Galena il

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.

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!

 

10 Instagram worthy photo ops in Galena Country

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to land great photos in Galena Country! Look out for these top photo op spots and be sure to tag us with #GalenaCountry so that we can follow along.

1. Chestnut Mountain Resort, Galena

Well known for its impressive views of the Mighty Mississippi River. Take advantage of the chair lift for an awesome perspective!

2. Gramercy Park, East Dubuque

This historic park boasts beautiful views of the Mississippi River and the Julien Dubuque Bridge which connects Illinois to Iowa.

3. Grant Home, Galena

Stand on the porch of the Grant Home, where President Ulysses S. Grant once stood or pose with the statue of Grant’s wife, Julia!

4. Grant Park, Galena

It’s the perfect place to capture snaps of the city, take a selfie with Grant’s statue or the historic cannons. The footbridge connecting Grant Park to downtown Galena offers many photo opportunities too.

5. Horseshoe Mound Preserve, Galena

The scenic outlooks on this preserve make for outstanding sunset shots! Look forward to 180-degree views of Galena and views across three states.

6. Hot Air Balloons, Galena

Take your photography to new heights on a balloon ride with Galena on the Fly! Take snaps of the rolling landscapes beneath you or of the majestic balloons floating above you!

7. Main Street, Galena

Lined with shops and restaurants all housed in beautifully restored 19th Century buildings. Favorite picture spots include the Green Street Stairs and the cobblestone street at the Old Stockade.

8. Old Train Depot, Galena

Built in 1857 and originally used as a passenger train depot, this building features Italianate architecture. It has long been a Galena landmark and very popular photo spot!

9. Stockton Murals, Stockton

Find these vibrant masterpieces in downtown Stockton which serve as the perfect backdrop for your Insta shots!

10. Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe, Elizabeth

Can the whole family fit on this giant pink chair? It’s been done before, give it a try or strike a pose of your own!

For some great ideas on places to see and things to do in Galena County, take a look at the official travel guide. To book your accommodation, choose from a wide variety here.

Meet the Illinois Makers of Galena Country

Are you up for handcrafted? Illinois is a land of pioneers and a fair share of them are found in Galena Country!

The Illinois Made program is an Illinois Department of Tourism initiative. It showcases Illinois makers, creators and artisans – the craftspeople, artists, family-owned businesses, small-batch breweries, distilleries, foodies, and farmers that make Illinois thrive.

Eshelman Pottery – credit: EnjoyIllinois.com

Each maker has a captivating story to tell, whether it be a rich history, unique origins, or a pioneering spirit. Meet the Galena Country makers and creators who are proud to be recognized as Illinois Makers:

Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.

After the brothers quit their day jobs (Mike worked for the Department of Defense; Matt dabbled in nuclear medicine), the Bros. settled in Galena, a town steeped in distilling history, and took their passion for good booze to a higher level. Blaum Bros. has quickly become a popular tourist attraction in Galena. Read more

Dittmar Farms and Orchard

Owned and operated since 1854 by the Dittmar family, this farm specializes in sweet corn, pumpkins, and apples. The pumpkin patch started when they decided to have an annual pumpkin party, now it is famous for offering U-pick pumpkins for five to six weeks in September and October. They also offer hayrides, handmade donuts, a corn maze, and lots of family fun. Read more

Eshelman Pottery

Each piece, from cups to plates to serving dishes, is inspired by Paul Eshelman’s vision of bringing everyone together around a dinner table. His works reflect an artful expression of every day, bold, innovative, austere and practical; or as Paul deftly segments on his website masthead – Eat, Drink, Serve, Pour, Arrange. Read more

Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery

With craftsmanship in mind and family at the root of this Galena winery, Galena Cellars has taken home Winemaker of the Year Award by Grape Growers and Vintners Association, along with many other notable mentions. Keeping to the tradition of the tannin, the third generation of Lawlors are currently learning the art of wine as their parents did, making sure the business remains close to home. Read more

