Hotel at a Glance: Chestnut Mountain Resort
Illinois might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of a mountain resort. Galena's Chestnut Mountain Resort is an exception. From the top of its namesake 1,020-foot peak, you can see clear through to two other states: Iowa and Wisconsin. In the winter, Chestnut's slopes are filled with snowboarders and downhill skiers, streaking down towards the Mississippi River. But when summer rolls around, visitors ride the chairlift to the top and sled down the mountain's 2,000-foot alpine slide.
- The Great Outdoors: Explore five miles of hiking and biking trails on Chestnut Mountain
- In-room amenities: Standard two-queen rooms come with a TV, free WiFi, sofa sleeper, and sitting area with table and chairs
- Dig into fresh seafood, steaks, sandwiches, and pizzas at the Sunset Grille, perched atop a bluff that overlooks the Mississippi River Valley
- Play a game such as miniature golf or disc golf, or rent a bike from the front desk
- Make a splash in the indoor pool or soak in the hot tub
- Segway tour: The resort offers Segway tours that explore the property's scenic terrain for 75-90 minutes.
- Rolling on the river: Sign up for a 90-minute cruise down the Mississippi River, where you can look out for local wildlife (including the bald eagle), learn about local history, or just enjoy the river's famous beauty.
Galena, Illinois: Quaint Mississippi River Town with Historic Main Street
Galena is a relic from the mid-19th century, when it first boomed as a mining town and port city on the Mississippi River. Today, its quaint downtown historic district—which Fodor's praises as the "epitome of small-town America"—is lined with coffee shops, specialty boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants in 19th-century brick storefronts. Its Main Street even earned a spot on a Travel + Leisure list of "America's Greatest Main Streets."
History buffs should make a stop at Ulysses S. Grant's Home, where the 18th president and Civil War general lived after the war. Other popular pursuits include golfing at Eagle Ridge or touring wineries in the area.