#travel

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

Even small changes can make a big impact.

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

1. Green Wedding Locations

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

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

Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages

2. Guest Lodging

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

Aldrich Guest House photo by @bonoraf

3. Wear Again Clothing

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

Photo by: @megmcmillin_

4. Edible Favors

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

5. Spread the love

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

6. Eco-Friendly Appetizers

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

7. Gifting

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

8. Honeymoon in #GalenaCountry

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

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

10 Reasons to visit Galena Country this winter.

Whether you look at winter as a time for outdoor adventure to embrace the elements or a call to head indoors for cozy relaxation and family downtime, Galena Country offers the perfect winter escape. From a couple’s retreat to a family vacation, from skiing to sleigh rides, from a Winter Carnival to wine tastings, here are the 10 reasons winter is the best time to visit Galena Country.

1. Skiing & Snowboarding at Chestnut Mountain Resort

It doesn’t matter if you’re an avid skier or a novice, you should hit the slopes during the winter at Chestnut Mountain Resort. With 19 runs ranging from beginner to expert, you can move on to the next challenge or stay in your comfort zone. For snowboarders, the Farside, Chestnut Mountain’s own 7-acre terrain park named the top Midwest Snowboard Park by Transworld for 3 consecutive years, has its own triple-chair and surface lift with more than 25 rails and jumps. In fact, it’s the largest terrain park in all the Midwest. Group ski lessons for children are broken into two age groups, 4 to 6 or 7 to 12, with all-day or half-day options and snowboarding available for ages 7 and older. A toddler daycare program is also available. And when hunger hits, no need to leave the area. Mountain Top Cafe is located just off the bunny slope and has everything from pizza to cheese fries and a salad in between.

 

2. The Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

For other winter activities, Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa has a 1.5-mile skating pond for that authentic outdoor ice skating experience. Or maybe a winter wonder sightseeing expedition is more your style? You can explore the snow-covered countryside when you cross-country ski or snowshoe over the Center’s 7 miles of groomed trails.And for the kids, there’s nothing more fun than sledding over their golf course at the famous 18th hole. All equipment is available for rent from Fever River Outfitters.

3. Winter Carnival Weekend at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

Take advantage of the long Presidents Day Weekend and come for Winter Carnival Weekend at Eagle Ridge. The Nordic Center activities will be available plus an assortment of carnival fun, including balloon glows, pony rides, wine tasting, ice-turkey bowling, snow painting, live music and more.

 

3. Nature Reserves

The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation works to protect the land near Galena. Casper Bluff is one of the areas under their protection and worth a visit if just for the scenic views of the Mississippi. The real star here is not the view but, rather, the archaeological finds found on this 85-acre site. Fifty-one burial mounds from the Aiken Mount group, a culture that lived nearly 3,000 years ago, rest on these grounds. Hiking trails provide information kiosks, helping visitors find their way to the mounds and vistas along the way. On select winter dates, they light up the night with a luminary hike via snowshoes or skis 4:30-8:30 p.m. It’s free and complete with bonfire. No reservations needed unless renting equipment. For other parks and trails, check out this link.

 

 

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

 

6. Shopping

Shop Galena’s Main Street, otherwise known as the Helluva Half-Mile. With more than 125 independently owned stores, offering everything from crafts to vintage clothing to fine chocolates, this shopping excursion is sure to keep you warm. The purchase you make for yourself or a loved at one of these specialty shops will be something you’ll find nowhere else. The towns of Elizabeth and Stockton offer even more boutique stores to pique your interest. Visit Sweet Alice’s for some sweet treats, Beautifully Berkeley for a new home-ware item or how about Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Mall for that unique treasure!

 

7. Cozy Dining 

Whether you’re looking for farm-to-table, like One Eleven Main, fine dining, like Goldmoor Inn, or just a really good sandwich, Galena Country offers amazing dining establishments with a full range of culinary choices. There’s breakfast with ambience at Stella’s Cafe & Catering, great ethnic options, such as Campeche Restaurant, or romantic dinners for two at Fried Green Tomatoes or Log Cabin Steakhouse, two iconic Galena restaurants. From fine dining to intimate cafes and coffeehouses, personal service, fine food and good wine, including locally-produced wines, reign in Galena Country.

