf courses.

Taking a canoe or kayak down the Galena River is a wonderful way to explore Galena. Kayaks, canoes and other outdoor equipment is available for rent at Fever River Outfitters. Galena Country is home to twenty gorgeous parks and trails, a fun option for smaller children is Horseshoe Mound, featuring hidden treasures along the trails. Pack a picnic with a gourmet grilled cheese from Galena River Wine & Cheese, treats from Kandy Kitchen, and chips and salsa from Galena Canning Company.

Outdoor adventure in Galena Country is year-round. With Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort and the Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa, there’s enough to keep everyone occupied for hours!

Historically Amazing

To say that Galena Country is ‘rich in history’ in an understatement. In fact, even the scenic routes to Galena Country are historical. Make an educational pit-stop on the way through Stockton and stop at the Heritage Museum, the original home of Kraft Cheese! Just a few doors down is Sweet Alice’s, where you’re sure to find something delicious for the family. Take some time to snap a few pictures in front of the murals around town!

Train lovers are going to delight in the Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum. Across the street is another important piece of history, the Apple River Fort State Historic Site. This is the location where Black Hawk and his 200 warriors attacked the hastily erected fort on June 24, 1832. His story and that of the early settlers are told.

Heading to Galena, a visit to the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site is a ‘must-do’, along with an up-close-and-personal experience at the Old Blacksmith Shop. A trolley tour is an excellent way to ‘see the town’ and learn more about the historic homes and architecture that is adored by the community and visitors alike.

Exciting Events

The events calendar is loaded with incredible happenings! From hot air balloon races to civil war reenactments to magical holiday festivities, there’s always something to discover in Galena Country! Check out this video featuring summer events, and let the planning begin the digital visitor’s guide.

Lodging with flare

There are many great options for family-friendly lodging, but if you’re up for something more to keep the kids occupied, you may want to consider these properties. In addition to Chestnut Mountain Resort, Eagle Ridge Inn Resort and Spa offers lake views and activities, golf, swimming pool and more! Country Inn and Suites, Stoney Creek Inn, and Best Western are home to some excellent swimming options, while The Ramada and Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel feature swimming and a spa! We’re thinking of you, mom and dad!

Farm-Fun!

Agritourism offers the children a chance for hands-on experiences and fun for all ages. Seasonal favorites are Dittmar Farms and Terrapin Orchards, both featuring unique opportunities for incredible memory-making. We haven’t forgotten about the older kids, you know… the ones that you can enjoy a glass of wine with? Galena Country is home to four vineyards, all offering incredible views and delicious wine.

Parents, we’ve got you covered. Start planning today by browsing the digital visitor’s guide and booking your lodging. Questions? Email The Welcome Center at galena@visitgalena.org to help curate the best family vacation yet!

Galena Country Vacation Bucket List

Six unique experiences you don’t want to skip.

It’s pretty amazing here, with endless opportunities to explore – we’ve compiled a list of unique experiences to tackle on your next trip (or two….or three).

Take your vacation to new heights

Peacefully float above the rolling landscapes of Galena Country on a hot air balloon ride from Galena on The Fly. This incredible ride can carry up to 13 of your closest friends, flights last about an hour and end with a champagne toast and chocolates!

Long Hollow Canopy Tours will have you soaring through the treetops at speeds up to 40 mph at heights of up to 75 feet! This 2 1/2 hour thrilling journey begins with a UTV ride through the woods to the first platform, followed with a 140-foot sky bridge and a quick jump or rappel to the finish.

The perfect place for a picnic date with a view, Horseshoe Mound Preserve is located off of Blackjack road and boasts some of the best scenes of Galena. Use the viewing scopes to see geographical mounds of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa, while enjoying the stone-henge style gathering space. A lovely location for a hike with the kids, pets or alone – be on the lookout for hidden treasures amongst the trees.

Epic Events

Full of infinite opportunities, from cemetery walks to hot air balloon races to incredible parades and magical holiday festivities. There’s always something to discover in Galena Country! Check the events calendar while planning your vacation to plan accordingly. While there’s fun to be had at every event, the following events made it to the bucket list.

