A gorgeous drive with scenic vistas at every turn is a lovely way to start our second day in Galena. From the manicured grounds of the resort to the wilder woods and lookouts along the highway, the colors and textures of fall foliage create a stunning display of Mother Nature’s artistry.
Today we arrived and parked on the south side of the Galena River near Depot Park. The Illinois Central Railroad Depot was built in 1857 at a cost of $8,000, just three years after the Galena branch of the railroad was opened. The Italianate-style building was hailed as an exceptional passenger depot with such amenities as a Gentlemen’s Reception Room, a Ladies’ Reception Room, and a Ladies’ Dressing Room. The upper floor was a dwelling for the freight agent and his family. The well-preserved two-story structure now houses the Visitor Information Center on the ground floor (as well as—hooray!—restrooms) with Chamber of Commerce offices above.
We stopped across Bouthillier Street to Otto’s Place for a filling and delicious breakfast. This local favorite café is housed in a structure built by Otto Sallman in 1899 as a restaurant and tasting room.
Walking along the railroad tracks to the footbridge across the river, we arrived at Grant Park, which affords beautiful views of Galena nestled into the hills above downtown.
The park includes a lovely gazebo, some war trophy cannon, and a statue of Ulysses S. Grant, who made his home here just before the Civil War and immediately before he assumed the Presidency. Grant was one nine men from Galena who served as generals during the Civil War.
Just across the footbridge, we stopped at Tin Pan Alley Antique Mall to peruse their merchandise. Goods range from primitives to antique French and European furniture to midcentury modern and retro furnishings.
303 S. Commerce St.
Today, for a different perspective, we’re shopping at the east end of Main Street and walking the length to the west. With over 100 specialty shops and galleries along the route, there’s plenty to pique your interest.
In mid-October, local potters participate in the Twenty Dirty Hands self-guided pottery and sculpture tour of studios, kilns, and workshops. We stopped at Pinder Pottery & Gallery to watch potter Chris Lemmon work her magic on the wheel.
236 N Main Street
The Galena Canning Company offers award-winning Chef Ivo’s proprietary salsas, BBQ sauces, chili, relishes, pickles, mustards, jams and jellies, fruit butters, syrups, toppings, flavored oils and vinegars. Chef Ivo’s Firehouse features hot sauce from around the world. Whether you like it mild or wild you will find it here! It’s sample heaven, too.
We’re hooked on vintage shopping and there’s plenty here to indulge our fixation. All That’s Vintage features an eclectic mix of 50’s retro, vintage clothing and accessories, primitives, furniture, pottery, and vintage fabric (we picked up some knock-out 50s barkcloth) Much of the clothing is 1940s-1970s store stock still sporting the original tags.
212 N. Main St.
Then stroll down the street to Gustafson & Gray to check out their antiques, fine jewelry, and consignments.
301 S. Main St.
For the best selection of ice cream flavors in town (40 choices!), stop at the American Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor in an 1846 shop featuring original cabinets and an old-fashioned fountain from 1927.
102 N. Main St.
If you haven’t got enough of a sweet fix after ice cream there are plenty of ways to max out your sugar rush. Stop by Galena’s Kandy Kitchen for your “kid in a candy store” moment. Rows of candy-filled glass jars and handmade confections make a tempting display.
100 N. Main Street
As you approach the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory you can scent the sweet odor of caramel and chocolate in the air. Watch them dip Granny Smith apples into bubbling caramel using a traditional copper kettle or make fudge on the granite table. The best part: the samples, of course!
207 S. Main St.
Chocolat’ offers the finest in domestic and European chocolates. Indulge in their variety of flavors from Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland and Venezuela.
229 S. Main Street
Walk into The Great American Popcorn Company and you’ll be greeted with a friendly smile and a fresh, warm sample of their famous Old Fashioned Caramel Corn. More than 300 popcorn flavors are made on premises. They also offer handmade chocolates, ice cream, hard candies, and coffees.
110 S. Main St.
Half the fun of shopping in Galena is inspecting the architecture of the old shops. High tin ceilings, vintage light fixtures, and antique cabinetry show off the wares in style. At The Great Galena Peddlery, shoppers can find hundreds of teas and all the gear to go with them, along with herbs and spices from all over the world.
116 N. Main St.
Hannah holds a brick of Hubei mǐ zhūan chá (米磚茶), made of powdered black tea. Although tea bricks are less commonly produced in modern times, many post-fermented teas, such as pu-erh, are still commonly found in bricks, discs, and other pressed forms. Tea bricks can be made into beverages or eaten as food, and due to the high value of tea in many parts of Asia, were used as a form of currency throughout China, Tibet, Mongolia, and Central Asia.
For high quality handmade items, paintings, and prints at affordable prices stop in at Outside the Lines Art Gallery. While we were there, Sam Schold of Sherrard, Illinois, shared his handmade Spanish cedar cigar-box guitars and ukuleles with us. He worked more than 30 years at John Deere while perfecting a crafting tradition that goes back to the 1840s when these musical instruments were made by folks whose passion for music outweighed their pocketbooks. Sam’s impromptu cigar box concert was smokin’.
101 S. Main St.
Just before dinner, we fit in a few more shops. Try on headgear at Celebrity Hats or LuLu’s. Hannah has found her style!
Celebrity: 223 S. Main St.
LuLu’s: 127 S. Main St
Peruse the home décor accessories at Vignettes. Kurtis bought Hannah a wood carved antelope head she’d admired earlier through the window.
107 N. Main St.
Earth’s Treasures is the place to find unique rock and minerals and collectible fossils. Perfect for our shoppers, both trained archaeologists.
102 S. Main St.
Named for Hernando DeSoto, the discoverer of the Mississippi River, the DeSoto House opened on April 9, 1855 and was billed as the “Largest Hotel in the West.” It is now Illinois’ oldest operating hotel with 55 Victorian-style guest rooms.
We stopped for a dinner of traditional pub food at the Green Street Tavern on the streetside corner of the hotel that was originally a railroad and telegraph office.
230 S. Main St.
While you’re at the DeSoto, plan a one-hour walking tour with General Grant to work off dinner and explore the historic highlights of the downtown area. The tour starts at the hotel.
With another day of strolling the streets of Galena behind them, Hannah and Kurtis are ready for a quiet evening of drinks on the balcony back at the resort.
© Caruth Studio