 

8. Wine, Beer and Spirits 

Galena Cellars offers more than 40 varieties of wine. Stop by their main street tasting room, located in a historic 1840s granary building. Massbach Ridge Winery also offers visitors the ease and accessibility of a tasting room right in downtown Galena. Ask to sample their St. Pepin, displaying “a whiff of citrus and cuts with a spray of green apple.” For beer lovers, Galena Brewing Co. offers a full microbrewery experience from tours to tastings to dining and live entertainment and Pecatonica Beer Tap House is hoppin’ (pun intended) with seasonal brews and great company. But if a martini or shot of whiskey is more to your liking, visit Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. for daily tours and tastings of the premium spirit of your choice – whiskey, vodka, gin and more – produced right in downtown Galena.

 

9. Cozy B&B’s

Named the B&B Capital of the Midwest, Galena Country is proud to offer a variety of warm and intimate places to stay. Check into an historic 1800s bed & breakfast right in town, such as Abe’s Spring Street Guesthouse, and you’ll be just steps away from Main Street. Here you’ll get all the conveniences of home, complete with breakfast in the morning, dessert and coffee at night and your own key to the house. Other B&Bs, such as The Felt Manor Guest House, are situated in the hills, offering a beautiful view of Galena from above. And all of these private residences and inns offer their own style of historic charm, breakfast and personalized service, along with great suggestions of where to go and what to do in the area.

 

10. Nightlife and Festivals

When night time comes and you want to know where to go… enjoy live music venues, such as The CornerstoneMiss Kitty’s Grape Escape, Galena Brewing Company and Frank O’Dowd’s Irish Pub & Grill. For family fun, make it a night out at P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre, an intimate 24-seat theatre where the magician dazzles his audience with optical illusion tricks and a mischievous sense of humor. Experience fine dining and exceptional entertainment in a unique Supper Club atmosphere at Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater. Other annual events to look forward to are the Mardi Gras Weekend, St. Patty’s Day Weekend (town comes alive with a 5K run, parade and pub crawls) and Wine Lovers Weekend, the largest indoor wine tasting event where you can sample from more than 300 vendors. Check out even more events here.

Bonus tip: 

For the history buffs out there, some historic attractions are indeed open in the winter! Keep warm in the Ulysses S. Grant Home, learn all about the history of Galena Country at these museums, and make sure that you stop by the Old Market House in Galena where you will find the largest collection of Ulysses S. Grant memorabilia in the world! It also happens to be the Galena Country Welcome Center where you can gather some more information on what to do in the area.

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.

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 to Galena Country

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 museums, historic sites, and discover the beautiful campus at the nearby Sinsinawa Mound.

DAY ONE

Arrive in Galena, perhaps by lunchtime, 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 Dominican 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 the 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 in Galena Country 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.

Shopping for Foodies in Galena Country

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.

Take the scenic route – fall colors in Galena Country

The air is cool, with just a little nip to let us know a new season is at hand. The leaves are tinged with red, brown and gold as they slowly desert their branches to create an attractive mosaic of color below. What better way to watch this transformation of nature called fall, than to take a drive through Galena Country.

Before you get started… take a stroll amongst historic cannons and monuments in Grant Park. This will definitely set the tone for the rest of your trip. With the heart of Galena as your backdrop, watch leaves dance their way to the carpeted ground and listen to the crunchy footsteps that you take. Cross the pedestrian bridge to downtown Galena and don’t forget to look back at the beauty left behind.

Ready to hit the road? Let’s go…

HelluvaHalfMile:

Head north down the historic Main Street of Galena, otherwise known as the HelluvaHalfMile. This main attraction is lined with more than 125 shops and restaurants, one after the next. There are no chain stores here. It’s all about the unique, local independent shops and beautifully preserved red brick buildings that date back to Galena’s days as a booming 1800’s lead mining town. Steeped in history, 75% of the town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Stagecoach Trail

At the end of Main Street, continue on to the historic Stagecoach Trail via Field St. This road follows the original Galena-Chicago stagecoach route, passing scenic farms and near the highest point of Illinois. This pleasant, winding drive will take you through valleys dotted with small farms and dairy cows.

The road, framed by a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges and yellows passes the Galena Cellars Winery & Vineyard, a great stopping point. Turn left onto Ford Road and follow the signs. Here you can relax on the comfortable wrap-around deck of the charming farmhouse turned tasting room, and soak in the gorgeous fall colors of the vineyards.

Council Hill Station:

Leaving Galena Cellars, turn left onto N. Ford Road and continue as the road veers to the right onto N. Hill Road, leading you to Council Hill Station on the right. This is a unique and historic 1850’s general store and railway station which has been transformed into a watering hole and music venue. Ruins of a woolen mill, barn and silo also sit on the property.