Experience the 1860s through a Living History Encampment and Civil War Battle at Grant’s Home Front Reenactment on the banks of the Galena River. Free admission to those dressed in fully scout or military uniform.

The Galena Country Fair is one of the area’s most popular events, overflowing with original handmade arts and crafts, live entertainment and mouthwatering fair food. Indulge in the Gazebo Wine Garden featuring award-winning local wines and take advantage of the complimentary shuttle service available on both Saturday and Sunday.

Bringing in thousands of spectators, the Halloween Parade & Festival is something you don’t want to miss. Featuring spectacular floats, marching bands, costumed participants, prizes and treats, you can expect this to be an unforgettable weekend!

Romantic, nostalgic, and magical are just a few words to describe the Night of the Luminaria and Living Windows event. Stroll down the Helluva Half-Mile as more than 40 storefronts come to life with extraordinary holiday scenes. Thousands of twinkling, candle-lit luminaria brighten streets and walkways throughout the town, making for a lovely tour on foot, shuttle or via trolley.

All things Ulysses S. Grant

Stepping onto Galena’s Main Street is like something out of a movie. Looking much like it did when President Grant strolled the streets, it’s easy to see why Galena is often called the ‘City that’s Frozen in Time’. We’ve added a few historical ‘Grant features’ to the bucket list.

First up, the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site. The stunning, Italianate style home, was gifted to Grant upon his return home from the Civil War. With no detail overlooked, the home was fully furnished and proudly overlooks the city. In 1904, the Grant children donated the house to the city. It’s is open year-round for tours and features original furnishings.

Another must-see is the Elihu B. Washburne House State Historic Site, just a block away from Grant’s home. Washburne was a prominent attorney and later a popular U.S. Congressman, political advisor to Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Grant, and an ambassador to France. Visit the library where General Grant received the election night news via telegraph, that he was elected as President.

The DeSoto House Hotel, located in the heart of town was the center of Galena’s social and political activities. Being Illinois’ oldest operating hotel, it’s dripping with history. For a true ‘Grant experience’, you’ll want to book rooms 209 and 211, where he ran his presidential headquarters.

Take in the mighty Mississippi

Being the second longest river in the North American continent, the Mississippi River is a must-see while in Galena Country. Part of the driftless region, this captivating location is lush with rolling hills and breathtaking views for miles. Here are five amazing ways to experience the Mississippi River while on vacation.

Chestnut Mountain Resort is a premier destination to experience the river. Whether taking it all in from the dinner table, chair lift or river cruise, it’s an incredible year-round adventure.

For the perfect romantic getaway, stay and dine at the Goldmoor Inn. Take your dining experience to the next level and dine at the chef’s table, an intimate experience in the heart of the kitchen. Nestled along the bluffs of the river, this castle-like Inn offers an unforgettable, luxury experience.

Bring the dog, a picnic and explore sacred grounds overlooking the river at Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve. Located just 10 minutes from downtown Galena, it’s an excellent location to unplug and reconnect with nature. Take some time to check out the 51+ Native American burial mounds, including one Thunderbird effigy.

Iconic Timmerman’s Supper Club offers another dining opportunity with a view. Perched along the bluffs of the backwaters, Timmerman’s offers a mouthwatering experience with no ‘bad seat’ in the house.

Just up the street from Timmerman’s, is Gramercy Park. A 10-acre park located on the bluffs in East Dubuque. This site is home to 26 ceremonial and burial mounds from the Hopewell Native American culture. Journey along the walking trails while the kids explore the playground, or relax and take it all in at the overlook pavilion.

Fascinating History

Galena, established in 1826 offers many awe-inspiring opportunities, here are a few favorite facts to share and explore.

The Dowling House, Galena’s oldest home, is really something to see. Nestled amongst the shopping and restaurants in downtown Galena, is a home built out of limestone, furnished with primitives and a collection of Galena pottery.

