#travel

Follow Historic Wheels on Stagecoach Trail Road

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 corn fields, 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!

Mother’s Day Getaway

Just one day to thank Mom for her superpowers? No way! Mom has sacrificed her waistline, she’s spent countless hours cheering you on at sports practice, she even dried your tears, time and time again, after crash-landings that she warned you about – not to mention mom’s taxi service.

So, how should you thank her? Get her to Galena Country of course, and make a weekend of it! It’s the gift of an experience and we’ve got you covered, from tasty brunches to outdoor activities!

But first, brunch
Galena Country offers fantastic brunch spots that will “wow” mom! Take in remarkable views of the Mississippi River while enjoying brunch at Chestnut Mountain Resort or brunch at Timmerman’s Supper Club. How about a traditional brunch at The Desoto House Hotel, steeped in history since it is Illinois’ oldest operating hotel. Now, if you decide to have brunch at Eagle Ridge and Spa,… yup you guessed it, you could treat mom to a spa treatment afterwards.

The gift of “me” time
Speaking of spa treatments… what better gift to give mom than a bit of pampering? Galena Country is a great place to unwind and is home to highly-skilled, full-service spas. Whether it’s a quick Mani, a full body massage or a complete make-over, she is in for a treat!

Mom’s shopping paradise
What mom doesn’t like shopping?! Galena’s 19th Century downtown boasts a Helluva Half Mile of more than 120 independently owned stores featuring clothing, jewelry, specialty items, collectibles and more. There is no shortage of restaurants to keep you going along the way. Don’t forget the many charming shops scattered throughout the rest of Galena Country. Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Co. is a treasure trove for antique enthusiasts, Anchors & Arrows, features home decor, functions as a hair salon and houses re-purposed / 0up-cycled antiques, and Beautifully Berkeley Bouquets & Home, an intimate florist, features many one-of-a-kind designs and unique pieces that will pique mom’s interest.

Does mom like to stay active?
No problem! Spring is the perfect time to take a brisk walk on Galena Country’s many miles of hiking trails and capture the natural beauty of its parks and trails. See a whole new side to Galena from a kayak or canoe on the Galena River with Fever River Outfitters. They also hire out e-bicycles which you could use to explore the town of Galena. How about an adrenaline rush? Soar high above the mountain’s peak at Chestnut Mountain Resort and get an eagle’s perspective of the Majestic Upper Mississippi River Valley on the Soaring Eagle Zip Line. Cuddle goats while you strike a yoga pose at Original Goat Yoga, Galena. Need more? Ride 6 zip lines on a 2.5 hour guided canopy tour at Long Hollow Canopy Tours offering spectacular views!

The History-Buff mom
If mom loves history, she may just move to Galena Country after this visit! For a quick overview of the rich history in the area, take a historical trolley tour of Galena with Galena Trolley Tours or Tri-State Trolley. These tours will include a visit to the famous Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site and a demo at the The Old Blacksmith Shop. You will find another little gem just outside the town of Elizabeth – Apple River Fort State Historic Site. The fort comes to life on the weekends through demonstrations, hands-on activities, and conversations with interpreters garbed in 1830s style dress. Click here for even more Historic Sites and museums.

Give mom something to wine about
She sure has listened to a lot of whining, hasn’t she? It’s her turn… Galena Country is home to four wineries, presenting some of the finest, local award-winning wines in Illinois. Stop in for a tasting, take in the beautiful scenery and enjoy a tour to learn about the wine-making process. Two of the wineries, Massbach Ridge and Galena Cellars have their own tasting rooms situated on Main Street if mom prefers not to wonder too far.

Special bonding time with mom
A very thoughtful way to end your stay in Galena Country would be to grab a bottle of local wine, stop in at Galena River Wine & Cheese for some gourmet cheeses, sausages, pates, etc. and head out to Horseshoe Mound Preserve for a sunset picnic. This 40-acre preserve is one of the most scenic properties in all of northern Illinois, with views across three states.

Mom will never forget this Mother’s Day getaway… you may even find her talking about it every year with a wink and a nudge, hinting for a return visit. Book your accommodation now before it’s too late!

What’s New in Galena Country?

What’s fresh and new in Galena Country?
A quaint, yet bustling community loaded with entrepreneurs — one can only expect remarkable and innovative shops and attractions. Start planning and add these exciting stops to the ‘vacation bucket list’:

Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater – Experience fine dining and exceptional entertainment in a unique Supper Club atmosphere. Enjoy a 3-course dinner downtown Galena on the Historic Main Street, while professional entertainers swoon you with comedic and musical performances.

