The Bed and Breakfast Experience

UPDATED POST! Congratulations to¬†Farmers’ Guest House for being named one of the Top B&Bs of 2015 by BedandBreakfast.com!

farmers guest house

The Bed and Breakfast experience has existed for hundreds of years. Country travelers found a place to clean up, fill their bellies and get some rest before making their way slowly down the road. The elite have always known the pleasures of a holiday, to restore their health and spirit. It wasn’t until the Middle Class emerged after World War II that Americans took a vacation as we know it today. The war had opened a lot of soldiers’ eyes to traveling the world and American travelers to Europe fell in love with the cozy, friendly and affordable Bed & Breakfasts. Learn more about the 30+ Bed & Breakfasts, Guest Houses and Inns of Jo Daviess County HERE!

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Aldrich Guest House, 900 Third St., Galena

What can you expect from your Bed & Breakfast experience in Galena/Jo Daviess County, IL?

  • Dedicated owners and managers who are passionate about the hospitality industry.
  • Great food! Whether it’s breakfast in the morning, dessert after a dinner on Main St. or cookies anytime, the innkeepers each have their own specialties!

Breakfast

The Inn at Irish Hollow, 2800 S. Irish Hollow Rd.,  Galena

  • Comfortable rooms with special touches and private bathrooms.
  • Unique experiences for each property…it could be a porch with a view, nightly cocktail hour, fireplace in your room, spa services and libraries with movies and books.

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Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages, 2752 W. Cording Rd., Galena

Break from the norm and stay in one of Galena and Jo Daviess County’s bed and breakfasts, guest houses and inns. Our historic B&Bs, guest houses and inns, many 19th century architectural treasures, provide fascinating opportunities to truly step back in time. Enjoy a cozy evening like an early settler in one of our comfortable guest houses or inns. Catch up on a good book or bring your journal to capture the special moments of your stay. Whether you’re searching for a romantic getaway, quiet time away from home or a stay unlike others, our unique properties work hard to make your time in Galena and Jo Daviess County unforgettable.

Learn more about The Bed & Breakfast Experience on HuffPost Travel¬†and¬†“Top 10 Benefits to Staying in a Bed & Breakfast!”

10 Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County Series – #2

Douglas’s 10 Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County

 We asked local innkeeper of the Aldrich Guest House, Douglas Mahan, to share what he loves about Jo Daviess County! 

Robert_Douglas

1. The people of Jo Daviess County РAs soon as my husband and I moved here we were instantly welcomed with opened arms. The sense of community is really unlike anything I have experienced anywhere else. Some of the most kind and genuine people you’ll ever meet call Jo Daviess County home.

2. Casper Bluff РThere is so much rich history in Jo Daviess county that revolves around the mid- 1800’s but to go even further back by thousands of years and see intact Native American burial grounds with some of the most incredible views of the Mississippi River is so incredible. One of my favorite spots for a sunset picnic.

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3. Pesto Salmon at Fried Green Tomatoes – Always at the top of my list of places to eat, they have so many great options on their menu, but i could eat this salmon every day!

4. The architecture – For as many hard hits the area has taken through floods and depressions it is truly amazing to see so much of the architecture is still intact, being used and preserved. A trip anywhere in the area is like being on a history tour.

5.  Views of Galena from the Grant House -  The statue of Julia Grant may remind me of Mrs. Buttersworth and always make me suddenly crave pancakes, but sitting up on the hill alongside her are some of the most gorgeous views of our charming city from East Galena.

6. Geology -  I have lived in the Midwest my entire life and until recently never dreamed our flat area of the world could have such fascinating terrain as The Driftless Area. Not only does it create some of the most scenic vistas it also maintained some natural life that the Ice Ages wiped out everywhere else.

7. Outdoor Activities in Nature – We have so many fun ways to experience nature in an active way. I love to be able to ride my bike down the Galena River trail in the warmer months and cross country ski along it when there is snow. Taking a stand up paddle board from Fever River Outfitters down the river might just be one of the most peaceful forms of exercise I have ever experienced and then downhill skiing at Chestnut Mountain where you zoom down the hills right to the Mississippi River is a thrill all its own.

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8. The Seasons РAlmost cliche to say of the Midwest, but Jo Daviess County really does get the best of all seasons and I can now say that as i have been here for all 4 of them now. I think the landscape has something to do with it though, all of our hills and valleys create a collage of nature’s best in any direction you look.

9. Hand-Crafted & Locally Made – There is so much talent in the area, artists of every kind. Some of my favorite are the artists of the food and beverage variety. Places like Kandy Kitchen where Chuckles were invented and they have been making rich and chocolatey Pecan Georgies for decades. Chocolaterie Stam makes the most refreshing and decadent flavors of homemade gelato around. Historic places like the Galena Brewery where they revived a brewery from years past and serve a little bit of history in every pint or new operations like Blaum Bros. Distillery where you can find some very unique and witty spirits.

10. Night of Luminaria РGalena’s most magical night of the year. To see this incredible city illuminated in paper luminaries is really just the most enchanting way to light the holiday spirit within.

