Are you making plans for a weekend visit to Galena, Il? This Civil War-era historic town makes a fantastic place for a live history lesson. Fortunately, you’ll also find several local bed and breakfast establishments. They provide comfortable rooms, more history and they’ll even throw in a morning meal.

The town of Galena dates back several centuries. It is best known today, however, for its ties to the Civil War. Much of the town was built during this period. This is clearly evident in its many homes and buildings. Reddish-brown brick is prominent, particularly in the downtown area.

Its biggest tie to the Civil War, though, is one of its famous former residents.  Ulysses S. Grant maintained a home in Galena for several years. Grant was a prominent Civil War General who later became the US President.

Grant’s old home has been preserved as a historic building.

Approximately 85 percent of the city’s buildings and structures actually lie within the Galena Historic District. The district is registered with the National Register of Historic Places. This designation ensures continued preservation of the town’s history.

Many of the local bed and breakfast homes in Galena also lie within the historic district. The homes themselves originated between the mid 1800’s and the early 1900’s. Staying in a local bed and breakfast offers more than just an economic advantage. Here are three things that you can expect from a stay at a local bed and breakfast:

1) A history lesson: Local bed and breakfast owners are very familiar with the histories of their homes.

They consider it part of their job to make these stories an integral part of your stay. Guests usually get a brief overview of the home’s history and its former residents. Owners don’t mind sitting down over coffee with visitors for longer story-telling sessions too.

It’s hard not to learn something about Galena’s past even if you don’t opt for a verbal history lesson. Many local bed and breakfast heritage homes have been restored to resemble their original design and décor. Spending the night is like traveling back in time. You can’t help but soak up the history around you.

2) Free parking and short trips to town: You’ll have quick, easy access to most of Galena’s sites, attractions and amenities. A significant number of local bed and breakfast homes are located in or near downtown. This is where most of the town’s historic attractions are located. In fact, the entire city is concentrated in an area less than four square miles.

The downtown area is the heart of the city, boasting historic sites plus modern businesses. The downtown sector is surrounded by homes, which includes many of its local bed and breakfast establishments. These inns are within walking distance of the commercial area. Visitors can keep their cars parked and catch sights and attractions on foot.

3) Attentive service: Each local bed and breakfast is run by owners and hosts who live right on site. They’re available 24 hours a day and go out of their way to make sure guests feel at home. The service is much more personable than what you’ll find at a big hotel chain.

4) Beautiful, spacious rooms at economical prices: One of the best things about local bed and breakfast establishments is room quality. Guests get bigger rooms than what they’d get for a hotel or motel room of comparable price. Often you receive three or four star-type rooms for half of what you’d pay at a hotel. Plus, you get breakfast at no extra charge!

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