country setting porch view

Halloween Parade

October 31st, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

Ghouls, goblins, and an occasional Elvis flocked to Galena’s 40th Annual Halloween Parade on Saturday, Oct. 27.  It was a great event for the young and the young-at-heart as thousands hit Main Street to enjoy the music, tasty treats, parade floats, marching bands, and, of course, the costumes.  A shuttle ran regularly from the Walmart parking lot to ease transportation.  Here are some photos from one of Galena’s most treasured traditions!

It’s Fall in Galena!

October 21st, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

Fall has long been a popular time for romantic getaways to beautiful Galena. With trees changing colors and big events adding lots to do, it’s no wonder that many people love to enjoy autumn here year after year.  This fall season has been no exception.

The 12th Annual Oktoberfest was a big hit.  Not to be missed of course were the wiener dog races. Wayne Messmer broke away from his usual duties for the Blackhawks and Cubs and opened the competition with his usual stirring rendition of the national anthem.

The Galena Country Fair brought out 150 artisans from around the country.  Unique handmade crafts and artwork delighted thousands of people, as it has for years.  Live music, delicious food  and lots of baked goods added to the weekend’s festivities, along with a silent auction and raffle.

October will be capped off by Galena’s 40th year of Halloween activities.  Friday, October 26th, will feature a dazzling hot-air balloon glow along Route 20, followed by Galena’s Ghoulish Gala at Turner Hall.  Music for this premier costume party will be provided by Ten Gallon Hat, and a cash bar will be available.  Also that night is the First Annual Witches Ball, to be held at 129 Main Street. American Murder Song will be performing their very own murder ballads from the 1800s. A three-course dinner, drink specials and a costume contest will all be part of the fun.

On Saturday, October 27th, there will be balloon flights (weather permitting), a free kids fest at Galena Middle School, and food vendors downtown.  Of  course, the events would not be complete without Galena’s Halloween Parade, the largest, longest and spookiest parade in the tri-state area.  It will featuring spectacular floats, marching bands, costumed participants, and prizes and treats for both the young and the young at heart.

Fall events will continue into November.  The historically minded will not want to miss Saturday Nov. 3, which will mark the 150th anniversary of the election of Galenian U.S. Grant to the presidency.  Walking tours will be given from the DeSoto House Hotel, where voting will take place (yes, you can cast your ballot), to the Washburne House, where Grant and many of his supporters will be awaiting election returns. From there, you can follow Grant up to his home.  Prominent historians from the Midwest will act as tour guides.

Nouveau Wine weekend will take place Nov. 16 and 17.  This tradition celebrates the practice of bottling the first wine of the harvest just a few weeks after fermentation.  Galena Cellars hosts this fall series of events, which starts at noon on Friday, Nov. 16, with the official release of the new wine and includes a parade down Main Street and the participation of many local restaurants.

It’s clear why fall in Galena is a special time.  We hope that you will find time to enjoy the season, and we hope that you will make the Cloran Mansion Bed & Breakfast your home away from home!


Samantha and Edgar of Chicago enjoy the fall outside the newly renovated Galena Depot.

Oktoberfest brings out a celebration of autumn with German flare

Oktoberfest included lots of music & dancing

Dog & owner prepare for Galena’s wiener race

Welcome to the Cloran Mansion Bed & Breakfast!

Paul & Janet, owners of the Cloran Mansion Bed & Breakfast, do some apple-picking at the newly opened Terrapin Orchards in nearby Elizabeth.

Sunrise over the fall cornfields behind Cloran Mansion Bed & Breakfast


Apple & Pumpkin Picking Season!

August 26th, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

apple picking near Galena

A glimpse of the apple orchard at Dittmar in 2017. Dittmar Farms & Orchard is in Elizabeth, about 20 minutes from Galena

pumpkin picking near Galena

Pumpkin patch at Dittmar Farms & Orchard

A sure sign that fall is on the way is the opening of Dittmar Farms & Orchard.  That officially happens on Saturday, September 1, much to the delight of apple- and pumpkin-pickers across the area. Dittmar Farms began in 1854 when Erhardt Dittmar left Germany and settled in Illinois.  The Farms are located in Elizabeth, the first town east of Galena and about twenty minutes from Cloran Mansion.

Dittmar farms offers an opportunity to pick your own apples and pumpkins. Vistors can also go on hayrides, work their way through a corn maze, listen to live music, eat apple-cider donuts, have some caramel apples, and in general enjoy fall in the Midwest. Of course it is a great place for family fun.  But for couples looking to get away and have some time together in the outdoors, Dittmar offers a wonderful escape.

Just reading about it reminds me a lot of one of my family’s annual rituals. Ever since my wife Janet and I began dating more than twenty years ago, we would make an annual visit to an apple farm in Wisconsin.  In some years our daughters went (until they became too cool for it :).  Other years we were joined by nephews and nieces.  But always there was the two of us, invariably bringing home more apples than we could eat or my wife could bake.  We gave the rest away, but apples (or pumpkins) were never really the main point anyway.  It was a chance to get outside in some fresh air, enjoy each other’s company, and watch others do the same.

