events in galena

Your guide to Ladies Getaway Weekend in Galena

Ladies everywhere are getting excited for the upcoming Ladies Getaway Weekend in Galena, Sept. 6-8. What’s this weekend all about? Special events, shopping deals, contests and more… all catered to Ladies. Grab your girlfriends and get to Galena Country for some retail therapy on Galena’s historic Main Street. Here’s your guide to navigating the weekend’s happenings:

First things first… get registered

To qualify for special offers, you need to be wearing the Ladies Getaway Wristband. Pick up your wristband at Poopsie’s on Fri., Sept. 6 between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. or on Sat., Sept. 8 between 9 a.m. and Noon. Don’t forget the scavenger hunt list, whoever has the most correct answers, will win a prize from Riverbend Gallery!

Save your Receipts!

Save all of your receipts from the weekend (food, gas, retail, lodging, and activities) and then turn them into the Ladies Getaway Galena desk at the DeSoto House Hotel’s ballroom on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You will be given a raffle ticket for every $25 you spend. The grand prize is a two-night stay in a three-bedroom house – donated by Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa.

Exclusive Offers

*Discounts and special offers apply to registered Ladies Getaway Weekender’s only

Special Events & Happenings

Desoto House Hotel
Fri. at 7 p.m. and Sat. at noon: Janet Checker Art Workshop $20 advanced purchase only. Bookings: fineart@janetcheckerstudio.com or 815-541-3286.
Sat: 4:30-7 p.m.: Galena Quartermania. Bring lots of quarters and meet at the Desoto House Hotel for a fun Quartermania bidding/auction event. Tickets cost $15 per person and includes your paddle and table snacks. Local vendors have donated great prizes that you can bid on using quarters. All items up for bid will be anywhere from a quarter to a dollar. Book now, tickets limited to the first 125 people.

Galena Brewing Company
Sat. from 10 a.m. to Noon: A selection of Galena’s Fashion Boutiques will be showcasing their head-turning apparel and accessories on the runway. Grab a pint, some appetizers and enjoy the fashion show displaying trends from the following boutiques: Dreams Boutique, Editrix Row, Fan Zone, From Head to Toe Sportswear, Honest John’s Emporium, Peddlers Boutique, Simply Elegant Boutique, Towne Rebel  Wooden Wardrobe. Reserve your free space at the show here: http://bit.ly/334H497

Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery
Fri. from 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Sangria Sunset – enjoy a white or red sangria for $5 while watching the sunset
Sat. at 10 a.m.: Yoga in the Vines at the Vineyard. Ends with a glass of Sangria. $20 per person.

Galena Cellars Wine Tasting Room
Fri, Sat, Sun: 15% discount on merchandise (excluding wine)

Hello Galena 
Sat. from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Mini Art Fair and demonstrations. Come at 10 a.m. for a free cup of coffee and cookies. Just one block off Main Street.

Poopsie’s
Sat. from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m: Patricia Locke Jewelry Pop-Up Event. Stop in at Poopsie’s to view Patricia Locke’s beautiful jewelry. They will be displaying special pieces that aren’t typically shown on the floor, just for you! Experience the unique styles and colors for yourself. There will be Poopsie’s Perks and deals during the event as well so don’t miss out!

River Bend Gallery
Sat. at 7 p.m.: Learn to Create and Hang your Own Photo Gallery
Free 30-minute class providing tips & tricks on how to hang your artwork (includes handouts). All participants will receive a coupon for 15% off everything in the store for attending the class. Learn how easy it is to make a gallery wall.

The Neighborhood
Fri. & Sat. at 6:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. as well as Sun. at 5:30 p.m.
Make your own Succulent Planter: learn how to make a unique take-home succulent arrangement!

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!

 

Historic Group Tour in Galena Country

Three Day Itinerary – Historic Group Tour

Gather a group of friends and get to Galena Country to explore all things historic!

Day 1

Make a pit-stop along the Historic Hwy 20 with a visit to Stockon. Fuel up for the day with baked goods and treats from Sweet Alice’s and a coffee at Stella’s Cafe. Before heading back to the bus, make a point to capture a few memories, as the murals make for a lovely background.

