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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: @mitchandrachelvisuals

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

It’s that time of year again… everyone is focusing on their New Year’s Resolutions. We’re guessing that one of them involves exercise. Here’s a list of fitness facilities to help you stick to your goal while visiting 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.

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!

2019 is heating up in Galena Country!

The air is cold but Galena Country is heating up with these exciting events coming up! Explore writing skills, savor good food and local beer, sip on whiskey, plan your wedding, enjoy winter activities and be a spectator at fun winter sport events!

The Galena LitFest  

Jan. 5-19
This festival, for readers and writers, is back for the fifth year. Brush up on your skills at various free writers’ workshops, have brunch with “Elizabeth Barrett Browning” and dine with award-winning indie author, Heather Bentley as well as New York Times bestselling author and humorist, Micheal Perry.

 

Beer Pairing Dinner at Galena Brewing Company

Jan.18
Seated in the beer cellar of the Galena Brewing Company, savor a 4-course meal together with beer parings, alongside new beers that are happily fermenting at your side. Ask your hosts those beer related questions you have always wanted to ask, and learn more about the beer making process during this unique experience.

 

Galena Whiskey Weekend

Jan. 26
Cheers to liquid sunshine! Sip on more than 175 whiskeys in the historic Turner Hall, a treasured gathering place by the citizens of Galena for more than 125 years, just steps away from the Helluva Half Mile. Ticket’s include heavy hors d’oeuvres and a Glencairn keepsake glass.

 

Illinois Special Olympics – Winter Games 

Feb. 5-7
Cheer on more than 400 athletes as they go for the gold in Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing at Chestnut Mountain Resort! Athletes from around the state will compete in this 3-day event, which kicks off with an opening ceremony and parade in downtown Galena. Don’t miss the fireworks display after the parade.

 

Winter Carnival Weekend

Feb. 15-17
Have “snow” much fun with the whole family while making cherishable memories. Warm up in front of a cozy bonfire while watching a Hot Air Balloon Glow, play snow games, watch ice carving, sled on a 75-foot vertical drop, enjoy cross-country skiing or ice-skate on a 1.5-acre pond.

 

 

Beer Pairing Dinner at Galena Brewing Company

Feb.15
Seated in the beer cellar of the Galena Brewing Company, savor a 4-course meal together with beer parings, alongside new beers that are happily fermenting at your side. Ask your hosts those beer related questions you have always wanted to ask, and learn more about the beer making process during this unique experience.

 

Galena Bridal Fair

Feb. 16
Did you say “yes”? Visit the regions top wedding specialists at this bridal fair, taking place in the historic Turner Hall. Make your wedding dreams come true by taking care of all arrangements in one location and register for dozens of prizes.

Java, Chocolate & Champagne Stroll

Feb. 16
Galena is hosting their first Java, Chocolate & Champagne Stroll! Enjoy special treats as you stroll your way along Galena’s magical Main Street. The entire weekend has a Java, Chocolate & Champagne theme to it with specials and events sprinkled everywhere you go.

 

Annual Big Nut Open

Mar. 16-17
Get to Galena for some powder competition at Chestnut Mountain Resort! Ski and Snowboard athletes compete for honor and a cash prize in the Rail Jam, Slopestyle, and Big Air competitions. Chestnut Mountain perches high on a ridge overlooking the Mississippi River near the historic river port of Galena.

 

More events…

There’s always something going on in Galena Country! Stay up to date with what’s happening by following the events calendar on VisitGalena.org. Plan your visit around popular happenings such as The Great Galena Balloon RaceGalena Country Fair, Galena Halloween Parade and the Night of Luminaria and Living Windows. Be sure to book accommodation early!

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!

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.

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!

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 within the confines of a lifestyle boutique that offers the latest in fashion, accessories and home ware. 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 the Helluva Half Mile. 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 and sandwiches! 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.

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), while you fill up with gas 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 times comes and they will have cozy drinks to keep you going too!

Tag us in your cozy drink snaps and use #GalenaCountry so that we can share the warmth!

Naughty gifts for the naughty list this year – shop Galena Country!

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 lotion, lingerie, massage oils, accessories and more! If you want it, 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 satisfactions.

Nothing says naughty like a “whiskey made me do it” t-shirt from Blaum Bros Distilling Co. Visit the gift shop, pick up a comfy tee and some tasty spirits for that special devil 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 presents? Give them some cash to double at Nancy’s Slots in East Dubuque! This Gaming Cafe provides a relaxing and comfortable place to play slots free from noise and distractions of a crowded bar or busy restaurant. Who doesn’t like walking away with more cash?

Pic credit: Poopsie’s

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!

 

Pic credit: Galena Canning Co.

