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8 Waterford Dr Galena, IL
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The Advantages of a Quaint Vacation Rental Over the Big Resorts
The Advantages of a Quaint Vacation Rental Over the Big Resorts

There’s no better way to take in the sights and sounds of a destination than to temporarily live like a local. It’s a binary thing. People either love resorts, or they shun them. What’s the deciding factor? In most cases, it’s the destination. A big resort usually is the destination. This is why many resorts tend to be located away from densely populated or metropolitan areas. When you get there, the plan is to check in and avail yourself of the resort amenities. You may not even leave the resort grounds until checkout time. Which is fine, but… What if your objective is to visit a destination where you want to be included in what’s happening in the area? First of all, you likely won’t find any big resorts nearby—for the previously mentioned reason of location. Add the obligatory golf course, and the average resort takes up acres of land. A preference for taking in the local atmosphere is the main reason people pass on resorts. In that case, a vacation rental is your best choice. The experience can be transformational; it can put you right in the heart of the area you’re visiting. You can get a true taste […]

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The Definitive Historical Tour of Galena, Illinois

With so much to see, these are the can’t-miss sites Though it’s a small town, Galena, is known for a lot of things. The area in which it is nestled in Northwestern Illinois is gorgeous and filled with several natural amenities. In and around the city are many excellent golf courses, which is why the area has been called a golfer’s paradise. There is even a world-class magic theater. But above all, Galena is perhaps most renowned for its history. There are certainly cities in the U.S. that are older than Galena, but few can say their historical sites are as well preserved. A remarkable 85 percent of the town is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. With so much history to explore, it can be a little overwhelming to figure out what to see, which is why we’ve created this guide for you. Grant’s Home Let’s start with the easy one. If you have any interest in the Civil War, the home of one of the greatest generals in American history has to be on your list. Given to him after he returned to Galena after the war, the house has been restored to look exactly like […]

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A Time Capsule: The Beautiful 19th Century Architecture of Galena

History comes alive in these five buildings America is several hundred years old, but you wouldn’t really know it by looking at most of our cities and towns. Whether due to decay, expansion, or the ‘newer is better’ sentiment, older structures often get torn down without a second thought, which is a real shame. Not only are unique design elements lost, so is a piece of history. Thankfully, there are places that do their part to preserve historical buildings. Galena, for one, goes above and beyond in this regard. In fact, about 85 percent of the town is considered part of the national historical registry. While there are many buildings worth exploring, these five really stand out: Washburne House Built in 1843, this house was occupied by Elihu B. Washburne and his family for decades. Elihu was a Galena lawyer who eventually became a congressman and a political adviser to both Lincoln and Grant. The house was designed in the Greek revival style, complete with large pillars on the front portico. The interior of the Washburne House has been restored to showcase the “middle-class gentility” of the Victorian era. Dowling House The oldest house in Galena, Dowling House was constructed […]

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What’s in a Name: The Meaning of Galena and How it Shaped This Small Town’s History

Lead Sulfide, Illinois just doesn’t roll off the lips. Galena. Such a striking name. People often ask about its origins when they come to visit this town famous for its Civil War history—as well as being the home of the 18th president of the United States. Just who was Galena? Not who, but what Galena wasn’t named after a person. The city is named for a specific ore that’s found in the region. Indians in the area had been mining it for use in their burial rituals hundreds of years before the first of the city’s European-descended settlers arrived. The ore is commonly known as galena, which is the natural form of lead sulfide. If you’re making anything from or with lead, this is your go-to ore. Initial mining of the ore was attempted by French trappers in the late 1690s. French maps during that time identified the area as mines de plomb—plomb being the French word for lead ore. Unfortunately, these initial galena miners found themselves in constant conflict with the Sioux Indians. Galena wasn’t always called Galena Those early French would-be miners had a different name for the area that would eventually become the city of Galena. They […]

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Abracadabra! The P.T. Murphy Magic Theater and Your Galena Vacation

Here’s why you may want to plan your entire trip around this show Before they plan a vacation, a lot of people create a list of the kinds of the things they want to do while they’re away. This could involve sunbathing, hiking, sight-seeing, and a number of other activities. One thing, however, that isn’t often found on these lists is attending a magic show. But once folks find out about P.T. Murphy, that all changes. Expect for perhaps Vegas, there are not too many cities that can boast their own theater devoted entirely to magic. That’s one of the reasons why Galena, Illinois, is so special. Several days every week, P.T. Murphy performs a spectacular magic show in his very own theater. Located in historic downtown Galena in a building that dates back to the 1840s, the P.T. Murphy Magic Theater only seats 24 people. This means that there’s no bad seat and everyone has the chance to get an up close and personal look at Murphy’s amazing tricks and sleight of hand. The hour-long show is filled to the brim with humor, fun, and of course, some mesmerizing magic. Galena has a lot to offer, but when it comes […]

