Club Wyndham Galena
Club Wyndham Galena is in IL. Sometimes the most interesting places to go are those you have never heard of. They are a bit of a surprise waiting for you. For me this is one of those trips.
Video by LordExplores
Day One Travel & Arrival
Given the distance, if I was to drive to IL, it would take about 16 hours to get to the resort. These days that is beyond my driving limit. I used to be willing to drive that far, but now I would rather fly. The flight time will be just over 5 hrs. Norfolk, VA—Dubuque, IA. The reason for flying into Iowa is that it is the closest airport to the resort. When you land in Dubuque, you are less than 30 minutes from the resort. This makes it an easy drive after the flight, or a simple ride from the airport.
Like most, I chose to rent a car for the visit, not only to get to the resort but also to be able to drive and see the surrounding area.
Even on the flight in, I noticed some of the great golf courses in the area and saw Lake Galena from the air.
Once I landed, I was able to get my rental car and start to the resort. Again, the airport is less than 30 minutes from the resort and it was easy to find my way.
Arriving at the resort, I was happy to see the appearance of the resort. I felt like a warm and inviting lodge. The stone and wood exterior just draws the eye in and gives the resort a comfortable feel.
The resort offers 1–2-bedroom villas, as well as a few studio units. These range in size from 417sq ft to almost 1,100 sq ft. The studios have mini kitchens, and the 1 or 2-bedroom villas have full kitchens.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- DVD Player
- Ice Maker
- Iron/Ironing Board
- Whirlpool Bath
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- BBQ Grills
- Business Center/Fax
- Fitness Room
- Hot Tub
- Indoor Pool
- Internet Access
- Kid’s Activities
- Laundry Facilities
- Sauna/Steam Room
Day Two Galena Travels
I woke, ready to get moving and see the area. First thing was breakfast to fuel me for the day. I had my breakfast at the Victory Café. This place loves to brag about their larger than your plate pancakes, and for good reason. Yes, they are huge, but they are also light and fluffy. As a side note, the prices here for the food are also the very best in the area.
I have already noticed now that the food costs at most restaurants in the area are higher than those of similar areas around the country. If you enjoy the Victory Café as much as I have, you may enjoy this location as the best value in town. If traveling here on a budget for this trip, you may also want to do a few meals in your full kitchen at the resort.
It is just me on this vacation so I will probably still eat out to try the food in the area. But if you are traveling with the family, the food budget may be something families need to consider in advance. $20-35 entrees add up when you are 4 people eating dinner. The restaurant reviews are excellent. It just caught me a little off guard with the food costs since it felt like I was coming to a rural area. This region seems to love its food and if the reviews are accurate, this seems like a foodie paradise.
U.S. Grant Home
I am a history buff or fan. When I travel, I enjoy not only learning about local culture but local history. Here you can visit the home of U.S. Grant. The home is relatively small as grand homes from the time are measured. It was closer to what you might expect of a military leader versus a political leader. It also seems odd that a former President would not have a larger property maintained for his Presidential Library, as is the custom these days.
The reason for this is that this is his former home, and his Presidential Library is in Mississippi.
Next in the area I traveled to the Belvedere Mansion here you have a grand scale mansion and gardens that fans of architecture and grand homes will love to tour. Built in 1857, this home seems unchanged and a great example of the high-quality wood craftsmanship of that time. This was the home of J. Russel Jones, a former local political leader of the early Republican Party, and he had far influence during and after the Civil War period.
The mansion was the finest of its kind in the North-West. The history of the mansion and its owners’ interesting life show is the impact one person can have.
After touring some impressive homes, it was time to see more of the area at large.
Visiting Galena’s Downtown
Galena was a mining town. Then, for years, it was a ghost town. Now, thanks to many from the area, the core mining sites and downtown buildings have been restored, and the history preserved.
This main street here is a very active marketplace now with many stores and the area has many fine restaurants, and more than a few pubs.
I wanted to grab something to eat, so as I walked downtown; I kept my eye out for somewhere fun to eat. There are many choices here, but I landed at Vinny Vanucchi’s for some Italian food. I had the meat lasagna which was outstanding. The lunch menu here rivaled any Italian menu you have ever seen. They have all your favorites with a true Italian take that is straight out of Little Italy in Chicago.
After lunch, I continued to shop and just look around. That is when I found an entire store dedicated to Root Beer. I have always been a fan, so that was a neat find.
Day Three a full day
Today I wanted to go at a slow pace and see more of the area. The reason I was pacing myself was that I wanted to see a bit of the nightlife today before I headed out-of-town tomorrow.