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!

Lets hope that next year, ‘they’ll be good… for goodness sake!’

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

No snow? No problem!
Mother Nature doesn’t always act according to the plan but no worries, here are a few activities for your adventure to 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. Barren trees give a clear view to all that nature has to offer. Gear up with boots, binoculars and your camera. It’s time 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 perfect combination with a local restaurant.

Tastings and Toastings
Regardless of the weather, wine and spirits are always a great idea! Massbach Ridge Winery and Galena Cellars both have tasting rooms located on the Helluva Half Mile, open year-round. For a more ‘scenic route’, take a drive out to Rocky Waters Vineyard where you can appreciate amazing views and great wine!

Let’s not forget about the Blaum Bros. Distilling Co., located minutes from Downtown Galena. Take a tour of the distillery, 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. Cheers!

Dinner and a Show
One of Galena’s newest additions is Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater. Experience fine dining and exceptional entertainment in a unique Supper Club atmosphere. 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!

Whether indoors or outdoors, #GalenaCountry is plentiful with cold-weather adventures and memories to be made.

Shopping for Foodies in Galena Country

Credit: @adventurebrent

Everyone has a few foodies in their lives and Galena Country is just the place to find them that perfect Christmas gift… from treats and gourmet foods to the best kitchen accessories and gadgets, guaranteed to inspire anyone to get into the kitchen.

Here’s a guide on where to find your foodie gifts:

Chocolat’ 229
Find the ideal gift of sweet indulgence right here. Featuring an exceptional collection of European chocolates imported from Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland.

Galena Canning Co.
Choose from award-winning Chef Ivo’s locally made old-fashioned jams, jellies, salsa, BBQ sauces, Hot Sauce Emporium and more! There are samples galore for you to test, gift baskets to choose from and custom gift crates.

Galena Garlic
What foodie doesn’t love garlic! Naturally grown gourmet garlic, gourmet chef blends, rubs, aged balsamic, and the worlds freshest olive oil. Create your own gift basket to suit any need or taste.

Galena’s Kandy Kitchen
Here you’ll find a wide variety of homemade confections made the old-fashioned way on site. You’ll find every kind of candy you can think of.

Galena River Wine & Cheese
Give the gift of gourmet foods from this extensive selection of wines, beers, cheeses, sausages, pates, coffees, specialty foods. Free olive oil/balsamic vinegar tasting.

Grateful Gourmet
A cook’s paradise! This specialty food & kitchenware store features bakeware, cookware, specialty foods and locally roasted coffee. All kinds of kitchen gadgets, some necessary, some just fun!

Great American Popcorn Co.
Your foodie will love you for this! More than 50 gourmet popcorn flavors made on premises. You will also find a variety of homemade gourmet popcorn flavors, fudge, ice cream, chocolates & candies!

Mean Bean Coffee Roasters
Get them a caffeine fix and customize it too! This in-house coffee roaster creates custom blends and allows you to name it. How cool!

Pasta Perfetta
Oodles of noodles! Find loads of different flavors and shapes of pasta from around the world in this store. A wide variety of shapes and many specialty noodles. Several gluten free and vegan options too.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Sweeten your foodie up with a wide variety of fudge and chocolate made on site! Watch delicious treats being made on the spot. Famous for giant chocolate chip cookies dipped in chocolate. Yum!

Root Beer Revelry
Grab a selection of imported root beer from all over the nation. This old-fashioned root beer shop serves this historic beverage in bottles and on tap, so treat yourself at the same time!

Spice & Tea Merchants
Spice up their lives with this great variety of quality herbs and spices! Spice merchants comb the world for the freshest and highest quality spices available. A bonus is a large selection of delicious teas.

Sweet Alice’s
Grab a bag of gummy candies, licorice, wax bottles and more at this delightful candy store with an Alice in Wonderland theme to it. The professionally made and designed chocolates from their kitchen is sure to be a hit!

For the ultimate foodie experience, give the gift of a delicious meal with a gift certificate from one of Galena Country’s dining establishments. From cozy bistros to fine dining restaurants, you are sure to find just the right fit.

Insider’s guide to vacationing with your dog in Galena Country

Who’ll let the dogs in?

Are you looking to plan a pet-centric holiday in Galena Country? Don’t know where to start?… no worries, we’ve sniffed out pet-friendly spots for you. Fur’real!

Accommodations

First… you need to find a place to rest Fido’s furry head. Here’s a list of pet-friendly bed and breakfasts, hotels and vacation homes where he’ll feel like the top dog.