Apple River:

From Council Hill Station, journey onto W. Council Road. This road will lead back to Stagecoach Trail and 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 little gem offers freshly baked bread, pizza, burgers, smoothies and more! Most ingredients are grown in their own backyard.

Warren:

Continue traveling east on Stagecoach Trail until you reach the town of Warren, named after Warren Burnett, the son of Alexander Burnett who was the founder. 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 Pecatonica Valley.

Apple River Canyon State Park:

From Warren, take Route 78 south and turn right onto E. Canyon Road. This road leads you to the Apple River Canyon State Park, featuring limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and plenty wildlife. Brace yourself for a feast of fall colors. Step out, gather a heap of leaves and throw them in the air for the perfect Instagram shot.

Elizabeth:

Exit the park on Scout Camp Road traveling south. When you reach Highway 20, travel west towards Elizabeth and Galena. You will travel through beautiful country scenery as the road swirls and winds its way to Elizabeth. Sit back, relax and enjoy the view of the multi-color magic that surrounds you. Speaking of views… a perfect way to experience the wonders of fall is to overnight at The View Motel in Elizabeth. Soak up the beautiful countryside scenery that this motel overlooks. While you are here, visit the Black Hawk War landmark called Apple River Fort State Historic Site for an intriguing history lesson. If you are into antiques, don’t miss the Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Co., a 28.000 sq. ft., antique mall that is sure to have what you are looking for.

From here, your drive back to Galena is only a 15-minute drive, so make the most of the last bit of golden hues, vivid pinks, red and crispy earthen browns – a tapestry of fall.

Bonus – Blackjack Road: Just in case you didn’t get enough color under your belt, here is a bonus drive for you…

From Galena, take Route 20 eastwards and turn right onto Blackjack Road. This rural road twists and turns, offering breathtaking views, many of which are of the beautiful Mississippi River Valley. This is a perfect road for a motorcycle ride. There are many pull off spots for picture taking along the way. You will find Chestnut Mountain Resort nestled amongst the hills. This resort boasts an array of amenities, accommodation and activities, but the views are what are so impressive. Sit on their outdoor deck perched high on a bluff overlooking the Upper Mississippi River Valley – here you will find all of the fall color that your heart desires.

FAQ about Galena Country

You’ve decided that without a doubt, you want to visit Galena Country and you are about to start planning your trip… but you have so many questions and need answers fast! We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to save you time:

Where can I get visitor information once I get there?
The Visitgalena.org website is optimized to view on mobile devices and tablets, so take the information with you on vacation. If you cannot find what you are looking for, call the Galena Country Welcome Center at 815.776.9200 or stop by at 123 North Commerce Street (The Old Market House).

Where are the public restrooms in Galena?
Permanent public restrooms are located in downtown Galena at the Galena City Hall, 101 Green St. and at Hello Galena!, 121 N. Commerce St.

Where do I park in Galena?
Parking regulations in Galena vary depending on the location, day, and time of the day. Carefully read regulatory signs before parking. You will find a substantial number of free parking spaces downtown, however some are limited to three hours duration.

The City of Galena offers free all-day public parking lot on the east side of the river near the Old Train Depot. The lot is accessible from US Highway 20 via Park Avenue and Bouthillier Street. Pedestrian access is available from the lot over one of two bridges to the downtown. Another all-day public lot operated by the City of Galena is located downtown on Commerce Street between Green Street and Washington Street.  Parking in the lot is $1 per hour or $5 all day.

All day, free, on-street parking is available on Water Street next to the levee. When entering downtown from US Highway 20, access this parking by taking the first right after you pass through the flood gates.

View a map of downtown parking here.

Are all stores on Galena’s Main Street open on a Monday or on public holidays?
All stores are independently owned, have their own hours and sometimes close due to unforeseen circumstances. In busy season, most stores are open as much as possible due to the increase in traffic. Here is a directory of shops in Galena Country if you would like to call ahead of time to make sure that a specific shop will be open.

When is the big craft fair?
The annual Galena Country Fair is held in Grant Park, Galena on the weekend before the Columbus Day holiday. The fair attracts more than ten thousand visitors and lodging reservations should be made well in advance. The Autumn Craft Fair takes place on the same weekend in Hanover, where more than 90 artisans and crafters offer unique handmade artwork, crafts and jewelry.

What are the most popular, events in Galena Country?
There is always something happening in Galena Country and there’s never a shortage of events but some events have become longstanding and very popular over the years. The top three events that fall in this category are as follows:

Night of Luminaria and Living Windows
Galena Country Fair
Halloween Parade

Can you tell me about upcoming events?
For the latest information on upcoming events, visit the Galena Country Events Calendar.