Onward towards Galena! Arrive in time for a light lunch at Green Street Tavern, located in the historic DeSoto Hotel, followed up with early check-in. Quench your thirst with a refreshing drink from Rootbeer Revelry before stretching your legs to explore Main Street. Make a point to stop at the Welcome Center and gather information for this trip and future visits. While you’re there, take a close look at the Grant memorabilia on display, it’s the largest collection… in the world!

3:00 p.m. meet for a Trolley Tour, learn about the history of Galena and a personalized view of the gorgeous architecture throughout the town. After the tour, enjoy some free time to further explore Main Street or head back to the DeSoto House Hotel to freshen up for dinner at Galena’s oldest supper club, the Log Cabin. Travel tip: Polish off your dinner with a hand-mixed grasshopper!

Day 2

Arise for breakfast at the hotel or offsite at Victory Cafe on Main Street or Otto’s Place, across the river near the Old Train Depot. 10:00 a.m. Head to Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site for a tour, followed up with more history at the Elihu B. Washburne House, two blocks away. Travel Tip: Take in an extra moment while in the library, as that’s where Grant received the telegraph announcing he had been elected as the 18th President of the United States!

Head back across the river for a visit to the Old Blacksmith Shop, to experience live forging demonstrations. Enjoy lunch on your own and meet back at the bus at 2:00 p.m. for a tasting and tour of Galena Cellars Winery and Vineyard.

Make your way to the hotel and freshen up for dinner and a show at Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater.

Day 3

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel or journey along downtown to Kaladi’s or Big Bill’s coffee shops. 9:00 a.m. visit to the Galena and U.S. Grant History Museum followed with a tour of Galena’s oldest home, the Dowling House. Dine with a view at Chestnut Mountain Resort before making the journey home. Travel Tip: Relish in a peaceful chair lift ride for an even more incredible view of the mighty Mississippi River.

With so much to discover in Galena Country, you’ll be back to indulge in even more historic discoveries. Further plan your group tour by contacting the Welcome Center at galena@visitgalena.org.

Insider’s Guide to 4th of July festivities in Galena Country

Independence Day celebrations in Galena Country means fun-filled days of activities for the whole family, mouthwatering BBQ’s and of course the thrill of spectacular firework displays.

Here’s your guide to navigating all of the fun leading up to and happening on the 4th of July!

East Dubuque Fireworks Family Event – June 29

Experience fun for the whole family with face painting, bounce houses, free admission to the swimming pool and delicious eats and treats. Try your luck at the raffle to win a 2019 CanAm side-by-side or $10,000! Stay and enjoy the show as fireworks light up the sky.

Elizabeth Freedom Fest – July 1

Enjoy live music by Ten Gallon Hat and tasty food and drinks, while the kids have their faces painted and endless fun on the bounce houses. The highlight of the event happens at 7 p.m. when the U.S Army Golden Knights parachute jump into Terrapin Park. The night ends with a spectacular firework display. Come dressed to show your patriotism, awards will be presented to ‘best-dressed.’

Head back to Elizabeth on July 4th to experience the Fourth of July at the Apple River Fort! Enjoy games and dancing, listen to speeches, toasts, and petitions, try Election Cake, and more!
Bring blankets and a picnic lunch. Water, lemonade, and desserts will be available courtesy of the Fort.

Hanover Days – July 3

The holiday celebration begins with the VFW’s traditional annual beef roast dinner. Explore Main Street as it comes to life with activity, food carts open at 5 p.m., and the parade starts at 6 p.m. Try your skills with the canoe race down the Apple River, and at dusk, the fireworks light up the river in a beautiful holiday tradition. Finish the evening at The Hangover Tap with live music.


Stockton – July 4

Celebrating for more than 50 years, this event is a ‘must-do!’ Treasure hunt in more than 70 vendor booths while the kids burn off some energy in the bounce houses. Experience a science stage show, kiddie tractor pull, Bingo and more! The Lions Club Chicken Dinner is a favorite, along with live music and swimming! The evening ends with a colorful burst of fireworks.

