Farmers' Guest House blog
September 26th, 2014

Welcome Back Project Linus!

Project Linus Retreat

welcome back project linus welcome back project linus welcome back project linus

For the third year in a row, Farmers Guest House welcomed the Project Linus executive staff from their national headquarters, located in Bloomington, IL for their annual executive retreat to Galena, IL.  Pictured are Vice President, Mary Balagna, and President Carol Babbitt.

“We are humbled and just love saying ‘Welcome back Project Linus’,” says Farmers Guest House innkeeper Susan Steffan.

The group meets over 3-days to process the results of their yearly conference and plan future events.  The group of engaged executives also lives their mission of providing each child in need a handmade blanket when they need it most. The group brings their sewing equipment to Farmers Guest House and creates new template projects and amazing artwork that will be shared with children  who are confined to hospitals or experiencing a crisis in their lives.

welcome back project linusFarmers Guest House is the perfect location to plan your corporate or executive retreat. Scenic downtown Galena makes the perfect backdrop for your executive planning sessions at Farmers Guest House; the only boutique inn in downtown Galena. The Farmers Guest House community room, living room, cottage and unique collection of private rooms and suites are beyond compare for hosting executive and corporate retreats.

With chapters in all 50 states, Project Linus provides thousands of blankets each year to children in crisis.  On Christmas Eve, 1995, an article titled “Joy to the World” appeared in Parade Magazine. It was written by Pulitzer Prize winning photo-journalist, Eddie Adams. Part of the article featured a petite, downy haired child named Laura:

““Laura has unusual compassion for others,” Charlotte Barry-Williams of Oceanside, California, says of her daughter, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 1993. “I guess part of the reason is that she has experienced so much pain herself.”

A special “blankie” has helped Laura, 3, get through more than two years of intensive chemotherapy. She takes it to the hospital with her when she goes for treatment. When she was first diagnosed, 97 percent of her bone marrow contained cancerous cells. Although chemotherapy has helped eradicate the cancer, she has had to endure nausea, high fevers and the loss of her hair. An allergic reaction at one point caused her to lose vital signs.

“She doesn’t understand what cancer means,” her mother says. “She’s a very joyous and happy person, very curious.” Her mother hopes Laura can start preschool next spring.”


After reading the article, Karen Loucks, the original founder of Project Linus, decided to provide homemade security blankets to Denver’s Rocky Mountain Children’s Cancer Center, and Project Linus was born. Learn more and get engaged with Project Linus at 

September 24th, 2014

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

On Sweet Tooth Wednesday, we want to help you satisfy your sweet tooth with these images from Susan’s collection of irresistible sweets.

To satisfy your sweet tooth, just click an image, choose your room and make your reservation. Yup, it’s just as simple as that:

satisfy your sweet tooth satisfy your sweet tooth satisfy your sweet tooth

September 23rd, 2014

Fall in Love with Cycling: Visit Galena

fall in love with cycling visit galenaWith it’s dramatic scenic vistas and tens-of-thousands of trees, Galena Illinois is naturally a draw for leaf-peepers from around the region. Visitors to Galena typically walk our historic streets, or drive through our scenic roadways to marvel at the changing colors, but touring Galena on a bicycle and having the opportunity to get some exercise at the same time is becoming more irresistable to many of our guests at Farmers Guest House.

We recommend, and many of our guests have experienced, riding a bicycle along the 4 mile Galena River Trail.

Visitors to Farmers Guest House can bring their own bikes, or rent a bike from Fever River Outfitters – right around the corner on Main Street.

On a bicycle, you can experience more of Galena in a smaller amount of time while having the advantage of being out in the open air.

It’s hard to tell how the 2014 fall color show will turn out, or when Galena will be at its peak. Certain vines are starting to change now and we expect the dogwoods to turn a dark purple soon. They will be followed by every other imaginable variety. We love when the sugar maples staret to change color. They will usually display a vibrant red, but may be orange or even yellow in some years. One thing we can be sure of is that you won’t be disappointed when you choose to spend your fall getaway with us at Farmers Guest House.

We look forward to seeing you this fall.

September 20th, 2014

LGBT Travel to Galena

Enjoy Gay Friendly Galena

Places to Stay Galena

LGBT travel to galenaWhen you are looking to book your stay in a gay friendly bed and breakfast or hotel in Galena, look no further than Farmers Guest House.

Sit back and relax. Book your overnight stay in Galena, the Midwest’s bed and breakfast capitol, at Farmers Guest House and wake up to the sights and sounds of our best small town in America. Our country elegant bed and breakfast is the perfect alternative to an upscale boutique hotel. You’ll find that we are the perfect, welcoming option for your next getaway. Our one-of-a-kind LGBT friendly bed and breakfast offers private accommodations, all with private bathrooms.

