Summer 2018

Top places to dine outside in Galena Country

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!

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.