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Have a farm-tastic time in Galena Country!

Corn, crops, and countryside, oh my!

Have you ever toured a farm? Petted a cow? Enjoyed a hayride? Stomped grapes? Or watched a tractor harvest its crops? Well, get to Galena Country and experience all that and more.

You know you’re in the Midwest when the cornfields are endless and the pastures are sprinkled with classic red barns and bellowing cattle. To deepen your understanding and strengthen your appreciation of the land, Galena Country has the perfect spots to explore.

Terrapin Orchards

Terrapin Orchards believes that if you’ve never had a farm fresh strawberry, you’ve never really had a strawberry! Pick your own delicious bursts of goodness or grab a bag of pre-picked berries. The strawberries have a red juice filled center, instead of the unripe white pith that we have come to view as normal. Be warned… children who wear a white colored shirt to pick strawberries typically leave with a red colored shirt and a huge smile! Strawberry season starts in early June and runs through to mid-June.

Apples are king at Terrapin! Anticipated to be ready to munch on by September, the variety of apples and pears available are picked at the peak of perfection. One of the favorites is the first apple to ripen… the Zestar! Offering the perfect blend of sweet and tart in a beautiful crisp, red and green striped fruit, the Zestar doesn’t disappoint!

Orchard Landing

Where can you find apple trees, airplanes and mini donuts? At Orchard Landing in Hanover. Yummy doesn’t begin to describe this extraordinary farm stand experience. It’s not only a visual treat with a large orchard, a grass runway for planes and a cute airplane hangar that doubles as the shop, it’s loaded with goodies from doughnuts, apples and dried cherries to syrup, jellies and honey mustard.

The drive out (or fly in?) is lovely and it’s just minutes from the Helluva Half Mile in downtown Galena. Open August to mid-November, grab some pumpkins and enjoy any of nine varieties of apples as they come into season. Plan on flying in? The elevation is 970 feet.

 

Erhler Ranch

Get the best look at the countryside while learning about local growers and what it takes to supply and maintain successful crops. Along with a tour, there are plenty of activities and opportunities for kids with bean bags, picnics and pony rides, as well as the chance to splash their feet in Rock Bottom Creek.

Spark your kids’ love of equestrian activities with a pony ride. Led by staff, not only can you ride a pony but also learn safety basics and the fundamentals of riding. Finish the day with a hayride for an up-close look into a real-life farm. Don’t be surprised if you see a tractor in the cornfield or a rancher wrangling cattle. These are just the normal day-to-day operations at Ehrler Ranch.

Dittmar Farms

Although summer has just arrived, fall and Halloween will be here before you know it. With this in mind, experience your new favorite fall season getaway with the best place for corn, pumpkins and the ever-frustrating but hysterical corn maze! Just a few minutes from Galena, this farm is in Elizabeth, the heart of Galena Country!

The most popular activity, besides navigating the giant u-pick pumpkin patch, is a hayride. The 20-minute excursion gives riders an opportunity to see the entire scenic span of the farm. Dittmar Farms are extremely kid- and family-friendly.

Want to keep the kiddos busy for a while? They offer a 2-acre corn maze to burn off some energy with some innocent fun. End your trip at Dittmar munching on their homemade pumpkin bread and, yes, even pumpkin donuts. This farm is a must-visit.

Grapes are a crop, too

Witness the wine-making process from the field to bottle and enjoy a tasting at one of Galena Country’s four vineyards. These wineries are set among the beautiful countryside in charming historic towns. Enjoy award-winning Illinois wines and during the fall season, you can even stomp grapes at one of the harvest celebrations.

Barefoot Adventures in Galena Country

Our intern, Ally, jumped in with both feet as she experienced Galena Country mostly barefoot! Here is a recount of her adventure… 

“I can’t keep my foot in my mouth any longer about my time at Apple River Canyon State Park. It was a muggy morning but Pine Trail was completely shaded, which made for a nice, cool hike. There are a variety of trails, but we chose this one as it was only 1 mile and the sign promised some things along the way. We buckled up our fanny packs and entered.

It was quiet and peaceful as we made our way through the trail. You realize why it’s named Pine Trail when you see a host of beautiful pine trees lining the walkway. After storms rolled through a few days prior, the timber was lush and filled with beautiful plants and flowers.

Once we found the river, I ditched the shoes and went barefoot. The mud felt sweet between my toes and it made the experience feel extremely natural. The water was off the trail a little but the natural bluffs carved away by the river are a must-see. Before I knew it, we were sitting on the edge of the trail, resting in the grass and listening to the sweet sounds of nature.

It was just what the doctor ordered – a decent dose of sunshine and relaxation.

