Tips

Local Love in Galena Country

It’s true. We can’t change this unprecedented time, but if we spend it right, it can change us. In Galena Country, we know the importance of taking time for the things that matter most. It’s what unites us all. As locals, we know that what has inspired people to visit Galena Country for generations has always been our own little paradise. While most attractions, non-essential stores, and bars temporarily are closed to the public, there are other inspiring alternatives available. Possibilities that allow us to come together as a community and support each other as well as enjoy our surroundings while keeping our distance. 

Fresh Air & Healing Nature

Even with social distancing measures in place, you can still be responsibly active outdoors. Spend time enjoying conservation areas, hiking trails, and parks that aren’t busy. While playground equipment is temporarily closed, your kids will appreciate the change in scenery and a fun walk or bike ride each day is a great outlet for them. Take-in stunning views of Galena Country from Horseshoe Mound Preserve, while you walk the trails. Grab your pup and head down the Galena River Trail to the Buehler Preserve where you can stretch your legs and play fetch. Pack your binoculars for a morning birding expedition to the Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary. Enjoy a trek in the prairie at the Wapello Reserve or learn about native trees on an exciting self-guided tour at Schurmeier Teaching Forest. Take in majestic views of the Mighty Mississippi River at Casper Bluff or at Gramercy Park … just stop and stare for a while. Our area has just what you need to recharge your soul! Otherwise, join the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation on Facebook for their nature-related, educational Facebook Live events from the comfort of your home.

Scenic Drives

Galena Country boasts breathtaking scenery year-round. This is a perfect time to play “I spy” as you drive through the countryside interspersed with neat farmsteads and hilly terrain dotted with cows. Long Hollow Scenic Overlook offers breathtaking views of the rolling countryside… a sight for sore eyes! Don’t miss this opportunity for a great selfie or family photo! For a longer drive on a road steeped in history, cruise onto the Historic Stagecoach Trail from Meeker Street in Galena. This gently curving and hilly two-lane road was established in the mid-1830s serving as the original stagecoach route between Galena and Chicago. Grab a deli-sandwich from Pat’s Country House Grocery in Scales Mound, and a healthy shake from Thriving Thistle Market in Apple River, along the way!

History Lessons

Now is a great time to immerse yourself in the history of this amazing community we call home! Galena Country is loaded with stories of yesteryear, making it a cultural cornerstone where past meets present. Visit the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum website, where you will find interesting facts about the nine generals who called Galena home, learn about the railroad connections and more! Discover the strong ties that Ulysses S. Grant history has to Galena with this fun interactive timeline. Stretch your legs and take a stroll through historic Grant Park where you’ll find the “Blakely of Grant Park,” which is the cannon that fired some of the first shots in the Battle of Fort Sumter and the “Napoleon,” commonly used in the Civil War. Perfect for a stroll and a book, Grant Park offers some of the best views in Galena Country! There’s, even more to this historically amazing destination! From the origins of Kraft Cheese to one of the earliest African-American churches in Illinois. Be sure to check out these historic sites once they are open again!

Online Shopping

We may not be able to visit the stores in person but we can show some love to the small business retailers in our neighborhood by shopping online. The following stores offer online shopping for your convenience… start filling those carts!

Gift Certificates

Are you looking for a unique gift for someone special in your life? Knock their socks off with a gift certificate for a journey in the sky with Galena on the Fly or a flight through the trees with Long Hollow Canopy Tours. How about a night or two at a cozy B&B or at a luxury resort? A romantic dinner for two at a fine dining restaurant will always be appreciated and a winery, brewery, or distillery tour is a really fun experience to gift someone. Purchasing a gift card from your favorite shop, artist or restaurant is an immediate way to put cash into the business.

Restaurant Curbside Pick up & Delivery

Keep calm and carryout! Many restaurants in the area are offering convenient curbside pick-up or delivery service to your home. This is a great way to experience the different flavors of Galena Country at the same time as supporting local restauranteurs at this difficult time. 

For a full list of offerings, visit Galena’s Dining at a Distance page.


But wait, that’s not all, you can pick up your favorite beverage too! Excited much? These fine establishments are waiting for your call:


Grocery Supplies

When you go out to grab your supplies, keep the small local businesses in mind, they may just have what you’re looking for whereas bigger chain stores run out of stock sooner.

Galena Brewing Co.: Open Tues-Fri.: 4-7 p.m. & Sat.: 12-7 p.m.
Hermanos Latinos II Mexican Store: 245 N. Main St., Galena. Open Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. & Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
La Unica Mexicana Grocery Store: 218 N. Commerce St., Galena. Open 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. daily
Pat’s Country House Grocery
Sullivans Foods: Open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily
Tammy’s Piggly Wiggly: Open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. daily
Walmart, Galena: Open 7 a.m.-8:30 p.m. daily

Spread the Local Love

Galena Country is known for its strong sense of community and pride in our area. Many of us may not be in the financial position to support local small businesses monetarily, but we can spread their awareness within our community.

