#enjoyillinois

No tricks, just treats in Galena Country

Trick or treat… Galena Country‘s got something good for you to eat!

Credit to: @simonstu

Fill your baskets with a wide variety of handmade old-fashioned confections, gourmet popcorn, cupcakes, donuts, long-stemmed chocolate-dipped strawberries, imported European chocolates and more!

Watch delicious treats being crafted on the spot including caramel apples dipped in a traditional copper kettle, and homemade fudge spread on a granite slab! While you’re at it, enjoy a creamy-smooth ice cream from an 1846 shop featuring original cabinets and an old fashioned fountain!

A candy a day keeps the monsters away… so dig in!

If you haven’t heard already, Galena hosts the most exciting, longest and most spooktacular Halloween Parade in Illinois and it’s happening on Sat. Oct. 26… Don’t miss it! Take a sneak peek here. While you’re here, soak in the beautiful fall colors on a scenic drive through Galena Country! Check out the official visitors guide for more ideas on what to do and see, including where to stay overnight!

 

9 Reasons to visit Galena Country this winter

Whether you look at winter as a time for an outdoor adventure to embrace the elements or a call to head indoors for cozy relaxation and family downtime, Galena Country offers the perfect winter escape. From a couple’s retreat to a family vacation, from skiing to sleigh rides, from a Winter Carnival to wine tastings, here are 9 reasons winter is the best time to visit Galena Country.

Chestnut Mountain Resort

1. Skiing & Snowboarding at Chestnut Mountain Resort

It doesn’t matter if you’re an avid skier or a novice, you should hit the slopes during the winter at Chestnut Mountain Resort. Chestnut’s over 220 rolling acres and 475-foot vertical drop are home to 19 ski trails and a 7-acre terrain park, The Farside, featuring over 25 rails and structures. With two quad lifts, four triple chair lifts, two conveyor lifts, and one surface lift, you won’t be waiting in line to get back to the peak.

2. The Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

For other winter activities, Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa has a 1.5-mile skating pond for that authentic outdoor ice skating experience. Or maybe a winter wonder sightseeing expedition is more your style? You can explore the snow-covered countryside when you cross-country ski or snowshoe over the Center’s 7 miles of groomed trails. And for the kids, there’s nothing more fun than sledding over their golf course at the famous 18th hole. All equipment is available for rent from Fever River Outfitters.

3. Winter Carnival Weekend at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

Take advantage of the long Presidents Day Weekend and come for Winter Carnival Weekend at Eagle Ridge. The Nordic Center activities will be available plus an assortment of carnival fun, including balloon glows, pony rides, wine tasting, ice-turkey bowling, snow painting, live music and more.

4. Nature Reserves

The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation works to protect the land near Galena. Casper Bluff is one of the areas under their protection and worth a visit if just for the scenic views of the Mississippi. The real star here is not the view but, rather, the archaeological finds found on this 85-acre site. Fifty-one burial mounds from the Aiken Mount group, a culture that lived nearly 3,000 years ago, rest on these grounds. On select winter dates, they light up the night with a luminary hike via snowshoes or skis, complete with bonfire. For other parks and trails, check out this link. For a peaceful trek through the countryside, visit the Galena River Trail. The trail is perfect for families going cross-country skiing or a snowshoe hike with views of the Galena River and bluffs.

5. Shopping

Shop Galena’s Main Street. With more than 125 independently-owned businesses, offering everything from crafts to vintage clothing to fine chocolates, this shopping excursion is sure to keep you warm. The purchase you make for yourself or a loved one at one of these specialty shops will be something you’ll find nowhere else. The towns of Elizabeth and Stockton offer even more boutique stores to pique your interest. Visit Sweet Alice’s for some sweet treats, Nature’s Treasures for new home or garden decor, or how about Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Mall for that unique treasure!

6. Cozy Dining 

Whether you’re looking for farm-to-table, like One Eleven Main, fine dining, like Goldmoor Inn, or just a really good sandwich, Galena Country offers amazing dining establishments with a full range of culinary choices. There’s breakfast with ambiance at Stella’s Cafe & Catering, great ethnic options, such as Campeche Restaurant, or romantic dinners for two at Fried Green Tomatoes or Log Cabin Steakhouse, two iconic Galena restaurants. From fine dining to intimate cafes and coffeehouses, personal service, fine food and good wine, including locally-produced wines, reign in Galena Country.