Galena – July 4

Join in on the fun at Galena’s 23rd Annual Galena Independence Day Celebration featuring live music, delicious eats and treats, and the spectacular parade down Main Street. Make your way towards Grant Park to find a place to watch as fireworks light up the sky!

The fireworks will launch from Grant Park at dusk! If you prefer a high vantage point, book a space at the DeSoto House Hotel’s Rooftop Party. Spend the evening atop the oldest operating hotel in Illinois. This top spot offers prime views of the Galena firework display. Enjoy burgers, brats, hot dogs, beer, wine and more while jamming to your favorite tunes.

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

Make your next vacation a ‘race-cation’ in Galena Country

Plan a getaway that combines health, wellness, and adventure! Galena Country boasts miles of winding roads and trails with exceptional views, historic significance and a variety of skill levels.

A destination race is a perfect way to combine a vacation and a good workout and here’s why:

  • As you race through the area, you’ll get a quick preview of what there is to see and do.
  • Mingling with the locals will give you inside information and tips to perfect your stay!
  • You’ll get an early start to the day before sightseeing with the family begins.
  • Guilt-free reason to indulge in delicious local food, wine, and craft beer and spirits.
  • Proudly return home with some race swag!
  • The registration fee usually goes to a good cause and gives back to the community.

What are you waiting for? Pack your running shoes, pump up your tires, book your accommodation and build your next vacation around these upcoming races in Galena Country!

On your mark, get set, go…

Ride the Ups and Downs, Elizabeth | May 4

This bicycle ride is a one-day tour of beautiful Galena Country, featuring hilly terrain, spectacular ridge top panoramas, and long valley views. Choose one of three clearly marked routes on rolling, low traffic, paved roads throughout a rural setting: 32 miles (50 km), 52 miles (84 km) and 63 miles (100 km).

Galena River Trail Run, Galena | May 18

Come for the run and stay for the fun! This race takes place on the popular Galena River Trail. The forested trail winds south to Galena Junction and the backwaters of the Mississippi River, making for a scenic out-and-back racing course. 10K, runners only and 5K runners and walkers.

Galena Sky Trail Race, Galena | May 18

Think of yourself as a Nordic Warrior conquering challenging, yet runnable trails! The course is set on the trails of Chestnut Mountain Resort – which happens to be a ski resort in the winter! You’ll be treated to majestic views of the mighty Mississippi River and a delicious finisher meal prepared by Chestnut Mountain Resort while watching the grand sunset on the Mississippi horizon. Choose to take on either a 4-hour race or an 8-hour race.

Massbach Ridge Wine Run 5K, Elizabeth | June 22

Like running? Love wine? How about running to the wine? Take on this exciting 5K scenic course and then enjoy a full pour of delicious Massbach wine at the finish line! Spectators are encouraged to attend the 0K which gains you access to the race and includes a full pour and a souvenir wine glass… and you don’t even have to run!

Stockton 5k/10k Run/Walk, Stockton | July 6

The great community course offers breathtaking views and on-course entertainment. Snacks and cookies will be provided and runners will have free access to the Stockton Pool after the race. Each division will be awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medals with the overall male/female winner winning a trophy.

Heroes for History Stair Challenge 5K Race, Galena | Sept. 7

This event commemorates the 18-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks while also honoring the brave, selfless first responders who serve and protect their community day after day. The 5K competitive run/fun walk features Galena’s iconic Green Street staircase as the defining and most challenging portion. Options include 5K 7-lap stair challenge or 1-lap fun run/walk. Dress as your favorite hero.

Midwest Health & Fitness Fun Run Walk, Galena | Oct. 5

An event for the whole family! Pets and strollers are welcome on this 5K fun run or walk along the scenic Galena River Trail.

Galena River Fall Half Marathon & 8K, Galena | Oct. 26

This is a fast, flat half marathon along the scenic Galena River Trail. A 5K race option is also available for those looking or a shorter race.

Seeing as you are the active type… check out these outdoor activities and fitness facilities available in Galena Country to keep you moving.

The Insider’s Guide to Wine Lovers’ Weekend in Galena Country

Wine Lovers’ Weekend (March 22-23) is fast approaching! Besides the Grand Tasting event, celebrations will be taking place all over #GalenaCountry. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the what is happening… book soon to be included in the fun!

