Fall in love again with Galena, Illinois
#1: It’s full of pretty secrets
The best-kept among them: the 90-minute Mississippi Explorer River Cruises run by Chestnut Mountain Resort. Glide along 2-mile-wide stretches of the river in a 45-passenger pontoon boat while naturalists point out eagles’ nests and turkey vultures and reveal how those man-made islands came about. Views of the forested bluffs, alight with fall color, are simply the most breathtaking in a region with many spots vying for that title.
Hardy hikers trek up Casper Bluff, once home to war chief Blackhawk, for commanding views of the Mississippi River. A self-guided tour of the 85-acre plot of land reveals numerous burial mounds, a 1,000-year-old Thunderbird effigy mound and migrating birds, making it an ideal early-morning spot for history lovers and nature fans alike. And just 10 minutes east of town, you can pick your own blueberries at the Wooded Wonderland Country Store and Sawmill. Located at the end of a gravel road off of US-20, this 40-year-old blueberry farm (organic long before the word became cool) also sells handmade furniture.