7. Wine, Beer, and Spirits 

Galena Cellars offers more than 40 varieties of wine. Stop by their Main Street tasting room, located in a historic 1840s granary building. Massbach Ridge Winery also offers visitors the ease and accessibility of a tasting room right in downtown Galena. Ask to sample their St. Pepin, displaying “a whiff of citrus and cuts with a spray of green apple.” For beer lovers, Galena Brewing Co. offers a full microbrewery experience from tours to tastings to dining and live entertainment and Pecatonica Beer Tap House is hoppin’ (pun intended) with seasonal brews and great company. But if a martini or shot of whiskey is more to your liking, visit Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. for daily tours and tastings of the premium spirit of your choice – whiskey, vodka, gin and more – produced right in downtown Galena.

8. Cozy B&B’s

Named the B&B Capital of the Midwest, Galena Country is proud to offer a variety of warm and intimate places to stay. Check into a historic 1800s bed & breakfast right in town, such as Abe’s Spring Street Guesthouse, and you’ll be just steps away from Main Street. Here you’ll get all the conveniences of home, complete with breakfast in the morning, dessert and coffee at night and your own key to the house. Other B&Bs, such as The Felt Manor Guest House, is situated in the hills, offering a beautiful view of Galena from above. And all of these private residences and inns offer their own style of historic charm, breakfast and personalized service, along with great suggestions of where to go and what to do in the area.

9. Nightlife and Festivals

When night time comes and you want to know where to go… enjoy live music venues, such as The CornerstoneMiss Kitty’s Grape Escape, Galena Brewing Company and Frank O’Dowd’s Irish Pub & Grill. For family fun, make it a night out at P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre, an intimate 24-seat theatre where the magician dazzles his audience with optical illusion tricks and a mischievous sense of humor. Experience fine dining and exceptional entertainment in a unique Supper Club atmosphere at Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater. Annual events to look forward to include Holiday Fire in the Sky, Night of the Luminaria & Living Windows, Galena Whiskey Weekend, Java, Chocolate & Champagne Stroll, Galena Goes 50’s, and Wine Lovers Weekend. Check out even more events here.

Bonus tip: 

For the history buffs out there, some historic attractions are indeed open in the winter! Keep warm in the Ulysses S. Grant Home, learn all about the history of Galena Country at these museums, and make sure that you stop by the Old Market House in Galena where you will find the largest collection of Ulysses S. Grant memorabilia in the world! It also happens to be the Galena Country Welcome Center where you can gather some more information on what to do in the area.

Book your accommodation and start planning your winter escape using this helpful visitors guide.

6 ways to Unwind in Galena Country

We all need a little R&R now and again. In fact, most of us probably don’t get enough time to ourselves to re-charge those batteries. Here are a few top ways to refresh with a retreat to Galena Country. 

Spa Day

There’s nothing better than spending the day relaxing, sipping champagne, and being pampered. Treat yourself to a relaxing spa day at one of these incredible spa and wellness centers:

If you’re interested in something a little more intimate, consider booking a stay at a lodging property that offers on-site massages. Check out: Jail Hill Inn, Goldmoor Inn, Farmer’s Guest House, the Inn at Irish Hollow, Aldrich Guest House, Le Fevre Inn and Resort, and Lamberson Guest House.

Baaaa-Maste

Whether you’re into outdoor yoga, indoor yoga, or even yoga with goats, we’ve got you covered! Check out all of Galena Country’s options for a fun and fit experience. Original Goat Yoga, Galena is perfect for animal-loving groups looking for an unforgettable activity. For more traditional yoga enthusiasts, check out Awake 4 Yoga for pop up, private, and group yoga.

The Great Outdoors

Unplug and reconnect with nature by spending some time outdoors. With incredible terrain, Galena Country offers many opportunities to explore! A serene walk or hike on one of the 20 parks and trails, a leisurely bike ride along the Galena River Trail, or peacefully paddle your way down the Galena River. All are great options to relax and disconnect from the stresses of everyday life.

Libations

Taste and tour your way through the county at alluring wineries, a distillery and craft breweries. Consider booking a wine tour or take a scenic drive to explore the lush landscape of the driftless region. If you’re interested in live music at a local establishment, or perhaps a sports bar, check out these ideas for pubs and nightlife.

Golf

Nothing beats a relaxing round on one of Galena Country’s eleven golf courses. The rolling hills of Northwest Illinois provide a memorable and unique golfing experience. Check out Woodbine Bend’s links-style golf course, Lacoma Golf Club in East Dubuque, Galena Golf Club and The General at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa.

