Weekend Getaway: Galena, Illinois

Weekend Getaway: Galena, Illinois

Heading west on U.S. 20 in northern Illinois, the road that had been straight and flat begins to wind through gently rolling farm fields as you near Galena. When church steeples and orange brick buildings come into view, you know you’ve reached your destination.  A city with fewer than 3500 residents, Galena attracts over a million visitors every year. Visitors come for the history, the shopping, the dining or just to relax in an atmosphere that is like nowhere else in Illinois.  Read more

Haunted DeSoto House Hotel, Galena IL

Haunted DeSoto House Hotel, Galena IL

You picture Abraham Lincoln descending the sweeping curved staircase, stovepipe hat in hand, following his speech orated from the hotel balcony in 1856.  Or perhaps you imagine General Ulysses S. Grant being greeted by townspeople attending his welcome home reception following the Civil War.   The DeSoto House Hotel in Galena, Illinois, was truly a grand establishment in the mid-1800s, the five story hotel the center of both social and political events.  Then with a fire and a boiler explosion ten years apart and an economic decline when railroads replaced steamboats, the DeSoto House fell into disrepair.  Fast forward to today, the hotel is fully restored, the top two floors removed years ago and private baths added to all rooms, but reminders of the hotel’s glory days remain, like the sweeping lobby staircase and some of the guests who apparently never completely left. Read more