You’re invited to enjoy delicious dining, exciting nightlife, beautiful views and fun adventures in Galena, one of the top gay friendly destinations in the Midwest. Plan an exciting weekend with your friends and family, discover romance or just spend some time rejuvenating the soul at a world-class spa.

Gay friendly getaway from Chicago

LGBT travel to galenaStay at our country inn bed and breakfast in downtown Galena, soak in the sun on our private yards, enjoy our historic homes or go shopping on Galena’s historic Main Street when you plan your stay in Galena. Within a quick drive from Chicago, the Quad Cities and Madison, Galena is the perfect gay friendly spot for a weekend getaway.

Stroll down Main Street and you’ll find the famous Fried Green Tomatoes restaurant (with Tipsy Tuesday $2 wine night), modern American local cuisine in a relaxing setting at 111 Main and charming boutique shopping destinations. Make sure to stop by Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape, a lively late night spot with live music every weekend.

Head over to Gobbie’s for karaoke night on Saturday, fine dining at Fritz & Frites, or a theatrical show at a small town theatre. Then, take in the gorgeous view of the Mississippi River from the Mississippi Palisades State Park. Travelers can also visit neighboring Potosi, Wisconsin and the Potosi Brewery and National Beer Museum, or Dubuque, Iowa with historic charm, beautiful views, hiking trails, more shopping and even big-name concerts.

From year-round festivals to outdoor adventures, you’ll soon find out why Galena, Illinois, has become a top LGBT travel spot in the Midwest. So, pack your bags, appetites and golf clubs for the best getaway ever!

September 14th, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

I tried this one out on my guests this morning and they all loved it!

Makes 24

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

For the filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c powdered sugar
For the Muffins:
4 large eggs
2 c sugar
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 1/4 c vegetable oil
3 c flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
For the Topping:
1/2 c sugar 
5 T flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 T cold butter, cut into pieces
1. Make the filling by combining the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl.  Mix well.  Place bowl in the freezer while preparing muffins and topping.
2. spray 24 muffin cups.  Make the muffin batter.   In a medium bowl combine the first four ingredients whisking to blend.  Add the dry ingredients on top; do not stir until all ingredients are in the bowl.  Then stir just to combine.
3. Make the topping by conbining all the topping ingredients by pressing with a fork until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
4. Assemble the muffins. Preheat oven to 350.  Fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter.  Take a spoonful of the cream cheese mixture and place it in the muffin pan on top of the dollop of batter.  Then add another dollop of batter to cover the cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle some of the topping on each of the muffins. 
5. Bake for 22 – 25 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack before serving.
September 13th, 2014

Breakfast with General Grant & Julia Grant

General Grant and Julia Grant were sure to have graced the floors of the Farmers Home Hotel in 1867 since the first floor was, at the time, a General Store and Dry Goods Shop for the bustling town of Galena.  General Grant and Julia paid a visit this morning once again to Farmers Guest House, this time as breakfast guests.  The General visited with guests sharing wonderful anecdotes and historical tales while they enjoyed their breakfast and visit with the General.

September 11th, 2014

Never want to stay at another bed and breakfast

Unmatched Bed and Breakfast Experience

never want to stay at another bed and breakfast againOur guests love their experience at Farmers Guest House so much that they never want to stay at another bed and breakfast. We think that’s great and we will never end our relentless pursuit of ensuring that every guest’s expectations are exceeded. You can check out their review of Farmers Guest House below.

Book your stay by clicking here. 

“Ruined B&B’s for us! Forever!”

5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

I refer to TripAdvisor constantly, and now it’s time for me to give back to the TA community. I have been rather lazy about ever reviewing anyone on here, but the Farmers’ Guest House has inspired me to actually do it. That’s how wonderful it is.

It was actually the first time my husband and I have ever stayed at a B&B – and they have basically ruined all B&B’s for us from here on out. No one will ever stack up. Don’t miss Wine Time– I was a little unsure of what it would be like at first, but it ended up being a treasured time of meeting and greeting with others staying there, as well as getting to know Don and Sue…who are an absolute treasure themselves. You can tell they are passionate about what they do (they’ve literally thought of everything), and genuinely care about every person that walks thru the door.

We got massages while we were there (it was our anniversary) and even that was an excellent experience. They had two incredibly professional, talented and friendly individuals do our couples massage. They even laughed at my corny jokes.

