Our Getaway at the Goldmoor Inn in Galena

We have lived in the Chicago area for just over 9 years now and really love it.  That said, we realized that while we took a year off to travel all over, we had yet to see some of the beautiful places in our own backyard.  So…we decided to explore and based on recommendations as well as a thorough Internet search, we chose to explore Galena, IL, a short 2 and one half hours drive from the western suburbs of Chicago.

We wanted to choose a quaint, unique bed and breakfast for our getaway since we were also celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary.  The Goldmoor Inn turned out to be the perfect hideaway for us.  Here are a few photos from our incredible stay!

Quick note:  See that large screened in porch on the second floor?  That was ours.  You’ll see why that was so important to us as you read on.

Arrival:  The jaunt from the Chicago suburbs was easy, with especially scenic vistas the last 8-10 miles.  Who knew Illinois had gently rolling hills?  Above is our first glimpse of the fairytale castle-like bed and breakfast.  This charming historic estate is perched high above the Mississippi River, with sweeping views of the flowing river below as well as the surrounding woods teeming with spectacular birds.  And look at this front door!  Isn’t it gorgeous?

Front Desk:  Upon entering, we were greeted warmly by the front desk staff.  Check in was simple and efficient, and within five minutes, we found ourselves excitedly climbing the stairs to our suite, wondering what we would discover.

Accommodations:  At almost 900 square feet, the Mississippi Suite did not disappoint.  Located on the second floor with stunning views of the river below, we didn’t feel any desire to leave our suite (even to visit downtown Galena, which we had been really excited to do).

It was spacious, private, and very cozy, especially when enjoying Tara’s (the pastry chef’s) soft homemade welcome cookies by the warm fireplace.  Quick note:  When we talked to the owner, they shared that this suite would be closed soon for about a month, as they were totally renovating/updating it.  It is charming now, but I’m excited to see the transformation.

As we settled into our suite, we made a commitment to take advantage of the whirlpool tub, perfectly situated by the beautiful picture windows.  And do you remember me mentioning the “screened in porch” and the woods “teeming with spectacular birds” above?

Well, here is another photograph from the inside.  What a remarkable surprise!  As lovely as the online pictures had been, I had absolutely no idea our suite would also be the perfect spot for birding!  And as an amateur photographer, I was in heaven photographing nature right from our room.

Bald Eagles:  Two more images captured when leaving the Goldmoor Inn and heading downtown to Galena!

Breakfast:  A hot gourmet breakfast was included daily and offered either downstairs in the dining room or in our suite.  We chose the latter both mornings because we wanted to indulge in a leisurely, private breakfast while admiring our views and birdwatching.  Note:  The breakfast menu is a “set” menu, so the meal is different every morning.  Our first morning, we were treated to Peach French Toast, bacon on the side, with homemade scones, granola topped yogurt, and fresh fruit.  Our second morning was fresh fruit topped waffles, a side of bacon, and a delicious croissant.  Both meals were served with a choice of juice and coffee.

Dining:  The dining at the Goldmoor Inn was exquisite.  Seriously, it was absolutely delicious.  The funny thing is, we were so excited to be visiting Galena for the first time, that it never occurred to us to eat at the Goldmoor.  We were determined to explore all that Main Street downtown had to offer in terms of fine dining.  The moment we got a glimpse of Beef Wellington on the menu, however, all bets were off, and our dining reservations in town were quickly cancelled. Best decision we made all weekend!  Here are a few photos of our first dinner.

The first photo is of my impressive, mouthwatering Beef Wellington, perfectly cooked to medium rare over a bed of Kale and Poached Potatoes.  Move over, Gordon Ramsay!  Just kidding, Chef Ramsay…but honestly, this dish did rival yours!  The second dish was a flavorful Tagliatelle served with bacon, sage, mushrooms, and garlic.  Both were delicious as were the surprise appetizer shared by the kitchen and the unique twist on a Baked Alaska dessert!

Artist in Residence:  The owners of the Goldmoor invited us to a Champagne Art Reception with their Resident Artist of the week at 5:00pm, so we decided to attend this event prior to heading out for dinner.  We enjoyed both champagne and tasty hors d’oeuvres as well as the opportunity to chat with Caroline Goldsmith and admire her artwork.

Chef’s Table:  This same evening, we had made reservations at another restaurant downtown in Galena.  As we left the Artist in Residence Reception, we contemplated staying at the Goldmoor for dinner again, as we had enjoyed such a fantastic meal the night before.  We approached the front desk to see if there was still availability, and while there was, they didn’t have our first seating choice available.  That was no problem at all for us, as we were content to sit elsewhere, but Birgit happened to overhear our conversation.  She asked us to wait a moment, which we did.

When she returned, she offered us the Chef’s Table experience!  We were stunned, as we didn’t realize this was even an option.  Of course, we eagerly agreed.  Being a fan of Gordon Ramsay, I’ve always wanted to experience a Chef’s Table Dining.  I have to say, this was one of the highlights of the weekend for us.  Here are a few photos we captured:

Thank you, Chef Ryan and Tara for an amazing meal and experience!  We loved every minute of our experience.

Owners:  Meeting the owners, Slobo and Birgit, was wonderful.  They are a lovely couple with an intriguing international history of their own.  They are passionate about the hospitality industry and Slobo especially loves to share both their story as well as the Goldmoor Inn’s fascinating though startling story.  While I would love to share it myself, Slobo is a much better storyteller, so please take the time to ask him!

And of course, we would love to share the beautiful sunsets we were able to enjoy from the Mississippi Suite.

We can’t wait to return!  Many thanks to everyone for helping us celebrate and create a memorable getaway.

 

 

 

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