Halloween is quickly approaching and we want to make it as enjoyable as possible for everyone attending.  In this and a “sister” post we’ll provide you useful tips and information on how to get the most out of your family time during your weekend in Galena for the Halloween Festival and Parade.


Eagle Ridge Lodging

The most important item is to make your reservations ASAP.  Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa offers luxurious suites, spacious villas and beautiful single-family homes.  This weekend is one of the most popular weekends in Galena and it’s sure to be a sell out.  Also, check out Galena Area Rentals.  They have three houses that are fantastic and we can personally vouch for the owners; great people who will treat you like family.


Galena Halloween Dining Options

Galena Halloween Dining Options

With the onslaught of visitors coming to town, table space at local restaurants will be at a premium.  The Galena Chamber has a great list of 22 “Member” restaurants and gastronomic options.  Use that list to find places to eat, drink and be scary!


Here is the schedule of events slated for SATURDAY in the City of Galena:

Galena Halloween Festival:

Galena Halloween Festival

Galena Halloween Festival – Image provided by Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Where: Washington and Perry Streets
When: 2:00 through the Parade

Children’s Fun Fest:

Galena Halloween Children's Fun Fest

Galena Halloween Children’s Fun Fest – Image provided by Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Where: Galena Middle School Gymnasium
 When: 1:00 – 5:00

Galena Halloween Parade:

Halloween in Galena, IL

Halloween in Galena, IL. Image provided by VisitGalena.org

Where: Galena, Main Street from Franklin to the flood gates
 When: 6:30 – 8:30ish
Readers of the Vacation Rental Galena Blog know that we have two children in college and one in high school.  They are, not surprisingly, “stoked” to see the Halloween pageantry (“pagantry?”).  However, in a twist seemingly terrifying, along with us will be our spectacular Grand Niece and Nephew travelling here from Clearwater, FL with their equally wonderful parents.  So now we’re talking about getting situated with five “kids” ranging from 3 to 20; nine people in total.  See the need for planning?
The Floridians will be bundled up and we’ll be in the Driftless Area by late afternoon on Friday the 30th.  Thankfully there are area events happening before Halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Since our vacation rental is located in the Galena Territory we’re going to partake in a few of the many activities the resort has planed during the Halloween at Eagle Ridge weekend.  And you should too!


– 2 pm to 7 pm: Yard games and a bounce house will be available for resort guests in the yard in front of the pool deck.
– 7 pm Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa Halloween Party on the Pool Patio FEATURING:
– Costume contest – dress up and join in a parade around the outlets of the main lodge. The Eagle Ridge staff will be voting on most original costume, scariest costume, cutest costume, and best family costume.  Prizes will be awarded after votes are tallied.
– Prizes are the following:
If you win most original costume, enjoy a complimentary one night stay with dinner for four at Woodstone Restaurant. Coupon for overnight stay is valid December 1st, 2015 to May 31st, 2016.
If you win scariest costume, enjoy a family four pack of tickets to Shenandoah Riding Center’s Fear Forest and a complimentary pizza and ice cream for four people from Paisano’s Delizioso.
If you win the cutest costume, enjoy one complimentary Travel Buddy with an outfit, provided by The Bear Factory.
If you win Best Family Costume, enjoy a complimentary four person round of golf (cart rental is included) on your choice of our four courses or foot golf on the East Course. Please call the front desk to schedule a tee time.
Halloween fun snacks will be served on the pool patio after the parade while our guests can enjoy s’mores at the fire pit in the yard by the pool patio.
7:30 pm to 8:30 pm: Photo booth in the Courtyard
8 pm: Movies & Tubbies in the pool, playing “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”
– 10 am to 8 pm: Yard games and a bounce house for children to enjoy in the yard in front of the pool deck.
– 1 pm: Halloween Egg Hunt in the Courtyard – join us in an Halloween egg hunt around the courtyard, while enjoying our goulash decorations.
– 7 pm: S’Mores Galore at the fire pit by the pool patio.
– 8 pm: Movies & Tubbies in the pool, playing “Hocus Pocus”.


