10 Reasons Winter is actually the best time to visit Galena Country

Whether you look at winter as a time for outdoor adventure to embrace the elements or a call to head indoors for cozy relaxation and family downtime, Galena offers the perfect winter escape. From a couple’s retreat to a family vacation, from skiing to sleigh rides, from candlelit hikes to Winter Carnival, from romantic dinners to wine tasting, here are the 10 reasons winter is the best time to visit Galena, Il.

 

1. Chestnut Mountain Resort 

It doesn’t matter if you’re an avid skier or a novice, you should hit the slopes during the winter at Chestnut Mountain Resort. With 19 runs ranging from beginner to expert, you can move on to the next challenge or stay in your comfort zone. For snowboarders, the Farside, Chestnut Mountain’s own 7-acre terrain park named the top Midwest Snowboard Park by Transworld for 3 consecutive years, has its own triple-chair and surface lift with more than 25 rails and jumps. In fact, it’s the largest terrain park in all the Midwest. Group ski lessons for children are broken into two age groups, 4 to 6 or 7 to 12, with all-day or half-day options and snowboarding available for ages 7 and older. A toddler daycare program is also available. And when hunger hits, no need to leave the area. Mountain Top Cafe is located just off the bunny slope and has everything from pizza to cheese fries and a salad in between.

Many rooms at the resort offer slopeside views and visitors enjoy the indoor pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, game room and two on-site restaurants. Sunset Grille, overlooking the upper Mississippi River Valley, provides a stunning view, with menu offerings from sandwiches to steaks and a wide assortment of seafood. Make plans to come back in summer and eat out on the 1,400 square foot dining deck. The Summit is an upscale sports bar where you and your friends can eat, drink and watch the game together.

 

2. The Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

For other winter activities, Eagle Ridge Resort’s Nordic Center has a 1.5-mile skating pond for that authentic outdoor ice skating experience. Or maybe a winter wonder sightseeing expedition is more your style? You can explore the snow-covered countryside when you cross-country ski or snowshoe over the Center’s 7 miles of groomed trails. And for the kids, there’s nothing more fun than sledding over their golf course at the famous 18th hole. All equipment is available for rent from Fever River Outfitters. And for a truly different winter experience, try skijoring! While standing on skis, you’ll be pulled by a horse, a dog (or dogs) or a motor vehicle. This way, your friends back home will truly be jealous of your adventures.

Take advantage of the long Presidents Day Weekend and come for Winter Carnival at Eagle Ridge. The Nordic Center activities will be available plus an assortment of carnival fun, including pony rides, wine tasting, ice turkey bowling, snow painting, live music and more.

 

3. Nature Reserves

The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation works to protect the land near Galena. Casper Bluff is one of the areas under their protection and worth a visit if just for the scenic views of the Mississippi. But the real star here is not the view but, rather, the archaeological finds found on this 85-acre site. Fifty-one burial mounds from the Aiken Mount group, a culture that lived nearly 3,000 years ago, rest on these grounds. Hiking trails provide information kiosks, helping visitors find their way to the mounds and vistas along the way. On select winter dates, they light up the night with a luminary hike via snowshoes or skis 4:30-8:30 p.m. It’s free and complete with bonfire. No reservations needed unless renting equipment.

Eighteen acres just north of Galena is Buehler Preserve, another JDCF property and a popular place for visitors and their pets for hiking and camping. Comprised of hilly woodlands and flat planes with the Galena River cursing through, you can picnic, fish or enjoy a day of quiet bird watching.

For a peaceful trek through the countryside, visit the Galena River Trail. At just 3.5 miles the trail is perfect for families going cross-country skiing or a snowshoe hike with views of the Galena River and bluffs.

 

4. Night of the Luminary & Living Windows 

December 10, Galena comes alive with more than 5,000 candle-lit luminaries throughout the town, marking the annual Night of the Luminaria. Adding to the excitement is Galena’s own Living Windows, where anyone from Santa to full choruses, to elves hard at work might be seen living the moment, right in a storefront window. Completing the magic scene is this year’s Wedding in a Window, where a lucky winning couple will marry, for all to see, right on Main Street.

 

5. Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides

Travel the scenic trails of The Galena Territory in style when you reserve a horse-drawn sleigh at Shenandoah Riding Center. Rides are approximately 1 hour, complete with bonfire and hot cocoa, and provide the perfect treat for families, friends or even a special group event. Reservations required.