When is the peak of fall color in Galena Country?
Mid-October. It’s hard to predict when the best fall colors are going to happen in Galena Country. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature and so many factors determine their intensity and timing, such as the amount of precipitation and temperatures. Generally, a hard frost happens right before the peak of fall colors. So, while we can’t predict the precise peak, if you contact us shortly before your visit we’ll be happy to give you an idea of how the colors are developing.

Are there any scenic motorcycle rides in Galena Country?
Absolutely. We have beautiful scenic drives that are great for a motorcycle ride. Just a heads up… many of the township roads have no shoulders or guardrails and some have gravel surfaces. Please try to travel along hard-surfaced roads. Read more about our most scenic routes and which trails are best for motorcycle rides on our Road Trip page.

Where can I rent a wheelchair?
Hartig Drug Store located at 11002 Bartell Blvd., about two miles west of downtown Galena, has wheelchairs for rent. There is fully-refundable deposit and a per day rental fee. You can reserve a wheelchair for use during your visit by calling 815.777.2700.

Where can I charge my Electric Vehicle?

Need a charge? Galena is not short of EV charges, here is a list to choose from:

Chestnut Mountain Resort – 8700 W. Chestnut Mountain Rd., Galena
Wall outlet (120v), EV Plug (J1772) and Tesla HPWC (Model S).

Culver’s of Galena – 11371 Oldenburg Lane, Galena
Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) are available to the public.

Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa – 444 Eagle Ridge Dr., Galena
Two Tesla Charging Stations Type: Level ll (80A) and one Clipper Creek (32A). Please see front desk.

Galena City Hall – 101 Green St., Galena
Universal charger located in the City Hall parking lot on the corner of Green St. and Commerce St.

Galena Brewing Company – 226 N. Commerce St., Galena
Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) and one Clipper Creek J1772 (48A) available to patrons from 4-9 p.m. Mon.-Thu. and 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Please see bartender.

Goldmoor Inn & Resort – 9001 W Sand Hill Rd., Galena
Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) and one Clipper Creek (32A) EV charging for guests and patrons. Please see front desk.

Jail Hill Inn – 319 Meeker St., Galena
One Tesla high power wall connector (80A) and one Clipper Creek J1772 (30A) available for patrons. Please see front desk.

What can we do with children?
Galena Country is definitely a family-friendly destination. In addition to learning about history, there’s plenty of outdoor activities that children will enjoy. Activities such as horseback riding, berry picking, skiing, canoeing/kayaking, an alpine slide and miles of trails to hike and ride will keep the little ones busy. Kids also enjoy the Lil’ General Miniature Golf Course and the outdoor Alice T. Virtue Water Park.

What are the historical must-see spots?

Ulysses S. Grant Home in Galena presented to Grant in 1865 on his return from the Civil War. The home contains original furnishings.

Apple River Fort in Elizabeth is the site of one of the battles fought during the Black Hawk War.

Desoto House Hotel in Galena is the oldest operating hotel in Illinois and its most notable visitor was President Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

The Dowling House is Galena’s oldest house, built of native limestone in 1826 as a trading post and residence.

The Old Blacksmith Shop is an authentic 1897 blacksmith shop with working forges and is filled with tools and equipment from its 100-year history.

The Washburne House State Historic Site was home to Elihu Washburne, a prominent Galena attorney and later a popular U.S Congressman. Visit the library where General Grant received the telegraph announcing that he was president.

Old Market House State Historic Site, constructed in 1845, this building sheltered vendors and shoppers until 1910. It is now home to the largest collection of Ulysses S. Grant memorabilia in the world. It also happens to be the Galena Country Visitor center.

Where can we go hiking?
Galena Country offers many scenic hiking trails. The Galena River Trail is very popular as it can be accessed from downtown Galena and it features 8.8 miles of Galena River and towering bluff views. The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation has done a fantastic job of rehabilitating, conserving and maintaining beautiful properties throughout Galena Country which offer picturesque trails.

Is Galena pet friendly?
Bring Fido along with you! Many hotels, shops and restaurant patios allow pets. Outdoor activities are plentiful in Galena Country and your dogs will love you for taking them along! If you need help navigating the best pet-friendly spots to visit, please call the Galena Country Visitor Center on 815.776.9200 or email galena@visitgalena.org.

Looking for a place to leave your fur-baby while you visit not so pet-friendly spots? Let Doggie Do’s & New Earth Animals Grooming & Daycare take care of your fur baby for the day. You could even treat Fido to a makeover while you are away.

