If you're looking to get away for some R, R, & R - rest, relaxation, and recreation - Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa is the place to go. Located just seven miles from Galena the resort is set amidst rolling hills on a private lake. Even if you avail yourself of the many activities on the property itself and in the surrounding area the gorgeous setting makes for a serene getaway.
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa hosted a morel hunt for media and I attended with fellow travel writers. In part three of my "Into The Woods" series covering the event I'm featuring our hosts.
Accommodations at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa
When you stay at Eagle Ridge you can choose from one of the eighty rooms in the Inn or from over 200 homes and villas located in the surrounding Galena Territory. These rental homes range from a one-bedroom hexagonal hideaway to a six bedroom villa. Some of the homes are townhomes and some are completely separate residences. Each is individually decorated with a distinct personality.
They all include complete kitchens and there are often gas grills, a great amenity for cooking in for an evening or two during your stay. There's even an onsite store that sells cuts of meat and other groceries. While it could be tempting to prepare your own meals the entire time you're there (if you're an avid home cook like I am) you'll want to make sure you visit Eagle Ridge's restaurants. The culinary team is outstanding. (More on dining below.)
I've stayed in the rental homes a couple of different times and they offer an abundance of space and amenities. I truly felt like a "Local Tourist" as I made myself at home, stocking the refrigerator, relaxing in the gigantic tub, grilling out on the deck, watching a movie I picked up from the General Store, and enjoying a morning coffee in the provided robe as the day began. The only thing missing from a stay in these villas is time - I wish there were more of it!
The Inn provides a completely different experience. Where the villas provide seclusion, the Inn offers inclusion. You can choose from a rustic room in the main lodge or the courtyard. All rooms offer jetted bathtubs, robes, wifi, HDTV, and coffee makers. If you stay in the courtyard you can step outside on your balcony or patio. There are also a few select rooms that include a fireplace. There's a spa, a pool, a fitness center, a boutique, and a marina. Dining and drinking are just a few steps away, or you can have your meal delivered to your room.
Dining at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa
photo courtesy of Eagle Ridge
Speaking of dining, it is, bar none, excellent, with a team that has more longevity than most marriages, restaurants, small businesses, and hit Broadway shows.
There are four options for dining at the resort. Woodlands Restaurant is a top-rated dining destination for the region. It's open daily for breakfast with the option of an a la carte menu including waffles, French toast, biscuits and gravy, and eggs benedict, both traditional and portabella. You can also choose their excellent breakfast buffet. "Buffet" can conjure images of dried eggs, limp bacon, and underripe honeydew melon in the ubiquitous fruit salad, but theirs is nothing of the sort. Expect smoked salmon with capers, ripe berries ready to burst with sweetness, crisp bacon, fresh bagels, and delicious made-to-order omelets.
On Thursday through Saturday evenings the restaurant offers an upscale selection of creative dishes from Chef Randy and his team. Scallops in a vodka tomato sauce; a bacon wilted spinach salad with shiitake mushrooms, pears, and smoked duck breast; and salmon seared in jasmine and chamomile and served with sweet corn, asparagus, and a tomato stew with a Reisling and cream reduction give you an idea of what you can expect. On Fridays there are wine tastings and on Saturdays there's an all-you-can-eat prime rib dinner.
Woodlands Lounge serves more casual fare, but it's got a twist. The nachos are Tuscan, the chowder is sausage and corn, the wedge is served with blackened ahi, and the pot roast is made of veal. For the kids they've got mini pigs-in-a-blanket and the grilled cheese is on Texas toast. Stop at the bar and get a Screaming Eagle, their own custom beer brewed by Leinenkugel, and lounge in one of the outdoor Adirondack chairs to watch the sunset over Lake Galena. If the view isn't enough there's also live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
photo courtesy of Eagle Ridge
Also in the Inn is Paisanos. This is their fast casual coffee shop, ice cream parlor, and pizzeria. You can dine in or take some to go. Boaters will dock at the marina and take some Italian sandwiches with them for a day on the lake. They'll also conveniently deliver right to your room.
The final dining destination is the first one you see when you enter The Galena Territory. Woodstone is open seasonally and it offers wood fired specialties with panoramic views of The General, the resort's largest golf course.
Recreation at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa
If you're looking for an active getaway there are enough activities at Eagle Ridge to keep you as busy as you want to be.
Eagle Ridge is known for golf, and for good reason. Their four championship golf courses were recently renovated and provide sixty-three holes that incorporate the rolling hills and woodlands. Make sure you're dressed appropriately; they require golf attire.
If you like your walks spoiled to take a little less time than a traditional round of golf try out foot golf or hack golf. Both are sanctioned by the PGA but are more fun for kids and those who don't play the sport.
The Shenandoah Riding Center offers trail rides and lessons, and in the winter also offers sleigh rides. There are over forty miles of groomed riding trails and riders of all experience levels can explore The Galena Territory on horseback.
photo courtesy Shenandoah Riding Center
Hiking & Biking
There are over twenty miles of trails to explore on your own two legs. Some are easy and skirt the golf courses. Others take you through the heart of the woods to some magnificent vistas. Some of the trails are also bike-friendly and you can either bring your own or borrow one from the resort at no charge.
When you're enjoying your breakfast at Woodlands don't be surprised if you see a Bald Eagle soaring over the lake. There's a reason the resort is called Eagle Ridge. In addition to eagles there are over 200 types of birds in the area, making this one of the best birding destinations in North America.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
One of the best ways to see the beautiful countryside of the tri-state area is from the air. You can depart at sunrise or sunset with Galena On The Fly. One balloon holds fourteen people, so you can make it a party in the sky! The schedule varies, so call 815-777-2747 for details.
photo courtesy of Galena on the Fly
Boating and Fishing
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa sits on Lake Galena, a private man-made lake that features some of the best fishing in the area. There are pontoon boats, paddleboats, kayaks or canoes available for rent at the resort-side marina. The lake was created by the flooding of Smallpox Creek. It filled so quickly that a farm was buried, making a great habitat for fish, as well as old bridges and other structures.
One of the nice things about the lake is that there are no private lots on the lake shore. It's also wake-free, ensuring absolute serenity for fishers, birders, and hikers.
Last but not least, there's the spa in Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa. Stonedrift puts the "Relaxation" into the R, R, & R of Eagle Ridge. With over 6,000 square feet of serenity there's plenty of room for their spa professionals to provide massages, facials, reflexology, and signature treatments. Their private suite is perfect for couples, friends, and mothers and daughters who want to share their pampering.
photo courtesy of Eagle Ridge Resort
In addition to all of the above, Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa is located near several wineries as well as the quaint town of Galena. It's a short distance to the Mississippi River and twenty minutes to Dubuque, Iowa. If you're looking for rest, relaxation, and recreation, and some great dining in a picturesque location, you'll find it at Eagle Ridge.
Coming up: the final installment in our four-part series introduces you to The Galena Territory, the semi-private recreational, residential, and resort community in which Eagle Ridge resides.
Into The Woods at Eagle Ridge
- Part I: Hunting the Mighty Morel
- Part II: A Resort with High Morel Standards
- Part III: R, R, & R at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa
- Part IV: The Galena Territory
Disclaimer: I was invited to the Morel Dinner and Hunt as a member of the media, and Eagle Ridge provided accommodations, miles of hiking paths and oodles of serenity. And lots, and lots of calories. Photos ©Theresa Carter Goodrich unless otherwise noted.