Farmers' Guest House blog
August 11th, 2014

Improving the guest experience every square foot of the way

Best Galena Bed & Breakfast

improving the guest experienceWhen Don & Susan Steffan purchased the Farmers Guest House in Galena, Illinois, they knew the large common rooms were the reason for so many group reservations, but it didn’t take long to realize that the cluttered upstairs library was wasted space.  Guests were using their tablets and iPads for reading and were sitting in the larger, brighter living room or the terraced grounds while the library took time to clean and maintain only to sit empty. As the changes to the inn made by the new owners began attracting younger guests, the need for the library was non-existent. Other services, however, were becoming more popular, including massage services.

Spa Services at Farmers Guest House Galena

The inn did a fair number of massages each year, but with the size of the historic rooms, couples massages could only be done in the three suites and not the other six standard rooms. Many guests felt they were missing out, and, the massage therapists lugged their heavy tables up the stairs and through the halls for every appointment.

The solution was The Studio at Farmers Guest House.  The investment in folding screens, massage tables, paint, décor and new audio equipment, turned the cluttered old library into a trendy oasis. The investment has improved the bed and breakfast experience for hundreds of guests already.

improving the guest experienceMany guests book spa services in-advance, but guests can also book their massages after check-in.  We have even noticed that guests walk past the open door of The Studio and the inviting massage tables are a too hard to resist.  The massage therapists are delighted, the guests enjoy an unmatched amenity not found at any other in-town bed and breakfast, and guests leave rested, rejuvenated and revitalized. Check out The Studio at Farmers Guest House.

Book your trip and discover why Farmers Guest House is your reason to visit Galena.

August 5th, 2014

Fall in Love with Autumn

Fall Getaway Galena

fall in love with autumnIt’s easy to fall in love with autumn when you book your Galena getaway at Farmers Guest House. While fall is the busiest season of the year in Galena, you can still enjoy everything that is Galena regardless if you choose to book a weekend or weekday getaway. By booking a midweek getaway, you will have the opportunity to enjoy special savings and avoid some of the largest crowds at our award-winning restaurants and attractions.

Midweek Getaway Packages

There’s no better way to kick off the fall season than a country elegant room for free. Farmers Guest House offers Tuesdays for free in September when you book a three night stay that includes Tuesday night. Can’t stay for three nights? That’s ok, stay for two-nights midweek and we have you covered with a $50 gift card valid at participating Galena restaurants.

The Best of Galena

fall in love with autumnWhen you book your Galena fall getaway at Farmers Guest House, you can be assured that you are booking at the best bed and breakfast in Galena. Farmers Guest House reigns supreme on TripAdvisor with over 700 Excellent reviews. In 2014, Farmers Guest House was named first-runner up in the BedandBreakfast.com Best Breakfast in North America competition and Farmers Guest House consistently is mentioned on About.com’s bed and breakfast page as the best bed and breakfast in Galena.

Come for a weekend; or come for a midweek getaway and enjoy more of Galena at value prices. The decision is yours. We are looking forward to having you visit soon.

August 3rd, 2014

Breakfast with the President

September 13th we will have a very special guest at breakfast – the 18th President of the United States, General U.S. Grant.  Hailed for his military genius, General Grant served two terms as President from 1869 – 1877.

Now, in 2014, General Grant and Julia Grant, for whom the term “First Lady” was first used, will walk the floors of Farmers Guest House once again.  Make your reservations for the weekend now, for this event will only be open to guests of the inn.  Reservations

Born and raised here in Galena, Illinois, Bob Buman and his wife represent General and Julia Grant, bringing these historic figures to life for visitors to this Diamond of the Midwest, historic Galena, Illinois.  Saturday, September 13th, they will be special guests at Farmers Guest House, which was built in Galena prior to the time when the Grant’s lived here.

Since 1961 The Galena Generals have represented the 9 Civil War Generals who are from Galena Illinois. They educate the public on the importance of these 9 individuals and the time period in which they served.

