Farmers' Guest House blog
October 28th, 2013

Gourmet Breakfasts and so much more…

Staying at a bed and breakfast is a unique getaway experience. At Farmers Guest House we aim to provide guests with a country elegant experience where they are free to join in conversation with other guests, or make their experience private and personal.

If you are considering a bed and breakfast getaway to Galena, we invite you to review TripAdvisor review from our guests including one of our latest:

“Gourmet Breakfasts and a Great Wine Happy Hour Define Your Trip”

5 of 5 starsReviewed October 24, 2013 NEW

best breakfast in galena ilWe took off for Galena for a quick short getaway (October, 2013) hoping to get in some good hiking in fall colors. Horseshoe Bluffs was a great hike in the Mines of Spain just south of Dubuque, Iowa with a great view of the Mississippi and the Julien Dubuque Monument across the river. But the trip was made by our stay at Farmers’ Guest House. It was unexpected that the lodging would be the highlight. We had three gourmet breakfasts; no silly buffet or choice of omelet but a fancy delicious fruit dish with some great piece of pastry followed by a delicious warm entree with fresh sausage presented as competition for Master Chef. Susan’s breakfasts can’t be beat. The ten person table, plus overflow tables for the “late comers”, made for great conversation about yesterday’s happenings and today’s plans. Then came happy hour, when Susan and Don served wine and cheese and we guests gathered around the table for more discussion of the day’s experience and tomorrow’s plans as Don made dinner reservations for those too lazy to do it earlier. The mingling of the owners and the guests created a fun conversation environment to discover all of the coincidences in social gatherings and always had someone with “that” sense of humor to generate the laughs.

For those needing precision: Breakfast is served from 8:30 AM to 9:30 and Wine Happy Hour is from 5 PM to 6. Plan your schedule around those times. The House is a short walk to town, maybe 8 minutes to the beginning of Mains St and another 10 to the end of Restaurant Row. The walk requires an elevation change up 40 feet on a ramp and back down 40 feet via steps. This is an easy walk unless you have walking problems. It is a 5 minute drive with parking in town being the challenge depending on day of week and time of year.

Room Tip: There are a couple suites, if you want to spend the money. We were in a back roo
October 23rd, 2013

Catch the Holiday Spirit in Galena at Farmers Guest House

holiday events Galena ILChestnuts roasting over an open fire. Carolers singing a holiday tune. The romantic glow of a town illuminated with the gentle flicker of luminaria. And everyone is enjoying simple pleasures. Hot chocolate. Candy canes. Festively wrapped gifts.

Step back and enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays in Galena. Festivities begin just as soon as the ghosts and ghouls from the hallmarked Halloween Parade go back into hiding for another year. The temperature cools, often crystal-like snowflakes start to fall, and the charming shops transform into a magical wonderland.

Be sure to join the fun as Santa Claus comes to town—after Thanksgiving—on Saturday, November 30. During the celebrated tradition, Santa makes his way down Galena’s historic Main Street to the Old Market House (123 N. Commerce Street), where he meets and greets children of all ages. Youngsters can sign their names in Santa’s timeless book (and perhaps even find their parents’ names written within) and sit on his lap to whisper holiday wishes. Those who visit Santa leave with a bag filled with treats to tide them over until the big day arrives. Santa will be at the Old Market House, looking forward to seeing all of the good boys and girls, every weekend following Thanksgiving through December 21.

things to do in GalenaAnother Galena tradition comes the weekend of December 13-14, when the town becomes aglow with thousands of luminaria candles placed in bags flickering and lining the town’s sidewalks, steps, parks and  levee. “Living Windows”—storefronts that come to life with costumed locals—enchant shoppers and those out for late afternoon stroll before dinner. Musicians and choral groups perform to set the holiday mood for passersby.

For those of you who want a “little more” holiday fun, join the ugly sweater contest and luminaria pub crawl to “warm up” this holiday season and enjoy time with friends, also December 13.

And there’s so much more. From quilt shows to a festival of trees to holiday tours of historic bed and breakfasts and progressive dinners, you’ll find holiday spirit here. Galena, Illinois. The quiet escape into a time and a place where you find the peace, romance and love shared in the season abounds and you can relax and create memories that will last a lifetime—one of the greatest gifts of all.