Fridays and Saturdays in October, Shenandoah Riding Center is open for haunted hayrides from 7 pm – 11 pm!
Join the Shenandoah Riding Center for a suspenseful tractor-pulled wagon ride to their haunted trail with only the light of the moon to guide your way. Fear Forest isn’t like any other haunted house because it takes place in a REAL forest, with all the creepy, natural ambiance to go with it. There aren’t any walls to protect you from the horrors that lurk in the trees, and no roof to keep out the howling October winds…
The Fear Forest is for people aged 13 and up.


Probably the biggest issue, after lodging, when it comes to planning your time at the Galena Halloween Festival and Parade is parking.  There are shuttles available that start at the High School and end at the Flood Gates.  See this post for information on the shuttles and parking.

Download The Parking/Shuttle Map Here

If you have other events happening, please leave a comment.
We’re open.  Contact us for details.
Galena Dining Options
I reached out to leaders in the Galena community to get their advise on how to get the most out of the Galena Halloween Festival and Parade and here’s what the “Insiders” told me.  See our sister post on the weekend’s events.  We’ll update this page as more help comes to us.
“Finish out October with a bang! The Galena Halloween Parade wows thousands of visitor each year with amazing floats and festivities. Unlike any parade you’ve seen, Galena lights up Main Street with large bursts of fire. You don’t want to miss this event!” – VisitGalena


With 10,000 – 15,000 people attending, where is the best place to park?
Galena Welcome Center:  VISITGALENA.ORG
“To accommodate the high volume of parade goers, there will be four shuttle buses operating between 4:30 pm and 9:00 pm, excluding parade times between 6:30 and 8:30pm. (Be prepared: even at 4 PM the line for the shuttle can be quite long.) Shuttle parking and pickup will be at the Walmart and Galena High School Parking Lots. Shuttle bus drop off will be in the parking lot next to Galena Cellars Tasting Room on the South end of Main Street. Cost is $1 per person (roundtrip). Children 6 and under ride free.”
“Another option for those coming from the Galena Territory is to drive in on Stagecoach Trail, park at Recreation Park on the edge of town, and walk to Main Street from there (use a stroller for the young ones). Might be an easier exit from there also.”
Betsy Kaage, Social Media Specialist Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau:
“The Depot Parking lot and cross the bridge or Recreation Park (with a bit of a walk)…”
Colin Sanderson, Director of Sales and Marketing, Eagle Ridge:
“We will be offering transportation from the Inn to the bridge I believe and I think it will be $10 per person round trip.”  PLEASE CHECK WITH EAGLE RIDGE TO CONFIRM THIS TRANSPORTATION OPTION.
Lori Swalley, A to B Cab Company (formerly Galena Cab)
“If you’re going to use private transportation to get from your house to and from the parade, my advise is to make your reservations in advance.  At least a week out.”
Contact: Lori Swalley


QUESTION: When should we try to “reserve” a seat for the parade?  THIS QUESTION IS A BIT OF A STICKY WICKET SO FOLLOW THIS ADVISE AT YOUR OWN PERIL!  Frankly, we’re going to stake a claim as early as possible.  Will the seats be there upon our return?  Who knows… but we’re gonna give it a shot.  I’m awaiting a response from the Galena Police to get a final answer… when I do, I’ll post it.
Galena Chamber:
At 5:00pm on October 31, parking will not be allowed on the east or west side of Main Street from the Flood Gates to Franklin Street. Barricades will be put in place Saturday morning. For safety reasons, please do not attempt to move the barricades. To accommodate persons with disabilities, the Chamber and City of Galena are designating twelve (12) available parking spaces along Main Street (between Green and Washington Streets) during the Halloween Parade with the use of a special permit. Those who qualify and are interested should contact City Hall to register for the parking permit. All requests for permits should be made by October 23. If more than 12 applicants are received, a lottery will be conducted the week before the parade to determine those who receive the 12 permits/parking spaces.
At 5:15 pm, Water Street will be closed to allow for parade line-up from the Flood Gates to Franklin Street.
Betsy Kaage, Social Media Specialist Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau:
“4 pm is a good time to scope out your spot with kids. Some of the group can save the spot while others walk around or get a bite to eat.”
Colin Sanderson, Director of Sales and Marketing, Eagle Ridge:
“People start lining up or getting their seats in the afternoon. Some bring chairs others just blankets.”