 

6. Helluva Half-Mile 

Shop Main Street with more than 101 unique mom ‘n pop shops offering everything from crafts to vintage clothing to fine chocolates. The purchase you make for yourself or a loved at one of these specialty shops will be something you’ll find nowhere else.

 

7. Dining on Main Street

Whether you’re looking for farm-to-table or gluten-free fare, or just a really good sandwich, Galena offers 30 dining establishments with a full range of culinary choices. There’s breakfast with atmosphere in the four-story atrium found in The Courtyard Restaurant at DeSoto House Hotel, great ethnic options, such as Campeche Restaurant, or romantic dinners for two at Fried Green Tomatoes or Log Cabin Steakhouse, two iconic Galena restaurants. From fine dining to intimate cafes and coffeehouses, personal service, fine food and good wine, including locally-produced Galena wines, reign in Galena.

 

8. Wine, Beer and Spirits 

Galena’s award-winning wineries are open year-round. Named Best Winery in the State of Illinois in 2016 by Yahoo Travel, Galena Cellars offers more than 40 varieties of wine. Stop by their main street tasting room, located in a historic 1840s granary building, or take an easy ride to their vineyard, just 6 miles out of town, for a tour and tasting. November tours are Friday through Sunday and, from December-March, tours are available Saturdays only. Massbach Ridge Winery also offers visitors the ease and accessibility of a tasting room right in downtown Galena, as well as their beautiful vineyard where they specialize in growing grapes hardy enough to withstand temperatures of -30F or more. Ask to sample their St. Pepin, displaying “a whiff of citrus and cuts with a spray of green apple.” Hop in the car for a pretty drive out to Hanover and check out Rocky Waters Winery and Fergedaboudit Winery. With stunning scenery and delicious flavors, these two vineyards are a must-visit.

For beer lovers, Galena Brewing Co. offers a full microbrewery experience from tours to tastings to dining and live entertainment and Pecatonica Beer Tap House is hoppin’ (pun intended) with seasonal brews and great company. But if a martini or shot of whiskey is more to your liking, visit Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. for daily tours and tastings of the premium spirit of your choice – whiskey, vodka, gin and more – produced right in downtown Galena.

9. Cozy B&Bs

Named the B&B Capital of the Midwest, Galena is proud to offer a variety of warm and intimate places to stay. Check into an historic 1800s bed & breakfast right in town, such as Avery Guest House, and you’ll be just steps away from Main Street. Here you’ll get all the conveniences of home, complete with breakfast in the morning, dessert and coffee at night and your own key to the house. Other B&Bs, such as The Felt Manor Guest House, are situated in the hills, offering a beautiful view of Galena from above. And all of these private residences and inns offer their own style of historic charm, breakfast and personalized service, along with great suggestions of where to go and what to do in the area.

 

10. Nightlife and Festivals

When night comes and you want to know where to go, enjoy live music venues, such as The CornerstoneMiss Kitty’s Grape Escapeand Frank O’Dowd’s Irish Pub & Grill. For family fun, make it a night out at P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre, an intimate 24-seat theatre where the magician dazzles his audience with optical illusion tricks and a mischievous sense of humor. There’s no need to head down to New Orleans to partake in the Mardi Gras festivities. The city hosts its own Galena Mardis Gras where the entire Helluva Half-Mile shuts down for the celebration. Bring your best masks and necklace beads and join the restaurants and bars that open their doors for the event. Other annual events to look forward to are St. Patty’s Day (town comes alive with a 5K run, parade and pub crawls) and Wine Lovers Weekend, the largest indoor wine tasting event where you can sample from more than 300 vendors.

6 Adventurous Ways to Enjoy Fall

  • Explore the Galena River

    Rent a kayak or canoe from Fever River Outfitters for a up-close experience!

    Plan your Trip
  • Cruise the Mississippi River

    Book a cruise on the Riverboat Twilight or Chestnut Mountain Resort's Mississippi River Cruises.

    Plan your Trip
  • Scooter to The Vineyard

    Rent a scooter from Fever River Outfitters and hit the backroads. Stop at Council Hill Station for some music, then tour Galena Cellar Vineyards & enjoy the views!

    Plan your Trip
  • Ride the Trails

    Ride the miles of trails through the hills and woods of the Galena Territory on horseback with the Shenandoah Riding Center!

    Plan Your Trip
  • Soar above the treetops

    Take to the skies in a Hot Air Balloon with Galena On The Fly!

    Plan Your Trip
  • Zip through the autumn forest

    Zip, repel and scale your way through the woods with Long Hollow Canopy Tours!

