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Meet the Innkeepers

Meet Jim & John

Why did you become an innkeeper?

We have over 60 years of hospitality, food service, and business management experience between us.  John has built and operated over 30 restaurants. Jim has worked in managed mental health care overseeing dining housekeeping, maintenance, and special events.  We share a passion for creating food that comes from the heart.  This is our opportunity  to create a place where guests can relax, restore, and explore.  With the demands of such a busy lifestyle, our guests deserve the chance to unplug and reconnect.

What do most like about Galena?

Honestly, what is not to like about Galena?  You had us at hello!  Seriously  though, Galena is a step back in time both architecturally and culturally.  There is such diversity here.  The welcome we received was overwhelming.  In addition to the people of Galena there is so much to be said for the rich history, pastoral countryside and the grand variety of experiences to be had.  As a business owner, its clear that “If one of us succeeds, we all succeed.”

What is your favorite way to participate in the community or give back?

Our favorite way to give back is to utilize our skills to help raise funds for the community.  Donating baked goods, hosting portions of progressive dinners, assisting with special events and promoting the area in general are all things we look forward to.

What fun things can your guests expect when they stay at Hawk Valley? 

As I sit and answer these questions, I am constantly distracted by the nature outside the window.  The birds and animals are an ongoing source of amusement.  In the evening guests are wowed by simply looking up.  The stars are beyond beautiful.  At Hawk Valley guests are in control of their own experience.  They can relax in the beauty of nature and the comfort of the cottages/rooms accessorized with carefully selected amenities.  Guests can restore in an environment that promotes the opportunity  to unplug and reconnect with each other.  Guests are also encouraged to explore all 10 acres and the wonderful town of Galena.  We have so many more additions planned such as a kitchen garden and our own chickens.  When you come to Hawk Valley you are encouraged to wear loose fitting clothes!  Breakfast will cause you to want to crawl back into bed for a nap or force you to walk the trail throughout the grounds.  We just want everyone to feel welcome.

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Meet the Innkeepers

Meet Sandy & Charles Fach

How many years have you and Charles been innkeepers?

It is said that time passes quickly when you are having fun. I guess we are having a great time for we have operated Abe’s Spring Street Guest House since 1983, 35 years! The guesthouse has given us an opportunity to meet some wonderful people and develop some lasting friendships which continue today.

What is your favorite part about our community/Galena?

Our favorite part is being a part of a community that treasures its history, past and present, and its lands. There is an active Conservation Foundation here which helps preserve the beautiful lands in Jo Daviess County so generations to come may also enjoy them.

What is your favorite event in Galena or way to participate and give back?

Oktoberfest is our favorite event although there are many events throughout the year for everyone to enjoy. The wiener dog races are a delight to watch. My husband, an artist, contributes the trophies each year for the winners of this race. This event is sponsored by the local Lions Club and the proceeds go to help families in need in this area and to local charities.                                    

What fun things can your guests expect when they stay at Abes Spring Street Guest House?

Abe’s Spring Street Guest House is part of an 1850 Brewery complex. Guests are given a tour of this historic facility which encompasses three buildings. They may view the lagering vaults, see the last brew master’s signature etched in glass and learn first hand information about the process of beer making. My husband is an excellent home brewer and is quite knowledgeable about the whole process.

Over the years the buildings have had many uses – restaurant, pop bottle factory, German-English boys boarding house to name a few. Two interesting stories that happened here are about John Dillinger and a town drunk.

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Meet the Innkeepers

Meet Paul and Janet Kolimas

How many years have you been innkeepers?
Janet and I have been innkeepers since July, 2018.

What is your favorite part about our community/Galena?

My favorite part of Galena is that there is something for everyone here. Whether your are into shopping, hiking, kayaking, golf, history, skiing, taking a ride down the Mississippi, or taking in great restaurants, there’s a tremendous variety of things to do. Plus, the community is always putting on great special events. And if you just want to sit back and relax, you can do that too.

What is your favorite event in Galena or way to participate and give back?

My favorite event to participate in is Quartermania. That happens on Ladies’ Getaway Weekend. Watching a roomful of people win tons of prizes is great fun!