Cozy up and Relax

While exploring the corners of Galena Country, be sure to pick up some of your favorite beverages to bring back to your room. Sit back, relax with a glass of wine while taking a bath or reading a good book.

Galena Country is rich in offerings for a relaxing time with your friends, family, or by yourself. Start planning your retreat with a stress-free browse through the visitor’s guide and booking your stay.

Winter Holiday Events 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.

Night of Luminaria & Living Windows

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 2019 events and activities during your ‘Christmas in Galena Country’ stay!

Events

More Ideas

For more events, visit the events calendar and check out the latest visitors guide for more ideas on what to do and see!

 

 

9 ways to experience Galena Country on a budget

In Galena Country, an awesome getaway doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many opportunities to experience local food, nature, history, special events, and even shopping that are perfect for any budget. Get to Galena Country for an affordable and amazing adventure!

Explore the Natural Wonders of the Driftless Area

Whether you want to hike and bike or just observe the beauty of nature, Galena Country has many beautiful locations where you can enjoy the outdoors for free! Check out: Horseshoe Mound Preserve, Apple River Canyon State Park, Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve, Galena Gateway Park, Wapello Land & Water Reserve, and Galena River Trail.

Discover Local Works of Art

Being surrounded by beauty, it’s only natural that Galena Country would be home to an abundance of talented artists. Take in the creativity of local artists by visiting art galleries, sculpture parks, pottery studios, and more! Don’t miss: West Street Sculpture Park, Outside the Lines Art Gallery, River Bend Gallery, Skidmore Art Gallery, Chicago Skyline Art, Mangelsen Images of Nature Gallery, Galena Center for the Arts, Scenic Art Loop, and the Stockton Murals.

Stargazing

Escape to the countryside to experience the night sky as you’ve never seen it before — it’s nature’s free light show! Travel tips: Book your stay nestled amongst nature, watch for meteors on the mound, camp under the stars, take the scenic route for a late-night drive!

Immerse yourself in history

What does General Ulysses S. Grant have in common with Kraft cheese? Both are parts of Galena Country’s fascinating history that you can learn about at museums and historical state sites! Must dos: Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, Elihu B. Washburne House State Historic Site, Apple River Fort State Historic Site, Desoto House Hotel self-guided tour, Stockton Heritage Museum, The Old Blacksmith Shop.

Time Travel Tour

Grab some brochures from the Welcome Center, and check out the Historical Room in the Galena Public Library before strolling down Galena’s historic Main Street that is “frozen in time.” Nearly every building you’ll pass has a fascinating background and story to tell! Download: Galena Tours App

Amazing Annual Events

Galena Country features epic events all year long! Before planning your trip, check out the calendar of events to plan for a unique and authentic local experience! Full of infinite opportunities, from cemetery walks to hot air balloon races to incredible parades and magical holiday festivities. There’s always something to discover in Galena Country! Travel tip: Check out the spring and summer sidewalk sales event!

The Real Deal

Skilled musicians can be found sharing their talents in restaurants, bars, and even out on Galena’s Main Street. Pay a visit to The Cornerstone, Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape, Galena Brewing Company, and Council Hill Station.

Take a Scenic Drive

There’s no shortage of scenic routes in Galena Country! Explore the back roads and experience some of Illinois’ best (and breathtaking) views! Recommended routes: historic Stagecoach Trail, Family road trip, and U.S. Hwy 20.

Window Shop Until You Drop

Galena’s historic Main Street features more than 125 independently owned businesses for your eyes to explore. Window-shopping is best done in the early morning or late evening when the shops are closed. Make a list and come back during business hours to complete the treasure hunt! 

Let the planning begin with a browse through the visitor’s guide and booking your stay.

Lodging that caters to Special Diets in Galena Country

Visitors with dietary restrictions, whether it be allergies or personal preference, can relax when it’s time to eat in Galena Country! Not only are there a host of restaurants to choose from, but the following accommodation establishments also make life a lot easier with their tasty special dietary options.

