Places, events in Galena area mentioned in new book


ST. LOUIS, MO.–There’s a new book out that mentions “100 Things to Do in Illinois Before You Die,” and a few places and events from the Galena area made the list.

There are several bucket list books for different cities and states published by Reedy Press but writer Melanie Holmes noticed that there wasn’t an Illinois one. Holmes has lived in Illinois for her whole life and has done a significant amount of traveling throughout the state for both business and pleasure.

“And so with all this traveling really recently in 2019 and 2020 when I saw that and because I was already a writer, author, I felt like I could do justice to our state. So, I pitched the idea to Reedy Press and they took me up on the offer to write the book,” Holmes said.

Holmes first visited Galena with her husband for an anniversary.

“We just fell in love with the whole town, the B&B concept, beautiful history and just beautiful area,” she said.

Advertisement Advertisement

They later returned with their daughter and attended the Halloween Parade one year. Holmes came back again in 2019 when she was traveling to every county in the state.

“It’s just a beautiful area,” she said. “I mean, the hills is what really strikes a person who’s not from that corner of our state. . .Geologically, you guys are really unique to the state.”

Some of the places and events listed in her book include Chestnut Mountain Resort, the Great Galena Balloon Race and Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Company. There are also references to the Driftless Area, downtown Galena, Eagle Ridge, Galena On the Fly and Fried Green Tomatoes in tips and within other entries of the book.

Holmes hasn’t visited or attended every play or event she mentions in her book. The Great Galena Balloon Race is an event she hasn’t attended yet but plans to this year. She has wanted to attend a balloon festival but just hasn’t been able to yet. In her research of balloon festivals, she discovered the Great Galena Balloon Race. She said it’s not super costly and the funds are given to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

“If you’re going to see something like this, if you’re going to put this on your bucket list, do it in Galena because you’re going to be in a beautiful area, peaceful area and you’re going to see something cool,” she said.

Holmes is a nonfiction writer, who has written four other books. The Population Institute awarded her first book, “The Female Assumption: A Mother’s Story, Freeing Women from the View that Motherhood is a Mandate,” a 2014 Global Media Award. Encouragement from that and her husband led her to keep writing.