Galena Canning Company

After moving to Galena in 1993, Chef Ivo noticed that in this wonderful old town, no one was making Grandma’s old-fashioned canned goods and after many people asked him to bottle his sauces, salsas, and jams, he decided to give it a try! After selling his goods at fairs and markets, the demand grew and grew, and now Galena Canning Company is a flourishing business winning many awards! Read more

Pinder Pottery

Joe Pinder says that he did not make a conscious decision in high school to have the dream of making pottery as a profession. On his first day of pottery class in college, he made a life-sized sculpture of one of his gym shoes, while other classmates made pinch pots. He has always enjoyed a challenge and does not want to make the ordinary or simple. Joe never thought he would make functional pottery and believes potters should not make items in the same way as they are made by manufacturing companies. This is the reason for his unique color and texture. Read more

River Bend Gallery

As a person born with Down syndrome, Geoffrey has found a special connection with photography as a means of expressing himself. His artwork, often technically difficult, catches elusive light that the eye sees but that cameras often miss. After graduating from Community College, Geoffrey decided that he wanted a full-time career as an artist. In the spring of 2016, River Bend Gallery was launched on Galena’s famous Main Street, housing his entire photography collection. Read more

Rocky Waters Vineyard & Winery

The Spahn family are proud to have created one of the many wonderful and unique attractions to be found in the Mississippi River bluffs region. Area natives Jared & Phyllis Spahn purchased 112 acres of land just outside Hanover, Illinois in 1994 and planted a vine nursery with 3,600 grape cuttings in 1996. They had visited wineries and vineyards in California and those trips inspired them to create their own in Northwestern Illinois, where the natural beauty rivals and may even exceed that of Napa Valley. Read more

 

*A portion of the above text is from the Illinois Office of Tourism website.*

Restaurants catering to Special Diets in Galena Country

Finding Gluten-free (GF) and vegan (V) dining options in Galena Country is easy! Let us prove it to you with this drool-worthy list of establishments that will supply options for your dietary requirements.

Credit: One Eleven Main

Big Bill’s Sandwich and Coffee Shop, Galena GF+V
This full-service coffee bar is in the Historic Logan House building and offers gluten-free bread options so that you can enjoy their yummy sandwiches! Try the vegan hummus sandwich and vegan almond milk latte.

Cajun Jack’s Bar & Grill, Elizabeth GF
Enjoy gluten-free options such as their Rib-Eye Dinner, Tacos or Baked Fish in a unique dining atmosphere. Be sure to snap a selfie with the shark hanging out front!

Cannova’s Pizzeria, Galena GF
This cozy Italian restaurant serves delicious gluten-free pizza options! Nothing like a great wine to go with your pizza… there is a good selection!

Culvers, Galena GF+V
Who doesn’t love fast food? Culver’s offers gluten-free buns, soup, shakes, and sides! There are also a few vegan sides that can make up a meal.

Durty Gurt’s Burger Joynt, Galena GF+V
You’ll love the décor in this fun restaurant! The burgers are just as exciting! Gluten-free buns are available and vegan veggie burgers (yup, no eggs or dairy) – remember to hold the cheese and mayo!

Elle & Becks, Galena GF+V
This is a unique lifestyle boutique where you can shop for the latest in fashion, accessories, and homewares as well as get your gelato and coffee fix! Vegans can enjoy dairy free, dark chocolate gelato and milk alternative lattes!

Embe, Galena GF
A cozy spot situated on Main Street! They serve the best gluten-free cream of mushroom soup with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes!

E-Town Coffee Co., Elizabeth GF
Enjoy an assortment of tasty sandwiches for lunch substituting with gluten-free bread. Browse local art on display and buy a bottle of wine while you’re there.

Fried Green Tomatoes, Galena GF+V
A wide variety of gluten-free and vegan options are listed on the menu at this restaurant, as well as great award-winning wines.