The Galena Generals are a local history group that portrays the nine Cival War Generals from Galena, Illinois, the town that produced more Generals than any other in the country. They regularly march in parades, give educational presentations, promote Galena history and appear at functions. 2011 marked the 50th Anniversary of The Galena Generals.

Additional information about The Galena Generals can be found on the Generals’ Facebook page.

 

July 29th, 2014

Galena Food & Wine Festival

Galena Food and Wine Festival

Now is the time to plan your Galena getaway for the Second Annual Galena Food & Wine Festival on Friday, September 5, 2014.

Galena Ladies’ Getaway Weekend

galena food and wine festivalThe Galena Food & Wine Festival kicks off the always-popular Galena Ladies’ Getaway Weekend, widely regarded as the best girlfriends’ getaway event weekend in the Midwest.

To book your rooms at Farmers Guest House, start by clicking here.

Committee members of the Galena Wine Lovers’ Weekend and ARC Taste of Galena have come together to plan the second annual Galena Food & Wine Festival, slated for Friday, September 5, 2014 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Galena Convention Center, 900 Galena Square Drive.

The Galena Food and Wine Festival aspires to be a culinary dream featuring the talents of Galena area restaurants as well wine tasting—showcasing approximately 200 varieties—sponsored by Family Beer & Liquor.

“We had tremendous feedback to last year’s first annual event.” said Dave Decker, executive director of the Galena Art & Recreation Center. “Guests loved the wine tasting paired with samples from our wonderful Galena restaurants and caterers. It was a fun evening.”

Tickets for the Galena Food and Wine Festival are $50 per person and available online: www.galenafoodandwinefestival.com. “We highly recommend purchasing tickets early as our sister events—Galena Wine Lovers’ Weekend and ARC Taste of Galena—have quickly sold out in advance,” said Fred Bonnet, of Fried Green Tomatoes Restaurant and representing Galena Wine Lovers’ Weekend.

The event—with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Galena Art and Recreation Center—will also include live music, a raffle and silent auction.

To purchase tickets or learn more about Galena’s new Food and Wine Festival visit: www.galenafoodandwinefestival.com.

Galena Food and Wine Festival is one of the main events that kicks off Galena Ladies’ Getaway Weekend, September 5-7, 2014. For more information on weekend happenings, go to: facebook.com/ladiesgetawaygalenavisitgalena.org, or galena.org.

In June 2013, Fodor’s named Galena, Illinois as one of the best summer getaways near Chicago, Illinois, and best for food and wine, girlfriends and romance.

July 27th, 2014

50 Shades of Green Getaway Package

Escape to Farmers Guest House and indulge in 50 Shades of Green as you explore the lush vistas surrounding Galena, the diamond of the Midwest.

We promise you a visit to delight the senses and awaken your hidden sense of adventure.  Our 50 Shades of Green package includes ~

  • ~Two nights in a luxurious suite with whirlpool tub, king size bed, fireplace and all the privacy you need,
  • ~A bottle of champagne and box of chocolates to melt in your mouth,
  • ~A couples massage in our Studio,
  • ~Award winning, gourmet breakfast in your Suite,
  • ~And all the elegant amenities accompanying every stay at Farmers Guest House.

~$699 plus tax~

No exclusions. No blackout dates.  Subject to availability so call to book your 50 Shades of Green getaway.  (815) 777-3456

July 25th, 2014

The Perfect Bed and Breakfast Experience

the perfect bed and breakfast experienceAt Farmers Guest House we aim to provide each guest with an unforgettable Galena bed and breakfast experience; really, we want to give our guest the perfect bed and breakfast experience.

We are constantly looking for new ways to improve the “guest experience” and tirelessly look for new amenities that our guests will appreciate.

What our guest say about us is very important. Below is a recent review about the Farmers Guest House experience and why we strive to be your reason to visit Galena.

“Stellar Experience! Superior Bed and Breakfast!”

