When Mr. Houseful and I need a break but don’t have a ton of time, we tend to look for places to go that aren’t more than three hours away. Our heart usually turns to Galena, Il – the small Midwest city just west of us off of route 20. We honeymooned there 12 years ago, and we visit almost yearly and find new things to do each time. This particular visit was no exception. We had always seen signs for Chestnut Mountain whenever we have visited, but circumstances just didn’t line up properly for us to visit, until this year. This year, we conquered the mountain, and we did it during the warmer months, because why not?
We were invited by Chestnut Mountain Resort as their guests to check out the resort and the attractions it had to offer, and given that we were in need of a bit of a breather because of life happenings, it couldn’t have come at a perfect time. We checked in on a Monday and stayed until Thursday and discovered so much more than we had in visits prior.
Here’s the rundown.
The resort is 8 miles south of Route 20 and runs along the Mississippi River. When you stay on a resort property you want to make sure that you are going to have the peace and privacy that you want to feel like you’ve gotten away from it all. The thing is, they picked the right city to establish themselves in. Galena is a city away from it all, while surprisingly providing opportunities to do amazing things, and leave rested and with great experiences to boot. Our room was a two-bed queen sized room with a bathroom. Very rustic feeling, one can even say that it is unassuming. Complete with Wi-fi, a flat screen television, microwave, and fridge, you have enough to keep you comfortable for a short getaway. Our room looked out over the rolling hills, which turn into ski slopes during the winter, a vivid green.
Rooms range from single rooms to 2 bedroom suites that can fit a total of 16 people just in case you want to make a reunion out of your stay. With a pool, sauna, and hot tub, all amenities are covered. The beds were comfortable, and we used them both. It’s a pact we have. If we check into a room and it has two beds, we sleep as Lucy & Desi did back in the day. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with a bed to yourself while on vacation.
Our view though? Full on of the summer attractions that Chestnut Mountain Resort has to offer. The joy is you can purchase an adventure pass to try them all during your visit, and it only comes in at $40 pp and includes one Soaring Eagle ride, unlimited Alpine Slide rides & one round of miniature or disc golf.
Soaring Eagle Zipline
There is no way to take a flattering photo on this zipline after lunch, so let’s just call a spade a spade. This isn’t a regular zipline at all. No strapping yourself into a harness and freely flying through the air with a feeling of weightlessness. Instead, you’re strapped into a seat – two people – and zipped backwards to the top of a zipline, and then released to come soaring back to the base where air brakes will stop you.
This is another attraction that is included with the Adventure Package, but you can do it separately for $15 a ride or $25 per duo.
A 2,050-foot tailored track that sleds down to the banks of the Mississippi. The three state view back up on the lift is just as much of an attraction as the downhill adrenaline rush itself. Mr. Houseful had a time riding down again, and again, and again. I do have to admit that seeing him act like a kid was really cute.
If you’re more of a one and done type of person, the Alpine Slide clocks in at $10 for a single ticket. But from what I hear, that won’t be enough for you.
This particular activity was a big deal for me. I’m an extrovert, but I’m a scaredy cat. There. I said it. Segways are balanced by gyroscopes and are actually quite trustworthy. My body, however, was not. Since I had to use my booty, my toes and my heels to move the machine properly, we got properly acquainted during our 90 minute tour. I will say, as with every thing that I step out of my comfort zone and try, I’m happy I did it. Mr. Houseful may not know it, but his little shouts of confirmation while we were whizzing through the trees on nature paths, and down hills – YES HILLS – and right back up again, I smiled a little.
Don’t you worry about not being able to ride before you come either. You have to take a class before they even set you out on the trails, and they DO NOT LEAVE until you can stop and steer properly.
Tours are $60 pp, but they are definitely one of those things that you just have to do if you haven’t done it before.
Can you see the recurring theme of me on things with two wheels while on hilly paths? Yep. That was basically my stay at Chestnut Mountain Resort. The Mr. and I got up early in the morning our second day and rented bikes for exploring the property.
This is also the trip where I learned that my husband is a bit of a daredevil on bikes, and I am indeed more mother than I was before. He went SAILING down paths while I hit my brakes way more than I should have. Guys, I’m handling this almost middle-aged portion of my life SWIMMINGLY!
You know what though? Following him on the paths, and touring the property this way was probably even better than doing it on the Segway. Don’t tell our Segway guide Steve though. We were able to ride further out off the property, and since you can rent the bikes all day for $30 pp, you can see A LOT. They do have trail guides, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost, and each of the trails are rated for activity level. The way that I was breathing after our cycling session let me know that I indeed do sit down most days.
Fast tip: If you didn’t bring your own bug spray, make sure to stop in the onsite store to pick up a bottle of Bug Soother – which repels all of the mosquitoes and gnats that tend to congregate in the summer.
Mr. Houseful beat me in our round of miniature golf. At one point, I think I even picked the golf ball up and put it into the hole because my geometry skills were failing me. However, 18 holes of miniature golf caused me to laugh like a loon, and practice my hand eye coordination. I will say, the creativity of each of the holes impressed me. There was a bowling themed one, and one that I believe looked like a spaceship. I know that I’m going to have to work on the force in which I hit my golf balls because I completely overshot quite a few hole in ones because I’m too heavy handed.
Games clock in at $5 per adult and $4 for children. But the adventure pass gets you a game included.
Food at Chestnut Mountain Resort
I think that being from Chicago always has me brace for high priced foods because of city prices. However, the meals at Chestnut Mountain Resort were modestly priced, and I never left a meal feeling hungry. This beet salad with grilled shrimp was a highlight of my time there, and sitting on the patio to enjoy it gave the entire meal a fine dining feel.
No worries though, if you’re looking for more pub style food, they have you covered with burgers, steaks, and other finger foods. I insist though – try the beet salad with the shrimp. Absolutely perfect for a summer meal.
We did have breakfast, lunch and dinner at the resort and at no point did we feel that we didn’t get our money’s worth. I know that when resort is attached to the title of a hotel, dollar signs may follow with EVERYTHING they offer.
So, tell me, when you go off on vacation – especially if they are without children, do you find yourself trying more adventurous things, or less? I know that everything we tried was safe, but it was so out of the norm of our “regular” “restful” time away. It was nice to get rugged for a change.
Have you ever been to Galena? How about the Chestnut Mountain Resort? Tag me in your photos, I want to see if you had as much fun as I did!