Anchors & Arrows – This family owned, small-town treasure features home decor and functions as a hair salon. Find re-purposed, up-cycled, antiques and primitives, gifts and more!

Ashton Hill Farm – Coming soon! This beautiful indoor/outdoor wedding venue opens in spring 2020, located next to Galena Gateway Park. With sweeping views of the Galena countryside, the custom-built barn has been carefully designed to capture the essential elements of successful entertaining.

Beautifully Berkeley Bouquets & Home – An intimate florist and home décor shop combining the beauty of nature and home décor. Talented florists work with brides near and far to create custom wedding features.

Chris McBrien – Galena’s Psychic, Medium & Shaman – Chris is a fully trained shaman, psychic and medium who offers individual and group readings privately as well as small or large group special events.

Fox River Spoon Company – Paul Pendola is a Galena-based green woodworking artist specializing in hand-carved wooden spoons, spatulas, and other hand-crafted kitchen accompaniments.

Jane Marie Boutique – Situated downtown Elizabeth, this boutique features the latest fashion trends for women in clothing, shoes, and accessories at affordable prices for all ages.

Joint Photography Adventures – From beginner to expert, everyone has something to learn. Joint Photography Adventures provides instruction to ensure that clients leave with incredible images and new skills

The Kindred Spirit Integrative Health and Well Spa – Enjoy organic body treatments, detoxifying foot soaks, facials, massage therapy, reflexology, Reiki, and wellness classes.

La Luna – Locally crafted jewelry, essential oils, handmade soaps, organic lotions, beautiful crystals, tiny air plants, and succulents are just a few of the one-of-a-kind things you’ll discover.

Millennium Bar & Marina – Tucked away in a slough in East Dubuque, Millennium Bar & Marina brings its style of home cooking to the  Mississippi River. Not only will you find great food but they offer specialty drinks, entertainment, and Kayak rentals!

Original Goat Yoga, Galena – Goat Yoga is about disconnecting from day-to-day stress and focusing on happiness. It’s part yoga, part animal-assisted therapy featuring goats that may jump on your back or snuggle up, while you perfect your pose.

Pinder Massage Therapy – Joe Pinder is a licensed massage therapist offering professional therapeutic massage, sports massage, relaxation, deep tissue release massage therapy, and stress relief.

Pudgy’s – This family-run hot dog stand, serves authentic Chicago Style Hot Dogs, homemade Chicago Style Italian Beef, ‘nearly world famous’ Pudgy Fries, various homemade salads and fresh squeezed lemonade.

Serendipity – Serendipity of Galena carries everything from puzzles, lazy onesie pajama sets, games, fun greeting cards, and an expanded knife and dagger section. They even have a rubber duck tree!

Silver Spoon Restaurant – Located on the beautiful Mississippi River backwaters, this restaurant serves elevated comfort food in an upscale, yet casual, modern atmosphere.

Terrapin Orchards – Terrapin Orchards showcases six different varieties of apples and four acres of pick-your-own strawberries. Fun for the whole family!

The Red Goat Store – Here, you will find a little bit of everything! From Lucky Charms marshmallows to naughty paper pads to the best Bloody mary mix one will ever taste!

Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary – This 409-acre Bird Sanctuary is Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation‘s newest preserve. Explore more than six miles of trails and search for more than 100 unique bird species that call it home.

Let the planning begin with the 2019 Traveler’s Guide! Book lodging direct by clicking here, and contact galena@visitgalena.org to fine-tune your #GalenaCountry travels.

 

8 Ways to Host an Eco-Friendly Wedding

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.

What is ‘Galena Country’?

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

Photo credit: @ndesse

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 for 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.

Tie the knot in #GalenaCountry

Say ‘yes’ to Galena Country.  Nestled among the rolling hills of Northwest Illinois, Galena Country offers a picturesque background paired with 19th-century charm and everything necessary for a dream wedding! Check out these top reasons to say ‘I do’ in Galena Country.

Photo credit: @mitchandrachelvisuals

Nonstop Beauty

From historical architecture to stunning waterways and breathtaking views, this place is a photographer’s dream! Whether one’s style is simple or regal, they’re sure to have gorgeous portraiture when photographed in Galena Country.

Adored Destination

Rich with history, shopping, lodging and entertainment, guests will more than enjoy a destination wedding in Galena Country! Wedding nuptials offer a special reason for a ‘getaway’ and for many, Galena Country is only a road-trip away!