The oldest continually owned and operated Post Office in America is located on the corner of Green and Commerce St. in Galena. The building featuring Federal style architecture was constructed out of the best quality granite, shipped up the Mississippi from Nauvoo. An excellent location to send off your postcards and stop for a picture!

Another piece of treasured history is the Galena Fire Department, Illinois’ oldest fire department. Once comprised of five fire companies, Liberty house No. 1, located on Bench Street, is recognizable by its bell and can be seen from Main Street. The Galena Fire Department is now located at 101 S. Bench Street and has been a 100% volunteer department since inception in 1830.

The best in the U.S.

Galena Country is not only home to some ‘firsts’ and ‘oldest’ but is also the proud home to Jail Hill Inn. Rated the #1 B&B in the U.S. and #2 in the world by Trip Advisor, this romantic, luxury stay is one you don’t want to miss. Featuring a multiple-course breakfast that’s loaded with delicacy and indulgences, paired up with unique features in each room, the Jail Hill Inn has many ‘repeat offenders’, who come to experience the exclusivity of each room.

Adventure awaits, browse the digital travel guide and let the planning begin!

Follow Historic Wheels on Stagecoach Trail through Galena Country

Tired of the highway? Hop off Highway 20 and take the Historic Stagecoach Trail Road through Galena Country instead! This gently curving and hilly two-lane road, originally established in the mid-1830s, flows across the scenic country landscape and is steeped in history.

Credit:@johnposhepny

What’s the story behind it?

This road follows the original stagecoach route between Galena and Chicago. The stagecoach became the predominant mode of overland public transport for passengers and mail in the mid-1800s. The vehicles were called stagecoaches because they completed their scheduled routes in stages, traveling from stop to stop where tired horses could be exchanged for fresh ones and passengers could sometimes eat, rest or sleep overnight.

It lasted only a few decades, but this period in the mid-1800s had a significant impact on the region, as settlements were linked, mail was managed and the groundwork was laid for future transportation systems. As you drive along this historic path, think of the first travelers and what it must have been like. You will be traveling at a much a higher comfort level no doubt. Take in the beautiful countryside dotted with cows, enjoy the architecture and see what you can find in the local stores as you stop to stretch your legs along the way. Snap some pics and be sure to tag them with #GalenaCountry.

Nora

Take the W. Galena Road/Stagecoach Rd. exit off Highway 20, drive through Lena, Waddams Grove and continue to Nora… where Galena Country begins. Nora, once a bustling railroad community (after the Stagecoach era) is now a small village with a population of 112. A popular local hangout in this village is the Nora Bar.

Warren

This town was named after Warren Burnett, the son of Alexander Burnett who was the founder in 1843. The town of Warren began to flourish when the Old Stone Hotel was built in 1851. It served as a stopover along the crossing of two major stagecoach routes and hosted prominent visitors such as Ulysses S. Grant. Today, the former hotel serves as the Warren Community Building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A great annual Christmas event that takes place in this building is the Festival of Trees.

Pop into Dusty’s Closet Antiques, a small-town antique shop featuring antique furniture, vintage collectibles, and a small gift selection. Craft beer enthusiasts will love visiting the Pecatonica Beer Company. Enjoy a selection of cold brews and experience the regional flavors of the Pecatonica Valley. The town of Warren hosts the oldest County Fair in Illinois, dating back to 1860, held in late July/August every year and the Annual Warren Pumpkin Festival in September.

Apple River Canyon State Park

As you head towards the town of Apple River, there is a 6.5-mile detour, that’s worth it… turn left onto N. Canyon Park Rd. which will lead you to the Apple River Canyon State Park. Discover incredible limestone bluffs carved by the Apple River, deep ravines, springs, streams and plenty of wildlife. This park is ideal for outdoor activities and camping in the summer. In the fall, this park puts on an impressive show of color bursts.

A little history to this area… Millville (1838) is a village that was established in Apple River Canyon but no longer exists. It became an important rural service stop along the Stagecoach Trail since Millville had a blacksmith. In 1853–54, the Illinois Central Railroad bypassed Millville, relegating it to backwater town status.