Don and Sue have perfected the B&B experience. I would recommend every B&B owner stay a night at Farmers’ Guest House and see professionalism with the personal touch at its finest. We were charmed by our host and hostess and simply delighted in the extra comforts provided. We immediately felt at home.

In the dining area, unlimited bottled waters, soft drinks, tea, and coffee are always available. There are two cookie jars which, as advertised, were “bottomless.” At 5:00 PM, wine, cheese, and crackers were served with an offer to make dinner reservations for guests at area restaurants. One could not help but feel at home knowing the fridge not only housed unlimited soft drinks, but was available for guests along with a microwave. Leftovers could be enjoyed later in the evening along with those cookies!

the perfect bed and breakfast experienceUpon arrival, we were given a list of the foods to be served at breakfast with the option to cross out anything we didn’t want served or specify allergies, vegan etc. On our second day, my husband very much appreciated being able to ask for his flatbread with no eggs or mushrooms, just bacon and cheese. The flatbread was delicious both ways with lovely presentation. The list was provided each morning when the room was cleaned with the simple request to please return it before 9:00 PM if there were to be any changes. It is not only a thoughtful idea, but I loved the anticipation of knowing what we were having for breakfast.

Speaking of the food! WONDERFUL! Our first morning we had banana caramel french toast, fresh fruit with sorbet, and croissants. It was as delicious as it sounds. Our second morning we had the flatbread along with fresh fruit and sorbet, and a light lemon poppyseed coffee cake that practically melted in your mouth. It was still slightly warm and I could have eaten the whole batch, I have no doubt. My husband is not a big breakfast person so many times he doesn’t care at all for the food served at B&Bs. This was real food, lovely in presentation, but food everyone would enjoy.

The dining room was set up with tables of various sizes. Granted, not every B&B has the room to have separate tables, but sitting with other guests was a choice, not a requirement. We ate with the other guests but another couple chose to sit alone and it wasn’t awkward.

the perfect bed and breakfast experienceBreakfast is served between 8:30 and 9:30. At any point within that time frame, one simply sits at a table and is served breakfast with fresh orange juice and warm smiles. It was really nice to have that flexibility rather than having to be in place at a set time. We actually ended up arriving right at 8:30 both mornings but it was nice to know we didn’t need to rush. Don, Sue, and Charles all made sure everyone enjoyed breakfast.

We stayed in the Malvina room. The rooms are named after the wives of civil war generals. Our room was nicely appointed, very clean, and cozy. I noticed immediately the lack of what I call “fru fru.” There were no doilies or pictures of people we didn’t know cluttering up the tables. We didn’t have to move things out of the way to make room for our belongings. How refreshing! We could move in and make the room our own. It didn’t feel cluttered. There was a nice sized flat screen TV that pulled out from the wall. It didn’t lessen the beauty of the room and allowed for viewing from the bed or the chairs. An extensive up to date selection of DVDs was a nice surprise in the hallway. The bed was comfortable and I loved the old hardwood floors. The bathroom was immaculate with everything one might need. Farmers’s Guest House was built in 1867 as a hotel and general store. From the eclectic collection of clocks in the dining room area, the cozy, whimsical living room, to the lovely garden out back, Farmer’s Guest House wraps you in comfort with sincere concern for one’s every need. Don and Sue genuinely care about their guests and want their experience to be memorable. Don’t miss Farmer’s Guest House in Galena!

Laurie & Andy, Champaign, Illinois

Come and experience the reason to visit Galena at Farmers Guest House. Your adventure begins by clicking here.

July 22nd, 2014

Girlfriend’s Getaway Weekend

girlfriends getaway weekendJoin us at Farmers Guest House in Galena for a very exciting girlfriend’s getaway weekend, September 5-7, 2014!

In addition to our regular country elegant accommodations, including our award-winning breakfast and WineTime each evening, you can experience great events planned throughout Galena just for you and your girlfriends.