QUESTION: Best place to watch the parade.
Betsy Kaage, Social Media Specialist Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau:
“The announcer is at the intersection of Hill and Main.”
“The Parade will begin at 6:30pm on Main Street starting on Franklin Street and will run the opposite direction (south) down Main Street ending at the Flood Gates. This should allow an extra two to three blocks of standing room for spectators”
THESE ARE NOT HARD AND TRUE THINGS YOU HAVE TO DO… MERELY SUGGESTIONS.  AND… AND… THESE ARE SIMPLY PEOPLE’S OPINIONS SO DON’T BE LIKE: “I read your post and this is what you suggested I should do and it didn’t go as planned.”  Someone once said: “If you want to make God laugh… make plans.”  SO, MAKE YOUR PLANS AND PLAN ON SOMETHING THROWING A WRENCH IN TO YOUR PLAN… PLAN ON IT!
If you have other suggestions, please leave a comment.
We’re open.  Contact us for details.

4th of July in Galena

Here is a way to spend your 4th of July in Galena.

Breakfast at the Dining Table

One of the benefits of staying in a vacation rental in Galena is the dining options it provides to you.  You can either eat-in or choose from one of the dozens of great restaurants within a 10 minute drive.  On this Independence Day we opted for a self-catered breakfast.
After everyone awoke (without the aid of an alarm clock) we gathered the family around the dining table for eggs, bacon, toast, milk, juice and coffee.  Quickly the conversation turned to “what do you want to do today”?

Mississippi River Cruises

None of us in the family had ever been on a boat on the Mississippi River.  After a bit of breakfast table online research we found exactly what we were looking for: The Galena Mississippi River Explorer Cruises at Chestnut Mountain.  So off to the ski area we went.

Chestnut Mountain Alpine Slide

Summertime at Chestnut Mountain is a blast.  There are ton of things to do at the ski area even when there isn’t any snow.  Sad to say that we didn’t call ahead and all of the river cruises were sold out.  What to do now?  How about a race down the mountain on the Alpine Slide.
People Alpine Slide at Chestnut Mountain

People on Alpine Slide at Chestnut Mountain

Alpine Slide Racers at Chestnut Mountain

Alpine Slide Racers at Chestnut Mountain

Chestnut Mountain Alpine Slide Mississippi River

Panoramic View of Mississippi River from Alpine Slide at Chestnut Mountain

Alpine Slide Panoramic View From Bottom at Chestnut Mountain

Alpine Slide Panoramic View From Bottom at Chestnut Mountain

You go from the top of the mountain to the bottom on a sled winding and corkscrewing all the way down.  I bought a five ride ticket and the races were on.  The boys and I had two heat races then the Feature race was set to go.  My boys fought it out like true racers and the winner was the youngest.  The slide was great.  Everyone in your family will enjoy the ride.  Go!
While the Feature race was running my wife, daughter and I sat in the Sunset Grille and had some refreshments!  Try the Bloody Mary!
After that we were off to town do do a little shopping.

Shopping in Galena

Since we’re in the last stages of setting up the Galena vacation rental for you we are now down to the nuance items that again separate our home from all others at Eagle Ridge.  We’ve worked exclusively with Alana at Floral Chic in Galena for all of our floral arrangements in the home.  And we think, she’s done a fantastic job.  They are wonderful to work with and their prices are much more appealing than most anything we’ve found in Chicagoland.  Check them out!

