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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.

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.

Guys Getaway: Top Must-Do Experiences in Galena Country

Relax and recharge with the guys.

Whether you’re prepping for a guy’s trip, bachelor party, solo getaway, or a father-son vacation, here are a few experiences you don’t want to skip on your trip to Galena Country.

Outdoor Adventure

Home to twenty parks and trails, Galena Country offers hiking, biking, and cross country skiing opportunities for all levels of skill. For those interested in cycling, the Galena River Trail is 8.8 miles (one way) of hard-surfaced trail showcasing views of the Galena and Mississippi Rivers. Beginning in downtown Galena, the trail officially ends at the intersection with South River Road at Aiken. Users may continue on lightly traveled South River Road to reach the base of Chestnut Mountain Resort. The resort offers free chair lift rides for cyclists wishing to visit the resort restaurants or amenities at the top of the slope.

Bird enthusiasts will want to check out the Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary in Stockon. Featuring more than 100 bird species and 6.6 miles of mowed trails, you’ll get exercise and birding all in one! Photography aficionados, journey to Horseshoe Mound Preserve in Galena and Gramercy Park in East Dubuque, both starring incredible views of Galena Country.

Long Hollow Canopy Tours is a thrilling group experience, zip lining through the trees at speeds up to 40 mph! This 2 1/2 hour tour begins with a UTV ride through the woods and finishes with a rappel or quick jump from the trees! Take your adventures to the water with a canoe or kayak and voyage down the Galena River. Paddleboards, bicycles, and e-bikes are also available to rent at Fever River Outfitters.

On the hunt

Spend the day hunting pheasant with experienced guides at River Valley Hunting in Scales Mound. Choose from one of five courses or a tower shoot! Fine-tune your fishing skills with a guided fly fishing experience through Galena Fly Fishing Outfitters. While in Scales Mound, grab a cold one and bite to eat at the South Side Hornet Pub & Grille or head over to Warren and check out Pecatonica Beer Company Tap House or Hixters Bar and Grill.

Hit the greens

Nine amazing courses to choose from, not sure where to start out? Try warming up on one of two 9-hole courses at Lacoma Golf Course (feel free to complete the full 45 while you’re there). Work up to the world-championship level courses and take on The General at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa. Quench your thirst in East Dubuque at Millennium Bar & Marina or dine with a view at Timmerman’s Supper Club.

Order a round

Tour the Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. and kick back in the leather tasting room – it’s pretty incredible! Craft beer lovers, check out Galena Brewing Co. for a flight, bite and tour. You’ll likely leave both places with new bar stock, apparel and great memories!

Hit the town

Main Street Galena is loaded with remarkable shops, restaurants, and nightlife. From haunted pub crawls and tours to a magic theater and live music, everyone is sure to have a great time!

Stay a while

Whether you’re interested in a Resort with amenities or lodging in the heart of town, Galena Country has something to accommodate a couple of guys or your whole clan. Start planning the 2019 guys getaway today!

What is ‘Galena Country’?

Explore the 11 unique locations that makeup #GalenaCountry with this adventure-filled, 4-day itinerary!

Credit: @EnjoyIllinois

Day 1

Plan to have lunch in Stockton. With fun features for the whole family, this is the perfect spot to get out and stretch your legs. Fill up on a juicy burger at JJ & Freddies, shop at Savvy Scavengers and bag-your-own candy at Sweet Alice’s. Stroll the town to find memory-making opportunities with the artistic murals and the Kidstown wooden playground!

Learn something new at the Stockton Heritage Museum, featuring N-scale model trains and Kraft Foods’ history (Fun fact: Kraft started in Stockton, Illinois). Take in magnificent views heading to Apple River for an outdoor adventure! Fuel up at Thriving Thistle Market and stock up on organic goodies and fresh-made smoothies for a picnic lunch. One is sure to find plenty of delectable items to enjoy now and later! Journey along to Apple River Canyon State Park with a picnic lunch and camera! Unplug and enjoy each other!

After exploring, cruise Stagecoach Trail and head towards Scales Mound. Stop into Pat’s Country House Grocery for last-minute essentials, snacks, and yummy treats! Follow the route to Galena and check into lodging to rest up or drop off suitcases and explore Main Street for live music performed by local musicians in one of the many entertaining pubs.

Day 2

Elizabeth: Arrive early, come hungry and ready to shop! Be sure to stop by the Scenic Overlook on the way! Start the morning off with a breakfast sandwich and coffee from E-town, followed up with treasure hunting at Common Cents Resale, Elizabeth Grand Antique Co., Three Sisters Sweet Shop and Jane Marie Boutique. Be sure and make time to check out the Apple River Fort State Historic Site and Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum to experience a bit of history.

Take a break and indulge in a tasty lunch at Cajun Jack’s before heading to Hanover for a beautiful hike at Wapello Land & Water Reserve. For the drive back to Galena, consider following Blackjack Road for a scenic pit-stop at Chestnut Mountain Resort, an all-seasons resort, with zip-lining, alpine slide, mini-golf, segway tours, boat rides, and winter sports!

East Dubuque is calling! Delight in dinner at Timmerman’s Supper Club, nestled among the bluffs of the Mississippi River, the food and views offer a memorable experience for the family or romantic dinner for two. Head back to Galena for an epic magic show with P.T. Murphy!

Day 3

Breakfast in Galena: Some local favorites include Otto’s Place, Dillon’s, Paradise Grill and Victory Cafe. Hit up the HelluvaHalfMile for an incredible shopping experience with more than 125 independently owned stores. Get your history fix with a tour of Grant’s Home, the Elihu B. Washburne House, and The Old Blacksmith Shop. Sight-see the streets of Galena via trolley to further discover the beautiful homes and views that are often raved about.

Enjoy lunch at Green Street Tavern in the Historical DeSoto House Hotel before continuing to Warren for a beer tasting at Pecatonica Beer Company and Tap House. To further extend the scenic adventure, swing back onto Stagecoach Trail and make way towards Nora. A small community with a hoppin’ bar! Kick back and enjoy a refreshing beverage and appetizer before journeying on to the next stop!

Venture back onto the beautiful Stagecoach Trail, pass through Galena and connect onto Hwy 20 towards Menominee, another ‘small town with a hoppin’ bar.’ JM’s Tap makes the must-visit list, offering local craft brews and incredibly delicious pizza.

Day 4

Enjoy locally roasted coffee and a delicious breakfast sandwich at Big Bill’s in downtown Galena before a little shopping and wine/spirits tasting. Begin the leisurely trip home with lunch at Small Town Saloon in Elizabeth. (Vegan’s…get excited about the Impossible Burger!) Might as well stock up on apple cider donuts at Dittmar Farms Orchard station while in town.

Last stop to complete the tour of Galena Country – Woodbine. Search for specialty gifts at Nature’s Treasure’s and check out the unique Woodbine Glass Museum & Gift Shop. Stop for a round of golf at Woodbine Bend, at the very least, indulge in the fish fry! (Did you know that Galena Country is home to 10 golf courses?)

There it is, 11 wonderful Galena Country locations included in one itinerary. Switch it up and try new things each visit, with so much to do, it’s always an adventure! Start planning a trip today by contacting the Welcome Center at galena@visitgalena.org.

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.