Credit: Aldrich Guest House

Take a look at these mouth-watering options that are available:

Aldrich Guest House

Dairy-free and Vegetarian: seasonal baked French toast 
Gluten-free & Dairy-free:
 ham, cheddar & chive potato waffles (Can be made Vegan)
Gluten-free and Vegetarian: Southwest crustless quiche, broccoli, spinach & tomato frittatas
Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Vegan: veggie tofu scramble, maple apple cinnamon oatmeal, warm nutty quinoa

Cloran Mansion

Gluten-free: granola French toast, waffles, Ebelskivers, and pancakes
Vegetarian: options offered daily

Farmer’s Guest House

Gluten-free: caramel apple French toast
Vegan: breakfast burrito

Goldmoor Inn

Gluten and Dairy-free: snapper ceviche, shrimp and lobster cocktail, fois gras, 8oz USDA choice filet mignon, smoked white Peking duck breast, grilled rack of lamb
Gluten-free: grilled pork belly, in-house dry-aged USDA prime 16oz ribeye, pan-seared red snapper, Ora king salmon fillet with jumbo lump crab, roasted chicken Fresca
Vegan and Vegetarian: salad options

Hawk Valley Retreat

Gluten-free: bacon quiche with a potato crust, buttermilk pancakes or waffles, country scramble with veggies and home-made cookies and muffins. Sides include fruit, muffins, and sausage/bacon
Dairy-free: traditional pancakes (no milk), potato and vegetable hash, tofu scramble with veggies, yogurt with homemade granola and home-made muffins 9no milk). Sides include fresh fruit, dairy-free yogurt, sausage/bacon
Vegan: tofu and spinach scramble with black beans, potato hash, breakfast burrito
Vegetarian: quiche with phyllo dough crust and veggies, scratch-made buttermilk pancakes or waffles. Sides include fruit, muffins, yogurt or cottage cheese
Nightshades: sweet potato hash with eggs with meat, sweet potato hash browns with eggs with meat, scratch-made buttermilk pancakes or waffles with meat

Jail Hill Inn

Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lactose-free, and individual sensitivities to foods such as nuts, seeds and everything in between are catered to in fully customized meals. The three-course, made-from-scratch breakfast begins with a seasonal fruit course followed by a fresh bakery selection and concludes with a hearty savory entrée.

Lamberson Guest House

Gluten-free: cappuccino chip muffin, fresh berries in brown sugar glaze, crustless cheese pie with tomato bacon gravy and bacon
Dairy-free: a dark chocolate walnut muffin, peaches, and blueberries, omelet with bacon, spinach and tomato, and roasted red potatoes
Vegetarian: cherry cheese danish, melon with kiwi in a sweet champagne glaze, spinach, tomato, and swiss frittata, roasted red potatoes

 ** Please Note: If you have celiac disease or a severe allergy, we recommend calling ahead to see what practices the restaurants have in place in their kitchens to avoid contamination.**

Book your accommodation now and make sure to note your dietary requirements. For ideas on what to do and see while in #GalenaCountry, browse through the latest Visitors Guide.

Oktoberfest Weekend in Galena Country

It’s almost here… Galena’s annual festival that celebrates German heritage, Oktoberfest Weekend Oct 4-5 in Depot Park. Prost! to barrels and barrels of fun ahead!

This ever-popular event promises family fun, live music, wiener dog racing, German-style food and of course lots of beer! For a detailed schedule of events, click here but for the highlights… keep reading:

Movie in the Park

Kick-off the Oktoberfest celebrations on Fri., Oct 4 in Depot Park with live music, delicious food-truck-eats and craft beer, followed by an outdoor screening of the Field of Dreams movie.

2019 Midwest Health & Fitness 5K Fun Run/Walk

Fun for the whole family along the scenic Galena River Trail! Pets and strollers are welcome on this fun run or walk.

Live Music and Dancing

Oktoberfest on Oct. 5 features non-stop live music all day and into the night. Enjoy tunes from the Jim Busta Band, a Czech-German, five-piece polka band with many vocal arrangements, The Goodtime Dutchmen, an award-winning Dutchmen-style band that plays German Bohemian and Polish music and Back Seat Betty playing classic rock, current hits, and all your favorites.

Wiener Dog Races

Who will be the champions in this year’s Wiener Dog Races? Don’t miss the wiener dog parade and a best-dressed contest for both male and female wiener dogs.

Polka Lessons

Learn how to dance the Polka (originally a Czech dance) with Tim and Kathy who have been dancing together for 10 years and travel around to various polka festivals.

The New Glarus Alphorners

Join George Albright & Heinz Mattmann in celebrating this awesome tradition. These long wooden horns were used for centuries by mountain dwellers in the Alps for music and communication.