    Plan your Trip

Jo Daviess County shines in the Fall, the brilliant colors among the rolling hills of our Driftless landscape are enchanting. We’ve highlighted 6 adventurous ways to enjoy Fall!

  1. Rent a canoe or kayak from Fever River Outfitters for an up-close experience with nature.
  2. Book a cruise on the Riverboat Twilight or Mississippi Explorer Cruises at Chestnut Mountain Resort for views from the water.
  3. Scooter to the Vineyard on the backroads of Jo Daviess County. Stop at Council Hill Station for some live music and then on the the vineyard for a tour and tasting. Fever River Outfitters will pick you up, so have another glass!
  4. Ride the miles of trails through the Galena Territory on a trail ride with Shenandoah Riding Center. If you come in October make sure to come back at night for their Fear Forest, a spooky walk through the woods!
  5. Get a bird’s eye view of the fall foliage from a hot air balloon with Galena on The Fly. Great photo ops and a look at our Driftless Region from above.
  6. Try Northwest Illinois’s newest attraction, Long Hollow Canopy Tour! Zip through the trees, repel, hike and cross the suspension bridge for the ultimate adventure!

There is so much to do in our most popular season. Check our Events Calendar to see what’s going on in Galena & Jo Daviess County during your stay!

Share your adventures with us on social media @EnjoyGalenaCtry!

 

Navigating galena.org

The new galena.org offers an easy-to use layout that helps the visitor to Galena and Jo Daviess County in NW Illinois. We’ll take you through the highlights that make it easy for you to plan your trip and find the fun once you get here! Use your desktop computer, tablet or smart phone to easily navigate the site.

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The first thing you’ll see when you open galena.org is the top navigation bar across the top of the homepage.

Explore:

  • Use this to view our Interactive Map to find businesses in the area you are traveling or view Jo Daviess County at a glance to get your bearings.
  • Get a complete directory of Businesses under the category you are searching. This section breaks it down and makes everything easy to find.
  • Read and view our online magazine, The Galena Country Journal, featuring local business owners. Find new editions seasonally! More info below.
  • Get updated and current information on our destination on our blog, The Insider’s Guide to Galena & Jo Daviess County.
  • Businesses have submitted their printed brochures, download and print from our Online Brochure Rack if you love to have paper in hand!
  • Get a the feeling of the county under the FAQs section and view videos to learn more.
  • Sign up for our current sweepstakes to win a trip to Galena & Jo Daviess County!

HORSE-LIVERIES

Things To Do:

  • This section breaks down everything you need to find fun in Galena & Jo Daviess County! From our Events Calendar to see what’s happening while you’re here to our Cuisine section to fill that craving with the local flavors.
  • What’s it like here in the Fall? Click The Seasons to see!

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Places to Go:

  • We’ve put the spotlight on the communities of Jo Daviess County. Antique shopping in Elizabeth? Find out where to eat, shop and stay as well as an overview of the community. Going to a wedding at Oak Hill Weddings? Find out what’s around you by clicking Apple River!

Where to Stay:

  • Our lodging properties are unique and many are one-of-a-kind! We’ve broken it down by the type of lodging you are looking for, plus you can click a community under Places to Go to find one in the area you’re planning to stay.
  • Colorful, large photo galleries, business info including website and social media channels make it easy to connect to a business and make a choice. Click the “Book Now” tab when you’ve made a decision for a quick link to their reservation page!

Plan Your Trip:

Meetings:

  • Bus tours and meeting planners can use this section to find lodging, restaurants and attractions that accommodate large groups.

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Tie The Knot:

  • Brides and grooms can find the resources they’re looking for when planning their wedding in Galena and Jo Daviess County!

You’ll also see our “Where to Start” buttons on the home page that help you find what you need fast!

Our next section is the Galena Country Journal, our online magazine. The first issue features history in the area with a look into the landscape, attractions and historical activities. Nancy Breed of the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum tells us about the Driftless Area and what put Galena & Jo Daviess County on the map. Wendy Heiken talks about living in a historical bed & breakfast and tells us about the reenactments that take place in Jo Daviess County. Amelia Roth has built a business on highlighting the colorful stories of the area with Amelia’s Ghost Tours, Vineyard Tours and Pub Crawls.

As you scroll down you’ll see boxes featuring our blog, the packages offered by businesses in the area and our Events Calendar. You’ll also see our Instagram feed @enjoygalenactry and a link to our digital Activity Guide. Page through to get even more ideas!

The Explore Jo Daviess County links to a map that gives you a great perspective of where the communities are located in relationship to the Mississippi River, the rest of Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Using the Events Calendar:

You’ve booked your trip! Once you get here use our Events Calendar to find the fun activities happening during your stay!