Fritz and Frites, Galena GF
European-style bistro serving French and German classics for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.

Galena Brewing Company, Galena GF
Nothing fried and nothing grilled in this brewpub. They are famous for their baked chicken wings and guess what… they’re gluten-free! Wash them down with a New Grist gluten-free beer.

Galena Juicery & Meal Prep, Galena GF+V+DF
Looking for Delicious gluten-free or vegan smoothie? This is the place to be! Locally sourced whole fruits and vegetables, as well as super greens that are grown on site,  are the main ingredients!

Generals’ Restaurant at the DeSoto House Hotel, Galena GF
Dine in the oldest operating hotel in Illinois! Their menu features many house-made specialties as well as hand-cut steaks and seafood with gluten-free options. Try their delicious gluten-free desserts!

Gobbie’s Sports Pub & Eatery, Galena GF+V
Featuring an outdoor patio, plenty of TVs to catch the game, live entertainment and Karaoke! A favorite for vegans is the Mediterranean wrap with no cheese and Italian dressing!

Goldmoor Inn, Galena GF+Dairy Free
Enjoy the elegance and refinement of fine dining overlooking views of the Mississippi River. They offer a dedicated gluten-free and dairy-free menu with outstanding options. Delicious meals such as GF& DF wild caught 1/3lb prawns and cold-water Baby Maine Lobster Tail or GF Cured and grill Pork Belly are available.

Green Street Tavern & Restaurant at DeSoto House Hotel, Galena GF
Serving anything from hand-cut steaks to seafood to sandwiches, this restaurant features an outdoor patio and a great dedicated gluten-free menu. All of this, within the oldest operating hotel in Illinois.

Little Tokyo, Galena V
Some great vegan options at this Japanese restaurant include avocado sushi rolls, sweet potato, and veggie rolls, pineapple fried rice sans egg and add tofu, vegetable tempura, and miso soup.

Market House Restaurant, Galena GF+V
A family-run restaurant serving homemade food! Enjoy one of their yummy sandwiches on gluten-free bread or indulge in a vegan Portabello sandwich or vegan impossible burger!

One Eleven Main, Galena GF
This restaurant has forged special partnerships with local and regional farmers, utilizing locally-sourced ingredients. They offer a gluten-free menu that even has gluten-free pasta on it, oh and you have to try the Flourless Chocolate Cake! Bonus… they serve gluten-free beer too.

Otto’s Place, Galena GF+V
Situated opposite the Old Train Depot alongside the train tracks, this restaurant boasts beautiful views of downtown Galena. Otto’s offers gluten-free bread for any of their sandwiches and for vegans, they have veggie burgers!

Pudgy’s, Galena GF
A family-run hot dog joint serving authentic Chicago Style Hot Dogs… with the option of a gluten-free bun!

Silver Spoon Restaurant, East Dubuque GF
Located on the beautiful Mississippi River backwaters, this restaurant serves elevated comfort food and provide gluten-free options.

Small Town Saloon, Elizabeth V
Featuring an outdoor deck, this restaurant offers a farm-to-table menu including Impossible Burgers… mmmm… yum!

Subway, Galena GF+V
Just want a quick take-out? Subway offers gluten-free buns as well as wraps. They have vegan options too. Quick and tasty!

Thriving Thistle Market, Apple River GF+V
This gourmet gas station is located on the historic Stagecoach Trail. Examples of options they have include delicious gluten-free banana pancakes and vegan blended smoothies with almond milk!

Vinny Vannucchi’s, Galena GF
Serving classic Italian dishes, this family-owned restaurant offers a gluten-free menu full of variety. Being gluten-free doesn’t mean that you need to go without pasta when it comes to this restaurant!

Victory Café, Galena GF+V
This is a great spot for breakfast and you don’t have to go without toast – you can enjoy your egg on delicious gluten-free toast. A vegan option would include good old-fashioned oatmeal with fruit and brown sugar, served with hash browns and coffee.