Galena Cellars Wine Tasting Room 

WINE PAIRING LUNCHEON
Sat., March 23 noon-2 p.m.
$49.95 (plus tax) per person, advanced reservations required.
This annual event features a wine and food pairing luncheon you won’t want to miss. Hosted by the Lawlor-White family, this luncheon event showcases Galena Cellars wine, great food and plenty of cheer. The event will be held at the downtown location’s second-floor venue – The Nouveau Room. Reservations are required and space is limited. Tickets are available online.

Massbach Ridge Winery & Tasting Room

NEW WINE RELEASES
Ridge Red is making a comeback! This is a medium-bodied red, blend of Frontenac and Foch grapes with a touch of spice flavors and smoke which makes it perfect for the grill and smoker this spring! It’s very versatile at the dinner table.
Cool Breeze, a white sangria-style wine will also be released and is one of Massbach Ridge’s best sellers through the summer months!

Taste either, or both of these great releases at the Massbach Ridge Winery Tasting Room located downtown Galena or at the Massbach Ridge Winery where tours of the facility will be available from noon to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

 

Fried Green Tomatoes

WINE LOVERS’ WEEKEND MENU
Fri., March 22 & Sat., March 23
Reservations required

Wine Features:
The Hess Collection Lion Tamer: Malbec-Zinfandel-Petit Sirah-Cabernet Sauvignon – Big, bold and juicy with layers of blackberries, chocolate & plums with a plush smooth finish. Napa 2016 $15/glass and $58/bottle.
Kenwood Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon – 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot – Intense aromas of dark fruit, blackberry, and cassis with silky tannins. Sonoma 2013 $16/glass $62/bottle
Stags’ Leap Winery Chardonnay – Pear, white grapefruit & honeysuckle with toasted almonds notes aged 25% in new French oak barrels. Napa 2017 $13/glass $48/bottle
Try a flight of these great selections… 3-3oz pours $17

Dinner Features:
Salmon Wellington: Atlantic Salmon filet wrapped with spinach, shallots and roasted tomatoes in a flakey puff pastry with a Chardonnay pesto sauce over asparagus $28
Filet Mignon with Lobster Mac: Char grilled USDA Choice Filet Mignon with Lobster Mac-n-Cheese 4oz-$27 6oz-$36
A Sweet Finish: Chocolate-raspberry tart finished with a Cabernet syrup $8

 

Fritz and Frites Bistro

WINE PAIRING DINNER
Fri., March 22 & Sat., March 23
Reservations highly recommended.

Venison with Blueberry-Merlot Sauce
Slow braised venison Osso-Bucco and grilled venison sausage pair together over a bed of buttery mashed potatoes, with a sweet-tart blueberry-merlot sauce. $29
Suggested wine pairing: Little James Basket Press, Rhone

Duck A L’orange
A zesty twist on a French classic…
Crisp skin, succulent meat of duck confit – the lightly smoked flavors of duck sausage and garlic mashed potatoes drizzled with a honey citrus glaze. $29
Suggested wine pairing: Bassermann-Jordan, Riesling-Trocken

Galena Brewing Company

BEER PAIRING DINNER
Fri., March 22 at 5:30 p.m.
$60 p.p. excl. tax and gratuity – reservations required, limited seating.

Enjoy a four-course meal in the brewery’s cellar. Each course will be paired with one of the deliciously crafted brews. Talk beer, talk history or anything else that comes to the table. This dinner provides a private atmosphere to engage with other guests and brewery staff. Includes a souvenir glass to keep.

Menu:

  • Seared duck breast, honey goat cheese, charred split pea
  • Bone marrow, caper brown butter, roasted garlic crostini, dandelion greens
  • Braised lamb shank, stout demi-glace, potato latke, peppered brussel sprouts
  • Dark chocolate creme brulee, chocolate curls, chantilly cream

 

Goldmoor Inn

WINE PAIRING DINNER
Thur., March 21-25 at 5 p.m.
$60 excl.tax & gratuity – reservations required.