  • Click the Calendar tab at the top of the page.
  • Choose the month of your visit for an overview of events.
  • Want a piece of paper to hold in your hands? You have two options!
    • Click the Print icon on the top right of the calendar.
    • Click the “Print Weekly Things to Do” for events happening Thursday to Wednesday each week.

Have any questions? Contact us!

 

Finding Fun for Kids This Summer!

kids climbing fence

We all look forward to spending lots of quality time with the kids over the summer months, but sometimes you need help keeping them engaged and occupied. Whether it’s experiencing the rich history of Galena and Jo Daviess County or running them ragged at the park, we’ve got some ideas for you!

Summer Camp:

  • Shenandoah Riding Center (Galena):¬†Horseback Riding Camp for riders of all skill levels¬†with opportunities in¬†five sessions of 1/2 day lessons. New this year is a sleepover camp July 18-20!
  • The Country Experience at Amstutz Farm (Elizabeth):¬†The Country Experience is a summer sleep-away camp for 7-12 year olds. A working farm where real-world work/play = confidence, respect, appreciation, joy. Read what Crain’s Chicago Business had to say about them HERE! (pictured)
  • Camp Casper with the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation:¬†With well over 900,000 known species, insects are the most diverse group of living things on Earth. They are pollinators, pests, predators, and prey, and they are the focus of Camp Casper 2016. With such a diversity of niches, behaviors, and life histories to cover, this is sure to be a fascinating year for Camp Casper. ¬†Two separate sessions open to different age groups. Older kids (ages 9-13) will attend on Monday through Wednesday while younger kids (ages 6-8) will attend Wednesday through Friday, June 21-24.¬†There is a fee attached to this program¬†and RSVP‚Äôs are required by calling JDCF at 815-858-9100 or emailing educator@jdcf.org.
  • Planetary Studies Foundation Summer Camp (Elizabeth): With programs like these it would be hard to choose…Living in the 1800’s, Space Week Astronaut Training, Cemetery & Genealogy Studies, Oceanography and Planet Earth & It’s Neighbors. For schedules, fees and registration click HERE!
    Learn more about the foundation, the museum and their special events HERE!
  • Galena Arts & Recreation Center (ARC): A valuable asset to the City of Galena and the surrounding communities, the Galena ARC offers several programs for school age children. Learn something new in the¬†Art Program or sign up the kids to spend the day at the pool with their Summer Camp!
  • Galena Territory Summer Program (Galena): Property owners and renters¬†can take advantage of summer programs at the Owners’ Club. Call Sue in the Recreation Department for details!
  • Camp Eagle at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa¬†(Galena): Book your stay at the Inn or choose from their condos and rental homes. There’s plenty to do as a family at the resort, but when you want to head to the spa,¬†hit the links¬†as a couple or take a romantic champagne cruise,¬†Camp Eagle provides activities and fun for kids age 4-12.

Disc Golf_Chestnut Photo

Outdoor Fun:

  • Disc or Foot Golf: Try something new with foot golf at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa or Lacoma in East Dubuque or¬†Disc Golf at Chestnut Mountain Resort.
  • Swimming Pools: Galena, Stockton, East Dubuque and Warren all have outdoor public¬†pools. The Galena Territory indoor and outdoor pools are open to property owners and guests.
  • Alpine Slide & Zip Line: Sled down the mountain towards the Mississippi River at Chestnut Mountain Resort! Check for special¬†passes and get unlimited rides! The Soaring Eagle gives you a bird’s eye view with panoramic views of the mountain, river and beyond!
  • Golf Lessons: Call up the pros for a private lesson at Woodbine Bend or Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa!
  • Paddle Board: Rent the equipment and get a lesson on paddle-boarding on the Galena River with Fever River Outfitters.

blacksmithshop_BradBasham

History Lessons:

    • Galena & U.S. Grant¬†Museum: View the hologram presentation before looking down into the real lead mine and then taking in the brand new Port of Galena exhibit.
    • Grant’s Home: Tour the home given to Ulysses and Julia Grant by the City of Galena.
    • Blacksmith Shop: Watch and learn from the ¬†blacksmiths as they forge items that are then sold in the gift shop!
    • Galena Public Library: Stop in to the Children’s Library for a quiet break!
    • Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum: Learn about the history and the influence the railroad had on Jo Daviess County.
    • Apple River Fort: Let the costumed interpreters show you the way of life for settlers back in 1832¬†when the Fort and the people in it held off¬†Blackhawk and his troops.

