Cloran Mansion Bed & Breakfast (Galena, Illinois)

Category Archives: Cloran Mansion News

Taking Flight

June 15, 2019 by Paul Kolimas

John Bonner and his wife Sandra have a lot of experience with hot air balloons. In John’s case, though, it was not as a passenger but as a pilot. For a long time, John flew his own hot air balloon. Meanwhile, Sandra would track the flight with her truck back on the ground That was quite some time ago, though.

This week John and Sandra stayed at the Cloran Mansion. John took advantage of the opportunity to take to the skies one more time, courtesy of Galena on the Fly at Eagle Ridge. It was his first flight since 1980. True to her old form, Sandra rode with the trackers back on earth, but she still managed to take plenty of great photos.

John was amazed at how far technology had come as he made his way a mile into the air, and he described a fantastic one-hour flight. Apparently the hot air balloon bug has never completely left John, as he recommends this unique way to see the beauty of the Galena area to anyone who visits!

For those of you who prefer to watch the skies rather than head into them in a wicker basket, this is a reminder that next weekend is the Great Galena Balloon Race, June 21-23. Come on out and enjoy the sights!

Hot air balloon taking off into blue sky

John’s balloon heads toward Elizabeth, IL

John stands next to wicker basket of hot air balloon

John poses for Sandra as he prepares for his flight

Two Weddings and an Engagement

May 26, 2019 by Paul Kolimas

It has been a passionate Memorial Day Weekend at Cloran Mansion. On Saturday two couples were married here. At 1 p.m., officiant Jess Farlow married Nancy Zaremba and Mike Seifert of Bloomingdale, Illinois. Then Jess returned for a 4 p.m. ceremony, marrying Brooke Jensen and A.J. Lenzie of Manhattan, Illinois. The weather was beautiful, as were the ceremonies. Thank you to both couples for making it a memorable day and for honoring us by allowing us to host their weddings.

The day wasn’t over yet, though. Marco Rodrigues chose the Cloran that evening to “pop the question” to Andressa Prado. She said Yes! Marco and Andressa hail from Brazil but now live in the Chicago area. Congratulations to this wonderful couple as they begin making their wedding plans!

Please contact us if you are interested in holding a wedding here, renewing vows, or celebrating some other special event.

Marco and Andressa embrace under heart at Cloran Mansion

Marco & Andressa


Nancy & Mike pose for picture under heart at Cloran Mansion

Nancy & Mike

Brooke & A.J. pose for picture under heart at Cloran Mansion

Brooke & A.J.

Two New Packages!

May 16, 2019 by Paul Kolimas

We are pleased to announce that the Cloran Mansion Bed and Breakfast is now offering two new packages in cooperation with Chestnut Mountain.

The “Mississippi River Cruise” will allow our guests to take a 1.5 hours adventure along the Mississippi. The cost is $40 per couple, a $20 savings from the normal rate! River cruise times are 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and are available on Saturday and Sunday only beginning Memorial Day Weekend. All cruises include Alpine Slide and Scenic Chair Ride to and from departure area at Chestnut Mountain.

The “Adventure Package Chestnut Mountain” also gives a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. A ticket gives guests admission to three activities: Take a ride on the Soaring Eagle and get a bird’s-eye view of the Mississippi River. Race down 2,050 feet of tailored track on a sled to the banks of the Mississippi, followed by a scenic ride back up top on a lift (unlimited rides). Play a round of miniature golf or disc golf. The package is $50, a $30 savings from the normal rate! Available Saturday and Sunday only, beginning Memorial Day Weekend.

Note: riders of the Soaring Eagle must be at least 42 inches tall to ride, and rides (single or combined) must not exceed 450 pounds. The Soaring Eagle is not recommended for expectant mothers, persons with neck or back problems, persons with fear of heights, persons with heart problems or high blood pressure, persons who have had recent surgery, and persons with any impairment that would prevent normal seating or use of safety restraints as provided.

Chestnut Mountain is approximately a 20-minute drive from Cloran Mansion.

We hope that both of these options will give our guests a greater opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Galena area. On top of that, it will allow our guests to save some money as well. We hope to see you at the Cloran Mansion soon! If you have any questions, or you want to take advantage of either of the new packages, please give us a call at 815-777-0583. You can also purchase packages online at this website. Simply click on “Concierge” when reserving your room.

Ferry boat going down Mississippi River

The Mississippi River Cruise will give guests a chance to relax and enjoy the view.

Couple on Soaring Eagle with view toward Mississippi River.

The Soaring Eagle gives guests a chance to see the Mississippi River in a whole new way.

Long-Distance Travelers

May 9, 2019 by Paul Kolimas


Driscoll family from England poses in front of house

Driscoll family visits from England

Alex feeds koi

Alex did a great job of feeding the koi!

We were honored to host the Driscoll family the past two days in Antonio’s Cottage. They surely will take the award this week for longest distance traveled to stay here. Stephen, Karen, and their son Alex visited us from London, England. They started by visiting Chicago, then came out to Galena for all that it offers for scenery and family fun. I give Stephen and Karen credit for remembering what side of the road to stay on!

A special thank you goes out to Alex, who, as the picture shows, proved quite adept at keeping the koi happy with some fish food! Thank you to all three for visiting — not only were they a pleasure to host, but nothing classes up breakfast like a British accent!

May the 4th Was With Them!

