Michigan Road Trip: Galena, Illinois - WNEM TV 5

Michigan Road Trip: Galena, Illinois

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GALENA, ILLINOIS (WNEM) -

If you are looking for a small-town adventure surrounded by history, you may want to check out Galena, Illinois.

Galena is home to only about 3,000 people, but with its rolling hills, geology, and history that dates back to the 1500s, there are endless things to do.

Some call it the hidden gem of the state, so TV5 packed up the car and hit the road for a Michigan Road Trip.

The first stop was taking to the sky in a hot air balloon with Galena on the Fly.

“I have flown all over the United States and this is by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever flow,” said Andy Williams, Owner of Galena on the Fly.

A bird’s eye view of the sunset over fields and homes leave many with an experience they say they will never forget.

That includes passenger Betty Yarbrough.

“It’s a memory, and we’re all about making memories. It’s what you do.”

TV5 kept to the skies, this time, hanging from a zip line at Chestnut Mountain Resort.  It included a view of hiking trails, and the Mississippi River.

Once your feet are back on the ground, head downtown.

The roads are filled with trollies, and the streets lined with special boutiques and restaurants.

That’s where TV5 met Rick Mulcahey, Manager at Root Beer Revelry, a shop dedicated to root beer.

After finishing that flight of craft root beer, we continued downtown, only to stumble on the celebrity hat shop where the choices just kept on coming.

It was then time to pay a visit to the place that put Galena on the map.

Right up the hill from downtown, you’ll find the home of the 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant.

“Our Congressmen Washburn, and 13 other gentlemen bought this house in 1865 and gave it to Grant on August 8th, 1865 as a thank you for ending the civil war,” said the Site Manager of Grant Home, Terry Miller.

It now belongs to the state, and it’s open to the public for tours.

You can get a first-hand view of the different rooms of the home, including various original pieces of furniture and items actually used by the Grants back in the 1800s.

Once you’ve had your history fix, your stomach might be rumbling, but Galena has you covered.

If you are looking for some great food and fresh brew, head to Galena Brewing Company.

It’s settled right in the heart of downtown.

Warren Bell runs the place, and said it’s the spot for both food and drinks, with a historic touch.

“It features people who lived in Galena during the 1800s, and so we’re a craft brewer, we make very experimental and delicious beer all the time. But it all comes back to the brewing history of Galena.”

Bell said the beer gets people in the door, but it’s the food that keeps them coming back. 

So, whether your view of Galena is from up in the sky in a hot air balloon, or out of the window of former President Grant’s home, it’s easy to see that Galena is a place worth putting on your bucket list. 

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