Woodstone Restaurant at Eagle Ridge Resort, Galena GF
Boasting beautiful views of the tri-state region and of the General golf course, here you can enjoy gluten-free, wood-fired pizzas and a variety of gluten-free entrées.

Please Note: If you have celiac disease, or are severely gluten intolerant, we recommend calling ahead to see what practices the restaurants have in place in their kitchens to avoid contamination.

A lot of the accommodation establishments in Galena Country offer gluten-free and vegan options at breakfast time! Stay tuned for an upcoming blog that highlights these options.

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.

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.

© Greater Galena Marketing, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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.

Spoil Dad in Galena Country this Father’s Day

Let’s talk about Dad! We love him more than he knows and, every year on Father’s Day, we shower him with gifts and adoration. Traditionally, it’s socks, ties, and tools that make Dad smile on Father’s Day. It’s time for new traditions… break free from the expected and surprise Dad with the gift of a Galena Country getaway!

Credit: @samaratoby

Galena Country not only offers one-of-a-kind gifts to purchase for Dad but also experiences that you can enjoy together and create special memories. From kayaking and golfing to the plethora of gift shops along Galena’s Helluva Half Mile, you’ll be able to give Dad nothing less than the best to thank him for all he has done. Book your accommodation now to secure the surprise!

Relax and Recharge

The best way to get Dad to relax and become acclimated to the slower pace is to take him on a scenic, historic drive along Stagecoach Trail Road as you enter Galena Country. This road follows the original stagecoach route between Galena and Chicago. The gently curving and hilly two-lane road, originally established in the mid-1830s, flows across the scenic country landscape and is steeped in history. Drive through the towns of Nora, Warren, Apple River (with the option to take a detour to Apple River Canyon State Park), Scales Mound and end in the renowned town of Galena.

Reconnect with nature 

Now that you’re both relaxed, it’s time to get active and enjoy the outdoors! Take Dad birding at the Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary in Stockton, featuring more than 100 bird species and 6.6 miles of mowed trails on 409 acres. Notable Illinois species of conservation concern include the Henslow’s sparrow, bobolink, red-headed woodpecker, and northern harrier. Explore the many other parks and trails throughout Galena Country too.

A new perspective 

Give Dad a new perspective with a thrilling experience at Long Hollow Canopy Tours! Zipline together through the trees at Tapley Woods at speeds up to 40 mph! This 2.5-hour tour begins with a UTV ride through the woods and finishes with a rappel or quick jump from the trees! What fun!

Float among the clouds

Is ziplining not high enough? Is a Hot Air Balloon ride on his bucket list? Galena On The Fly will take care of that! Liftoff in one of the largest hot air balloons in the country. Drift above the rolling landscapes of Galena Country while taking in views of Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin from your 3,000-foot high perch.

Pedal it out   

Is that too high? Okay… what about renting a couple of bikes from Fever River Outfitters and cycling along the beautiful Galena River Trail just steps away from downtown Galena? It features towering bluffs and beautiful views of the Galena River. If you complete the 8.8-mile stretch, you will reach Chestnut Mountain Resort, another outdoor playground! Take the chair lift to the top of the mountain where you can enjoy a refreshing drink while overlooking the Mississippi River, before exploring the array of activities that are available, such as segway tours, mini-golf & disc golf, river cruises, an alpine slide and more!

Reel in memories 

If Dad just wants to float down the river and have you listen to “when I was your age” stories… grab a tandem kayak from Fever River Outfitters and get a-floatin’ down the beautiful Galena River. Nothing beats a good bonding session while fishing! Fine-tune your fishing skills with a guided fly fishing experience with Galena Fly Fishing Outfitters or spend the day picnicking and fishing at Apple River Canyon State Park.

Golf Par Excellence 

Challenge Dad to a round of golf on one of Galena Country’s scenic Golf Courses! Can you believe there are nine to choose from? Remember to let him win and then celebrate his winnings with a glass of wine at one of the four award-winning wineries.