Enchanting Venues

Choosing a venue that suits style and accommodations is an essential part of planning. Romantic, vintage, rustic, modern, bohemian or traditional, it’s all in Galena Country. From intimate elopements to grand celebrations, whatever the setting, we’ve got it covered.

Local Talent

Not to brag (okay, maybe a little), but Galena Country is loaded with talent. From musicians and catering to dresses and designers, all vendors can be hired locally! No one knows the ins and outs of Galena Country, like someone straight from the community. Utilize local resources, schedule tastings and gather information with event coordinators and vendors. They are a wealth of knowledge!

Extraordinary Parties

The perfect location for bachelor/bachelorette parties! Plenty of opportunities for tastings and toasting, delicious food, indulging spas, and epic adventures…this is a no-brainer! Not only are there endless memories in the making, let’s not forget about amazing lodging. Choose from resorts, hotels, vacation rentals, small inns, and b&bs! Stay nestled amongst nature, or lodge right downtown where the action is!

Romantic Tradition

A lovely idea to commemorate where it all began. Start a tradition and head to Galena Country for wedding anniversaries, explore different locations or re-visit your favorites. Though it looks like ‘Galena is frozen in time,’ new lodging, restaurants, shopping, and outdoor activities await!

Congratulations on your engagement!

Get to Galena Country, let the celebration begin! Plan a scouting trip with help from the Welcome Center staff at galena@visitgalena.org.

Faith Based Itinerary – Three Day Visit

Plan a trip to Galena Country and connect spiritually through a tour of some beautifully designed churches built in the 1800s! Appreciate the history of the area by exploring museumshistoric sites, and discover the beautiful campus at the nearby Sinsinawa Mound.

DAY ONE

Arrive in Galena, perhaps by lunch time, and enjoy a light meal at the Historic DeSoto House Hotel. After lunch, head up to Bench Street to visit some historic churches in Galena just 4 blocks apart.

The First Presbyterian Church (1838) is the oldest Protestant church building in the Old Northwest Territory; featuring local limestone, Belgian stained-glass, and original pews/furniture. Next, stop by the First United Methodist Church (1859) and visit the church that Ulysses S. Grant attended while living in Galena. It’s the oldest Methodist church in Northern IL, contains 12 historic stained-glass windows, and an 1880’s Moline Pipe Organ. Finish your church tour on Bench Street at St. Michael’s Catholic Church (1863), designed by the area’s most prominent religious leader, Father Samuel Mazzuchelli. It is a Romanesque Revival style and has no pillars due to the wooden trusses.

Check into your lodging and freshen up for your evening dinner at one of many great restaurants along Main Street.

DAY TWO

Option 1
Enjoy your morning breakfast and the head to Sinsinawa Mound for a guided tour of two exhibits, the Mazzuchelli Museum & Heritage of the Sinsinawa Domincan Sisters. Your guide will take you into the Queen of the Rosary Chapel featuring biblical stories told in exquisite stained glass. Finish your tour with a buffet lunch in the dining room, allowing time to visit the Book & Gift Gallery, where you’ll find delicious homemade baked goods and many other treasures.

Make your way back to Galena to explore Historic Main Street, rich with shopping opportunities, or enjoy a mid-afternoon narrated trolley tour. Dinner possibilities might include overlooking the Mississippi River Valley at Chestnut Mountain Resort or dinner and a show at Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater.

Option 2
Start your morning at Sinsinawa Mound and if you choose to skip the buffet lunch, you might like to head over to East Dubuque for a meal at Timmerman’s Supper Club. Revel in delectable food and an incredible view as you dine among the bluffs along Mississippi River backwaters.

Journey back to Galena for a tour of the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum featuring history of local geography, mining and riverboat booms, general commerce, and Galena’s war-time related items. After the tour, take in the 19th century charm with a leisurely stroll along Main Street before dinner.

DAY THREE

Top off your trip to Galena with a visit to the Ulysses S. Grant Home (a National Historic Landmark), learn about the Grant family and appreciate the time-period design and furniture. After your tour, head back over to Main Street to further explore before heading back home. Enjoy shopping, an early lunch, tastings, or a trolley tour. Wherever your faith-based adventure takes you, there are memories to be made in #GalenaCountry!

5 winter activities that don’t require snow

No snow? No problem!
Mother Nature doesn’t always act according to the plan but no worries, here are a few activities for your adventure to Galena Country.

Winter Hiking
Bundle up and take a hike! The driftless area offers unique hiking opportunities on nature preserves, providing picture perfect views and Native American burial grounds. Barren trees give a clear view to all that nature has to offer. Gear up with boots, binoculars and your camera. It’s time reconnect with nature!

