4 Spots to Get in the Haunted Spirit of Galena, Illinois
Booze. Ghosts. Or a mash-up of both. These four stops in the notoriously haunted northwest Illinois river town deliver what you need for a, uh … spirited getaway.
Blaum Brothers Distilling Company For a shot (or two) of liquid courage before embarking on a ghost tour, check out the town's sole maker of hard liquor, opened by brothers Matt and Mike Blaum in 2013. The tasting room feels like a big-city lounge with plush oversize leather couches. Try a tasting flight of their four house liquors: gin, vodka, moonshine and Hellfyre, a spicy favorite made by soaking habanero, jalapeño and black pepper in vodka. Pro tip: Have a glass of water handy (blaumbros.com).
Blaum Brothers Distilling Company. Photo courtesy of Blaum Brothers Distilling Company.
Amelia's Galena Ghost Tours Entertaining guides lead bus tours past Galena's greatest haunts, regaling participants with stories of The Lady in Black who roams the basement of The DeSoto House and the spirits who inhabit One Eleven Main, a funeral home-turned-restaurant. Things get real at The Ryan Mansion, where visitors head into the lavish library for ghost-hunting instruction. We don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say that a few skeptics on our tour had a change of heart (ameliastours.com).
The Ryan Mansion. Photo courtesy of Daniel Kohler.
Embe Eatery and Lounge Like many of the 19th-century buildings housing shops and restaurants on Galena's main drag, this one's haunted, at least according to owner Mary Beth, who reports seeing items in the kitchen go flying off the shelves. (Her initials inspired the name of this establishment.) We didn't spot any strange activity, but rest assured, her rum-soaked bread pudding is otherworldly (embegalena.com).
Jail Hill Inn No ghosts here, according to innkeeper Matthew Carroll. But there's something eerie about sleeping in a building that was once the county jail. Most of the six lavish suites bear no reminder of the building's past life, but Suite 301 does contain preserved carvings of prisoners' names. All of the guest rooms inside this masterfully restored brick building include Kohler rain showers and plush Turkish cotton bathrobes. Peek into the fridge for a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine. From $245 (jailhillgalena.com).