To add to my natural, holistic foot adventure, I stopped by Sacred Sole and Massage. Most people cringe when I tell them I was getting massaged by someone’s bare feet. I set them straight right away because not only was the massage the most amazing one I’ve ever had but the woman was also even more beautiful. Inside and out, Theresa Young was so great that I had to give her a hug at the end of my session because it wasn’t just a massage. She informed me of why she practices the way she does, background information about the Fiji-style massage and made it a unique experience.

I do CrossFit, which puts a lot of stress and soreness on my body, and she said she massages 3-4 other CrossFitters who come to her regularly, which made me feel even more at home. So, whether you’re an athlete, parent, grandparent or anyone looking for a “not-too-soft” but “not-too-much” pressure massage, go to her!

What she does with her feet, I doubt anyone could do with their hands. Like I said, Theresa has me wanting to come back for more. And if you want to leave a session feeling brand new, choose Sacred Sole & Massage located in the heart of Galena’s Helluva Half Mile.

If you’re not into the idea of a massage from feet but you like the idea of being primped, foot massages and pedicures are another great option. Galena Country is home to top-notch spas, all specializing in a variety of pampering experiences. Treat yourself to an afternoon of bliss and book a spa foot treatment. Soon, it’ll be time to find the perfect pair of sandals to show off your new pedicure.

That’s right. Make it a shopping adventure and explore the Helluva Half Mile for the perfect pair of kicks. Honest John’s is just one of many shops who carry top-quality brands, including my favorite sandals, Birkenstock.

Other barefoot adventures in Galena Country include kayaking and canoeing. While you’ll want to wear shoes while loading your vessel in and out of the water, during your float, you might just find yourself kicking off those shoes and dipping them into the cool current of the Galena River. You can float all the way to the Mississippi River with your toesies hanging out.

So, quit tiptoeing around the idea and #GetToGalena Country to experience these barefoot adventures.”

Galena, Illinois Travel Diaries

Post by guest blogger, Nicole at Uniquely Women

Galena, Illinois is a great Midwest Town to make a day trip out of. The city is a popular tourist destination known for its history, historical architecture, and ski and golf resorts. Galena was the residence of Ulysses S. Grant and eight other Civil War Generals. The downtown area and Main Street is booming full of wineries/breweries and distilleries, antique shops, and candy shops. Here is a breakdown of what we did:

Where we ate:

Vinny Vanucchi’s “Little Italy” – Old World Italian Neighborhood Restaurant. Great food, amazing atmosphere.

Green Street Tavern – Cute pub. Serves great sandwiches/soups and has the best Bloody Mary’s.

Durty Gurts Burger Joint – Unique burger place. Fun sayings on the wall & fun atmosphere. Great for kids!

 

 

Beers, Wine & Spirits:

Galena Brewing Company – Loved this place. Bartender was awesome – very friendly and helpful. HAVE TO HAVE: 2 lb Baked Pretzel. You will not be disappointed. Comes with Beer Cheese as a dipping sauce. Oh yea, and great beer selection!

The Cornerstone – The live music is spot on. Laid back atmosphere. In the heart of Galena’s downtown.

Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery – Wine tasting. 12 different wine samples of your choice for $5. Their Rhubarb wine is my personal favorite.

 

Where we shopped:

Peace of the Past -For you Antique lovers this is the place to go. Vintage books galore. Fun place to go in and take a peek

Poopsie’s – Kids will love this place. Small crazy shop full of unique art, gifts, jewelry, and crazy games!

Bella Vintaj – Handmade jewelry. Kinda pricey, but love the look of the place and great looking jewelry.

Galena’s Kandy Kitchen – Candy you can buy by the pound. They offer a ton of old school candy.

 

 

We went walking along the “Pathway of the Levee.” The half-mile long pathway offers wonderful views of the Galena River, Galena’s historic downtown, magnificent bluff homes and church steeples. Great views.

XO – Nicole

Credit to Nicole Floss for all pictures. 

Bring your Bachelorette party to Galena Country

Credit: @calliekaekramer

We’ve noticed more brides-to-be are visiting Galena for their bachelorette parties and we couldn’t be happier. Galena is already recognized as a destination wedding hot-spot. The beautiful rolling hills of Galena Country, its picturesque churches and a Main Street frozen in the 1800s are just a few things that catch their attention. That said, it might be surprising to learn that maids of honor are drawn to the area for different reasons. Those reasons make Galena one of the best cities to plan bachelorette party adventures.