Don & Sue: I know you diligently check up on TripAdvisor (as all good business owners do), so you’ll read this at some point. You made our anniversary special and unforgettable. You said the only thing that makes you sad about your inn is that you never know if any of your guests will ever be back to see you…well you can count on seeing us again.

To everyone else: Do yourself a favor and stay at the Farmers’ Guest House.

Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple

September 8th, 2014

Fluffy Eggs

“How do you get your eggs so fluffy?”  It’s such a basic and simple component to a wonderful breakfast we have to get it just right.  Begin with one dozen of the freshest farm eggs you can find.  I have a lovely lady who raises chickens here in JoDaviess County who delivers fresh eggs to Farmers Guest House each week.  Shown here is Fluffy Eggs with ham served in a puff pastry shell and garnished with Hollandaise and chives.

Fluffy Eggs

1 Dozen Farm Fresh Eggs

1 1/4 C Whole Milk

1 tsp salt

1/2 stick (1/4 c) butter

Cut the butter into 4 pats and place in the bottom of a glass 9 x 13 baking dish.  Place the dish in the oven while it preheats to 350.  While the oven preheats, beat the eggs, milk and salt in a bowl until well blended.  When oven is to temperature, remove the pan and be sure to swirl the pan to evenly coat it with the butter that has melted in the pan.  Pour the eggs in the center of the pan.  Bake for 15 minutes and then remove and stir, being sure to scrape all sides and the bottom.  Bake for another 10 minutes and stir again.  Adjust your time so that the eggs are soft set but not over cooked.  They will cook a bit more as you stir.  Serve warm.  If you would like to add additional ingredients like fresh herbs, chopped veggies or ham, do so during the second stirring.  I saute my veggies and meat before adding to the eggs.

September 6th, 2014

Speak up, diet requirements are no problem

Diet Requirements? No Problem.

speak up diet requirements are no problemWe’ve heard nightmare stories of getaway travelers at hotels and bed and breakfasts not being able to find anything to eat. The problem? They’re vegan, gluten free or have another diet requirement.

Sometimes innkeepers and hotel operators forget that not everyone is like themselves. Because they are not thinking of the guest’s experience they force guests to feel uncomfortable.

And, sometimes religious restrictions force guests to sit quietly, eating nothing, or very little.

Not at Farmers Guest House. We will make every effort to accommodate your diet restrictions. All we ask is that you give us some advance notice so that we can make arrangements and make special purchases.

At a time when some 20 percent of the adult population in the United States is on some sort of special diet—and one-third of those are on diets they’ve created (go ahead, you can admit it…I do it too)—the topic of food when traveling is coming up more often. At Farmers Guest House, we like to address it right away. We are here to help you enjoy your getaway. Your getaway is about you, not us.

And it’s been very good for our guests.

In the last 2 1/2 years that Don and I have owned Farmers Guest House, guests have become a lot more interested in various food allergens. For our guests, we simply make a note in your profile of any food allergens or requests that you inform us of. This makes it easy for all of our guests to enjoy their full, new country breakfasts at Farmers Guest House, as well as WineTime each evening at 5:00 PM.

The good news is that with a restrictive diet, it’s easy to fit in at Farmers Guest House. Often, our specialty-diet meals look exactly like the other dishes we are serving.

Standing out and letting us know your diet restrictions can have other benefits too. We recently had a guest, after explaining that he became gluten-free, built a rapport with the other guests and it opened up conversations, leading to the guests all discovering new things to do while on their getaway to Galena.

September 3rd, 2014

Pottery – Handmade in the USA right here in Galena, Illinois

It’s a special feeling to eat and drink out of pottery that was handmade by your neighbor – especially when that neighbor is a first class artist!  Here in Galena we have a wonderful variety of artists who enjoy creating fine pottery.  Their annual event, Twenty Dirty Hands, is held in October once again this year.

My favorite work to collect this season is from Kent Henderson, owner/artist of Galena Clay Works, who has a rather unique approach to showcasing his work.  About 1/2 mile past the business district on historic Main Street in Galena, nestled among some of the oldest homes in the city, is an old garage.

In this “old glory” garage is a sometimes dusty, but curiously charming display of Kent’s pottery – and a large box with a slot and a padlock.  A sign says to pay for your pottery through the slot by cash or check, thank you, and have a nice day.  Kent often comes down to the garage when a guest stops by, but just as often leaves the garage unattended while working in his private studio or enjoying the day in Galena.  He tells me this approach has been working well for him and he enjoys turning the savings of low over-head over to his customers in the form of reasonable prices.  His garage gallery is open late and has plenty of parking on the street in front.  Stop and see my friend Kent when you get to Galena and enjoy American craftsmanship at its finest.

Make a reservation with Farmers Guest House today.  Reservation Link