November 2013

2                            Swing & Sweets at the DeSoto House Hotel

2                            Holiday Farmers’ Market at the Galena Territory Owners’ Club

8-9                        Galena Antique Show & Sale at the Galena Convention Center

8-10                      Galena / Jo Daviess Quilt & Fiber Arts Show at Turner Hall

16                          “Deck the Halls” Festival of Trees at DeSoto House Hotel

22-23                    Nouveau Wine Weekend

29                          Santa at the Old Market House

30                          Arrival of Santa Parade & Lighting of Tree

30                          Women of Courage & Commitment Christmas Program at DeSoto House Hotel

December 2013

6, 13, 20 & 27     A Goldmoor Christmas Carol Dinner at Goldmoor Inn

7                            A Taste of Christmas Progressive Dinner sponsored by BBIG

7                            Christmas at Apple River Fort State Historic Site

7, 14 & 21            Santa at the Old Market House

13                          Luminaria Pub Crawl & Ugly Sweater Contest

14                          Living Windows & Luminaria

14                          Mistletoe Stroll: Holiday House Tour sponsored by BBIG

For more information on lodging, dining, or additional activities, visit

October 13th, 2013

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

It’s that time of year!

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins





Preheat conventional oven to 400˚ or convection oven to 375˚.

Cream together in a bowl:

3 eggs

2 cups canned pumpkin

1 ¾ cup sugar

½ cup canola oil

½ cup orange or apple juice


Add the following ingredients to the top of the mixture and blend just until moistened after all ingredients have been added to the bowl.

3 cups flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon*

½ tsp nutmeg*

¼  tsp cloves*


Stir in

1 ½ cups raisins

1 cup pecan pieces


Fill greased muffin cups ½ full. Dust top with coarse sugar.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.  Serve warm.

* 1 ¾  tsp of pumpkin pie spice can be substituted for these seasonings.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 parts cinnamon

1 part nutmeg

½ part cloves

Mix together and store in an airtight container.

October 1st, 2013

Baked Cinnamon Apples

With the crisp chill of autumn in the air there’s nothing like the warmth of Baked Cinnamon Apples first thing in the morning!

Baked Cinnamon-Apple Slices

4 firm Apples

2/3  cup brown sugar

½ cup raisins

2 Tablespoons melted butter

¼ cup orange juice


Core and slice the apples into 8 wedges each and place in an 8” x 8” baking dish.  Pour orange juice in the pan.  Sprinkle the top of the apples with the brown sugar and raisins.  Drizzle the butter over the top.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until apples are tender but not mushy.

Divide into 8 serving dishes, pour any liquid in the pan over the tops.  Serve warm.

September 16th, 2013

Guest Review: Max Grinnell

5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013 NEW

best bed and breakfast GalenaWith antiques abounding and a cool collection of clocks, Farmer’s Guest House is THE place to stay in Galena. But this isn’t your grandmother’s B&B. You won’t find a doily or a stuffed animal in the place. Each room is tastefully decorated and comfortably outfitted for a cozy stay. Upgrade to a suite and enjoy an in-room jacuzi and skylights!

If this wasn’t enough, the best part of Farmer’s Guest House is the hosts. Susan and Don are warm and friendly. Welcoming, friendly, and eager to chat or share a glass of wine with you at their daily Wine Time. Breakfast is to die for: delicious and decadent. And if you have food allergies, sensitivities, or a restricted diet? No problem! Susan’s cunning culinary prowess will create a sumptuous smorgasbord that far exceeds your expectations.

Thanks for the warm welcome and we shall return!

Max Grinnell & Bethany Jorgensen

September 13th, 2013

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

What a great way to get a portion of your daily veggies!

3 eggs
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c canola oil
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
2/3 c ground oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c chocolate chips

Beat eggs, sugar, oil & vanilla until well blended.  Add zucchini.  Add dry ingredients and mix just until blended.  Stir in choc. chips.  With an ice cream scoop measure batter into greased muffin pans.  Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick.

Tip:  I shred a bunch of zucchini at once and bag in 2 cup portions for the freezer.  When the zucchini thaws, don’t discard the liquid that collects in the bag – put this in the recipe so the muffins will be moist.

September 9th, 2013

Bacon & Cheese Strata

This is a classic egg dish I have been making for over 25 years!  It is savory enough to serve for a lunch or dinner when paired with a salad and can easily be made as a vegetarian dish.