  • This can be done by word of mouth
  • sharing on social media platforms
  • leaving positive reviews on Google, Yelp and social media

We will get through this together!

Please follow the important Galena Country information and updates on the COVID-19 situation, follow recommendations, restrictions and stay safe!

Experience Galena Country From Home

So, you’re following the recommendation of social distancing and you’re at home wishing you were on vacation in Galena Country. We get it! Never fear, there are ways for you to enjoy this destination right from the comfort of your home or if you’re close by, you can still enjoy it while keeping your distance.

Online Shopping

Have Galena Country delivered doorstep! Here is a list of businesses offering exciting online shopping for your convenience! Start filling those carts…


Gift Certificates

Are you looking for a unique gift for someone special in your life? Just a few ideas include… Knock their socks off with a gift certificate for a journey in the sky with Galena on the Fly or a flight through the trees with Long Hollow Canopy Tours. How about a night or two at a cozy B&B or at a luxury resort? A romantic dinner for two at a fine dining restaurant will always be appreciated and a winery, brewery, or distillery tour is a really fun experience to gift someone. Contact your favorite business in Galena Country to find out how you can purchase a gift certificate from them.

Curbside Pick up & Delivery

Are you driving through Galena Country? Take advantage of the convenient curbside pick-up or delivery service that many restaurants are offering during this time. For a full list of offerings, visit Galena’s Dining at a Distance page. But wait, that’s not all, you can pick up your favorite beverage too! Excited much? These fine establishments are waiting for your call:


Online Vacation Planning

A vacation may seem a little far-fetched right now but once you break free from the restrictions, you will be bursting for a well-deserved escape to Galena Country. While you have the time, let the planning begin. We’ve got you covered with heaps of digital information to inspire you! Check out the following links and get that itinerary going:

Fresh Air & Healing Nature

If you are close-by and need to escape the four walls, Galena Country has just what you need to recharge your soul! Take the kids to Horseshoe Mound Preserve for stunning views and experience the children’s adventure found there. Grab your pup and head down the Galena River Trail to the Buehler Preserve where you can both stretch your legs. Pack your binoculars for a morning birding expedition to the Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary. Enjoy a picnic in the prairie at the Wapello Reserve or learn about native trees on an exciting self-guided tour at Schurmeier Teaching Forest. Take in majestic views of the Mighty Mississippi River at Casper Bluff or at Gramercy Park … just stop and stare for a while. Otherwise, join the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation on Facebook for their nature-related, educational Facebook Live events from the comfort of your home.

Horseshoe Mound Preserve

Please follow the important Galena Country information and updates on the COVID-19 situation, follow recommendations, restrictions and stay safe!

How to have a green vacation in Galena Country

Galena Country 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 it’s 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?

Reduce your carbon footprint by parking your car and pedaling insteadFever River Outfitters and Nuts Outdoors make it easy to explore by bicycle with regular and electric bike rentals, perfect for conquering hills and long distances.

Bike from shop-to-shop on Galena’s Historic Main Street, pedal across the pedestrian bridge to Ulysses S. Grant’s Home, reconnect with nature on a ride along the Galena River Trail, or journey to an award-winning vineyard or cruise through a historic cemetery.

Enjoy beverages made from locally sourced ingredients. Get to Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. and Galena Brewing Co. for some tasty craft spirits and beer. Both companies brew and distill their product on-site. Nearly all of the grain used comes from Illinois and the spent grain is enjoyed as a treat by cows and sheep at local farms.

Many Galena Country businesses are part of a new Green Designation certification program whereby owners have taken measures to ensure that they are operating in the green and must fulfill the required criteria, as determined by the committee. Here is a list of these businesses:


Designated Green Lodging:


Designated Green Restaurants:

Galena Juicery and Meal Prep, Inc.
Thriving Thistle Market & Bistro

Designated Green Retail Stores:

Chocolat’ 229
Galena Brewing Company
Galena River Wine & Cheese
New Earth Animals
Noty Kity Galena
Outside the Lines Gallery
River Bend Gallery

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 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?

There’s no shortage of EV chargers in Galena Country, 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 the 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 the 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 the 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 the front desk.

Relax, knowing that you have reduced your carbon footprint!

For more information on what to do and see during your “Green Vacation”, browse the latest Galena Country Visitors Guide. 

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.

 



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.

 

 

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 paw-some behavior 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:

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
Rocky Waters Vineyard & Winery

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

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.