Yesterday, as I walked downtown, I passed so many little watering holes that I think a bar crawl of sorts that starts in the afternoon and goes into the early evening is just what the doctor ordered. (Or has told me to avoid, I forget which, selective memory.)
Before the afternoon fun, I wanted to get a solid breakfast in me for fuel and alcohol defense. Today I headed back to the Victory Café because the food was good and the prices again were the best in the area.
The last thing on my list of things for the day was to see the local magic show. It is only $30 per person, but it does sell out fast, so I booked tickets on Friday when I came into town. At the time, the next show was already sold out. If this is a must for your trip, I would book a week or so in advance. My show was at 8PM tonight, so many hours away from now.
Local History Museum
After breakfast, I wanted to kill some time, so I started my day downtown at the Galena History Museum. Here you meet a hologram of President U.S. Grant and you can learn about the town’s history and local legends. Entry here is only $10 for adults and $8 for teens, with 10 an under being free. I think this would be a good stop for the family.
The museum shares a focus on its local legends and its common folk. During the civil war, this small town produced 9 generals for the union army. For over 100 years, craftsmen and tradesmen called this town home. Even U.S. Grant started his work experience here in his own father’s Leather Store as a clerk. This town was a shipping port, a mining town, and so much more.
After the museum, I made arrangements to go to the blacksmith shop and speak with the local blacksmith. The art and skill of the blacksmith has always interested me. I am impressed by how one can work metal and create lasting impacts through their creations.
The Pub Crawl
These days my pub crawls or bar hops are not like they used to be when I was much younger. But this area has so many neat spots that it may get me rolling in a few hours. Let’s see.
I started at the Irish Pub in town. The pub is part of an Irish Inn and suite building in town. I started my day with a Black and Tan here. Not a bad way to start the day. I liked the look of the menu but I was not hungry yet after breakfast so I just stayed at the bar here for 2 then moved on, thinking that I may come back for a late lunch or dinner later.
To be successful in my pub crawl, I likely will have to eat both lunch and dinner to maintain an even strain on the system.
Next, I was off to Gobbie’s Sports Pub this has more than a hole in the wall feeling. Here I had a few mixed drinks and just chilled on their nice patio area for a while.
Just a bit down main street I found the Galena Brewery. Here I sampled 2 flights of beers trying their options out. They have 13 ales on tap here, so choosing to full flights was an easy one. My favorite was a seasonal brew called Kimmy Cake that was an aged barrel stout, but it hit hard at 10% alcohol, so I only had one after the flights.
The drinks were catching up with my head, so at this time I chose to get something to eat. I went to Little Tokyo for some Hibachi for lunch. It was good, and I knew the protein and rice would help absorb a little from my pub crawl.
Next, I found a Mexican restaurant called Campeche that had a nice bar side to it, and an outdoor patio as well. I landed in the cantina here for a few margaritas. They have a great selection of tequilas and can make several versions of top shelf margaritas here, as well as flavored versions. Time here passed so easily that I lost all track of time. The service was amazing, and the staff was amusing and fun. I did not want to leave and continue a pub crawl anywhere else.
I just stayed here and soaked it all up literally. By the time I looked at the time, it was already dinner time. Earlier I had considered the Irish Pub for dinner, but I knew I should just eat here and also slow down my rate of consumption so I could still make the magic show in a few hours.
I started with some queso dip and chips, then ordered the steak strips meal that had them slow cooked with a tomato sauce than left them tender and almost creamy like butter. This and refried beans, and Spanish rice, as well as a fresh salad were great tasting and certainly helping the cause of self-enforced sobriety. It was a good thing that I was not driving. There was no way I was sober yet even after a full meal. I changed my beverage of choice over to soda. Nothing tastes better when you are winding down than cold caffeine.
The Magic Show
I found local magic show fun, and it was a small little theater which made the experience unique. The setting made every seat feel front row here. Also, everyone in the audience was chatting before the show, and seemed nice and social. I was not at soap box mode (where you overshare, and entertain the masses) but I was feeling open and more social than normal. Thanks to my investment in drinks all afternoon. I am sure my fellow patrons could tell I was feeling no pain, but I was proud to still be in control of my faculties.
I enjoyed the show and would recommend it to others. It would be a fun thing for couples to do that is a change of pace from the every day. The theater here is 24 seats, and that is why it sells out fast, and you need to purchase tickets ahead. The theme and show content are safe for ages 10 and up, so it may even be a show your teens might like.
Looking back on my trip here to Galena, I was shocked by how good the food was, and how many fun little bar options there are. I was also impressed by the preservation of local history and the pride of the local people for their town, history, and cultural roots.
If you want to enjoy a great vacation to a uniquely American town, Galena may be the area to choose. Just make sure you book with TZort.