Try Something New:

  • Cooking Demonstration with Susan Steffan, The Breakfast Diva: Let the Breakfast Diva demonstrate some of her favorite recipes! Susan Steffan was a contestant on season 2 of Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship and her recipe was voted No. 1 by BedAndBreakfast.com! (Great for older kids!)
  • Magic Show with P.T. Murphy: “Galena’s #1 Attraction!” -Trip Advisor 2013, 2014. Witness the mysteries of an ancient art up close in P.T. Murphy‚Äôs private 24 seat theater located in the heart of historic downtown Galena.

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Have fun in Galena Country!

 

 

Scenic Drives with MORE!

Historic US Hwy 20 has been called one of the most scenic drives in the Midwest. Explore the rolling hills and winding roads of Jo Daviess County. Here are two ways to add to your scenic drive throughout Jo Daviess County!

Elizabeth-Grand-Antique-Mall_blog

The Vintage Shop Hop is coming through Jo Daviess County in March. This regional annual event is a self-guided tour of the 280+ antique and resale shops in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin! Hit the road and follow the map of participating businesses for special deals and promotions.

The shops participating in Jo Daviess County, along the Northwest Corridor Scenic Drive are:

Antiques Etc. (Stockton)
Dusty’s Closet Antiques (Warren)
Common Cents Resale Shop (Elizabeth)
Elizabeth Grand Antique Mall (Elizabeth)
Sullivan’s Antiques (Hanover)
All That’s Vintage (Galena)

Stoned-Art_studio

Another way to enhance your road trip is to follow the All River Road Talent (ARRT) Art Drive. Artists from Jo Daviess County and beyond open their studios to the public on special dates throughout the year. For a list of participating artists click HERE. Check their Facebook Page for upcoming dates and locations! The studio pictured above is Henry Matthiessen III’s Stoned Art Studio in rural Elizabeth, IL. Hear the stories behind the art, buy for yourself or as a gift and enjoy the atmosphere!

Take pics along the way and share them with @enjoygalenactry on Instagram and Twitter and EnjoyGalenaCountry on Facebook!

Travel Illinois

COVER-WEB

Go to EnjoyIllinois.com to download a digital version or order a print version¬†of the Spring/Summer issue of Travel Illinois! You’ll find travel information for what-to-do and where-to-go all over the State, with a great feature on a Galena Getaway on page 54!

Photoshoot_Sept2015

Remember this photo in our Instagram feed from Sept. 2015? Our executive director snapped it in the early morning hours of the photo shoot with the EnjoyIllinois crew!
IL-Tourism

The whole state is promoting this new travel magazine, which highlights the amazing destinations in Illinois. Get your copy today!

A Wine Lover’s Weekend

Do you have a wine tracking app? Do you take notes of your favorite sips and must-try bottles? Add a Wine Lover’s Weekend to Galena, IL and Jo Daviess County to your wine-lovers bucket list! Here are our suggestions for taking it all in…

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2016 Wine-Lovers’ Events:

Wine Lover’s Weekend – March 18-19

Let your palate savor a weekend of wine, spirit and beer tastings in Galena. The Grand Tasting offer wines from all over the region, presented by the winemakers themselves or knowledgeable representatives. Purchase Grand Tasting tickets here…

Great Galena Balloon Race – June 17-19

More than 100 wines to sample in the big tent. Enjoy live music and watch the balloons fly and glow.
Tickets are $25 each (SOLD OUT),¬†sponsored by Family Beer & Liquor. Learn more…

CorklessGalena_evening

Corkless Galena – June 25

Taste regional wines with Galena as your backdrop, outdoors at Depot Park in Galena. Elegant wines made from American hybrid grapes will be showcased in the afternoon and early evening. Selections of wines represent unique wines produced by family owned Northern Illinois Wineries. In addition to Wine Tastings, there will be an art exhibit, light snacks available, and music. Learn more…

Galena Cellars Fall Harvest & Art Festival – September 24

Purple feet, paint brushes, and lots of fall harvest fun for the whole family! Artists in the vineyard will give live demonstrations and have art for sale, free family activities such as pumpkin painting and horse-drawn wagon rides, our FAMOUS annual grape stomp, and of course, WINE TASTING! Live music by Fever River String Band and amazing food highlight the festivities. Noon – 6pm. Learn more…

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Massbach Stomp – October 1 (pictured above)

“Jump in FEET first and stomp grapes till you are purple! Celebrate a successful harvest with us in the vineyard.” Live music, food truck, corn hole and views of the picturesque countryside! Learn more…