 

 

Happy hour – With 13 pubs on Main Street there are plenty of places to celebrate the bride-to-be with a drink. Each pub offers a variety of beverages in a unique atmosphere with a little something for everyone. From quiz-bowl trivia, martinis and live music at Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape, Galena Brewing Company and The Cornerstone to and karaoke at Gobbie’s Sports Pub & Eatery, the Galena pub scene is one big party happening on the Helluva Half Mile every night. Don’t worry about driving. All pubs are located within walking distance to one another and, when the night is over, call one of Galena’s cab services to transport the party back to your lodging.

Brunch – Galena’s dining scene is superb and bachelorettes looking for the ultimate brunch experience will find it here, mimosas and all. The Courtyard Restaurant, Goldmoor Inn, Fritz and Frites, Victory Café, Paradise Bar & Grill and Otto’s Café all offer a delicious brunch menu. Don’t forget to order a glass of Rosé and toast the bride-to-be. If the group is coming off a late night and brunch isn’t in the cards, there are plenty of dining options to explore for a late lunch or dinner.

Fun shopping – Who doesn’t love a good boutique? Galena’s Helluva Half Mile has more than 130 independent businesses, making it a shopper’s paradise. Check out the scents and pleasures of Noty Kity. Savor the flavors of Galena with a taste through the Galena Canning Company, The Grateful Gourmet or Galena River Wine & Cheese. Design a custom necklace at Rustic River or create your own personalized wooden sigh at Creative Expressions Galena. Bachelorettes love the variety of shops, gourmet food stores and design studios that line our marvelous Main Street.

 

 

Arts & Crafts – Be inspired by the beauty of Galena County and learn how to spin some pottery at Artists’ Annex, paint beautiful landscapes with artists Jan Ketza, Sandra Principe or take a tour the Pinder Pottery Studio and more. Most of our art shops, studios and galleries are open year-round, so come inside to warm up on a cold day or cool off in one of the amazing art studios.

Unique attractions – Galena is a booming tourist destination with attractions galore. Spend the day exploring the city’s rich history with a trolley tour through the historic district. Embrace Mother Nature with the breathtaking view on top Horseshoe Mound. Walk the same halls that President Ulysses S. Grant roamed with a tour through the Grant Home. Be fearless with a zip line journey through the scenic Tapley Woods with Long Hollow Canopy Tours. The possibilities are endless and with so much to see and do, bachelorette party goers love having options.

Even more spirits – Enjoy more than a drink at one of four wineries, namely Galena Cellars Winery, Massbach Ridge Winery, Fergedaboudit Vineyard & Winery and Rocky Waters Vineyard. Take a tour of the Galena Brewing Co. with beer in hand or learn all about the distilling process at Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. Each business offers a tour of and a behind-the-scenes view into how they make their product. If your group is too large to fit in one vehicle, consider booking a tour with Countryside Tours. Ride comfortably and enjoy a drink while they do the driving.

Safety – This is a top priority for many when choosing a travel destination. Bachelorettes can rest assured knowing Galena is one of the friendliest and safest cities around. Party goers can plan on having have big fun while enjoying the benefits of small town safety including low crime and welcoming locals.

 

Pic credit to @kaitveld on Instagram

Japanese TV show shoots Illinois special, features Galena, IL

Jo Daviess County raised its tourism profile with a Japanese television program called Tabi Salad. In September 2016, the TV celebrity travel show filmed a visit to Illinois, including Galena in part two of the series. Tabi Salad is a 90-minute weekend morning show featuring a 20 minute travel segment. The Illinois Office of Tourism partnered with Connect Worldwide Japan Co., Ltd. and secured Illinois for their 4 part overseas travel show. The Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) worked with the Illinois Office of Tourism for this special road trip.

The team traveled from Chicago to Galena, IL; enjoying the views on US Hwy 20. Upon arrival the host, Ms. Aoi Yoshikura, tells viewers, “Here you will find the old-fashioned mid-western town of Galena, a 19th century mining town with a quiet pace of life where you can escape the busy city. With the old buildings just as they were, it looks like a nice place to live. It takes you back in time and you get a feel for the way America used to be.”

Ms. Yoshikura enters the charming bed and breakfast, Farmers’ Guest House, commenting that “the owner is lively and cheerful and greets you like an old friend.” She also enjoyed the accommodations, the “cute, country-style rooms, great for relaxing,” and the homemade cherry danish is a “real taste of Mid-America.”

The travel show takes viewers to a relaxing mud & charcoal facial at the Stonedrift Spa at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, before heading downtown for dinner at Log Cabin Steakhouse. The petite host enjoyed their specialty, hand-cut Allen Bros. steak, “so big, everything is big here! So tender and delicious and I ate the whole thing!”

Ms. Yoshikura took to the skies in a hot air balloon with Galena on The Fly, enjoying the panoramic views of Jo Daviess County. The footage from the balloon is stunning.

Viewers of Tabi Salad can find travel information here at galena.org!