Apple River

Head on back to Stagecoach Trail where you will turn left to continue to the town of Apple River. This town was established by the Illinois Central Railroad in 1854. Surrounded by dairy farms and cornfields, a must-stop is the Thriving Thistle Market! This is a gourmet gas station! It supplies zero-ethanol fuel for your vehicle and delicious fuel for your belly! Enjoy freshly baked bread, pizza, burgers, smoothies and more! Coming soon is a brand-new Wellness Center and Bistro that will be attached to the market.

Scales Mound

Upon reaching the area of Scales Mound, the road becomes West Stagecoach Trail Road. Turn left onto N. Elizabeth Scales Mound Road for a detour to the town of Scales Mound, where 90% of the town buildings are on the National Historic Register. Just north of here is Charles Mound. At 1,235-feet, it is the highest point in the entire state of Illinois. (Note: it is on private land and not open to the public). Scales Mound has a fitting motto… “At the Top of Illinois.”

If you prefer to skip the town of Scales Mound, continue on Stagecoach Trail Road until you get to W. Council Hill Rd. on your right, where you can take a detour to an interesting place called Council Hill Station. Travel on W. Council Hill Road to North Hill Road where you will take a left. This is a unique and historic 1850s general store and railway station which has been transformed into a watering hole and music venue. Ruins of a woolen mill, barn, and silo can also be found on the property.

From here, as you continue on North Ford Road to get back to Stagecoach Trail Road, you will pass the Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery. This is a great stopping point! Here you can relax on the comfortable wrap-around deck of the charming farmhouse turned tasting room, and soak in the gorgeous views of the vineyards. If you don’t have enough time on your hands, you could wait until you reach Galena, where they have a tasting room downtown. How convenient!

Galena 

Arriving at the southeast corner of Galena marks the end of the Stagecoach Trail Road. The trail ends near the 1854 John Westwick Foundry. Ironically, 1854 is the same year that the railroad came through and the old stagecoach line began fading away.

As the Stagecoach Trail Road enters Galena, it rapidly transitions into Field, Claude and Meeker Streets. Just after the bend in Meeker Street, turn left onto N. Main Street. This historic Main Street is a major attraction in the area and has been dubbed the “Helluva Half-Mile.” It’s lined with more than 125 independently owned stores housed in beautifully preserved buildings that date back to Galena’s days as a booming 1800s lead-mining town. Steeped in history, 79% of the town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Grab a bite to eat at one of Galena’s renowned restaurants before you check in to your accommodation. Check out the official visitors guide for ideas on things to do and sites to see, such as historic sites, outdoor activities, tours, art galleries/studios, and more!

#GalenaCountry by the numbers

Discover more to love about Galena Country

It doesn’t take a mathlete to know that there are numerous reasons to fall in love with Galena Country. Here are just a few fun numbers to note and explore on your next visit to this historical mecca of the Midwest.

One-of-a-kind restaurants
Come hungry. With more than 57 unique dining opportunities, you’ll want to create a ‘restaurant bucket-list’ for future visits! Partake in an intimate dining experience at the ‘chef’s table’ or take in the views while perched along the bluffs of the mighty Mississippi River. Either way, this vacation dinner date is one you’ll never forget.


More golf courses than stop lights
Unlike most of Illinois, this captivating location is lush with rolling hills and stunning waterways, making it an ideal location for not one – but nine gorgeous golf courses. Hit them all and fine-tune your techniques with 189 birdie opportunities throughout Galena Country.

Lucious Wineries 
Appreciate the craft of wine-making with a taste and tour of Galena Country’s award-winning wineries. Whether you visit one or all four, you’re sure to discover flavors and pairings that will be the talk of your next dinner party!


Shopper’s Paradise
Whether shopping for yourself or gifting, one thing is for sure – the unique shopping experience that Galena Country has to offer is like no other! Have a blast treasure hunting in more than 135 independently owned boutiques!

The most popular vacation destination in Illinois
In early 2019, Cosmopolitan named Galena, IL the most popular vacation destination in the state! “A small town with a lot of heart, Galena is known for its charming 19th-century buildings and proximity to skiing, hiking, zip lining and anything else you want to do to get out of the city for a change.”