The web site for Dittmar Farms & Orchard is, and it also has a page on Facebook.  It is located at 256 South Gerber Road in Elizabeth, and admission is $5.  It will be open on Saturdays (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sundays (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) through the fall.  People seeking more information can call 815-218-0597.

The pictures in this post are from the Dittmar Farms website.



Wednesday Wedding Bells

August 16th, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

Love was in the air on Wednesday.  Kira Goodman and Jason Le Noble of Wisconsin held an outdoor, midweek wedding at the Cloran Mansion.  The gardens, gazebo, koi pond and — of course — The Heart provided the perfect backdrop for family to gather for Kira and Jason’s ceremony.  You may be looking for a romantic spot for a Galena wedding.  If so, the Cloran Mansion provides a great opportunity to let us take care of the details and help make your special day as stress-free as possible!

Arts Festival

August 9th, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

Come join us Saturday and Sunday, August 10th and 11th, for the 13th Annual Market House Square Arts Festival.  Local and regional artists will be showcasing their paintings, woodwork, jewelry, pottery, baskets, and more at this outdoor event located at the Old Market House State Historic Site behind Main Street. Local musicians will perform throughout the day. Plenty of food and beverages will be available for purchase.  There is still time to enjoy the summer!  More information about this event and others in Galena can always be found at

Fuel for the Fire

August 2nd, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

We have gone back to an old look at the Cloran Mansion with the addition of Adirondack chairs to complement a new fire pit.  There’s nothing like sitting back on a summer or fall night and enjoying a romantic outdoor fire!  The Adirondack chairs look lovely in the daytime sun or the glow of the fire pit, but either way, we hope you will find time to come out and enjoy!  Special thanks to my sister Barb and my daughter Oksana who put in most of the work to make this happen!

Time to Blossom

July 31st, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

One of the attractions that brings so many people to the Cloran Mansion is the landscape around it.  The beauty of the gardens is now on display, and it is great to see so many guests enjoying it.  Some head out to the gazebo with an early cup of joe and enjoy  quiet time or a pre-breakfast conversation.  Others walk around in early evening and find a relaxing moment at the koi pond.  Either way, the surroundings of the blossoming flowers provide just the right atmosphere for adding to your good time in Galena with some true R&R.  Now is the right time to come out to Galena and enjoy yourself at Cloran Mansion!

Renewing Vows

July 16th, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

It was a great day at the Cloran Mansion as Miriam Thompson surprised her husband Raleigh with a renewal of wedding vows.  Today was the couple’s 24th wedding anniversary, and they came to the Cloran Mansion for the first time to relax and get away for a few days.  Raleigh did not know, though, that when he came down to the dining room before going out to dinner, he would be met not only by Miriam but by wedding officiant Jesse Farlow.  It was a happy occasion for a truly inspiring couple.  The Cloran is a place for renewing and reconnecting, so we are honored to host these events. Maybe you would like to renew your vows here, or maybe the renewal you have in mind doesn’t involve an official ceremony.  In either case, we would be happy to see you!

Kellers Celebrate 50th at Cloran

July 12th, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

Karen and Clayton Keller remember the hot summer day 50 years ago, July 12, 1968, when they were married in Bloomingdale, Illinois. Clayton was about to ship out to Vietnam with the Marines after being drafted, and they were excited to begin their lives together even knowing that for the next thirteen months they would be apart

The Kellers on their Golden Day

The Kellers have a Memory Stone engraved outside the gazebo

.  Fifty years later it is clear to all who meet them that their love still burns bright and their sense of humor remains intact (how to survive 50 years without that?).  It is really an honor to have couples like the Kellers celebrate with us and rekindle relationships.  Thank you Karen and Clayton, and Happy 50th!

Weekday Getaway!

July 6th, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

Getting away is just a little more special when you know the rest of the world is working!  Check out our new weekday offering under Specials at the top of this page.

July 4th Wedding Fireworks

July 6th, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

The 4th of July has long been known for fireworks, but Kristi and Michael Killen added their own touch this year by getting married at the Cloran Mansion.  The couple had a great day for it, even if it was a little on the hot side, and the gazebo, gardens, koi pond, and 135-year-old mansion provided a beautiful backdrop for a wonderful couple.  Thanks goes out to Kristi and Michael for letting us be part of their special day!




July 3rd, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

It has been an exciting week at Cloran Mansion. Taking over as the fourth owner of this magnificent bed and breakfast in its long history is really a privilege, and we feel filled with gratitude. The house is beautiful. The grounds are gorgeous. But best of all about being the caretaker of this grand old place is meeting the people who come in and out of it every day. They come from every walk of life, but they all come looking to recharge their batteries, and they come with a generosity of spirit that recharges us.  Case in point is our very first guests: Sandra and Charlie Eastridges of Schererville, Indiana.  They could not be kinder or more generous as they see us begin our journey.  So cheers to all who are beginning fresh in one way or another right now.  If you get a chance to stop by Cloran Mansion, we can compare notes.

Our first guests

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