Travel Magazine

Bed and Breakfasts Are the Best Bet for a Galena Getaway

By Ripleydaniels @mikesobol

Weekend travelers and long term visitors flock to the charming town of Galena in northwestern Illinois for its bevy of bed and breakfasts, history, and relaxing atmosphere. Staying at any of the bed and breakfasts in picturesque Galena offers the chance to be within walking distance of Main Street, the heart of the city’s many attractions, while also staying in a historical home with unique architectural details. A far cry from the nationally reproduced chain hotels, these bed and breakfasts have something that will attract and delight every visitor.


The Hellman Guest House, a Queen Anne Victorian circa 1895, is one of several offerings with a great wraparound porch ideal for spending early mornings and lazy afternoons lounging about enjoying the sights and sounds of Galena. Explore the beautiful gardens as well as the outdoor fireplace to get the full experience of all that this historic home has to offer. Brierwreath Manor Bed & Breakfast also features a relaxing wrap around porch, and only a block away from Main Street it is a great place to rest during your comings and goings. This cozy bed and breakfast offers three guest suites, making it a great choice for friends or family vacationing together looking for a place to themselves.

Large Estates

Those looking to truly experience life in days gone by will enjoy a stay at one of the large estate bed and breakfasts to be found in Galena. Ryan Mansion proudly declares itself as the “finest and largest historic mansion,” and one would be hard pressed to refute that claim. It is situated on two beautifully landscaped acres, and this 9,000 plus square feet Italiante mansion offers visitors a stay complete with 9 of the 12 original marble fireplaces and original Czechoslovakian Ruby Glass Windows. Those looking for rolling grounds should also check out the Inn at Irish Hollow which offers 500 acres of hilly Illinois countryside as its setting, along with a 1000 acre nature preserve. Hiking trails are one of the many outdoor offerings for the adventure enthusiast.


Historic homes refashioned into operating bed and breakfasts bring days gone by into the modern realm with their historic details, tales of famous guests or owners, as well as lingering spirits. Ghost lovers delight in finding haunted homes in hopes of spying a ghost firsthand. DeSoto House in Galena is noted for being one of the oldest operating hotels in the state of Illinois, so it should come as no surprise that it is rumored to be home to a few spirits. Those who claim to have experienced haunted happenings in this historic hotel recall hearing voices, smelling the scent of cigars, and seeing ghosts in period dress walking through walls. A stay here does not guarantee a ghost sighting, but it has played host to American heroes such as Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, so it will provide great stories either way. There are many haunted tours and homes to experience in Galena, as is typical of towns with rich history. Farmer’s Guest House has had reports from guests of doors locking and unlocking, catching sudden scent of tobacco, and unexplained whiffs of freshly baked bread in this home that once served as a bakery. Ryan Mansion also suggests that the original owners’ butler still hangs about the place, perhaps eager to greet new guests.

Whatever type of bed and breakfast experience one desires, it will surely be found in Galena, home to an exciting mix of bed and breakfasts. Beautiful architectural details, extensive grounds, and even lingering spirits from the days of yore are all to be found in this serene Illinois town.

Burt is a freelance writer based in Galena, Illinois who enjoys studying historical landmarks.  Burt Webbs has a passion for writing about Galena lodging, especially the histroical

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