May 6, 2019 by Paul Kolimas

It was 70, sunny and spectacular as Kurt & Kelsey were married in a wedding at the Cloran Mansion Bed and Breakfast on Saturday, May 4th.  Family and friends gathered for what turned out to be a wonderful day to help Kurt & Kelsey celebrate their new lives together.  No signs of Luke Skywalker or Chewbacca, but the forces of Mother Nature were definitely with them on their wedding day!

If you are interested in getting married in Galena, as an elopement with just the two of you, or with close friends and family gathered, just give Paul a call at 815-777-0583.

Love…and Snow… in the Air!

April 29, 2019 by Paul Kolimas

Elizabeth and Barrett Stillings held a beautiful wedding on Saturday, April 27 at the Cloran Mansion. They were joined by family to celebrate the special occasion (as well as by their loyal companion, Kal!). They were also treated to a special surprise by Mother Nature, who dropped snow all day long on the unsuspecting spring flowers. It didn’t dampen spirits, though, nor the memorable karaoke singing! Thank you to Elizabeth and Barrett for rolling with Mother Nature’s punches and making it a great day! As I told them, this was one day I am unlikely to forget.

Enter WTTW Contest!

March 8, 2019 by Paul Kolimas

Geoffrey Baer visits Chestnut Mountain

PBS station Channel 11 WTTW in Chicago has just aired a new special by Geoffrey Baer called “Chicago on Vacation.” To launch the new show and website, the station and Cloran Mansion are offering a drawing for two free nights! The deadline to enter is April 5. You do not need to be a PBS member to win. To enter, simply visit this site:…/chicago-on-vacation-contest We are proud to be partnering with WTTW Channel 11 on this show! Good luck!

May Races!

March 4, 2019 by Paul Kolimas

There are a lot of fun races to participate in this coming spring. Get some fresh air and enjoy Galena’s beautiful countryside while showing your competitive streak on any of the below races.
  • Ride the Ups and Downs (May 4, 7am – 3pm)
  • Galena River Trail Run (May 18, 8am – 11am)
  • Galena Sky Trail Race (May 18, 8am – 4pm)
Check out all the details for these fun races at

Renovated Rooms

January 25, 2019 by Paul Kolimas

We have been busy in January making updates to upstairs rooms at Cloran Mansion. Tower, Ann’s, John’s, and Alice’s rooms all received new carpeting. New tiles were added to the bathroom floors of Ann’s, John’s and Alice’s rooms.  Renovations were made to the bathroom wall tiles in Ann’s and John’s rooms as well as to the tiles surrounding the fireplaces in those two rooms.

A new 40-inch TV replaced the previous one in Tower, and new wall-mounted 32-inch TV’s replaced the previous ones in Ann’s and John’s rooms, providing more space as well as a bigger screen.

The common space was also renovated, including a new floor.  Don’t worry, though, the DVD library is still there and full as ever.

We hope the renovations will add to the comfort of our guests. We also hope that they are well in keeping with Cloran Mansion’s theme:  “Modern Comforts, Historic Charm.”

We look forward to continuing to serve our guests and making them feel at home in the Cloran Mansion.  We hope that you will make reservations in 2019 to celebrate both the old and the new here with your loved one.

You should look for room photos on our web site to be updated in February after professional photographers have come out.  The photos you see here are Paul’s and hopefully give you a glimpse into updates we have been making.

New carpet in Ann's Room

New carpeting and updates to the fireplace are a couple of the changes to Ann’s Room.

New TV and carpeting in John's Room

John’s Room received a new, mounted TV as well as new carpeting and updates to the fireplace.

Tower Room's new carpet, paint and TV

Tower received new paint as well as a new, larger TV and new carpet.

Ann's bathroom received new tiles

Ann’s bathroom received new tiles on the floor as well as renovated wall tiles

John's bathroom new tiles

The bathroom in John’s Room received new floor tiles and renovations to the wall tile.

Common Room's new floor

The common space has a new floor and some new furniture (but still great coffee and cookies!)

This is also a good time to remind you of deals that are going on.  If you stay for three nights in any rooms Sunday though Thursday, you pay for only two!  Through March 15, if you book a room for two nights on a Sunday through Thursday, the second night is 30% off.  We are also offering discounted rates on all dates and rooms through February 8th.  If you want to see the beauty of Galena in the winter, now is a great chance!

The Holidays at Cloran Mansion, 2018

November 28, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

Enjoy the Holidays at the Cloran Mansion in Galena with someone you love! A romantic getaway can be just what you need during this busy season.  Watch the video

Celebrate the Holidays at Cloran Mansion Bed & Breakfast in Galena!


Holiday Gift Certificates are Here!

November 16, 2018 by Paul Kolimas

Give a Gift They Will Treasure!

What a better way to show your love at the holiday season than by purchasing a gift certificate for some time away at the Cloran Mansion  Bed & Breakfast!  As an added bonus, for every $200 gift certificate you buy, we will also provide a $25 gift certificate to either Fried Green Tomatoes or Fritz & Frites restaurants when the guests check in.

Finally, we would like to thank YOU during this holiday season. With the purchase of any gift certificate $200 or above, we will provide a discount of 25% off any couples or single massage when YOU make a reservation at the Cloran Mansion in 2019.

These holiday gift certificates can be e-mailed to you. We can also mail you a Cloran Mansion gift card. Either way, you will be saying to your loved one how much you care.

Gift certificates can be ordered on the phone by calling Paul at 815-777-0583. You can also purchase online by clicking on “Check Availability,” and then hitting the tab for Gift Certificates.




Any questions? — please call!



Halloween Parade

October 31, 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 21, 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 26, 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 16, 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 9, 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 2, 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 31, 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 16, 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 12, 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 6, 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 6, 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 3, 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