What fun things can your guests expect when they stay at Cloran Mansion?

Guests at the Cloran Mansion can expect to enjoy our gazebo, koi pond and fire pit while taking in the gardens on our 1.5 acres of property. Inside, they can relax by fireplaces in their rooms, treat themselves to in-room whirlpools with Dead Sea salts, and enjoy a big and tasty breakfast each morning. We also offer lots of extras like a private dinner or wine & chocolates.

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Meet the Innkeepers

Meet Mark, Luke,& Elaine

How many years have you been innkeepers?

All three of us became innkeepers in 2019.

What is your favorite part about our community/Galena?

Mark: Educated as a historian, Galena’s place in US history draws my attention. This town is such a time-capsule, with many unusual topographically-inspired distinctive architectural characteristics. In addition, the strong Civil War connection is of interest. How many towns produced nine generals during the Civil War? I know of one: Galena! In terms of US history, Galena is a truly extraordinary destination.

Luke:  It’s beautiful here.  Its natural beauty, the topography, the river, the walking trails, the views of the hills are unique and provide perfect opportunities for people to explore the area.  Just wandering Main Street delivers a half-mile of excellent food, eclectic shops, local products and live music with its own culture of entertainment that envelopes a wide variety of interests. 

Elaine: The Galena community truly knows how to provide its visitors with a memorable experience and folks here take great pride in working together to do so. The people here are friendly, supportive, generous and always willing to help.  It is this spirit of cooperation that makes the countless events every season possible. Our guests not only enjoy the non-stop activities, but also the sense of community that Galena has to offer.

Favorite event in Galena or way to participate and give back?

Galena is a treasure trove of special events and themed weekends.  Among them, Luminaria, in December, is an especially beautiful annual Holiday Season event.  The community puts forth an astounding level of cooperation and effort in order to “light up the town” with more than 5,000 candles for this event.  It is truly impressive. Luminaria is an enjoyable way to kick-off holiday festivities, warming everyone up to the season!

What fun things can your guests expect when they stay at Farmers?

Located just a short walk from Galena’s historic Main Street, the varieties of “fun” to be had in Galena are right at your fingertips when you stay at Farmers Guest House.  Our guests also love hearing about the history of the inn, which opened to the public in 1867. We take pride in the long tradition of hospitality at FGH. One example of this is the multi-course, homemade breakfast served each morning, complete with a variety of juices, makings for Mimosas, and locally roasted, freshly brewed coffee.  WineTime from 5-6pm each evening is a great opportunity to mingle with other guests, as well as meet the innkeepers and learn about some of the many exceptional local restaurants and attractions. Our guests also love our bottomless cookie jar and round-the-clock access to bottled water, coffee and tea.

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Meet the Innkeepers

Meet Carol & Katie Gebelt

How many years have you been an innkeeper?
I wanted to own a bed and breakfast since my first stay at the Windward House in Cape May, New Jersey many years ago. I promised myself that when I retired from United Airlines I would buy a bed and breakfast. My Daughter, Katie, quit her job in medical billing to come to Galena to help with the inn. i am grateful that she and her family are close. We celebrated 3 years as innkeepers in May, 2017.
What is your favorite part about our community/Galena? 
The history here is impressive. I appreciate that historical buildings are valued and restored. There is something for everyone, from shopping to sports, historical tours, wineries, and more. Everyone is helpful and supportive and has made us feel welcome and a part of the community.
Favorite event in Galena or way to participate and give back?
We love the holidays and the many events Best of Galena sponsors. Our favorites are the Progressive Dinner and Mistletoe Stroll, where we get to share our baked goods with guests. We meet many wonderful people and the money raised goes back to deserving community organizations. Best of Galena innkeepers support each other and are always ready to volunteer their time and talents for various events. We are proud to be a part of this group!
What fun things can your guests expect when they stay at Steamboat?
Here at the Steamboat House we have a billiard room where guests can indulge in a friendly game of pool. There is a library filled with books, magazines and movies. guests are free to borrow a book to read in their room, on the spacious wrap around front porch or gazebo. You might see a deer or two wander through the woods behind the inn, the parking lot or even the front garden. We serve wine and cheese in the large foyer every afternoon and hot beverages and cookies outside the guest rooms in the evening. This house is full of history and has been a dream come true to own!
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Meet the Innkeepers

Meet Michelle Heurung

How many years have you been an innkeeper?
This is a brand new endeavor for me. We purchased our home in July of 2016 and after extensive renovations, opened on December 9th….so just 5 months. There is so much to learn yet but have been so fortunate to have been helped by all of my Best of Galena friends.

