Bill and I just got back from a glorious weekend in Galena where we had lots to celebrate: our 38th wedding anniversary (where have the years gone?), me finishing rehab on my new knee and our commitment to a healthier lifestyle! We christened all three with an exhilarating bike ride on the Galena River Trail. Yep, this bionic woman rode 8.8 pain-free miles. By the end of the ride, we were both starving, of course. We didn’t have to go far to find something to eat as the end of the trail leads right into the Chestnut Mountain Resort. We hopped on the chairlift and took a scenic ride up to the patio of the Sunset Grille, and wow—the views overlooking the Mississippi River Valley were breathtaking! And the food? Just as amazing as the view. With so much to do it was hard to pick our next stop, but since we’re both history buffs, we settled on the Ulysses S. Grant Home. We loved it as it was a fascinating trip back in time, and we even got to experience where Grant was when he found out he was elected 18th President of the U.S. Galena was the perfect spot for this very special weekend and I hope we can return again soon!
Since I love to shop and Mike loves the outdoors, Galena was the perfect choice for our romantic weekend getaway. We checked into the historic Goldmoor B&B, tucked high above the banks of the Mississippi River and couldn’t believe how gorgeous our room was! A four-poster bed with luxury bedding and our very own fireplace. Exactly what we needed. Dinner at the Goldmoor was divine and we both agreed that this might be the perfect spot for a wedding. We woke up early Saturday morning as I couldn’t wait to start shopping along Galena’s Historic Main Street. It’s my version of paradise with boutiques, antique shops and cozy cafés nestled in original buildings from the 1800s.
After browsing just about every shop, it was time for lunch and there was no argument where—sushi. We ate up a storm at Little Tokyo, eating enough decadent sushi to fuel up for our next adventure, stand-up paddle boarding. Fever River Outfitters recommended the casual paddle on the historic Galena River, which was both exhilarating and serene at the same time. Oh, how I wish we were still there, but we’ll be back soon... to plan our spring wedding!
Alex and I were in serious need of some bonding time and we’ve had our eye on Galena since our neighbors could not stop raving about this ‘so close yet so far away’ place. So we booked a last-minute trip and our first stop was Linmar Gardens, a breathtaking, secluded hamlet nestled on a hillside overlooking Galena. With each collection of stunning flowers we passed, I could literally feel the stress melt away. We marveled at the soothing sounds of the 20-foot waterfall and the sunken garden built into ancient ruins.
Wanting to take some stress relievers back home with us after our trip, we stopped into Galena Apothecary for some high-quality handcrafted soaps. After sniffing far too many brilliant aromas, I decided on a few bars that I’m sure will help us relax in the bath after a tough day at work. And just when we thought our weekend couldn’t get any better, we lifted off to new heights on a hot air balloon ride with Galena On The Fly. I was completely mesmerized as we drifted high above the rolling landscapes of the Galena countryside. It was so peaceful, I didn’t want it to end but the celebratory champagne toast and post-flight chocolates waiting for us made it a little easier to come back to earth. Take me back to Galena!
You guys won’t be surprised to hear this, but it’s really hard for me to leave home without my sweet boy Archie. Luckily, I was able to take him along on my big birthday trip (yep, I turned the big 4-0 last week). I heard from my dog park friends that Galena had a ton of pet-friendly places and man, they were right! We checked into our cozy room at the Stoney Creek Inn, a super pet-friendly spot—Archie immediately found his favorite spot right at the foot of the bed. Then we headed into town as I couldn’t wait to browse the galleries and studios on Main Street.
So many of them were as welcoming to Archie as they were to me, like Pinder Pottery, where I found a beautiful hand-thrown pitcher and matching set of bowls. We, of course, popped into New Earth Animals for a treat made right here in the USA. Then it was off to Rocky Waters, where I tasted many wines made from local grapes while relaxing on their deck, taking in the stunning view of this 25-acre vineyard, with Archie by my side of course. Best birthday ever! Thanks Galena—we’ll be back.
I know Galena as the best place for antiquing, B&Bs and majestic views of the countryside. But I was happily surprised to find out that it’s totally kid-friendly as well since my husband and I promised our kids a super fun road trip before school started. Our oldest, Joey, is starting fifth grade and loves trains and our daughter, Emily, starting third grade, has taken a shine to history, and Galena turned out to have it all! First stop? Train Depot Museum, in Elizabeth, set inside a former Chicago Great Western Railway station. Joey didn’t know where to look first and was totally enamored by the railroad artifacts and I couldn’t pull him away from the fully operational model railroads: N-, HO- and G-scale. Even Emily was quite taken with the speeding trains.
We got to sit inside a full-size Milwaukee Road caboose before heading off in search of a cool treat. Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe did not disappoint with its fun outdoor area complete with a giant pink chair and jumbo Jenga. Four ice cream cones later, we were hungry for more history so we jumped on a real San Francisco-style trolley at Galena Trolley Tours that whisked us off through Galena’s historic district. To wrap up the day, we had a picnic in Grant Park, blowing bubbles and playing by the fountain. Good thing school starts next week or we may never leave Galena!