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Nouveau Wine Festival – November 18-19

Inspired by European traditions, celebrate the release of Galena Cellars’ latest Nouveau by attending one of the special luncheons of the day, then watch as the revelers parade down Main St. in Galena, making deliveries of the new wine. Parties go on into the night at several local businesses and hotels. Learn more…

Local Vineyards:

Jo Daviess County presents the finest local award-winning wineries and vineyards in Illinois. Indulge in one of Galena Country’s four wineries, and enjoy a day of learning about the talent of wine making and specialty wine tastings. Stop in for a tasting and a tour one of Jo Daviess County’s award-winning wineries. Stay a while with a bottle of your favorite wine, cheese and crackers.

Galena Cellars_web

Galena Cellars Vineyard (pictured above)

The Lawlor family, with more than 30 years of winemaking experience, proudly offers tours and tastings of 40 award-winning wines. Tour the vineyard and enjoy the scenery on Ford Rd. and then check out the tasting room on Main St. in Galena. Learn more…

Massbach Ridge Vineyard & Winery

Sample award-winning, estate-grown wine while enjoying the breathtaking Jo Daviess County hills. Open daily, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., year round. You can also taste their wines in their tasting room on Main St. in Galena. Learn more…

Rocky Waters Vineyard

Experience the spectacular view, taste wines from their locally grown grapes, relax on the deck, and enjoy some wine. Open year-round. Learn more…

Fergedaboudit Vineyard

A boutique winery located in a scenic valley in Hanover. Specializing in dry-red-bold wines from their picturesque vineyard. Open seasonally. Learn more…

Buy & Taste:

Shop and stock up on favorites or plan a night out to experience the local flavors, Galena & Jo Daviess County have a lot to offer wine fans.

Jamie’s Wine Studio of Galena

Intimate wine and martini bar and fine wine shop. Unique selection of wines, spirits, and gift items. Saturday wine tastings. Learn more…

Miss Kitty’s The Grape Escape

Wine/martini lounge, craft beers. Live music Friday, Saturday, and Quiz Show Sunday. Bloody Mary bar. Gourmet apps until last call. Learn more…

Fried Green Tomatoes

Prime steaks, fresh scallops and homemade lasagna paired with a Wine Spectator award-winning wine menu. Outstanding service and atmosphere. Half price bottles of wine every Friday! Learn more…

Goldmoor Inn & Dining

Simple elegance describes this dining experience. Unmatched Old World decor, diverse wine cellar, premier service complements our chef’s creative cuisine. Learn more…

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E-Town Coffee (pictured above)

Great atmosphere with hearty, homemade bites for breakfast & lunch. Check ahead for wine tastings and stop in to shop! Learn more…

Unique Wine Adventures

Hike the Vines

Every Saturday beginning 12/12/15 through 2/20/15, Noon & 2 pm Snowshoe the vineyard and enjoy the sparkling new snow! Then, warm up next to the fireplace and enjoy a glass of wine in the vineyard tasting room. Book through Fever River Outfitters.

Scooter to the Vineyard

Scooter to Galena Cellars Vineyard‚ imagine scootering on gorgeous remote country roads to the Galena Cellars Vineyard. Ride with our small group, take a vineyard tour, taste some wine, and kick back on the wicker furnished veranda. After you’ve indulged in the essence of the lush green countryside we’ll drive you back to town. $75 person includes scooter rental, wine tasting, and shuttle transportation back to Galena. Advanced reservations are required. Weekday trips are $75 per person, for groups under 8 persons and require a reservation made a minimum of 48 hours in advance.

Countryside Tours

Visit three of the areas very best vineyards. Enjoy local wines and beautiful views. All while traveling Galena’s rural Countryside. Tastings are included! Learn more…

 

Hands-On Experiences

Galena & Jo Daviess County are loaded with creative people who open their studios and businesses to share their talents with others. Learning something new or adding talents to your tool box are a great way to bond with family and friends. Try these activities on your next visit, click these links to learn about more hands-on experiences and studio tours!

 

Cooking

Enjoy learning to cook from the Breakfast Diva herself! Voted Best Breakfast 2015 on B&B.com and a Food Network 2015 Holiday Baking Championship competitor, Susan knows her way around the kitchen! Susan will share her knowledge, stories, hints and tips with you. Tastings and a tour of her kitchen are included. Learn more at The Farmers’ Guest House…

You can also sign up for a gourmet cooking experience at The Goldmoor Inn and Fine Dining with Chef Carlos Valdez in his state-of-the-art kitchen!