Dining in Galena

We decided not to cook at the house and collectively we chose, once again, a wonderful Mexican restaurant in Galena called Campeche  I mean what better way is there to celebrate Independence Day in America by eating Mexican right?  It’s on the east side of Galena at the corner of Water St. and Commerce St.  The entire menu is great.  Try the fish tacos!

Galena Rodeo

Back out to The Galena Territory to rest up before we head over the the Shenandoah Riding Center  for the Shenandoah Pro Rodeo.  According to their flier: “The Galena Territory goes out west for two nights featuring bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, bull riding, and women’s barrel racing … all of the fan favorites.”
4th of July Galena Rodeo

4th of July Galena Rodeo Horse With Flag

4th of July Galena Rodeo

Galena Rodeo Crowd

4th of July Galena Rodeo

4th of July Galena Rodeo Mom and Son

4th of July Galena Rodeo

4th of July Galena Rodeo Kids

What a blast!  Pretty much what you’d expect from a pro rodeo.  Outstanding riders and ropers.  A big crowd and fast paced.  The evening was cool and the fireworks after the rodeo were hot!
So there you go!  A family day in a great family oriented area.  As the saying goes: “Come for the weekend. Stay for the lifestyle.”
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Let us know when you want to rent the house.  We’re open!  Contact us for details.
4th of July Galena Rodeo

Galena, IL Earns High Rank by USA Today Travel

Galena, IL, chartered in 1841, has been named as one of USA Today’s Travel Experience Weekends’ “Small Town Gems.”  This should come as no surprise to those who’ve vacationed here but if you haven’t you’ll be surprised when you visit Main Street.

Downtown Galena, IL

Downtown Galena, IL May 2015

Downtown Galena, IL May 2015

During our second trip here many years ago we made it a weekend goal of going in to each store on Main Street.  It took two days but we did it.  Here’s what you won’t find in downtown Galena: chain stores or restaurants, big box mega-shops, or an $8.00 cup of burnt bean coffee.

What you will find as you stroll along is a transparent appreciation of the past as well as an overt appreciation of your presence.  The town now lives mainly on visitors and when you wander in all of shops and stores you’ll be welcomed by small business owners who make you feel at home almost immediately.
But before you visit, you have to set up your accommodations.  Why not stay at Eagle Ridge in the Galena Territory in “your own” vacation rental?  Specifically, stay with us!  We’re finishing the last items on our punch list and the reservation system should go live in June with our calendar taking reservations for July and thereafter.
We’re open!  Contact us for details.
Believe it or not Halloween will be celebrated in Galena in six months!  I know, I know…. The snow has barely melted here and I’m already talking about Halloween, well, it’s a big deal in these parts and rooms and vacation rental houses sell out quickly.
Halloween in Galena, IL

Halloween in Galena, IL. Image provided by VisitGalena.org

A Quick History of Halloween

Many people believe that Halloween was a creation of Pope Gregory III sometime in the eight or ninth century.  In actuality what he created was a designated date of November 1st to honor All Saints.  October 31 didn’t have a dedicated name; it was simply the evening before All Saints Day. However, for centuries before, the Irish were celebrating what they call: “Samhain.”
Samhain is an annual celebratory event from sunset on October 31 through sunset on November 1.  It’s a celebration of the end of harvest as well as the slaughter of livestock for the winter.  Bonfires were lit in celebration and as lore goes, they brought back the souls of the dead for a visit.  Dinner tables were set with an extra plate(s) for the visiting soul(s).
Knocks at the door were made by “Mummers” and “Guisers.”  Acting troops and children dressed up, going door to door acting and asking for food, coins or sweets.
Over time the “Samhain” celebration and the “All Saints” celebration merged and we now have: “Halloween.”

