It has been a little over a month and we thought this would be a great time to ‘check in' with the world.
We've gone from city boys to townies. We left our New York City (Harlem) apartment; our high-rise office views, corporate suits by day and rooftop soirees by night ... to follow a crazy dream that we had. Now, we live as innkeepers in a historic bed and breakfast serving Midwestern visitors.
We fell in love with Galena, Illinois INSTANTLY. The city is frozen in time and surrounded by beauty. We live on top of a hill 2 blocks (250 steps) from an amazing Main Street. It's seriously one of the best Main Streets in the country.
We couldn't explore all of Main Street in one day. That impressed us. You can shop, of course, and it isn't just antique stores. (I remember visiting Main Streets with my mom as a kid and being completely bored by the antiquing-of-it-all.) If you DO want to antique, click here.
In Downtown Galena, you can go wine tasting, cheese tasting, balsamic tasting, whiskey tasting, salsa tasting, popcorn tasting... you get it. You can visit cute art galleries, and listen to live music. The ice cream shop is amazing. (They get it from a town close to where Geoff grew up... very midwestern.) The restaurants are also top notch. Breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner, and after dinner snacks can all be found downtown ready to handle foodies from allover. We still haven't been to all of the restaurants yet! And not sure if you will need breakfast downtown if you are enjoying the Felt Manor's breakfast on your vacation.
History is a BD (big deal) over here. Galena has the oldest continuously operated Post Office in America. The Fire Department, the Galena Gazette and the DeSoto House Hotel are all the oldest in Illinois. Ulysses S. Grant lived in Galena for a year before the war across the street from the Felt Manor Coach House. After the war, he ran his presidential campaign and found out that he won in Galena. His neighbors then GIFTED him and America's First First Lady a furnished home that is toured today. So yeah, LOTS of history.
Here are some fun things that we've done so far during our first month in Galena:
Magic is SO in! PT Murphy Magic Show is a must-do. The show is VERY intimate with only 24 seats in the theatre. It sells out during busy season, so we were lucky to find 2 seats. We left saying "How did he do that" about multiple tricks. Worth every penny!
Chestnut Mountain Resort is a Winter Ski Destination and one of the best spots to ski around here! It's summer, though, and we still had a blast on the Alpine Slide ($7 for a go-at-it), and dinner at the Summer Grille with a picturesque sunset. They also have mini-golf and segway tours that I can't wait to try!
We drink...responsibly. ;) Two hot spots for you:
The crew at the Galena Cellars Winery and Vineyard are on fire! Eric gave us a tour of the vineyard while we enjoyed wine slushies. Illinois has a few sweet grapes growing and they obtain grapes from California and all over for drier wines, which we love. Try Eric-the-Red (named after the winemaker), Seyval Blanc, and both the White and Red Reserves.
At Blaum Bros. Distillery it was bottling day! We were lucky to catch the crew in action as they bottled during our tour. Tip: Grab a masterfully mixed cocktail at the bar BEFORE the tour. The tour also ends with three shots of gin, whiskey, bourbon, or whatever else they choose. Oh, and it's air conditioned for that scorching hot day.
I don't know how they did it, but they got these New Yorkers to go on a goat trek. Yep. You walk GOATS and it is called Hoof it Galena! It's a perfect family-fun activity and a nice break from Galena's shopping and history activities. Go meet Buttercup, Gracie, Iris and the whole team. They have 300 acres of land. You can upgrade your trek with a bonfire overlooking that gorgeous land!
The Galena Trolley Tour is the best way to view the entire city and learn about the history comfortably. Guests at Felt Manor can grab a discount if you purchase with your room. Both sides of the Inn at FELT MANOR are on the Trolley Tour, so that is pretty epic.
We still have a lot of hot spots to hit so check back soon to see how we are doing!
A Few Local Favorites
-A day-trip to Galena Cellars Vineyard
-The Market House Restaurant is a delicious find.
-Hiking or biking into Buehler Preserve from Grant Park