What is your favorite part about our community/Galena?
My absolute favorite thing about this town is the closeness of the community. Every person I have met in my brief time in town has been filled to bursting with generosity, kindness, and compassion. Everyone is always willing to help each other out, and takes great pride their community.

Favorite event in Galena & way to participate and give back?
Though I haven’t been here for a full year yet, I LOVE the Luminaria weekend in December. The Living Windows, Wedding in a Window, Mistletoe Stroll, and the thousands of lights glowing all over town is something not to be missed.
I am hoping for the opportunity to individually help anyone that I can after having received so much help from everyone over the past few months.

What fun things can your guests expect when they stay at the Lamberson Guest House?
I really enjoy pampering my guests. I try to prepare meals that they wouldn’t have the time to make at home. Most of my guests are surprised by the quietness of the home, even though we are just a couple of blocks up from Main Street.

We always have deer and wild turkey roaming past our home and, being so high up, we get a very close look at the “beautiful” turkey vultures soaring through the sky past our windows.
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Meet the Innkeepers

Meet Rita Wadman

How many years have you been an innkeeper?

Hard to believe it’s been so long, but I have been an innkeeper for 13 years now!

What is your favorite part about our community/Galena?

My favorite part of Galena and this community, is that there is always something going on here, and everyone is anxious to pitch in and help make Galena’s event’s the best they can be, so that visitors are already making plans to revisit that event again, or return to experience another awesome event. We are all happy to work together and get involved to help make our community a better place to live and work.

Favorite event in Galena or way to participate and give back?

I think my favorite event is Oktoberfest, because it is a family orientated, family friendly event for both visitors and locals. The wiener dog races are a hoot! The Galena Lions Club sponsors this event, and I am proud to be a part of this organization, because we happily give back to the community with funds raised in so many ways. Another project I am proud to be a part of is Quilts of Valor. We have the opportunity to honor and thank our Jo Daviess Vets with handmade quilts, and we wrap each Vet in a hug with his or her new quilt.

What fun things can your guests expect when they stay at Hellman?

Along with myself and guests making new friends at the Hellman Guest House, indulging in the bottomless cookie jar is fun for all! Very popular! A lot of guests have fun on the large front porch that overlooks the scenic Jo Daviess country side and the downtown area. Gotta be here early to claim your spot on the swing. If you are lucky enough to be here for the 4th of July, we have a porch picnic, as we all have a bird’s eye view of the Galena fireworks. And if you are a storm watcher – the porch is the best place to see unobstructed lightning.

We have a very unique property, we are almost the highest point in Galena, which commands awesome views for miles around. We have a man made (actually Rita made) waterfall in the back yard that has the relaxing sound of flowing water, as well as the claw-foot bathtub water feature on the south side of the house. We are walkable to town, so there is not the hassle of dealing with parking.

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Meet the Innkeepers

Meet Matthew Carroll

How many years have you been an innkeeper?

I have been an innkeeper for 15 years.

What is your favorite part about our community/Galena?

Having been born and raised in Galena and now having a business in my hometown, I am really grateful for all this community offers to its residents and our tourists that travel here.  Galena is the true definition of community and people working together to grow and prosper.

What is your favorite event in Galena or way to participate and give back?

The 4th of July (which happens to be my birthday) in Galena is such a fun and festive time of the year!  4th of July parade, family events all day and the amazing fireworks that night is fun for all ages.  

What fun things can your guests expect when they stay at Jail Hill Inn?