Halloween in Galena… Join Us!

Come join us for one of the mid-west’s greatest celebrations of Halloween in Galena, IL.  And, again, make your reservations early!  Seriously.
But before you do…
Don’t be afraid to leave a comment and sign up for our events/happenings newsletter.  It comes out on an ad-hoc basis that isn’t that frightful!  Just fill in the form to the right!
We’re available for rent.  Contact us for details.
Halloween in Galena, IL

You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Truck

You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Truck

Got a call today from the place where we ordered our last set of furniture for our vacation rental in Galena. With this load we should be done with the inside. I’m arranging delivery too, so I went up to the warehouse to take a look at what we’re dealing with. Here it is:

Bigger Truck

Mirrored Back Console
Two Area Rugs
Dining Table and Chairs for 12
King Bed Frame
Two Sofa Tables
Three Cocktail Tables
Credenza (size: huge!)
Accent Table
12 Drawer Dresser
Recliner Chair

The picture only shows part of the order!

I spoke with the delivery company and gave them a general idea of the amount of items and ordered the truck.  Then the delivery company got a copy of the load from the where we bought the furniture. The lady at the delivery company called me back and started the conversation with “yeah… you’re gonna need a bigger truck!” So that’s what we got! Heading up next week to get all this in the house. It’s staying in boxes for the moment as we’re re-painting the week of the first of April!

We’re open for business throughout all of this.  Contact us for details.

Galena Wine Lovers Weekend 2015

One of the reasons we are super excited about owning a place in Galena, IL is because of events such as this: Wine Lovers Weekend.

The date is March 27 – 29th, 2015.

We love wine and discovering new ones (Variety? or Varietal?) is part of that love affair.  The difficulty is usually taking the time when out and about to sample wines without really being in a state of mind to make a good decision.  An event like this is just what wine drinkers such as us are looking for.  Plus it’s a great way to meet new people and sample some good food too!


Train Derails Near Galena Territory

Pictures are worth a thousand words…
I take a look at The Galena Territory webcam almost every day.  Luckily I looked yesterday.  This image is from the Owners Pavillion at The Galena Territory:
Train derailment Galena, IL

Smoke from train derailment fire near Galena, IL.


Thankfully no one was injured.  Hopefully the oil doesn’t reach the Mississippi River.

Galena, IL Voted Best Weekend Getaway Again!

West Suburban Magazine, with a circulation of more than 25,000 readers living in the western suburbs of Chicagoland, gave Galena “Best” on Weekend Getaways.  And why wouldn’t they? It’s great out here!

The results are from their reader’s choices made from a truly comprehensive list with serious competition.

As a weekend vacation getaway Galena, IL was voted above metro Chicago, Lake Geneva (Wisconsin), Door County (Wisconsin), Saugatuck (Michigan), New Buffalo (Michigan), Starved Rock, IL and even Las Vegas.

So, with spring just around the corner, do yourself a favor and make a reservation as soon as possible for a weekend getaway because accommodations sell out quickly.  There are great vacation rentals to stay at in The Galena Territory through Eagle Ridge.

Over the weekend my wife and I attended the Eagle Ridge and Galena Territory Annual Meetings. We made some new friends, had some drinks and laughs with old friends and made our decision on who will manage our vacation rental in Galena.

Some facts were shared at the meetings. I’m not going to provide the full-on breadth and depth of the information as I don’t think that’s what a good neighbor should do. But I will take the time to share some interesting tid-bits.

– The internet is becoming a bigger and bigger portion of how people are finding Eagle Ridge.
– Online reviews show that the steps taken by management to improve The Galena Territory for it’s visitors are working.
– Foot Golf (You read that right… Foot Golf) is happening at The Galena Territory East Golf Course (http://www.footgolfillinois.com/)

Illinois Footgolf Association

Illinois Footgolf Association

In a future post I’ll share more but for now, that’s it!