Elizabeth IL

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.

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

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

Winter Holidays in Galena Country

There’s something special about the holiday season. Maybe it’s the sense of wonder and amazement looking at the beautiful light displays, or the smell of hot cocoa and a fire burning in the fireplace. Or maybe, it’s the sentiment of gift-giving, family and traditions.

There’s no better way to cultivate those special feelings about the holidays, than a trip to Galena Country. Whether you’re on a family vacation, romantic getaway, or want to start a new tradition with friends, it’s the perfect addition to a wonderful holiday experience. Enjoy these wonderful events and activities during your ‘Christmas in Galena Country’ stay!

Galena

Dinner Date with History: SOLD OUT (Progressive) Sat., Nov. 10, 2018, 5-8 p.m. Join the members of Best of Galena as they open their Bed and Breakfasts for this annual event. Your evening will include appetizers, main course, and desserts, which will each be served at a different location. A wonderful opportunity to visit three different locations, meet new friends and start off your holiday festivities. Reservations required. To reserve tickets and for more information, contact Lorraine via email at info@belleairemansion.com.

Nouveau Weekend: Nov. 16-17, 2018. Calling all wine lovers and epicureans of all levels! Join us as we celebrate the French-inspired tradition of Nouveau previewing a sampling of the vintage from the fall harvest.

Shop Small Galena Country: Nov. 23-25, 2018. The weekend is kicked off with Friday Night Lights, including extended shopping hours, free parking, and free gourmet hot cocoa. Team up with your best shopping crew and #GetToGalenaCountry for some retail therapy on the #HelluvaHalfMile.

Holiday Kick Off: Sat., Nov. 24, 2018. Enjoy the garland-draped shops along Galena’s Main St. and watch as Santa is escorted to the Old Market House by carolers and festive floats! Start of Santa’s Arrival: 5:30 p.m., Lighting of Tree: 6 p.m.

Holiday Fire in the Sky: Sat., Dec. 1, 2018. Live Carolers, hot cocoa and a fireworks display will take over the Galena River levee during this holiday celebration. 3:30-6 p.m. – Attend a pre-party celebration at The Elks Club. This family-friendly gathering and will include kids activities and live music by the Wundos. 6 p.m. –  Music on the Galena River levee. Sing along to Holiday music as fireworks fill the sky!

Night of the Luminaria & Living Windows: Sat., Dec. 8, 2018, 4-7 p.m. The streets, stairs, and sidewalks of Galena will be lined with nearly 5,000 candle-lit luminaries. Experience Living Windows as the storefronts come alive with holiday vignettes, sure to bring a smile to any Grinch. Stay tuned to learn how to vote for your favorite Living Window with a chance to win a free overnight in Galena!

Dinner at Desoto House Hotel: Sat., Dec. 8, 2018, 5-10 p.m. While the town is aglow with luminaries and ‘living windows’, enjoy a dinner by candlelight in the hotel’s courtyard where you will be enchanted by white twinkling lights and magical decorations. A special menu will be offered with live entertainment by Tony Sconyers

 

Galena Festival of the Performing Arts Christmas Concert: Sun., Dec. 9, 2018, 2-4 p.m. After enjoying the Luminaria spectacle on Galena’s festively decorated streets on Saturday night, settle in for a fun-filled Sunday afternoon of Celtic music and charm – a lovely way to usher in the holiday season!

Breakfast with Santa: Sun., Dec.9, 2018, 9 a.m.-noon. For big kids and little kids… bring a list for Santa and enjoy Rudolph, Frosty, and a helpful elf while enjoying an extensive breakfast buffet. Santa arrives at 9 a.m. and leaves at noon. Reservations are highly recommended.

The Generals Christmas Ball: Sat., Dec. 15, 2018, 7-11 p.m. Formed in 1961, The Galena Generals portray the nine Civil War Generals from Galena. This fundraiser offers dinner, dancing and fun in the historic confines of the historic Desoto House Hotel. Period music provided by the Americana Band and stories by The Generals themselves. Meal of Stuffed Pork Chop and Mixed Vegetables. Period Dress Welcomed.

Christmas Carols & Cookies: Sat., Dec. 21, 2018, 7-10 p.m. Warm up with Galena Cellars as you enjoy the sounds of Christmas accompanied by seasonal holiday wines and delicious cookies! Pianist and talented soloist Lannette Calhoun will host the evening that is sure to bring you Christmas cheer. Come sing along to your favorite holiday songs and enjoy a glass of your favorite Galena Cellars wine!