Bacon & Cheese Strata

Bacon & Cheese Strata

1 pound bacon cut in 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 c finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped red pepper
12 slices of day old bread cut in cubes (do not use sourdough, but any white bread works)
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 c fresh, snipped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt (increase to 1 teaspoon if omitting bacon)
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
16 eggs
4 cups milk
3/4 cup dry white wine
Place the bacon, onions and peppers in a skillet and saute until the bacon is done and the vegetables are soft.  Drain off excess bacon drippings. 
Grease a deep 9 x 13 pan and place bread cubes in the pan.  layer bacon & vegetable mixture on top.  Add cheese in an even layer.
In a large bowl add the remaining ingredients and beat with a whisk until well mixed.  Pour over all layers in pan.  With a fork, stir slightly to immerse all bread and move the ingredients around a bit.
Let set for an hour or overnight.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour until the top is puffed and lightly brown, and eggs are set in center.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
Bacon can be omitted for vegetarians or chopped ham can be substituted for the bacon – Add butter to pan when sautéing veggies without bacon.
August 31st, 2013

National Bacon Day!

In honor of National Bacon Day, I submit to you a recipe that I shamelessly stole from a friend’s blog and then adjusted to my taste.

Summer sweet corn recipe

Ba-corn Salad

6 – 8 servings

8 ears of corn
1/2 lb bacon
3 T butter 
1/4 c fresh, chopped basil
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper or to taste
2 – 3 plum tomatoes chopped

Place the bacon in a single layer on a jelly roll pan (a flat pan with 1″ sides) and bake in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes or until crisp.  Drain off fat, reserving 3 tablespoons and the tasty bits from the pan.  Coarsely chop the bacon and set aside.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook sweet corn on the cob for 3 minutes.  Remove from pot and set in a colander to cool.  As soon as you can handle the corn, remove the corn from the cobs.

In a large frying pan on the stove heat the 3 tablespoons of reserved bacon fat & bits along with the butter. Add corn kernels and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Add the reserved bacon and pepper, stirring just until the bacon is warmed.  Remove from heat.

Toss in a bowl with the basil and tomatoes. You’ll never want to eat sweet corn any other way.

August 25th, 2013

What our guests are saying

hotels galena ilAt Farmers Guest House we love our WineTime™ with guests each evening. Here’s what Jessica from St. Louis recently let us know:  “I love it here…the décor hearkens back to an earlier time without feeling like being at Grandma’s.”

Farmers Guest House is the country elegant lodging option in Galena. We provide guests with luxurious accommodations in a relaxed environment and pair that with outstanding guest services like concierge services and a full new country breakfast each morning.

Looking for an alternative to old world bed and breakfasts? You’ve found it at Farmers Guest House. Don’t take our word for it. Check out what our guests say on TripAdvisor and you’ll see why we’re the number 1 bed and breakfast in Galena on TripAdvisor and in the minds of our guests.

August 15th, 2013

Golf Options in Galena

Here is a question we received from a guest of Farmers Guest House: My wife and I are staying at the Farmer’s Guest House …. We were thinking about going golfing one day. (and) would rather go to a more relaxed, simpler course that would not mind a slower pace, nothing fancy. We don’t mind driving a little bit either. Do you have any suggestions on a course?

Answer: We’re looking forward to your arrival in the next few weeks.

golf courses in GalenaThere are several golf courses in the area that fit your needs. The closest course is Galena Golf Club located only a 3 minute drive from Farmers Guest House. If you choose the Galena Golf Club, I would suggest an afternoon tee time when the pace of play and golfers are more relaxed. You can see more at



Eagle Ridge GalenaYou can choose the East Course at Eagle Ridge. The East Course is their 9-hole course and made for families and couples. The course has less play in the morning, as many golfers use the East Course to sneak in an extra 9 after playing 18 earlier in the day. You can research the options at



Golf courses in Galena ilLacoma Golf Club is about a 15-minute drive to East Dubuque, but the course is well-maintained, very scenic and relaxed. The course features 45-holes and their original nine-hole Red Course is a more forgiving test of golf and is perfect for families and those learning the game. An added bonus is that on Saturday, September 7 they are hosting a Couples 2-ball event which may be fun for you and your wife. Learn more about the club and the event at

golf in GalenaFinally, there is Woodbine Bend Golf Club which is located in the village of Woodbine in the town of Stockton, about 25 minutes away from Farmers Guest House. Woodbine is an open, fun, links-style course with rural views and great golf carts. Woodbine Bend also has a fun restaurant with specials on Friday and Saturday nights. You can research them online at

Wherever you choose to play, you will have a fun day. Let us know if you would like us to reserve your tee time or make any additional recommendations for you. Looking forward to seeing you this September.