Peek into the Past 

Does Dad love to tell stories about the good old days? Galena Country is steeped in history and has many a story to tell! Tour the home of Ulysses S. Grant, visit the oldest house in Galena called the Dowling House or spend time at the Apple River Fort State Historic Site, where one of the battles were fought during the Black Hawk War. A really unique experience is a visit to the authentic 1897 Old Blacksmith Shop, featuring working forges and tools and equipment from its 100-year history. Watch sparks fly during a live demo and chat with the historian on site.

Shop for Fan Gear

What’s Dad’s favorite team? Whether it’s the lovable losers, winners, or that team only Dad cheers for… the gear to get can be found downtown on Galena’s Helluva Half-Mile. Check out Country Crafts & Sports for sports memorabilia, and Fan Zone for licensed jerseys, shirts, and limited edition team hats. Another great option is For Bare Feet, who offer the largest selection of licensed sports socks made in the USA. Yes, we know… we told you to steer away from the usual socks and ties, but trust us, he will totally rock these team socks! While you’re at it, keep Dad up-to-date on the freshest apparel trends with multiple clothing stores and boutiques found on Galena’s Main Street, such as The Cotton Club, Galena Teesand Serendipity.

Brews and Burgers

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, grab a burger served with hand-cut fries from Durty Gurt’s Burger Joynt before heading to Galena Brewing Co. for a refreshing beer flight or pint! Before you leave the brewery, purchase a growler of Dad’s favorite Galena brew to take home and enjoy. In the mood for pizza instead? Head to Wally’s Pizza in Warren which is conveniently located next door to Pecatonica Beer Company Tap House. If he’s more of a spirits kinda guy, treat him to a tour and a tasting at the Blaum Bros. Distilling Company. Click here for other dining options.

For even more ideas on what to do and see, check out the Galena Country Travel Guide! Whatever you choose to give or do for Dad on Father’s Day, remember to tell him that you love him! Every moment is a memory in Galena Country… a family tradition in the making.

Kick off summer in Galena Country this Memorial Day Weekend!

Jump-start your summer with a weekend full of adventure during Memorial Day weekend. For many of us, Memorial Day means school is out and summer vacation officially begins. Grab your travel buddies, book your accommodation and plan a vacation to Galena Country to celebrate the season. Here’s a 4-day itinerary missing only one thing… you!

FRIDAY
Spend Friday immersed in history and be wowed by impressive architecture and historic sites. Explore the historic Elihu B. Washburne House where President Ulysses S. Grant spent his election night. After a walk through Washburne’s home, a tour of Grant’s home is in order. See his original furnishings and tour his property and other historic buildings. Have your camera ready to snap a picture of the historic Stillman Mansion, located just steps away from the Grant home. This building is soon to be the new home of the Galena History Museum. It features exquisite French Italianate details, which date back to 1858. Next up is The Belvedere Mansion & Gardens. Inside, visitors will find Victorian furnishings, Liberace’s estate items, and the famous green drapes, as well as artwork, from “Gone with the Wind.” How about taking a peek inside the oldest house in Galena? Step way back in time as you step into The Dowling House, built of native limestone in 1826. Traveling just 15 miles further to the Apple River Fort State Historic Site is worth the trip. Learn all about the Black Hawk War and the significance of this fort.

SATURDAY
Saturday is for tasting and touring. Galena Country is home to four award-winning wineries, including Massbach Ridge Winery & Tasting RoomFergedaboudit Vineyard & Winery, Rocky Waters Vineyard & Winery, and Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, all of which offer tours and/or tastings. Wine isn’t your thing? How about a cold craft beer or fine spirits? Blaum Bros. Distillery offers daily tours, tastings, a gift shop, and even a specialty cocktail bar. The Galena Brewing Co. is a microbrewery, featuring brewery tours, tastings, a brewpub menu, gift shop, and live entertainment. Pecatonica Beer Company Tap House, situated on the historic Stagecoach Trail in Warren, offers delicious brews and live entertainment. Read more about Galena Country’s beer, wine, and spirits here. Speaking about good taste… be sure to treat your tastebuds to gourmet finds like Galena Canning Company, Galena Garlic Company, Galena River Wine and Cheese and more.