Luminaria
Douglas Mahan and his husband Robert are the innkeepers at the Aldrich Guest House in Galena, IL. They’ve given the historic home a fresh, updated look and have brought their years of upscale hospitality experience to their comfortable inn. The Aldrich Guest House dates back to 1845 and it has been a bed and breakfast since the mid 80‚Äôs. They are the 6th innkeepers, giving it a fresh new life to continue on another 170 years!

Stay tuned for more in our blog series and share your favorite things with us on Facebook!

 

Family-friendly Tips

Traveling with kids is a great time to bond as a family and spend quality time together. Time is precious and you want to make sure your vacation is fun and action-packed. Here are some tips to help you plan the perfect getaway in Galena, IL & Jo Daviess County!

Where to Stay: There are options for every budget, here are some ideas to get you started. Use the Where to Stay tab at galena.org or our Activity Guide to find the right fit for you!

1. Country Inn & Suites (Galena): The indoor water park and complimentary breakfast make this a great option for families. Plus, Culver’s and Emmy Lou’s Diner are in the front yard! Stockton’s location is pet friendly and has an indoor pool!
2. LeFevre Inn & Resort: Feels like home in this comfortable resort. You’ll enjoy the outdoor pool, pond and panoramic views. Close to shopping in Galena, the Alpine Slide at Chestnut Mountain Resort & Horseshoe Mound Preserve.
3. Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa: High end amenities in the hotel or maybe a rental home or condo suits your needs. The indoor/outdoor pool, lawn chess and paddle boats make this a popular option.

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photo by UnPosed Photography

What to Do: Keeping busy, but not overdoing it is the name of the game! Use our Family Friendly Outdoor Recreation tab for more great ideas!

1. Rent a canoe at Fever River Outfitters to get up close & personal with the turtles in the Galena River.
2. Head out to the Shenandoah Riding Center for a trail ride through the beautiful Galena Territory.
3. Climb the rocks in the Gathering Circle, follow the clues along the trails and take in the views at Horseshoe Mound Preserve.

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What to Eat: Let’s face it, it’s vacation…sweets and ice cream make the day extra special!

1. Bugaboo’s (Warren, IL) Step back in time to an old fashioned Main St…indoors! Plan on lunch or dinner and then dig into an ice cream sundae. You may even see the barber shop in action!
2. Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe (Elizabeth, IL) Delicious, homemade cupcakes and treats, ice cream and charming decor. Sit on their outdoor patio and wave as the traffic goes by, enjoying small town life.
3. Great American Popcorn Co. (Galena, IL) Enjoy a sample when you walk in the door, then stock up on delicious popcorn mixes, candy & soda. Don’t forget an ice cream cone before you go…maybe Superman or Zanzibar Chocolate?

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What to See:

1. Walk through the Planetary Studies Foundation Earth & Space Museum where you’ll see items from NASA, meteorites and fossils!
2. Tour the living history at Apple River Fort  State Historic Site in Elizabeth and learn the story of the Blackhawk War.
3. Watch the experienced blacksmiths forge custom tools at The Old Blacksmith Shop in Galena, IL.

Stargazing in Galena & Jo Daviess County

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photo: Mark Dieker of Bear Dancer Studios – “Orionid meteor over The Castle near Elizabeth, IL”

One of the first things you’ll notice besides the beautiful landscape of our Driftless Region are the dark skies overhead. Any time of year, on a clear night you’ll see the sky lit up and spot many if not all of the familiar constellations.

Aurora Lights in Illinois

photo: Shane Smith Photography – The Northern Lights from the Overlook in Elizabeth, IL

Galena & Jo Daviess County have wonderful lodging options where you can relax and enjoy the night skies like Hawk Valley Retreat and Cottages.¬† Rent a home or condo from Rosebud Rentals or take it easy around the campfire at Marcotte’s Family Motel.

You can also plan a night dining outdoors under the stars this summer. A few restaurants with outdoor seating to note are…The Sunset Grille in Chestnut Mountain Resort with views of the Mississippi River, The Cove at Apple Canyon Lake and Mid-Town Marina in East Dubuque. (Call ahead for summer hours!)

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Stargazing Circle at Horseshoe Mound Preserve

We encourage you to take advantage of one of our county’s treasures and go stargazing with Dr. Paul Sipiera and his wife Diane Sipiera of the Planetary Studies Foundation Earth & Space Museum.¬† Dr. Sipiera was a professor of astronomy and geology at William Rainey Harper College for 27 years and now resides full-time in the Galena Territory. His main research interest is in studying meteorites, which lead him to Antarctica seven times.¬† His writings have been published in Meteorite Magazine and Popular Science, as well as contributions to numerous scientific journals. He’s written over 29 non-fiction books for children. Diane has a background in education for NASA and the Field Museum in Chicago, IL.

The Sipieras invite you and the whole family to Apple River Fort¬† for an evening of stargazing. Bring a camp chair, blankets and your own telescope if you have one. The team at PSF bring the big telescopes for you to use and they’ll teach you how to use the one that’s been sitting in the corner all these years! Snacks and bug spray are encouraged, no alcohol please.