Calling all Anglers
Throw in a line to catch a variety of six different species of fish! Boasting two lakes and three rivers, there’s no shortage of fishing opportunities here.

It’s gorgeous here
For real. All. Year. Round. With an average temperature of 83 degrees in the summer and 36 inches of snowfall in the winter, not only is the area immersed in beauty but also abundant in outdoor adventure! Ski, paddle, hike, bike or zip-line your way through Galena Country!


11 Amazing Locations
#GalenaCountry is home to 11 distinct cities, towns and villages, offering infinite opportunities for memory making! Take the scenic route and venture off to explore Galena, East Dubuque, Elizabeth, Stockton, Warren, Apple River, Scales Mound, Nora, Menominee, Hanover, and Woodbine.

The first step in planning your vacation is booking your stay and browsing through the official 2019 Visitor’s Guide.  

What’s New in Galena Country?

What’s fresh and new in Galena Country?
A quaint, yet bustling community loaded with entrepreneurs — one can only expect remarkable and innovative shops and attractions. Start planning and add these exciting stops to the ‘vacation bucket list’:

Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater – Experience fine dining and exceptional entertainment in a unique Supper Club atmosphere. Enjoy a 3-course dinner downtown Galena on the Historic Main Street, while professional entertainers swoon you with comedic and musical performances.

Anchors & Arrows – This family owned, small-town treasure features home decor and functions as a hair salon. Find re-purposed, up-cycled, antiques and primitives, gifts and more!

Ashton Hill Farm – Coming soon! This beautiful indoor/outdoor wedding venue opens in spring 2020, located next to Galena Gateway Park. With sweeping views of the Galena countryside, the custom-built barn has been carefully designed to capture the essential elements of successful entertaining.

Beautifully Berkeley Bouquets & Home – An intimate florist and home décor shop combining the beauty of nature and home décor. Talented florists work with brides near and far to create custom wedding features.

Chris McBrien – Galena’s Psychic, Medium & Shaman – Chris is a fully trained shaman, psychic and medium who offers individual and group readings privately as well as small or large group special events.

The Spoon Carver Cottage, Artisan Studio & Gallery – Paul Pendola is a Galena-based green woodworking artist specializing in hand-carved wooden spoons, spatulas, and other hand-crafted kitchen accompaniments.

Jane Marie Boutique – Situated downtown Elizabeth, this boutique features the latest fashion trends for women in clothing, shoes, and accessories at affordable prices for all ages.

Joint Photography Adventures – From beginner to expert, everyone has something to learn. Joint Photography Adventures provides instruction to ensure that clients leave with incredible images and new skills

The Kindred Spirit Integrative Health and Well Spa – Enjoy organic body treatments, detoxifying foot soaks, facials, massage therapy, reflexology, Reiki, and wellness classes.

La Luna – Locally crafted jewelry, essential oils, handmade soaps, organic lotions, beautiful crystals, tiny air plants, and succulents are just a few of the one-of-a-kind things you’ll discover.

Millennium Bar & Marina – Tucked away in a slough in East Dubuque, Millennium Bar & Marina brings its style of home cooking to the  Mississippi River. Not only will you find great food but they offer specialty drinks, entertainment, and Kayak rentals!

Original Goat Yoga, Galena – Goat Yoga is about disconnecting from day-to-day stress and focusing on happiness. It’s part yoga, part animal-assisted therapy featuring goats that may jump on your back or snuggle up, while you perfect your pose.

Pinder Massage Therapy – Joe Pinder is a licensed massage therapist offering professional therapeutic massage, sports massage, relaxation, deep tissue release massage therapy, and stress relief.

Pudgy’s – This family-run hot dog stand, serves authentic Chicago Style Hot Dogs, homemade Chicago Style Italian Beef, ‘nearly world famous’ Pudgy Fries, various homemade salads and fresh squeezed lemonade.