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Galena has a Rich Native American History

Find out how you can get a glimpse of the past When most people think about American history they probably picture muskets, powdered wigs, and perhaps presidential speeches. But before all of that, America had a rich history. Native peoples inhabited the land long before the Pilgrims got here, and their influences and contributions shouldn’t be overlooked – and in Galena, they are celebrated. Know for its history, including being home to a house once owned by Ulysses S. Grant, Galena owes a lot to its first inhabitants. In fact, the city gets its name from a lead ore mined by Native Americans that was used in burial rituals. During the Middle Woodland Period (1-400 CE), galena was traded by the Havana Hopewell tribe in the area. The spread of galena can be attributed in part to the French, who arrived in Northwestern Illinois in the 1600s. At the time, there were three predominant tribes in the region: Sioux, Sauk, and Fox, and the French discovered galena most likely thanks to their contact with the Sioux. Galena is the perfect place to get a sense of the legacy of Native Americans. When you visit, in a sense you will feel […]

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Why a Town with Only 3,000 Residents has Over a Million Yearly Visits

The city offers a snapshot of history that few other places in our country can match. Who would have guessed? That’s what you hear when you explain the reason why a city of only 3,000 residents three hours west of Chicago gets over a million visitors every year. What’s the attraction? Add an “s” to that word. Attractions. Galena is one of those amazing cities that has been blessed by both history and geography. It’s the home of no less than 9 Civil War generals—one of whom became our 18th president. Galena is so soaked in history that 85% of the structures in the town are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Civil war nexus No other city in the United States can make such a claim. Most people just call it “The 9 Generals,” and it’s one of the top reasons Galena draws so many visitors. If history—Civil War history in particular—is your thing, you can visit the homes and pre-war working places of 9 highly decorated Civil War heroes. And, you can do it without even stepping outside the Galena city limits. One of those 9 generals is none other than Ulysses S. Grant, and this […]

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5 Things to Look for in a Vacation Rental in Galena

Don’t book a place unless it checks off everything on this list If you are like most Americans, you probably don’t get a ton of time off from work. At most, you may only get a week or two each year, which means those precious vacation days have to be used wisely. You definitely do not want to come back from a trip wishing you had gone somewhere else, so it pays to do some research ahead of time. This is why Galena is a perfect destination. With its rich history, many fun things to do, and exceptional dining and shopping opportunities, it has something for everyone. But you’ll enjoy the town even more with the right vacation rental. Before you decide on one, think about these key features: A relaxing environment Whether you want to be out and about each day doing a lot of different things or are going on vacation just to take it easy, you’ll definitely want your rental to provide a relaxing setting. This should involve a spacious layout, comfortable furniture, and perhaps even a pool. Closeness to activities Nobody wants to spend a good chunk of their vacation just getting to and from the […]

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Galena, Illinois is a Golfer’s Paradise

  Grab your clubs and head to the premier golf destination in Northwest Illinois Some people like to do nothing while on vacation. Sitting by a pool or laying on a beach suits them just fine. But others prefer that their trips involve a little more activity, things like hiking, sight-seeing, or maybe hitting the links. If you’re in this latter category and you can’t imagine taking a trip without your golf bag, then it is time to visit Galena. Galena and the nearby area are home to several golf courses, each with their own unique attributes. But they do have one thing in common: All of them offer incredible views of the beautiful landscape Northwest Illinois is known for. Here are six of the best: Galena Golf Club Perfect for golfers at any skill level, the Galena Golf Club is meticulously taken care of and very affordable. There’s also a bar and grill on hand for an after-round drink or bite to eat. Apple Canyon Lake Golf Course If you like your golf with a side of scenery, Apple Canyon is for you. Playing the nine holes will take you through canyons and over hills. Lacoma Golf Club With […]

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The Natural Attractions of Galena, Illinois

Activities in Galena that will make you appreciate the great outdoors Who knew a small town tucked within northwest Illinois could draw such big tourism? Galena is known not only for their range of events and brewery tours but its natural attractions as well. In fact, Galena got its name from the mineral galena, which was mined in the area by Native Americans for almost a thousand years. Largely due to this fact, Galena is attributed with the first major mineral rush in the US. Despite quite literally being founded after a natural mineral, there are many other natural attractions that brings tourists to this small town each and every year. Galena state parks Whether you’re looking for a hike, a snowshoe adventure, or a place to camp or fish, Galena’s state parks and creeks are something you’ll need to experience to understand. The Galena Creek Regional Park is surrounded by the Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest on three sides and provides activities in both winter and summer environments. In total, there are three state parks along the Apple and Galena Rivers around hills created by glaciers thousands of years ago. Ranging in difficulty and size, Galena state parks offer limitless activities […]

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