Visit New Earth Animals on Main Street Galena with your pet and let him/her pick out a treat!

Where in Galena Country can I go to see the Mississippi River?
Chestnut Mountain Resort overlooks the Mississippi River and offers river cruises. Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve boasts some of the most commanding views of the Mississippi River and its backwater sloughs. Gramercy Park is located on the bluff in East Dubuque overlooking the Mississippi River.

Have a question that’s not listed above? Send us your query to galena@visitgalena.org or call 815.776.9200 and we will be more than happy to help.

How to have a green vacation in Galena

Galena is known for its scenic locations that are the perfect backdrop for capturing memories of adventure, laughter and romance. What most people don’t know, is that the city of Galena is a sustainability leader in its region and in Illinois.

The City of Galena has implemented, and is continuing to develop, a variety of sustainability initiatives for this quaint, Midwest city. These activities earned Galena a Governor’s Sustainability Award in 2014. The award recognized the city for its demonstrated commitment to the economy, society and environment through outstanding and innovative sustainability practices. In other words, it’s greena in Galena! Find out more here.

Do you want in on all of this sustainability? This is how you can make your own contribution during your vacation:

Book your stay at one of Galena’s green lodging properties. Eight lodging properties in Galena have taken measures to ensure that they are operating in the green. To be recognized as a green leader, each property must fulfill the required green lodging criteria, as determined by the Galena Area Green Designation Committee. The Committee is one of several entities that aims to develop green initiatives throughout Galena, Illinois, and Jo Daviess County.

Galena’s designated green lodging properties are:

Aldrich Guest House
Alice’s Snyder House Bed & Breakfast
Augustus Chetlain Home & Log Cabin Guest House
Belle Aire Mansion Guest House
Country Inn & Suites
Farmers Guest House
Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages
Jail Hill Inn
Ramada Galena Hotel & Day Spa

Park your car and pedal around town. Bike from shop-to-shop on the Helluva Half Mile, pedal across the pedestrian bridge to Ulysses S. Grant’s home, reconnect with nature on a ride along the Galena River Trail, journey to an award-winning vineyard or cruise through a historic cemetery. Fever River Outfitters makes it easy to explore Galena by bicycle with regular and electric bike rentals – perfect for conquering hills and long distances.

Enjoy a meal and spirits made from local ingredients. Located on the Helluva Half Mile, One Eleven Main is dedicated to supporting local farmers, artisans and food purveyors. Their mouthwatering menu includes locally-sourced ingredients and specialty items recommended by their food partners. After a delicious meal, get to Blaum Bros. Distillery for some tasty drinks. The two fun-loving brothers at Blaum Bros. source nearly all their grain from Illinois and their tasty spirits are made on-site. What little grain they use beyond Illinois happens to be sourced from the neighboring farms in Wisconsin.

Shop till you drop but don’t leave a trail. Bag up your retail finds in an eco-friendly bag. Ditch the plastic shopping bags and purchase a My Green Galena reusable bag at the Galena Welcome Center, Galena Library or City Hall. These bad boys are quite large and are perfect for carrying all those Helluva Half Mile gifts and goodies. Plastic bag pollution is environmentally damaging and completely avoidable. Shopping with a reusable bag is the way to go. The best part? My Green Galena bags are recyclable!

Need a charge? Galena is not short of EV charges, here is a list to choose from:

Chestnut Mountain Resort – 8700 W. Chestnut Mountain Rd., Galena
Wall outlet (120v), EV Plug (J1772) and Tesla HPWC (Model S).

Culver’s of Galena – 11371 Oldenburg Lane, Galena
Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) are available to the public.

Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa – 444 Eagle Ridge Dr., Galena
Two Tesla Charging Stations Type: Level ll (80A) and one Clipper Creek (32A). Please see front desk.

Galena City Hall – 101 Green St., Galena
Universal charger located in the City Hall parking lot on the corner of Green St. and Commerce St.

Galena Brewing Company – 226 N. Commerce St., Galena
Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) and one Clipper Creek J1772 (48A) available to patrons from 4-9 p.m. Mon.-Thu. and 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Please see bartender.

Goldmoor Inn & Resort – 9001 W Sand Hill Rd., Galena
Two Tesla High Power Wall Connectors (80A) and one Clipper Creek (32A) EV charging for guests and patrons. Please see front desk.

Jail Hill Inn – 319 Meeker St., Galena
One Tesla high power wall connector (80A) and one Clipper Creek J1772 (30A) available for patrons. Please see front desk.

Relax, knowing that you have reduced your carbon footprint!