My family did something a little different this year for Christmas. We took a trip to historic Galena and spent four days together to celebrate the holiday. Galena is a popular get-away location due to its scenic rolling hills and rich history.
Galena used to be the largest city in Illinois, back in the early 1800s when residents were getting very wealthy from lead mining. The town was extremely prosperous as you can tell from the numerous beautiful homes.
Illinois is one of the flattest states, second only to Florida. But you’ll find beautiful rolling hills and amazing scenery in Galena, located in the northwest corner near the Mississippi River. I love the town for its abundance of historic homes.
I believe Galena has the most bed and breakfast lodging of any town in the United States. I try to stay in a different home every time we visit.
When you walk around Galena’s residential streets, your legs get a really good workout. We climbed one set of stairs frpm Main Street to the residential area that included 219 steps!
Galena enjoys a variety of architectural styles. During our stay, we took one of their famous ghost tours which was a lot of fun.
Not all homes in historic Galena are big. Some are small and quite cute, like this one perched along the hillside above town.
The sign above the door says “Osprey’s Nest,” rather appropriate considering its location.
Here’s another smaller home that’s simple but cute.
Although historic Galena is dotted with older homes, there are newer homes as well. You can see a beautiful new house up on the hill just beyond a pair of historic structures.
Al Capone used to hang out in Galena during the prohibition days. He was trafficking alcohol across the Mississippi River from Dubuque, Iowa to Galena before transporting it to Chicago.
This is the Belvedere Mansion that you can tour. The period furnishings are true to the era in which the home was built. Isn’t it beautiful?
The first memory I have of Galena is traveling here as a little girl with my grandparents for a day trip. I’ve loved it ever since.
In addition to all the historic houses, the Main Street has a lot of little shops and great restaurants.
Here’s a couple more historic places where you can stay in historic Galena. The Farmer’s Guest House …
… and the Renaissance and Riverboat Suites.
I wish there’d been snow on the ground during our Christmas trip, but it was about 45 degrees every day we were there (not that I’m complaining!).
Perhaps the most famous attraction in Galena is the home of former president, Ulysses S. Grant. I remember touring this house for the first time during my trip with my grandparents.
For our family holiday trip, we stayed in this newer home located just outside of the town in Galena Territory. We needed a large house for all twelve of us. The houses in the territory are more spread out and ours was in a secluded woodsy area. You can view pictures of the inside here.
Our holiday family trip was so much fun we’re making it a tradition. Instead of buying gifts for each other, we took our trip instead. Everyone did buy gifts for the kiddos, though. When all families chip in for the house rental, it ends up being cheaper than everyone getting a hotel room. And it’s nice to all be together under the same roof!
Enjoy More of My Galena Trips: