We started our day filled to the brim. If you enjoy making breakfast into an occasion, have Sunday brunch at The Woodlands restaurant at Eagle Ridge Resort. The menu covers just about anything you could ask for and then some. It’s very popular, so reservations are recommended.
Before heading back into town for our last day, we stopped at the dam at Smallpox Creek, a Mississippi River tributary, that forms 220-acre Lake Galena. Kurtis points out some geological points of interest.
Life finds a way. Growing from seed to sapling to mature tree on a bare rock ledge, then putting on a colorful show at the end of the season is a lesson in persistence and triumph over adversity.
On August 18, 1865, Galena celebrated the return of its Civil War hero General Ulysses S. Grant. Following a jubilant procession, a group of Galena citizens presented the General with a handsome furnished Italianate house on Bouthillier Street high above the Galena River. The family lived here until Grant was elected to the White House. Opened to the public in 1904, the home retains its original furnishings, making it easy to imagine how it looked in the mid 19th century.
500 Bouthillier St.
It’s nice to see a lady get her due. This stature memorializes Julia Dent Grant, wife of the 18th President of the US, who seems to have been a determined woman. It took several proposals for Grant to finally win her hand and she defied her slave-owning St. Louis parents to marry into the abolitionist Grant family, who were also not welcoming. Although she suffered all her life from strabismus (crossed eyes), Julia became the first First Lady to write her memoirs, recounting her life as military wife, Washington hostess, and world traveler.
The view of the town is spectacular from the Grant home. A string of fires that plagued Galena during the 1850s led the city government to prohibit new construction using wood, resulting in a town built mostly of brick and stone.
Across the road from Grant’s home is the award-winning Bernadine’s Stillman Inn. The bed & breakfast is housed in a stately 1858 mansion just a short walk from downtown. The structure is a gorgeous example of Victorian-era architectural ornamentation. The romantic inn offers two acres of garden-filled courtyards and relaxing places to sit and chat, read a book, or enjoy a glass of wine while watching the birds.
513 Bouthillier St.
We made a final swing through vintage shops in the area and downtown. Part of the fun is guessing what some of the things we found in bins were originally used for and how they could be repurposed for use now. Some items would obviously just make really cool wall art.
The nine stars on the Galena Brewing Company logo represent the nine breweries that made Galena a prominent brewing town in the 19th century. We stopped for a brew and snack and ended up sampling several flavors with their generous beer flights. The brewery offers 11 different beer styles plus a seasonal brew each month. The pub fare was fresh and tasty—nothing fried or grilled.
227 N. Main St.
To finish the day, take a tour of the Belvedere Mansion. The historic 22-room Italianate home has been considered the finest house in Galena since it was built in 1857.
1008 Park Ave.
Although it’s time to head home, we’ve left lots to do on a return trip. More shops to visit, inns and eateries to try, and activities to experience. Whether your tastes run to antiquing like ours did this time around, a sporting weekend suits your fancy, or a wine-tasting trip through the area’s vineyards is more your style, you’ll find plenty of reasons to add Galena to your travel calendar at any time of the year.
See more at visitgalena.org.
© Caruth Studio