Farmers Guest House is also the home of The Studio at Farmers Guest House; the only full-service bed and breakfast spa in downtown Galena.

Businesses throughout Galena have special events, parties, specials and more planned throughout the weekend as part of Ladies Getaway Weekend.

Farmers Guest House is your reason to visit Galena. There’s so much to love here.

July 19th, 2014

Galena Hotels: The Perfect Alternative

Galena Hotels: The perfect AlternativeWhat makes Galena special? Sure, there is a case to be made for the historic significance and scenic beauty of the area, but it is really the experience that makes Galena special. As you search for Galena hotels, the perfect alternative is Farmers Guest House.

Farmers Guest House is to the Galena hotel what the smart phone is to the phone booth. We offer country elegant accommodations in our beautifully restored historic inn. Our breakfast was awarded first runner-up in the 2014 BedandBreakfast.com Best Breakfast in North America competition and our Annie’s Galena Cottage is the only private cottage in Galena within walking distance to downtown Galena.

Farmers Guest House is a short walk to Main Street Galena, where you will discover numerous restaurants and over 90 local shops and wine tasting rooms. When you’re done exploring, relax with a rejuvenating massage in The Studio at Farmers Guest House and join us for WineTime™ each even at 5pm before heading out to dinner.

As Mary White, CEO of BnBFinder.com recently wrote: Galena’s captivating history and beautiful scenery make this small town the perfect summer destination. Surrounded by the Galena River, wineries, hiking trails, and world-class golf courses, there is truly something for everyone. Galena’s historic attractions include the Ulysses S. Grant Home and Museum. The Farmers Guest House is centrally located to historic sites, local artisan shops, wine trails, and art galleries. The inn has been lovingly restored to its original 19th-century condition, and features nine luxurious rooms and suites, as well as Annie’s Galena Cottage for extra privacy.

What we are not is the typical Galena hotel. We are the perfect alternative and your reason to visit Galena. Choose your suite and book your stay at Farmers Guest House here. 

July 7th, 2014

Apple River Fort Historic Site

Apple River Fort Historic Site

Here at Farmers Guest House in historic Galena, our many repeat guests occasionally ask for something to do during the week in the Galena area that is different than what they have done on a previous visit.  Recently a guest reminded me of the Apple River Fort Historic Site just up the road about 20 minutes from downtown Galena.

The Apple River Fort was the site of an important battle during the Black Hawk War during the summer of 1832.  On June 24th, of that summer, the settlers at the fort turned back an attack by some 200 warriors led by Black Hawk.  The war, which lasted only 16 weeks, ended the threat of Indian attacks in the area and opened the region to further settlement.

The Apple River Fort, like many historic sites, is closed on Monday and Tuesday, but is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday – Sunday all season long for self-guided tours and frequently offers living history activities.  For only $4 for adults, this is a great way to spend an afternoon experiencing life like our early settlers.

June 29th, 2014

Enjoy a Honey Flan at Farmers Guest House

What a lovely way to start the day!  Honey flan, Petite Pancakes and Country Ham – a recipe for a great day.  This is my version of the recipe from the March, 2014 edition of Southern Living Magazine.

Honey Flan, modified from a recipe in the March 2014 edition of Southern Living
Serves 18
1 cup sugar
1 cups honey, divided
2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
2 cups whole milk
6 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 350.  In a large saucepan heat sugar just until melted, add 1/3 cup of honey and remove from heat. (Do not overcook or the sugar will turn to candy)  Immediately pour hot sauce into 12 ramekins.
2. In a large bowl process condensed milk, whole milk, eggs, egg yolks and salt until smooth.  Pour evenly over sugar in each ramekin.  Place ramekins in 2 9 x 13 inch pans.  Add hot tap water to pan to a depth of 1 inch.
3. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes or until set.  Remove from water bath and place on wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.  Cover and chill for 3 hours or overnight.  Run a knife around edges of flans to loosen and invert on plates to serve.