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Pottery

It’s a creative experience that combines ceramic artistry with the enjoyment of good food at a harvest table. Your hosts are master potter Charles Fach and his wife, Sandra, Galena residents since 1971. With their expertise and guidance, you‚Äôll decorate and glaze your own dinnerware, and then enjoy dinner on your new dishes. Learn more at Stonehouse Pottery & Gallery…

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Jewelry

This is the perfect beginner beading class to learn the basics of design, stringing, and clasping; including the proper use and application of tools. ¬†Choose a necklace, bracelet, or earrings to be completed in about 1.5 hours and able to be worn home by the end of class. Walk-in or reservations. Learn more at Rustic River Finds…

The Mystery of Wire Crochet: Learn the fine art secrets to Jan Ketza’s Wire Crochet technique in this innovative class. Create your own triple strand necklace with toggle clasp. Basic crochet chain stitching is required to know prior to class. Samples are available for viewing at the Mercantile.
Class fee is $30.00 Kit Fee is $35.00. Reservations are required with payment upon booking.

Add to your getaway at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa by booking a jewelry making class with Mackie Mullane of Bella Vintaj!

Painting

Intuitive Painting with Jan Ketza….Follow your heart with the desire to paint for the sake of exploration, raw expression, and the release into the joy of creating art.¬†This class is about expressing yourself intuitively through color, shape, and techniques that open up a world of creativity where anything is possible.
Class fee is $50.00 and includes a canvas, paints, brushes, and easel. Reservations at The Mercantile are required with payment with this popular class.

Sandra Principe

Sandra Principle heads up a Cork & Canvas painting class one Saturday a month at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa! Sandra Principe, a local Galena artist and author, will be hosting paint by wine events at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa. She will take you step by step through the creation of your painting. Sandra’s paintings are inspired by the beauty of flowers and the Midwest landscape. And there is no better place than Eagle Ridge Resort as the setting for this unique experience. Let your creative side come out as you create your masterpiece overlooking Lake Galena and the beautiful Eagle Ridge Landscape.
All supplies are included in the class and of course wine, fruit, cheese and more are provided throughout the class! In three hours you will have a completed painting that you will be extremely proud of to take home and show your friends and family.

Paint with Janet Checker in her studio, call ahead and set up an appointment!

Check our Events Calendar for classes and events happening during your visit or contact the business to make a reservation!

Christmas in the County 2015

Christmas-in-the-County
Make your plans now for a Holiday Getaway or Family Celebration in Galena/Jo Daviess County! Nothing puts you in the spirit faster than a genuine country Christmas with Galena’s garland-lined Main St. Whether you choose a romantic Bed & Breakfast, a resort with all the amenities or a vacation rental home to bring the family together, you can enjoy these “Christmas in the County” events and activities during your stay! Print a PDF HERE!

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Galena

Festival of Trees: November 28, 2015, 1pm – 5pm. The 6th Annual Festival of Trees will kick of the holiday season on Saturday, November 28 in the DeSoto House Ballroom in Galena from 1-5 p.m. The Festival of Trees is a public display of spectacular one-of-a-kind designed holiday trees, wreaths, and other holiday items sponsored and created by local artists, organizations, and businesses.

Old Fashioned Christmas: November 28, 2015. Enjoy the garland-draped shops along Galena’s Main St. and watch as Santa is escorted to the Old Market House by carolers and festive floats! Start of Santa’s Arrival: 5:30 pm, Lighting of Tree: 6:00 pm.

Taste of Christmas Progressive Dinner: December 5, 2015, 5-8 pm.Join the members of Best of Galena as they open their Bed and Breakfasts for this annual event. Your evening will include appetizers, main course, and desserts, which will all be served at a different location. A wonderful opportunity to visit three different locations, meet new friends, and start of your holiday festivities. Reservations required. $50 per person.

Luminaria & Living Windows: December 12, 2015. The streets, steps, and sidewalks of Galena will be lined with nearly 5,000 candle-lit luminaries. New to Living Windows this year will be the Wedding in A Window at Vignettes of Galena!

Mistletoe Stroll: December 12th and 19th, 2-5pm. Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers of Galena invite you to tour historic inns all lavishly decorated for Christmas. From traditions of the past to current day decor, each inn is unique and the experience should not be missed. Sample each inn’s favorite holiday cookie. See website for a list and map of participating houses. No reservations required, you may begin your tour and purchase tickets at any of the houses listed on the website.