Serendipity – Serendipity of Galena carries everything from puzzles, lazy onesie pajama sets, games, fun greeting cards, and an expanded knife and dagger section. They even have a rubber duck tree!

Silver Spoon Restaurant – Located on the beautiful Mississippi River backwaters, this restaurant serves elevated comfort food in an upscale, yet casual, modern atmosphere.

Terrapin Orchards – Terrapin Orchards showcases six different varieties of apples and four acres of pick-your-own strawberries. Fun for the whole family!

The Red Goat Store – Here, you will find a little bit of everything! From Lucky Charms marshmallows to naughty paper pads to the best Bloody mary mix one will ever taste!

Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary – This 409-acre Bird Sanctuary is Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation‘s newest preserve. Explore more than six miles of trails and search for more than 100 unique bird species that call it home.

Let the planning begin with the 2019 Traveler’s Guide! Book lodging direct by clicking here, and contact galena@visitgalena.org to fine-tune your #GalenaCountry travels.

 

8 Ways to Host an Eco-Friendly Wedding in Galena Country

Even small changes can make a big impact.

Protecting the environment is important! With new technologies and innovations, eco-friendly finds are now more accessible than ever. Share your love for the environment with a ‘green wedding’ in #GalenaCountry.

1. Green Wedding Locations

One of the best ways to cut down on energy is to get married outdoors, where mother nature can provide gorgeous lighting and a comfortable breeze. Those planning to elope or host a small wedding may want to consider Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages, Cloran Mansion, Galena Brewing Company or Jail Hill Inn. All gorgeous locations with unique details for an intimate event.

AuClair at Ramada Galena Hotel & Day Spa can accommodate those with a longer guest list. This stunning venue features hair and make-up preparations, lodging, ceremony/reception space and is minutes from Galena’s historic Main Street.

Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages

2. Guest Lodging

Encourage guests to ‘go green’ and book accommodations at these following properties (in addition to above):
Aldrich Guest House – 900 3rd Street (815)-777-3323
Alice’s Snyder House Bed & Breakfast – 1000 3rd Street (815)-281-2336
Annie Wiggins Guest House – 1004 Park Avenue (815)-777-0336
Augustus Chetlain Home & Log Cabin Guest House – 11661 W Chetlain Lane (815) 777-4777
Belle Aire Mansion Guest House – 11410 US Hwy 20 W (815)-777-0893
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson – 11334 Oldenburg Lane (800)-456-4000
Farmers Guest House – 334 Spring Street (815)-777-3456

Aldrich Guest House photo by @bonoraf

3. Wear Again Clothing

Think twice about wedding attire for the wedding party, parents and grandparents. Choose to wear a family heirloom gown or suit, and select dresses for the bridesmaids that can be worn to another event – they will thank you for it! Parents and grandparents can wear something they already own or select something that won’t collect dust in the closet. Find many wear-again options at I do Bridal in Galena!

Photo by: @megmcmillin_

4. Edible Favors

Weddings are loaded with love. Between the wedded couple, parents, guests… it’s certainly something to celebrate! Of course, you want to thank everyone for sharing the excitement and offering support in this new chapter. A lovely and tasty way to show thanks is by treating everyone to delectable favors from Chocolat 229. With different shapes, colors and flavors, these beautiful chocolates will add color and flavor to the table!

5. Spread the love

Decorating a wedding with organic, locally grown flowers are always in style! With lovely picturesque backgrounds in #GalenaCountry, flowers only add to the already present beauty. What happens after the wedding? Surely you can gift some flowers to family and friends, preserve the couples’ arrangements, but what about the rest? One thoughtful idea may be to take them to the local nursing home or hospital to create some smiles and brighten days.

6. Eco-Friendly Appetizers

Purchase food from eco-friendly businesses like Galena River Wine & Cheese. With an exceptional assortment of meats, cheeses, wine & beer, it’s likely you’ll find a reason to purchase a tray or two for more than just the ‘big day’. While tasting and selecting for the event, order yourself a gourmet grilled cheese. Yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds.