SUNDAY
Celebrate Sunday Funday outdoors in one of Galena Country’s beautiful parks. The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation maintains breathtaking nature preserves, some of which offer guided safaris. Plan a picnic lunch on a preserve and enjoy Mother Nature at her finest. Spend the afternoon hiking, biking or even kayaking your way through the scenic landscape of Northern Illinois. Fever River Outfitters can hook you up with bike and kayak rentals. Kayak down the beautiful Galena River just steps away from Downtown Galena or cycle along the 8.8 mile Galena River Trail which ends at Galena Junction, at the foot of Chestnut Mountain Resort. Chestnut Mountain Resort offers an array of outdoor activities such as segway tours, river cruises, mountain bike rentals, ziplining, and an alpine slide. Enjoy all of these activities while taking in stunning views of the Mighty Mississippi River. If you get a taste of ziplining at Chestnut Mountain and you want more… head on over to Long Hollow Canopy Tours in Tapley Woods, where you will enjoy approximately 2.5 hours of thrilling fun by reaching speeds up to 40 mph and heights of 75 feet!

MEMORIAL DAY
Between the historic sites, tasty tours and picturesque parks, the weekend has proven to be one for the books. Don’t let your last day in the Galena Country fizzle out. It’s time to shop ‘til you drop and eat your heart out! Galena’s 1800s Main Street was voted as the nation’s Best Shopping on Main Street experience by ShopOnMain. More than 125 independently owned shops tempt visitors with boutique shopping, incredible antiques, and gourmet foods. End your Memorial Day shopping spree with a sit-down meal at one of Galena Country’s fine restaurants. Enjoy a glass of wine and unwind as you recap your weekend with friends over a delicious dinner, a perfect ending to a perfect weekend.

Looking for more travel ideas? We’d love to help you plan your trip. Check out our online travel guide, give us a call 815.776.9200 or e-mail us!

Follow Historic Wheels on Stagecoach Trail through Galena Country

Tired of the highway? Hop off Highway 20 and take the Historic Stagecoach Trail Road through Galena Country instead! This gently curving and hilly two-lane road, originally established in the mid-1830s, flows across the scenic country landscape and is steeped in history.

Credit:@johnposhepny

What’s the story behind it?

This road follows the original stagecoach route between Galena and Chicago. The stagecoach became the predominant mode of overland public transport for passengers and mail in the mid-1800s. The vehicles were called stagecoaches because they completed their scheduled routes in stages, traveling from stop to stop where tired horses could be exchanged for fresh ones and passengers could sometimes eat, rest or sleep overnight.

It lasted only a few decades, but this period in the mid-1800s had a significant impact on the region, as settlements were linked, mail was managed and the groundwork was laid for future transportation systems. As you drive along this historic path, think of the first travelers and what it must have been like. You will be traveling at a much a higher comfort level no doubt. Take in the beautiful countryside dotted with cows, enjoy the architecture and see what you can find in the local stores as you stop to stretch your legs along the way. Snap some pics and be sure to tag them with #GalenaCountry.

Nora

Take the W. Galena Road/Stagecoach Rd. exit off Highway 20, drive through Lena, Waddams Grove and continue to Nora… where Galena Country begins. Nora, once a bustling railroad community (after the Stagecoach era) is now a small village with a population of 112. A popular local hangout in this village is the Nora Bar.

Warren

This town was named after Warren Burnett, the son of Alexander Burnett who was the founder in 1843. The town of Warren began to flourish when the Old Stone Hotel was built in 1851. It served as a stopover along the crossing of two major stagecoach routes and hosted prominent visitors such as Ulysses S. Grant. Today, the former hotel serves as the Warren Community Building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A great annual Christmas event that takes place in this building is the Festival of Trees.