A Great Escape
Augustus Chetlain Home and Log Cabins
Belle Aire Mansion Guest House
Country Inn & Suites, Stockton 
Cloran Mansion & Antonio’s Cottage
Galena Log Cabin Getaway
Galena Escapes
Galena Cellars Vineyard Lodging
Galena Reservations Inc.
Goldmoor Inn
Grant Hills Motel
Le Fevre Inn & Resort
Marcotte’s Family Motel
Peaceful Pines
Quality Inn East Dubuque
Rosebud Rentals
Stoney Creek Inn

Outdoor Fun

With its scenic surroundings and spectacular views, many pet-parents flock to Galena Country with their four-legged sidekicks for a much-needed getaway to nature!

If your pooch likes to ruff it, he’ll love the nature preserve hiking trails where he can climb, scamper and in some cases, even swim. If he’s more of an ambler, pick up a picnic basket from Galena River Wine and Cheese for yourself and some treats from New Earth Animals for Fido… then head to one of the parks for a leisurely stroll. Don’t forget to check the leash laws.

Apple River Canyon State Park
Buehler Preserve
Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve
Chestnut Mountain Resort Trails
Galena Gateway Park
Galena River Trail
Gramercy Park
Grant Park
Horseshoe Mound Preserve
Schurmeier Teaching Forest
Wapello Land & Water Preserve
Winston Tunnel State Natural Area

Pet-Friendly Stores

Shopping with your pup, how doggone fun does that sound?! Throw a leash on Fido, remind him to put on his best behaviour and hit Galena’s Helluva Half Mile. This historic main street, boasts more than 125 independently-owned storefronts. Many welcome pets, which we’ve listed below…

At Home in Galena 114 S. Main Street
Beyond the Horizon 125 S. Main Street
Carlotta’s Studio 120 N. Main Street
Country Crafts & Sports 113 S. Main Street
Dream Catcher  204 S. Main Street
Dreams Boutique 122 N. Main Street
Earth’s Treasures 102 S. Main Street
Ethyl’s   225 S. Main Street
Eureka  305 S. Main Street
Fever River Outfitters 525 S. Main Street
For Bare Feet 120 S. Main Street
From Head to Toe Sportswear 302 S. Main Street
Galena Cellars Wine Tasting Room 515 S. Main Street
Gabby’s Gifts 117 S. Main St
Galena Garlic Company 311 S. Main Street
Galena Tees 119 N. Main Street
Gustafson & Grey, Ltd. 301 S. Main Street
Honest John’s Emporium 108 N. Main Street
Honest John’s Trading Post 130 S. Main Street

La Vie en Rose 115 N. Main Street
New Earth Animals 224 S. Main Street
Peace of the Past 217 N. Main Street
Petals & Primitives 111 S. Main Street
Poopsie’s 403 S. Main Street
Red’s Iron Yard & Wholesale Barn 308 S. Main Street
Rustic River Finds 109 N. Main Street
Simply Elegant Boutique 200 S. Main Street
Serendipity of Galena 108 S. Main Street
Something Special 109 S. Main Street
Strawberry Lane 103 S. Main Street
Union Leather 221 S. Main Street
Vignettes of Galena 107 N. Main Street
Wild Birds Unlimited 206 S. Main Street
Wooden Wardrobe 208 N. Main Street
You Gotta Be Kidding 119 S. Main Street

Treat your best friend to a yummy treat from New Earth Animals for his pawsome behaviour on your shopping trip. Bon A-pet-treat Fido! Maybe you can pick out a new outfit for him at the same time?

Art Galleries/Studios

Does Fido have an artistic streak? Okay, maybe you do? Fur-tunately, these galleries and studios on Main Street welcome pets:

Mangelsen Images of Nature Gallery 421 S. Main Street
Outside the Lines Art Gallery 101 S. Main Street
Pinder Pottery 236 N. Main Street
River Bend Gallery 313 S. Main Street
Skidmore Art Gallery 319 S. Main Street

Skidmore Art Gallery offers thirsty four-legged travelers a refreshing drink just outside the gallery. Speaking of drinks… by this time the thirsty human should need one after a long day of exploring. Stop in at Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape for a specialty martini, glass of wine or a beer with Fido at your side. If you’re hungry, they serve appetizers, sandwiches and more. Tip: The local VFW in Hanover will allow your pooch to sit at the bar with you too!

Spa Day

It’s time to pamper your pooch with a rub down, a paw-dicure or a full makeover! Doggie Do’s & New Earth Animals Grooming will take great care of your furry friend. While you wait, why not treat yourself to a spa treatment of your own at one of Galena Country’s full-service spa’s. If you absolutely MUST visit a few places that do not allow pets, Doggie Do’s also offers a daycare service where Fido can meet other four-legged travelers and exchange travel stories.