Tip: Plan a romantic dinner for just the two of you, try Perry St. Brasserie or Fritz & Frites for an intimate setting with a European flair.

Apple River Fort

Elizabeth

Christmas in Elizabeth: December 5, 2015, 9am – 5pm. Celebrate an old fashioned Christmas with the Village of Elizabeth. Tour the 1876 Banwarth House & Museum decorated for the season, check out the caboose and ten operating model trains at the Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum, and visit Santa. While you are there, partake in the living history demonstration at the Apple River Fort and more. There will be a Christmas concert, craft show, bake sale and many stores open late with Christmas bargains and discounts. Find more information on their Facebook Page!

In cooperation with the Elizabeth, IL Chamber of Commerce annual event, “Christmas in the Village‚” the Apple River Fort SHS will provide holiday atmosphere with seasonal music and host a baked items and small home-made gifts sale at the Interpretive Center (311 E. Myrtle St.). Costumed history interpreters will also participate with interactive impressions and activities.

Tip: Get a latte or bottle of wine at E-Town Coffee and make sure there’s time to stroll through Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Mall!

Stockton Christmas 2014_sm

Stockton

Stockton Christmas Walk: December 4, 2015, Stockton‚ holiday tradition, this year’s theme is “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Start the season with a Christmas tree lighting on Friday evening at 6 p.m. On Saturday, December 5, 9am – 3pm, stroll from store to store and shop, visit Santa, ride in a horse drawn wagon ride, and have some delicious nibbles in the downtown shops. Meet the newly crowned Little Jack Frost and Miss Merry Christmas! Find more information on their Facebook Page!

Tip: Stop into Sweet Alice’s for a treat and shop for gifts and holiday decor at Stockton Floral & Gifts!

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Warren

Warren Christmas Walk: Enjoy the Festival of Trees in the charming & historic Warren Community Building (Old Stone Hotel), starting Saturday November 28 and ending January 3, 2016. Stroll through town to see the decorated snowmen contributed by local businesses and holiday decorations. Santa will arrive in a parade on Monday, December 7 from 4:30 ‚ 7:30pm. Stroll through town and sample the treats and refreshments provided by participating businesses, don’t forget to register for door prizes!

Tip: Stop in to Bugaboo’s for a great meal in their charming Main St. diner and Pecatonica Beer Co. for a local brew!

East Dubuque

Candlelight Christmas Walk: November 28, 2015, starting at 2pm. Join us for an old-fashioned Christmas gathering in downtown. Greet Santa at the fire station, create a Christmas craft and enjoy cookies and milk. Participate in the Candlelight Walk to the Christmas tree lighting and decorating. Optional donation of a canned food item for the Food Pantry, located at the East Dubuque Fire Department, 183 Sinsinawa Ave., East Dubuque, IL.

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Henry’s Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County

For our “Favorite Things” series we asked local artist of Stoned Art Studio, Henry Matthiessen III, to share what he loves about Jo Daviess County!

Driftless-Region

 

1. The Driftless Area scenery is just stunning. I’m very fortunate to be living and have my studio on top of one of the hills amongst it.

 

Henry-Matthiessen

2. Having access to and being able hang out with many of the artisans sprinkled through out Jo Daviess County. They inspire and mentor me as an artist.

 

Sharing

3. The sharing that takes place among the folks living here.

 

Mississippi

4. Access to the Mississippi River. (photo taken at the Mississippi Palisades State Park)

Elizabeth

5. The experience of small town Elizabeth, Stockton, and Warren. (photo taken in Elizabeth, IL)

 

Wineries

6. Having all the wineries in the area.

Henry has lived in Jo Daviess County for about two years, but has been visiting from the Chicagoland area for over 30 years. Stoned Art Studio has been established for 5 years…it’s a combination of his artwork and landscape photography. His studio on Snipe Hollow Rd. has been constructed from reclaimed, old barn steel¬†and¬†100 year old boxcar doors are planted in the walls. Post and beams, tongue and groove from an old locomotive shed, etc. Henry is moving his art and landscape photography into this space from his basement studio, to be ready for his open studio events on weekends.¬†

Studio

Henry has been involved in the development of the NW IL Art Festival and the All River Road Talent art tour (ARRT). The next tour will be held Saturday, November 7, 2015. Artists of all ages and art styles come together to showcase their talents by opening their studios to the public. Take a country drive, visit with artists and tour their studios. Please call the individual studio for specific hours. Some will be open Saturday and Sunday.

All photos are from Henry Matthiessen III, follow him on Instagram and Facebook!

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