May 1, 2015 from 7-8pmPlanetary Studies Foundation Earth & Space Museum РElizabeth, IL РINTRO TO NIGHTTIME SKIES: Come to this wonderful lecture about what you can see in the nighttime skies for the season. Come learn about the beauty of Virgo and how she influenced farmers for hundreds of years. Learn how to get prepared for the summer season of stargazing. Afterwards, come into the PSF’s Starlab Planetarium for the wonders of the universe. Tour of museum is included. (cost: $5)

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Stargazing with the PSF at dusk

The most ideal nights to look at the moon and stars are before the first quarter of the moon cycle, when the Milky Way is visible and the moon isn’t too bright. Stargazing sessions are held once a month starting in April and continue through October, from sunset until around 11pm…they’ll stay later if good things are happening in the skies! Plan ahead & join them for the meteor showers in August & October!

Stay tuned to our Events Calendar for exact dates or contact the Planetary Studies Foundation Earth & Space Museum for details!
***We’ll update this post as more information comes available!

 

Top 10 Ways to Spend Valentine’s Day!

@addbutter on Instagram

photo by @addbutter on Instagram

Galena, IL and Jo Daviess County make the perfect setting for a Winter Romantic Getaway for Valentine’s Day. The spectacular views of our Driftless Region and the charming, historical towns dotting the county set the scene for romance. ENTER our Romance Sweepstakes and see if one of our Romance Packages is the right fit for you at galena.org. Ask us on Facebook if you have any questions or would like more ideas. The following is our Top 10 Ways to Spend Valentine’s Day in Galena, IL & Jo Daviess County!

1. Book the right room – See all of your options at galena.org on our Where to Stay page. Whether it’s a B&B, a cabin in the woods or a themed suite – Galena & Jo Daviess County has it all! Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, Chestnut Mountain Resort, the Goldmoor Inn, The DeSoto House Hotel and Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel have restaurants on the property!

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The Goldmoor Inn

2. Book a Spa Treatment – Use our Salons & Spas page at galena.org and find more info on our blog. You could spend the afternoon in a spa getting the full treatment or have a private massage in your B&B, rental home or hotel.

3. Reserve a table at one of our fantastic restaurants – Perry St. Brasserie was just named by Open Table as one of the Top 100 restaurants in the United States! Log Cabin Steakhouse, Fritz & Frites and Vinny Vanucchi’s in Galena are excellent for a romantic dinner. Holy Mackeral in Elizabeth and Stella’s (BYOB) in Stockton are worth the trip! Use our Where to Dine page for details!

4. After Dinner Drinks &/or Dessert – Fried Green Tomatoes, Embe, Green St. Tavern and Jamie’s Wine Studio in Galena set the scene for a quiet conversation and meeting .

5. Dancing and Live Entertainment – On Valentine’s Day weekend, Galena has events celebrating Mardi Gras all day and into the night, including a parade! Check out the events at the Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape and The Corner Stone for live music and our Arts & Entertainments page has lots of options for fun, like the PT Murphy Magic Show and the Irish Dancing at Frank O’Dowd’s!

6. Shopping hand in hand – Pick up a game & unique jewelry at Poopsie’s or sample the treats as you make your way down Galena’s historic Main St. Take a romantic drive through the county to an antique shop or pottery studio, meeting the artists and local shopkeepers. Enjoy the Chocolate Binge at the Banwarth House in Elizabeth and Mardi Gras all day & into the night in Galena!

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Poopsie’s of Galena

7. Get your blood pumping outdoors – See our Events Calendar for many options for Snowshoe Hikes, Sleigh Rides, and Cross Country Skiing. You can also hit the slopes at Chestnut Mountain Resort overlooking the Mississippi River!

8. Enjoy Nature with Bald Eagle Tours – Our proximity to the Mississippi River gives our visitors an opportunity a chance to be up close to nature and it’s beauty. Visit the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation site and Eagle Nature Foundation for guided tours or set up a private tour with Galena Birding!

9. Wine Tasting and Distillery TourGalena Cellars and Massbach Winery have tasting rooms on Main St. in Galena or you can head out to the wineries for the complete experience, like Rocky Waters Vineyard in Hanover! Be sure to check our Events Calendar for Paint & Pour events, mixing art with a lovely glass of wine! Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. offers distillery tours and tastings, then stay to order a handcrafted cocktail in their cosmopolitan tasting room!

10. CHOCOLATE! – Indulge your sweet tooth at one of our confectioneries including, Chocolat, Chocolaterie Stam Galena, the Great American Popcorn Co., Galena Kandy Kitchen and Sweet Alice’s (Stockton). Chocolate covered bacon, delicious handmade turtles and exquisite delights will tantalize the taste buds of the one you love!

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Chocolat in Galena

Share pics of you and your honey enjoying Galena Country with us on Instagram!

(Valentine’s Day pic from @addbutter’s Instagram)