New Years Eve…DeSoto Style! Dec. 31, 2018, 9:30 p.m.–Midnight. Ring in the new year with Travis Hosette and the music of “Sinatra.” Dance and party all the way to 2019! Enjoy a cash bar, Hors d’ oeuvres, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Reservations are highly recommended.

Take a tour! 
Tri-State Trolley will be offering 45 min. Night of the Luminaria tours at 5, 6, 7 and 8 p.m. for $16. Sat., Dec. 8.
Enjoy a romantic, Night of the Luminaria heated shuttle bus tour with Amelia’s and a candlelit tour of the historic Ryan Mansion for $18. Shuttle Departs right behind the Desoto House Hotel. Tours run on the hour beginning at 5 p.m. and finish with a guided candlelit tour of one Galena’s most famous homes, the Ryan Mansion.

Mistletoe Stroll Holiday House Tour: Sat., Dec. 15, 2018, 1-4 p.m. Join Best of Galena as they open up their Bed and Breakfasts! Experience Galena’s finest Bed and Breakfasts. Tour their parlors and dining rooms, which have been decked out for the holidays and enjoy a couple of tasty treats – they may even share some recipes!

Tip: Plan a romantic dinner for just the two of you, try One Eleven Main for farm-to-table or Fritz & Frites for an intimate setting with a European flair.

Elizabeth

Christmas in Elizabeth: Sat., Dec. 1, 2018, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Celebrate an old-fashioned Christmas with the Village of Elizabeth. Tour the 1876 Banwarth House & Museum decorated for the season, check out the caboose and ten operating model trains at the Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum, ride a trolley and visit Santa. While you are there, partake in the living history demonstration at the Apple River Fort and participate in the Santa Dash! Enjoy a craft fair, live music, food and children’s activities. In cooperation with the Elizabeth, IL Chamber of Commerce annual event, “Christmas in the Village‚” the Apple River Fort State Historic Site will provide holiday atmosphere with seasonal music and host baked items and small home-made gifts sale at the Interpretive Center (311 E. Myrtle St.). Costumed history interpreters will also participate in interactive impressions and activities.

Tip: Get a latté or bottle of wine at E-Town Coffee and make sure there’s time to stroll through Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Mall.

Stockton

Living Windows: Fri., Nov. 23, 2018, 4-6 p.m. As part of the Shop Small Galena Country weekend event, Stockton’s store front’s will come alive with Living Windows! An event that is sure to get you into the holiday sprit! Come hungry and enjoy a pop-up dinner at Stella’s Cafe & Catering from 5-9 p.m. Reservations are recommended!

Stockton Christmas Walk: Fri. Dec. 7 2018, 5:30 p.m. Welcome the holiday season with caroling, Christmas tree lighting and the crowing of Little Jack Frost and Miss Merry Christmas. On Sat., Dec. 8, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., stroll from store to store and shop, visit Santa, explore the festival of trees, ride in a horse-drawn wagon and grab a bite to eat in downtown!

Tip: Stop into Sweet Alice’s for a treat then shop for gifts and holiday decor at Beautifully Berkeley Bouquets & Home. Warm up in Stella’s Cafe & Catering with a blooming tea and fresh bread.

 

Warren

Warren Christmas Walk: Enjoy the Festival of Trees in the charming & historic Warren Community Building (Old Stone Hotel), starting November 30 and ending January 6, 2018. Stroll through town to see the decorated snowmen contributed by local businesses and holiday decorations. Santa will arrive in a parade on Monday, December 3 from 5 – 7:30 p.m. Explore the town and sample the treats and refreshments provided by participating businesses, don’t forget to register for door prizes!

Tip: Stop in to Wally’s Pizzeria for a great meal in their charming Main St. diner and Pecatonica Beer Co. for a local brew!

More Ideas

Explore #GalenaCountry and strike a pose in Stockton!

Hit the road and cruise out to Stockton, Illinois to find these beautiful murals waiting for your epic selfie.

 

The first mural to embrace historic downtown Stockton went up in 2016. Find at the corner of Front & Main St.

Next up is an ode to our native settlers, with this colorful mural of an American Indian by artist Chris Shannon. Find it right on Main St.


This one might not have as much detail, but there is something beautiful in the simplicity of its large singular rose. Find it right on Main St.


The newest mural to go up in Stockton is this stunning floral design. Find it on the side of Beautifully Berkeley, 101 N. Main Street