Guests at Jail Hill Inn are always so excited to hear about the history of this unique property and especially its time as a jail.  From original photos behind the front desk, prisoners names carved into the window sill in one of the rooms, to dozens of newspaper articles from the past that talk about prisoner escapes, the story of the building’s past is an interesting one.  Much to some guests interests, the property is not haunted either!
I always tell the guests that the jail was more of Mayberry jail where prisoners played cards with the sheriff’s children on a rainy day and painted artwork on the walls of their jail cells.  One local couple was married and had their wedding reception in the jail in 1950 (her father was the jailer at that time) and the prisoners from the 3rd floor threw feathers as confetti out their windows as the wedding couple arrived.

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Meet the Innkeepers

Meet Lorraine & Jan Svec

How many years have you been innkeepers?
We will celebrate our 30th anniversary of being innkeepers at Belle Aire in August of 2017
What is your favorite part about our community/Galena?
I have loved Galena since I was a child and came here with our parents.  I love the small town feel, the way everyone knows your name and the welcoming feeling I get every time I wander, and then come home to Galena again.
Favorite event in Galena or way to participate and give back?
My favorite event is Country Fair.  The people, the weather, so much to do and see.  A perfect time here in Galena.  As far as participating and giving back, I do that by helping the Best of Galena group by chairing the Taste of Christmas Progressive Dinner, and making and distributing as many cookies as I can for the many events throughout they year.
What fun things can your guests expect when they stay at Belle Aire?
At breakfast we sit around the breakfast table talking with guests, and giving them our insight in what to do and see in Galena.  We provide a homey atmosphere, and try to treat everyone like family. Not to mention treat them lots of chocolate chip cookies!!
After 30 years, I writing a book full of the funny, warm and wonderful stories we have had over the past 30 years as innkeepers.  For us it’s easy to be an innkeeper, just provide the warmth, the comfort and the love for all your fellow beings.  Our motto is “God bless the whole world….NO exceptions.”
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Meet the Innkeepers

Meet Birgit & Slobo Radin

How many years have you been innkeepers / in the hospitality business?

Slobo and I have each been in the hospitality business for over 25 years, and in fact met early in our careers when
we worked at the same resort in Germany’s Black Forest.  While Slobo focuses on the food and beverage concept and operation, I manage guest services and management so we make a great team.  When we decided owning a small bed and breakfast or inn would be a perfect next step for our lives, we searched the nation for the perfect place to call home.  When we discovered the Goldmoor Inn’s distinctive European style, beautiful accommodations and restaurant, and the vibrant destination of Galena, we felt we’d found our treasure.  We’ve just celebrated our second anniversary as Galena residents and owners of this lovely 21-acre estate and we couldn’t be happier.

What is your favorite part about our community/Galena?

The history of Galena and the list of attractions and outdoor activities is impressive but the people make it a community!  We’ve found the business owners and innkeepers to be especially supportive and we appreciate the welcome we received.

Favorite event in Galena or way to participate and give back?
We especially love the holiday and winter season, and volunteering to fill countless luminaries with sand and candles for the Night of the Luminaria was truly rewarding. Seeing the glittering lights lining the streets put us in the holiday spirit instantly and we were happy to lend a hand in creating this beautiful night!

What fun things can your guests expect when they stay at Goldmoor?
Nature surrounds us and when you sit in the restaurant for breakfast or dinner you can watch many different birds having their own breakfast or dinner at the bird feeders. (Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Junco, Chickadee, Goldfinch, Blue Jays or Woodpeckers are plentiful), or you can pick up our guest binoculars and gaze over the Mississippi River and look for American Bald Eagles in the trees and geese in the shallow waters. If you are an early riser you may see a herd of deer grazing the lawn or just wandering through.

In addition, guests can also relax and take their favorite beverage to the white Adirondack chairs overlooking the views or sunsets over the Mississippi. Art-lovers can enjoy or take home a favorite from the gallery of oil paintings we have on display and for sale in our restaurant. They were created during our first Artists in Residence program by artist Catherine Whitehead, and we hope to add to the collection during next year’s program. And foodies can enjoy a special dining experience at our Chef’s Table situated in our gourmet kitchen.