Vineyard Outing

Award-winning wineries that welcome pets? Hot diggety dog – let’s go! Enjoy a delicious glass of wine with a scenic view. A great time for you and Fido to paws and reflect!

Fergedaboudit Vineyard & Winery
Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery
Massbach Ridge Winery
Rocky Waters Vineyard & Winery

Start planning your paw-fect getaway to #GalenaCountry and book your stay!

Take the scenic route – fall colors in Galena Country

The air is cool, with just a little nip to let us know a new season is at hand. The leaves are tinged with red, brown and gold as they slowly desert their branches to create an attractive mosaic of color below. What better way to watch this transformation of nature called fall, than to take a drive through Galena Country.

Before you get started… take a stroll amongst historic cannons and monuments in Grant Park. This will definitely set the tone for the rest of your trip. With the heart of Galena as your backdrop, watch leaves dance their way to the carpeted ground and listen to the crunchy footsteps that you take. Cross the pedestrian bridge to downtown Galena and don’t forget to look back at the beauty left behind.

Ready to hit the road? Let’s go…

HelluvaHalfMile:

Head north down the historic Main Street of Galena, otherwise known as the HelluvaHalfMile. This main attraction is lined with more than 125 shops and restaurants, one after the next. There are no chain stores here. It’s all about the unique, local independent shops and beautifully preserved red brick buildings that date back to Galena’s days as a booming 1800’s lead mining town. Steeped in history, 75% of the town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Stagecoach Trail

At the end of Main Street, continue on to the historic Stagecoach Trail via Field St. This road follows the original Galena-Chicago stagecoach route, passing scenic farms and near the highest point of Illinois. This pleasant, winding drive will take you through valleys dotted with small farms and dairy cows.

The road, framed by a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges and yellows passes the Galena Cellars Winery & Vineyard, a great stopping point. Turn left onto Ford Road and follow the signs. Here you can relax on the comfortable wrap-around deck of the charming farmhouse turned tasting room, and soak in the gorgeous fall colors of the vineyards.

Council Hill Station:

Leaving Galena Cellars, turn left onto N. Ford Road and continue as the road veers to the right onto N. Hill Road, leading you to Council Hill Station on the right. This is a unique and historic 1850’s general store and railway station which has been transformed into a watering hole and music venue. Ruins of a woolen mill, barn and silo also sit on the property.

Apple River:

From Council Hill Station, journey onto W. Council Road. This road will lead back to Stagecoach Trail and the Town of Apple River. This town was established by the Illinois Central Railroad in 1854. Surrounded by dairy farms and corn fields, a must stop is the Thriving Thistle Market. This little gem offers freshly baked bread, pizza, burgers, smoothies and more! Most ingredients are grown in their own backyard.

Warren:

Continue traveling east on Stagecoach Trail until you reach the town of Warren, named after Warren Burnett, the son of Alexander Burnett who was the founder. 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 Pecatonica Valley.

Apple River Canyon State Park:

From Warren, take Route 78 south and turn right onto E. Canyon Road. This road leads you to the Apple River Canyon State Park, featuring limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and plenty wildlife. Brace yourself for a feast of fall colors. Step out, gather a heap of leaves and throw them in the air for the perfect Instagram shot.

Elizabeth:

Exit the park on Scout Camp Road traveling south. When you reach Highway 20, travel west towards Elizabeth and Galena. You will travel through beautiful country scenery as the road swirls and winds its way to Elizabeth. Sit back, relax and enjoy the view of the multi-color magic that surrounds you. Speaking of views… a perfect way to experience the wonders of fall is to overnight at The View Motel in Elizabeth. Soak up the beautiful countryside scenery that this motel overlooks. While you are here, visit the Black Hawk War landmark called Apple River Fort State Historic Site for an intriguing history lesson. If you are into antiques, don’t miss the Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Co., a 28.000 sq. ft., antique mall that is sure to have what you are looking for.

From here, your drive back to Galena is only a 15-minute drive, so make the most of the last bit of golden hues, vivid pinks, red and crispy earthen browns – a tapestry of fall.

Bonus – Blackjack Road: Just in case you didn’t get enough color under your belt, here is a bonus drive for you…

From Galena, take Route 20 eastwards and turn right onto Blackjack Road. This rural road twists and turns, offering breathtaking views, many of which are of the beautiful Mississippi River Valley. This is a perfect road for a motorcycle ride. There are many pull off spots for picture taking along the way. You will find Chestnut Mountain Resort nestled amongst the hills. This resort boasts an array of amenities, accommodation and activities, but the views are what are so impressive. Sit on their outdoor deck perched high on a bluff overlooking the Upper Mississippi River Valley – here you will find all of the fall color that your heart desires.