Pop into Dusty’s Closet Antiques, a small-town antique shop featuring antique furniture, vintage collectibles, and a small gift selection. Craft beer enthusiasts will love visiting the Pecatonica Beer Company. Enjoy a selection of cold brews and experience the regional flavors of the Pecatonica Valley. The town of Warren hosts the oldest County Fair in Illinois, dating back to 1860, held in late July/August every year and the Annual Warren Pumpkin Festival in September.

Apple River Canyon State Park

As you head towards the town of Apple River, there is a 6.5-mile detour, that’s worth it… turn left onto N. Canyon Park Rd. which will lead you to the Apple River Canyon State Park. Discover incredible limestone bluffs carved by the Apple River, deep ravines, springs, streams and plenty of wildlife. This park is ideal for outdoor activities and camping in the summer. In the fall, this park puts on an impressive show of color bursts.

A little history to this area… Millville (1838) is a village that was established in Apple River Canyon but no longer exists. It became an important rural service stop along the Stagecoach Trail since Millville had a blacksmith. In 1853–54, the Illinois Central Railroad bypassed Millville, relegating it to backwater town status.

Apple River

Head on back to Stagecoach Trail where you will turn left to continue to the town of Apple River. This town was established by the Illinois Central Railroad in 1854. Surrounded by dairy farms and cornfields, a must-stop is the Thriving Thistle Market! This is a gourmet gas station! It supplies zero-ethanol fuel for your vehicle and delicious fuel for your belly! Enjoy freshly baked bread, pizza, burgers, smoothies and more! Coming soon is a brand-new Wellness Center and Bistro that will be attached to the market.

Scales Mound

Upon reaching the area of Scales Mound, the road becomes West Stagecoach Trail Road. Turn left onto N. Elizabeth Scales Mound Road for a detour to the town of Scales Mound, where 90% of the town buildings are on the National Historic Register. Just north of here is Charles Mound. At 1,235-feet, it is the highest point in the entire state of Illinois. (Note: it is on private land and not open to the public). Scales Mound has a fitting motto… “At the Top of Illinois.”

If you prefer to skip the town of Scales Mound, continue on Stagecoach Trail Road until you get to W. Council Hill Rd. on your right, where you can take a detour to an interesting place called Council Hill Station. Travel on W. Council Hill Road to North Hill Road where you will take a left. This is a unique and historic 1850s general store and railway station which has been transformed into a watering hole and music venue. Ruins of a woolen mill, barn, and silo can also be found on the property.

From here, as you continue on North Ford Road to get back to Stagecoach Trail Road, you will pass the Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery. This is a great stopping point! Here you can relax on the comfortable wrap-around deck of the charming farmhouse turned tasting room, and soak in the gorgeous views of the vineyards. If you don’t have enough time on your hands, you could wait until you reach Galena, where they have a tasting room downtown. How convenient!

Galena 

Arriving at the southeast corner of Galena marks the end of the Stagecoach Trail Road. The trail ends near the 1854 John Westwick Foundry. Ironically, 1854 is the same year that the railroad came through and the old stagecoach line began fading away.

As the Stagecoach Trail Road enters Galena, it rapidly transitions into Field, Claude and Meeker Streets. Just after the bend in Meeker Street, turn left onto N. Main Street. This historic Main Street is a major attraction in the area and has been dubbed the “Helluva Half-Mile.” It’s lined with more than 125 independently owned stores housed in beautifully preserved buildings that date back to Galena’s days as a booming 1800s lead-mining town. Steeped in history, 79% of the town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Grab a bite to eat at one of Galena’s renowned restaurants before you check in to your accommodation. Check out the official visitors guide for ideas on things to do and sites to see, such as historic sites, outdoor activities, tours, art galleries/studios, and more!