Appetizer – Baked Goat Cheese Tartine
Herbed goat cheese, boule bread tartine, caramelized shallots,
pickled watermelon radish paired with Emmelo Sauvignon Blanc.

Salad – Ahi Tuna Nicoise Salad
Seared ahi tuna, marinated cherry tomato, and cannellini confit, wild baby arugula. Paired with Angeline Rose.

Entree – Braised Lamb Shank Osso Buco
Charred cauliflower mashed potatoes, roasted baby carrots. Paired with Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dessert – Dark Chocolate Truffle Trio
Raspberry, blueberry, and black currant-filled dark chocolate truffles. Paired with Martin Ray Pinot Noir.

Countryside Tours

WINE TASTING TOUR
Sat., March 23: Departing from Galena – reservations required.
$67.50 per person and you will receive 5-9+ tastings at each of the locations.
Hop onto a 4-hour wine tasting tour where you will visit 3 wineries in Galena Country.

Galena Wine Tours

WINE TASTING TOUR
Fri., March 23: Departing from Galena – reservations required.
$70 per person – A minimum number of any four people are needed for the tour to run.

Discover the breathtaking beauty of rolling hills, scenic valleys, and limestone bluffs on the Blackhawk Wine Tour. Visit three excellent wineries for facility tours, tastings, on-site shopping, pizza at Rocky Waters Winery, cheese at Massbach Ridge Winery, bottled water on board the bus, and a relaxing carefree day. Learn the history behind the Upper Mississippi Wine Region and Galena as your professional driver takes you into the past. Tour includes transportation from your lodging in Galena, IL or Eagle Ridge Resort / Galena Territory, tasting fees, facility tours, lunch, and bottled water on board the bus. Wineries on this tour are Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, Rocky Waters Winery, and Massbach Ridge Winery. This tour runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pick up times may vary depending on where you are staying.

 

Wine Lovers’ Weekend Annual Grand Tasting

SOLD OUT – Book early for 2020 www.wineloversweekend.com
Fri., March 22 5:30 – 8:30 p.m and Sat., March 23 at the Historic Turner Hall – 115 S. Bench Street, Galena
The largest indoor wine tasting event in the state of Illinois! Featuring more than 40 distributors from across the United States and more than 300 varieties of wine and spirits, the Grand Tasting is a wine lover’s dream. Designated drivers get a discounted ticket and a complimentary shuttle service is available from downtown Galena! Tickets include wine and spirit sampling from sponsors, a keepsake wine glass, live music, entry into a grand prize drawing for a “Getaway to Galena” basket, complimentary cheese, bread, and fruit

While you’re here…

For a complete list of wineries, vineyards, distilleries, and breweries in Galena Country, visit the Wineries page and the Breweries & Distilleries page on VisitGalena.org. Also, check out the new Galena Country Travel Guide for ideas on other activities and attractions to see.

Before you return home, stop by Jamie’s Wine Studio, an intimate wine and martini bar, and fine wine shop, and Galena River Wine and Cheese featuring an extensive selection of gourmet wines, beers, cheeses, sausages, pates, and specialty foods. Tip: Indulge their gourmet delicious grilled cheese!

 

8 Ways to Host an Eco-Friendly Wedding in Galena Country

Even small changes can make a big impact.

Protecting the environment is important! With new technologies and innovations, eco-friendly finds are now more accessible than ever. Share your love for the environment with a ‘green wedding’ in #GalenaCountry.

1. Green Wedding Locations

One of the best ways to cut down on energy is to get married outdoors, where mother nature can provide gorgeous lighting and a comfortable breeze. Those planning to elope or host a small wedding may want to consider Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages, Cloran Mansion, Galena Brewing Company or Jail Hill Inn. All gorgeous locations with unique details for an intimate event.

AuClair at Ramada Galena Hotel & Day Spa can accommodate those with a longer guest list. This stunning venue features hair and make-up preparations, lodging, ceremony/reception space and is minutes from Galena’s historic Main Street.

Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages

2. Guest Lodging

Encourage guests to ‘go green’ and book accommodations at these following properties (in addition to above):
Aldrich Guest House – 900 3rd Street (815)-777-3323
Alice’s Snyder House Bed & Breakfast – 1000 3rd Street (815)-281-2336
Annie Wiggins Guest House – 1004 Park Avenue (815)-777-0336
Augustus Chetlain Home & Log Cabin Guest House – 11661 W Chetlain Lane (815) 777-4777
Belle Aire Mansion Guest House – 11410 US Hwy 20 W (815)-777-0893
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson – 11334 Oldenburg Lane (800)-456-4000
Farmers Guest House – 334 Spring Street (815)-777-3456

Aldrich Guest House photo by @bonoraf

3. Wear Again Clothing

Think twice about wedding attire for the wedding party, parents and grandparents. Choose to wear a family heirloom gown or suit, and select dresses for the bridesmaids that can be worn to another event – they will thank you for it! Parents and grandparents can wear something they already own or select something that won’t collect dust in the closet. Find many wear-again options at I do Bridal in Galena!

Photo by: @megmcmillin_

4. Edible Favors

Weddings are loaded with love. Between the wedded couple, parents, guests… it’s certainly something to celebrate! Of course, you want to thank everyone for sharing the excitement and offering support in this new chapter. A lovely and tasty way to show thanks is by treating everyone to delectable favors from Chocolat 229. With different shapes, colors and flavors, these beautiful chocolates will add color and flavor to the table!

5. Spread the love

Decorating a wedding with organic, locally grown flowers are always in style! With lovely picturesque backgrounds in #GalenaCountry, flowers only add to the already present beauty. What happens after the wedding? Surely you can gift some flowers to family and friends, preserve the couples’ arrangements, but what about the rest? One thoughtful idea may be to take them to the local nursing home or hospital to create some smiles and brighten days.

6. Eco-Friendly Appetizers

Purchase food from eco-friendly businesses like Galena River Wine & Cheese. With an exceptional assortment of meats, cheeses, wine & beer, it’s likely you’ll find a reason to purchase a tray or two for more than just the ‘big day’. While tasting and selecting for the event, order yourself a gourmet grilled cheese. Yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds.

7. Gifting

It’s no secret that Galena Country is home to extraordinary shopping, especially on the Helluva Half Mile. It’s likely that during the wedding planning process, you’ll need to purchase a thoughtful gift for the wedding party, parents, grandparents… yourself? Gift options are available at any of the above locations as well as these ‘green participants’: Noty Kity, Outside the Lines and River Bend Gallery.

8. Honeymoon in #GalenaCountry

After the big day – take some time for yourselves! Stay, explore, relax and enjoy each other. Perhaps check out one of the other eco-friendly lodging properties and start a new tradition!

Start planning today, click here to download the 2019 Visitors Guide or contact galena@visitgalena.org for more information.

10 Reasons to visit Galena Country this winter.

Whether you look at winter as a time for 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 the 10 reasons winter is the best time to visit Galena Country.

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. With 19 runs ranging from beginner to expert, you can move on to the next challenge or stay in your comfort zone. For snowboarders, the Farside, Chestnut Mountain’s own 7-acre terrain park named the top Midwest Snowboard Park by Transworld for 3 consecutive years, has its own triple-chair and surface lift with more than 25 rails and jumps. In fact, it’s the largest terrain park in all the Midwest. Group ski lessons for children are broken into two age groups, 4 to 6 or 7 to 12, with all-day or half-day options and snowboarding available for ages 7 and older. A toddler daycare program is also available. And when hunger hits, no need to leave the area. Mountain Top Cafe is located just off the bunny slope and has everything from pizza to cheese fries and a salad in between.

 

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.

 

3. 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. Hiking trails provide information kiosks, helping visitors find their way to the mounds and vistas along the way. On select winter dates, they light up the night with a luminary hike via snowshoes or skis 4:30-8:30 p.m. It’s free and complete with bonfire. No reservations needed unless renting equipment. For other parks and trails, check out this link.