Beer Stein Endurance Contest

How long could you last? The goal of this well-known and competitive Bavarian strength contest is to hold a stein at shoulder height, parallel with the ground as long as possible. If the contestant waivers (or spills), he/she is eliminated. How long could you last this test of both strength and endurance? For more details click here.

Bean Bag Tournament

Pre-register for this single-elimination format tournament (participants must be 16 years or older). First prize is $100 and the second is $50!

For more ideas on what else to do and see while in #GalenaCountry, browse through the latest Visitors Guide and be sure to book your accommodation a.s.a.p!

6 cool places to get ice cream in Galena Country

Are you screaming for ice-cream? Chill out, we’ve got the scoop on where to find that sweet, cold fix in Galena Country!

Photo credit: Great American Popcorn Co.

American Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor, Galena
Galena’s ice cream parlor since 1970, serving homemade waffle cones, floats, shakes & malts, and banana splits.

Elle & Becks, Galena
While browsing their selection of clothing and accessories, grab some homemade gelato. Gluten-free and vegan options available.

Great American Popcorn, Galena
Famous for their gourmet popcorn in more than 50 flavors, but also well-known for their delicious ice cream!

Three Sisters Sweet ShoppeElizabeth
Grab a cone from this delightful little shop, owned by three young sisters with a little help from their parents. Try out the giant chair for a great photo op.

Root Beer Revelry, Galena
How about some ice-cream that floats?… in Root Beer, a Root Beer float! Change up your float with a gourmet flavor of your choice, like orange cream, key lime or black cherry.

Slim’s Eats & Treats, Warren
Try out some great flavors like Blue Moon, Orange Sherbert, Green Tea, Toffee Crunch and more…

Remember… never settle for just one scoop. A balanced diet is ice cream in each hand!

For more ideas on things to do and see in-between ice cream stops, check out the official Galena Country Visitors Guide.

24-hour getaway to Galena Country

Sometimes, you just need a getaway.

With Galena Country only being a few hours’ drive from midwest metropolitan areas, it’s the perfect destination to re-charge those batteries. We’ve made planning easy with this 24-hour itinerary.

Hit the road…

Make your way to Galena Country with an early morning start and a pit-stop in Stockton for breakfast at Checo’s Family Restaurant. Following historic Hwy 20, head towards Elizabeth, where you can fuel up with a coffee from E-Town. Explore and do some shopping at Jane Marie Boutique, Eshelman Pottery, and the Elizabeth Grand Antique Co. On the way to Galena, stop at the Scenic Overlook for a great photo-op!

First stop in Galena, the Ulysses S. Grant Home, a gift from the citizen’s of Galena upon Grant’s return home from the Civil War. Follow up the tour with a visit to the Old Blacksmith Shop, where you can ‘watch the sparks fly’ as talented blacksmiths form the metal.

Time for lunch! Head straight across the street to Campeche Restaurant and enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine before hitting up the shops on Main Street. Make your way down to Gateway to History or Galena Trolley Tours for a trolley tour, where you can learn more about the history and beautiful architecture that makes Galena so unique. Back on Main Street, head on over to Jamie’s Wine Studio for a few tastings before dinner at One Eleven Main and an epic magic show by P.T. Murphy.

Polish off the evening with live music at Embe Eatery & Lounge before settling in for the night.

Good morning!

Arise early and enjoy breakfast at your lodging property, or one of these fine establishments. Start the day with a morning kayak adventure from Fever River Outfitters or Nuts Outdoors, followed up with a coffee and gelato from Elle & Becks on Main Street. Finish up any last-minute shopping before heading to East Dubuque for a water-front lunch at the Silver Spoon Restaurant. Explore along the bluffs of the Mighty Mississippi River at Gramercy Park before making your way back to Galena.

Pass through town and turn right onto Blackjack Road towards Chestnut Mountain Resort. Choose to ride the chair-lift, Alpine Slide, Soaring-Eagle zipline…or try them all! Revel in the fresh air and breathtaking views of the Mississippi River Valley. Take the scenic route back to Hwy 20, enjoy dinner at the Welcome Inn while passing through Elizabeth. Head home refreshed and ready to take on another week!

Go ahead, book your stay and get away for a day… or two!

Breakfast in Galena Country

Eggs, bacon, and biscuits… oh my!

A delicious breakfast is the perfect way to start the day, especially when you don’t have to cook it! We’ve compiled a list of the best local establishments to fuel-up for an awesome day!

Galena