The Steamboat House in Galena, Ill., has remained relatively unchanged since its construction during 1855. Innkeepers Glen and Char Carlson have kept the bed-and-breakfast modern while avoiding a structural reconstruction of the house. The result is nine bedrooms, seven bathrooms, seven fireplaces and suspended Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers that keep the atmosphere of this bed and breakfast feeling just as I imagine it must have during the 19th Century. Char says opening the Steamboat House in Galena during 2000 was an obvious choice for her and her husband.
“It was no big decision,” she explains. “We’re retiring, we collect antiques, the house is beautiful. It just came naturally.”
All five individually decorated rooms – Elsie, Bess, Lene, Viola and Amanda – have their own fireplaces and bathrooms, turning the concept of a “guestroom” into one more befitting a private suite. Since the house is structurally the same as it was during the 1800s, guests can take advantage of a spacious billiard room and a library fully stocked with books, movies, games and magazines. The wrap around porch, screened in gazebo and impressive fountain set in front of the house are delicate touches that make the house seem even more striking than I thought possible.
“Our niche is a fun, homelike experience,” Glen says. “Guests can be as private or as social as they like.”
Although the main feature of any bed-and-breakfast is typically a delicious breakfast, Steamboat House guests receive an entire three course meal every morning. This bed-and-breakfast is distinct in that it has a liquor license. Every night, guests are encouraged to host “Wine Time,” interacting with each other and relaxing.