The big-city bustle of Chicago is great but if you need to get away, the quaint historical Galena is your destination and tops the list of LGBTQ-friendly weekend getaways in Illinois.
Here’s a look at where to eat, shop and what to see while you’re there.
Where to Eat
One Eleven Main
If you’re planning for a romantic dinner out then we recommend One Eleven Main, which is one of the more upscale, yet still approachable, Galena restaurants. With a farm-to-table menu featuring locally-sourced ingredients, the menu here changes daily with offerings like bourbon cola-glazed roasted pork, pineapple red bell pepper barbecue ribs, and potato-encrusted trout with a spicy tomato caper remoulade. It’s all dependent on what inspires the chefs and what’s in season. Rounding out the bill of fare, many of the spirits, beer, and wine all come from Illinois.
If homey and charming is more your speed, then make sure to swing by Otto’s Place. With the look and feel of an old country inn set inside a classic red-brick building dating back to 1899, Otto’s is a great spot for breakfast and lunch. Our favorites include the butternut squash, kale and smoked gouda frittata, bread pudding French toast and corned beef hash. They also have a killer Bloody Mary with a home-made mix and all the right garnishes.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Don’t let the name fool you. While you’d expect Fried Green Tomatoes to be a cute country diner, it’s actually our go-to in Galena for great Italian-American cuisine. Housed inside a building once owned by President Ulysses S. Grant’s father, this gem offers hearty steaks, great seafood, and a Wine Spectator-recognized wine list.
What to Do
Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery
What’s better than seeing a gorgeous country vineyard up close? Getting to taste through a bunch of their delicious wines, of course. Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery offers an hour-long tour that first covers the history of the winery before you visit the vineyard to see the 22 grape varieties they grow. You’ll then tour the cellars before returning to the tasting room to get six half-ounce wine pours chosen from the 40 wines they make on site. And their public tasting and tour combo only costs $10 per person.
Blaum Brothers Distilling Company
Craft spirits more your thing? Blaum Brothers Distilling Company has gained some momentum in the craft spirits world with its bourbon, gin, moonshine and other spirits. Make a stop here and get a first-hand look at their distilling process. The $10, 45-minute tours take place daily and you’ll learn about the entire process and end with a guided tasting.
Where to Shop
A Bushel & A Peck
About 25 minutes from downtown Galena, A Bushel & A Peck country store is an antique-lover’s treasure chest. Here you can find vintage and reclaimed furniture, house-wares and locally crafted foodstuffs including honey, maple syrup, and cheese.
Galena Clay Works
Galena Clay Works is a must-visit if you love hand-crafted functional objects like bowls, dishes, and other beautiful pottery. This adorable studio in Galena’s ‘Old Town’ district is the kind of shop you’ll definitely not be leaving empty-handed.
Where to Stay
Aldrich Guest House
Aldrich Guest House is a gay-owned, five-bedroom B&B about five minutes from Main Street that dates back to a time when both Presidents Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant roamed the halls.
Jail Hill Inn
The Jail Hill Inn is a charming option set inside a 135-year-old building on top of a hill overlooking the Galena countryside. The six-suite, four-story inn features rooms each boasting king-size beds with luxe linens, fireplaces, and Kohler bathrooms with steam showers or massage tubs.
Eagle’s Ridge Resort & Spa
If you prefer on-site activities to complement your accommodation, then make sure to check out Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa. In addition to golf and spa services, Eagle Ridge is the area’s premier resort set over 6,800 acres. You’ll find well-appointed rooms and villas, award-winning restaurants, hiking and biking trails, fishing, kayaking, even seasonal hot air ballooning.
The Inn at Irish Hollow
Called ‘deliciously rustic’ by the New York Times, The Inn at Irish Hollow is located on 500 rolling acres in the Galena countryside. Combined with its historic rooms or its private English-style cottages, the landscape could easily be mistaken for a European getaway. Irish Hollow is also known for its gourmet country breakfasts and dinners made with seasonal ingredients from its own organic gardens.