A touch of Magic
Book a magic show with Galena’s Master Magician, P.T. Murphy. With his sleight-of-hand and mischievous sense of humor, P.T. will mystify you with a jaw-dropping experience! Located in the heart of downtown Galena, this intimate magic show is a perfect combination with a local restaurant.

Tastings and Toastings
Regardless of the weather, wine and spirits are always a great idea! Massbach Ridge Winery and Galena Cellars both have tasting rooms located on the Helluva Half Mile, open year-round. For a more ‘scenic route’, take a drive out to Rocky Waters Vineyard where you can appreciate amazing views and great wine!

Let’s not forget about the Blaum Bros. Distilling Co., located minutes from Downtown Galena. Take a tour of the distillery, enjoy a cocktail and re-stock your liquor cabinet, all in one location! Craft beer lovers, you’ll be happy to know that Galena Country is home to two craft breweries, Galena Brewing Co. and Pecatonica Beer Co. Tap House. Cheers!

Dinner and a Show
One of Galena’s newest additions is Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater. Experience fine dining and exceptional entertainment in a unique Supper Club atmosphere. New performances and a seasonal menu offer something new for each visit!

Learn and Create
Let the beauty of Galena Country inspire you! Cozy up indoors and learn how to style your own jewelry, design a hand-crafted card, spin some pottery, paint beautiful landscapes and more! Learn more about creative classes here. A one-of-a-kind experience you’ll be sure to share!

Whether indoors or outdoors, #GalenaCountry is plentiful with cold-weather adventures and memories to be made.

Gift Shopping for Foodies

Credit: @adventurebrent

Everyone has a few foodies in their lives and Galena Country is just the place to find them that perfect Christmas gift… from treats and gourmet foods to the best kitchen accessories and gadgets, guaranteed to inspire anyone to get into the kitchen.

Here’s a guide on where to find your foodie gifts:

Chocolat’ 229
Find the ideal gift of sweet indulgence right here. Featuring an exceptional collection of European chocolates imported from Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland.

Galena Canning Co.
Choose from award-winning Chef Ivo’s locally made old-fashioned jams, jellies, salsa, BBQ sauces, Hot Sauce Emporium and more! There are samples galore for you to test, gift baskets to choose from and custom gift crates.

Galena Garlic
What foodie doesn’t love garlic! Naturally grown gourmet garlic, gourmet chef blends, rubs, aged balsamic, and the worlds freshest olive oil. Create your own gift basket to suit any need or taste.

Galena’s Kandy Kitchen
Here you’ll find a wide variety of homemade confections made the old-fashioned way on site. You’ll find every kind of candy you can think of.

Galena River Wine & Cheese
Give the gift of gourmet foods from this extensive selection of wines, beers, cheeses, sausages, pates, coffees, specialty foods. Free olive oil/balsamic vinegar tasting.

Grateful Gourmet
A cook’s paradise! This specialty food & kitchenware store features bakeware, cookware, specialty foods and locally roasted coffee. All kinds of kitchen gadgets, some necessary, some just fun!

Great American Popcorn Co.
Your foodie will love you for this! More than 50 gourmet popcorn flavors made on premises. You will also find a variety of homemade gourmet popcorn flavors, fudge, ice cream, chocolates & candies!

Mean Bean Coffee Roasters
Get them a caffeine fix and customize it too! This in-house coffee roaster creates custom blends and allows you to name it. How cool!

Pasta Perfetta
Oodles of noodles! Find loads of different flavors and shapes of pasta from around the world in this store. A wide variety of shapes and many specialty noodles. Several gluten free and vegan options too.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Sweeten your foodie up with a wide variety of fudge and chocolate made on site! Watch delicious treats being made on the spot. Famous for giant chocolate chip cookies dipped in chocolate. Yum!

Root Beer Revelry
Grab a selection of imported root beer from all over the nation. This old-fashioned root beer shop serves this historic beverage in bottles and on tap, so treat yourself at the same time!

Spice & Tea Merchants
Spice up their lives with this great variety of quality herbs and spices! Spice merchants comb the world for the freshest and highest quality spices available. A bonus is a large selection of delicious teas.

Sweet Alice’s
Grab a bag of gummy candies, licorice, wax bottles and more at this delightful candy store with an Alice in Wonderland theme to it. The professionally made and designed chocolates from their kitchen is sure to be a hit!

For the ultimate foodie experience, give the gift of a delicious meal with a gift certificate from one of Galena Country’s dining establishments. From cozy bistros to fine dining restaurants, you are sure to find just the right fit.