 

 

Eighteen acres just north of Galena is Buehler Preserve, another JDCF property and a popular place for visitors and their pets for hiking and camping. Comprised of hilly woodlands and flat planes with the Galena River cursing through, you can picnic, fish or enjoy a day of quiet bird watching. For a peaceful trek through the countryside, visit the Galena River Trail. At just 3.5 miles the trail is perfect for families going cross-country skiing or a snowshoe hike with views of the Galena River and bluffs.

 

6. Shopping

Shop Galena’s Main Street, otherwise known as the Helluva Half-Mile. With more than 125 independently owned stores, 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 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, Beautifully Berkeley for a new home-ware item or how about Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Mall for that unique treasure!

 

7. 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 ambience 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.

 

8. 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.

 

9. 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 an 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, are 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.

 

10. 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. Other annual events to look forward to are the Mardi Gras Weekend, St. Patty’s Day Weekend (town comes alive with a 5K run, parade and pub crawls) and Wine Lovers Weekend, the largest indoor wine tasting event where you can sample from more than 300 vendors. 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.

2019 is heating up in Galena Country!

The air is cold but Galena Country is heating up with these exciting events coming up! Explore writing skills, savor good food and local beer, sip on whiskey, plan your wedding, enjoy winter activities and be a spectator at fun winter sport events!

The Galena LitFest  

Jan. 5-19
This festival, for readers and writers, is back for the fifth year. Brush up on your skills at various free writers’ workshops, have brunch with “Elizabeth Barrett Browning” and dine with award-winning indie author, Heather Bentley as well as New York Times bestselling author and humorist, Micheal Perry.

 

Beer Pairing Dinner at Galena Brewing Company

Jan.18
Seated in the beer cellar of the Galena Brewing Company, savor a 4-course meal together with beer parings, alongside new beers that are happily fermenting at your side. Ask your hosts those beer related questions you have always wanted to ask, and learn more about the beer making process during this unique experience.

 

Galena Whiskey Weekend

Jan. 26
Cheers to liquid sunshine! Sip on more than 175 whiskeys in the historic Turner Hall, a treasured gathering place by the citizens of Galena for more than 125 years, just steps away from the Helluva Half Mile. Ticket’s include heavy hors d’oeuvres and a Glencairn keepsake glass.

 

Illinois Special Olympics – Winter Games 

Feb. 5-7
Cheer on more than 400 athletes as they go for the gold in Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing at Chestnut Mountain Resort! Athletes from around the state will compete in this 3-day event, which kicks off with an opening ceremony and parade in downtown Galena. Don’t miss the fireworks display after the parade.

 

Winter Carnival Weekend

Feb. 15-17
Have “snow” much fun with the whole family while making cherishable memories. Warm up in front of a cozy bonfire while watching a Hot Air Balloon Glow, play snow games, watch ice carving, sled on a 75-foot vertical drop, enjoy cross-country skiing or ice-skate on a 1.5-acre pond.

 

 

Beer Pairing Dinner at Galena Brewing Company

Feb.15
Seated in the beer cellar of the Galena Brewing Company, savor a 4-course meal together with beer parings, alongside new beers that are happily fermenting at your side. Ask your hosts those beer related questions you have always wanted to ask, and learn more about the beer making process during this unique experience.

 

Galena Bridal Fair

Feb. 16
Did you say “yes”? Visit the regions top wedding specialists at this bridal fair, taking place in the historic Turner Hall. Make your wedding dreams come true by taking care of all arrangements in one location and register for dozens of prizes.

Java, Chocolate & Champagne Stroll

Feb. 16
Galena is hosting their first Java, Chocolate & Champagne Stroll! Enjoy special treats as you stroll your way along Galena’s magical Main Street. The entire weekend has a Java, Chocolate & Champagne theme to it with specials and events sprinkled everywhere you go.

 

Annual Big Nut Open

Mar. 16-17
Get to Galena for some powder competition at Chestnut Mountain Resort! Ski and Snowboard athletes compete for honor and a cash prize in the Rail Jam, Slopestyle, and Big Air competitions. Chestnut Mountain perches high on a ridge overlooking the Mississippi River near the historic river port of Galena.

 

More events…

There’s always something going on in Galena Country! Stay up to date with what’s happening by following the events calendar on VisitGalena.org. Plan your visit around popular happenings such as The Great Galena Balloon RaceGalena Country Fair, Galena Halloween Parade and the Night of Luminaria and Living Windows. Be sure to book accommodation early!