7. Gifting

It’s no secret that Galena Country is home to extraordinary shopping, especially on the Helluva Half Mile. It’s likely that during the wedding planning process, you’ll need to purchase a thoughtful gift for the wedding party, parents, grandparents… yourself? Gift options are available at any of the above locations as well as these ‘green participants’: Noty Kity, Outside the Lines and River Bend Gallery.

8. Honeymoon in #GalenaCountry

After the big day – take some time for yourselves! Stay, explore, relax and enjoy each other. Perhaps check out one of the other eco-friendly lodging properties and start a new tradition!

Start planning today, click here to download the 2019 Visitors Guide or contact galena@visitgalena.org for more information.

Guys Getaway: Top Must-Do Experiences in Galena Country

Relax and recharge with the guys.

Whether you’re prepping for a guy’s trip, bachelor party, solo getaway, or a father-son vacation, here are a few experiences you don’t want to skip on your trip to Galena Country.

Outdoor Adventure

Home to twenty parks and trails, Galena Country offers hiking, biking, and cross country skiing opportunities for all levels of skill. For those interested in cycling, the Galena River Trail is 8.8 miles (one way) of hard-surfaced trail showcasing views of the Galena and Mississippi Rivers. Beginning in downtown Galena, the trail officially ends at the intersection with South River Road at Aiken. Users may continue on lightly traveled South River Road to reach the base of Chestnut Mountain Resort. The resort offers free chair lift rides for cyclists wishing to visit the resort restaurants or amenities at the top of the slope.

Bird enthusiasts will want to check out the Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary in Stockon. Featuring more than 100 bird species and 6.6 miles of mowed trails, you’ll get exercise and birding all in one! Photography aficionados, journey to Horseshoe Mound Preserve in Galena and Gramercy Park in East Dubuque, both starring incredible views of Galena Country.

Long Hollow Canopy Tours is a thrilling group experience, zip lining through the trees at speeds up to 40 mph! This 2 1/2 hour tour begins with a UTV ride through the woods and finishes with a rappel or quick jump from the trees! Take your adventures to the water with a canoe or kayak and voyage down the Galena River. Paddleboards, bicycles, and e-bikes are also available to rent at Fever River Outfitters.

On the hunt

Spend the day hunting pheasant with experienced guides at River Valley Hunting in Scales Mound. Choose from one of five courses or a tower shoot! Fine-tune your fishing skills with a guided fly fishing experience through Galena Fly Fishing Outfitters. While in Scales Mound, grab a cold one and bite to eat at the South Side Hornet Pub & Grille or head over to Warren and check out Pecatonica Beer Company Tap House or Hixters Bar and Grill.

Hit the greens

Nine amazing courses to choose from, not sure where to start out? Try warming up on one of two 9-hole courses at Lacoma Golf Course (feel free to complete the full 45 while you’re there). Work up to the world-championship level courses and take on The General at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa. Quench your thirst in East Dubuque at Millennium Bar & Marina or dine with a view at Timmerman’s Supper Club.

Order a round

Tour the Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. and kick back in the leather tasting room – it’s pretty incredible! Craft beer lovers, check out Galena Brewing Co. for a flight, bite and tour. You’ll likely leave both places with new bar stock, apparel and great memories!

Hit the town

Main Street Galena is loaded with remarkable shops, restaurants, and nightlife. From haunted pub crawls and tours to a magic theater and live music, everyone is sure to have a great time!

Stay a while

Whether you’re interested in a Resort with amenities or lodging in the heart of town, Galena Country has something to accommodate a couple of guys or your whole clan. Start planning the 2019 guys getaway today!

Eat like a local: Top places to enjoy a Friday Fish Fry in Galena Country

A mouth-watering tradition.

The classic fish fry usually includes several pieces of fried fish, paired with some type of potato and salad or coleslaw. There’s nothing better to wash down fried fish than an ice-cold, locally brewed beer.

Check out these Friday fish fries, just a sampling of the many great places to eat in Galena Country.

Galena
Paradise Bar & Grill – 205 N Main Street (815) 777-3245
Emmy Lou’s – 11347 Oldenburg Lane (815) 777-4732

Stockton
JJ & Freddies – 211 W North Avenue (815) 947-2798
Stella’s Cafe & Catering – 100 N Main Street (815) 947-2080

Elizabeth
Jug’s Main Street Tap
– 200 N Main Street (815) 858-3333
Small Town Saloon – 111 N Main Street (815) 858-9111

East Dubuque
JM’s Tap – 7625 N Menominee Road (815) 747-7730

Apple River
Sidetrack Inn -102 W Railroad Street (815)-594-2278 (year-round)

Hanover
Charlie’s Place – 213 Jefferson Street (815) 591-3501

Be sure to call ahead, the Friday Fish Fry is often a special that restaurants offer for a limited time, typically March-April.

Enjoy delicious fried fish year-round at the following restaurants:

Galena
Green Street Tavern 
– 230 S Main Street (815) 777-0090

East Dubuque
Taste Country Roadhouse 
– 14877 US Hwy 20 W (815) 747-6656

Elizabeth
Cajun Jack’s 
– 1336 US Hwy 20 W (815) 858-3535

Galena
The Market House 
– 204 Perry Street (815) 777-0690

Stockton
Checo’s Family Restaurant & Pizzeria –  642 S Main Street (815) 947-3240

Faith Based Itinerary – Three Day Visit to Galena Country

Plan a trip to Galena Country and connect spiritually through a tour of some beautifully designed churches built in the 1800s! Appreciate the history of the area by exploring museums, historic sites, and discover the beautiful campus at the nearby Sinsinawa Mound.

DAY ONE

Arrive in Galena, perhaps by lunchtime, and enjoy a light meal at the Historic DeSoto House Hotel. After lunch, head up to Bench Street to visit some historic churches in Galena just 4 blocks apart.

The First Presbyterian Church (1838) is the oldest Protestant church building in the Old Northwest Territory; featuring local limestone, Belgian stained-glass, and original pews/furniture. Next, stop by the First United Methodist Church (1859) and visit the church that Ulysses S. Grant attended while living in Galena. It’s the oldest Methodist church in Northern IL, contains 12 historic stained-glass windows, and an 1880’s Moline Pipe Organ. Finish your church tour on Bench Street at St. Michael’s Catholic Church (1863), designed by the area’s most prominent religious leader, Father Samuel Mazzuchelli. It is a Romanesque Revival style and has no pillars due to the wooden trusses.

Check into your lodging and freshen up for your evening dinner at one of many great restaurants along Main Street.

DAY TWO

Option 1
Enjoy your morning breakfast and the head to Sinsinawa Mound for a guided tour of two exhibits, the Mazzuchelli Museum & Heritage of the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. Your guide will take you into the Queen of the Rosary Chapel featuring biblical stories told in exquisite stained glass. Finish your tour with a buffet lunch in the dining room, allowing time to visit the Book & Gift Gallery, where you’ll find delicious homemade baked goods and many other treasures.

Make your way back to Galena to explore Historic Main Street, rich with shopping opportunities, or enjoy a mid-afternoon narrated trolley tour. Dinner possibilities might include overlooking the Mississippi River Valley at Chestnut Mountain Resort or dinner and a show at Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater.

Option 2
Start your morning at Sinsinawa Mound and if you choose to skip the buffet lunch, you might like to head over to East Dubuque for a meal at Timmerman’s Supper Club. Revel in delectable food and an incredible view as you dine among the bluffs along Mississippi River backwaters.

Journey back to Galena for a tour of the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum featuring the history of local geography, mining and riverboat booms, general commerce, and Galena’s war-time related items. After the tour, take in the 19th-century charm with a leisurely stroll along Main Street before dinner.

DAY THREE

Top off your trip to Galena with a visit to the Ulysses S. Grant Home (a National Historic Landmark), learn about the Grant family and appreciate the time-period design and furniture. After your tour, head back over to Main Street to further explore before heading back home. Enjoy shopping, an early lunch, tastings, or a trolley tour. Wherever your faith-based adventure takes you, there are memories to be made in #GalenaCountry!