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

Shop Small in Galena Country

Shop Small, Shop Local.

Shopping Small is a BIG DEAL. Here in Galena Country, we are celebrating independent businesses county-wide, all weekend long. On Fri., Nov. 23, businesses will be featuring Friday Night Lights with extended shopping hours and gourmet hot cocoa to keep you cozy while you snag some deals! Continue to revel in the unique finds and delicious eats as you gear up for the holidays with our ‘Lighting of the Christmas Tree’ on #SmallBusinessSaturday.

Nov. 23-Friday Night Lights

After settling in, stop in our Welcome Center on 123 N Commerce St. for a complete list of businesses that are open late and offering special deals in honor of #ShopSmallGalenaCountry. While you are sipping your delicious (and free) hot cocoa at the Welcome Center, take a look at very impressive Grant memorabilia on display. After all, it is the largest display of Grant memorabilia… in the world!

 

Shop Small Specials

Carlotta’s Studio – Special deals all weekend long. Stop in and sign a Christmas card to be send to the soldiers overseas.

Cajun Jack’s – A bowl of jambalaya for $5.

Embe – Sweet Tooth Small Business Saturday! With purchase of any drink and a full-size sandwich or salad, receive a free Bread Pudding!

Ethyl’s – Open late and will have deals all weekend long.

Fan Zone – 20% of all profits will be donated to the Galena ARC.

From Head to Toe – An extra 10% off our clearance and specials all weekend!

Gabby’s Gifts – 20% off your entire purchase on Friday and Saturday.

Galena Cellars Winery – Friday Night: Warmed apple, caramel and mulled wine for $6/glass, Saturday: 2 for 1 tastings.

Honest John’s Emporium – Free gift with purchase over $70.

Honest John’s Trading Post –  Enter a drawing on small business Saturday for a $100.00 gift certificate that is redeemable at any of our five locations.

Massbach Ridge Winery – 5% off a three bottle purchase or more, all weekend long!

New Earth Animals – 10% off storewide on Small Business Saturday and will also have giveaways all day.

Poopsie’s – Spend $75+, get a $15 gift card, spend $125+, get a $30 gift card, spend $200+, get a $60 gift card. One gift card per customer per day, gift card valid on a future purchase.

River Bend Gallery – Personalized Custom Ornaments for the holidays!

Sinchiladas Trading Co. – Spend $20 and get a Large Pashmina cashmere scarf for just $20! Reg. Price $40.

Wild Birds Unlimited of Galena – Friday: Free tote-bag and 25% off of everything you can fit in it. Saturday: 20% Off all holiday merchandise.

Open Late

Carlotta’s Studio

Ethyl’s

Fan Zone

Galena Cellar’s Winery

Poopsie’s

River Bend Gallery

The Welcome Center 

Wild Birds Unlimited of Galena

Other stores participating in #ShopSmallGalenaCountry: Wooden Wardrobe, Common Cents Resale, Dittmar Farms Orchard Station, E-town, Jane Marie Boutique, Barkau Automotive, Beautifully Berkely’s Bouquets & Home, Fritz Nursery, Glad Rags Boutique, Marie’s Wood Carving, Savvy Scavengers, Stella’s Cafe & Catering, Stockton Heritage Museum, Stockton Bowling Lanes, Sweet Alice’s, Woodbine Bend.

Nov. 24-Small Business Saturday

Make time for the holiday parade, to welcome ‘Santa’ as he rides through town. After the parade, stop back at the Welcome Center for our annual ‘Lighting of the Tree’ to help kick off the holiday season!

Enjoy local specials, late hours and endless memories as you make your way through Galena Country shops and eateries. Not only are small businesses vital to the national economy, they also benefit the communities in which they operate, both economically and socially. Everything from retail to dining, distilleries, spas and family-owned lodging, we pride ourselves in only the best independent businesses. When you purchase ‘small’, you can feel great knowing that the money you spend directly impacts the community. From all of us in Galena Country, thank you for being here and thank you for shopping small.