Galena Country blog

Galena Country Blog

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!

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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!

 

Find your Fairy-Tale Wedding!

 

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Pinterest is a critical tool for brides, grooms and planners to find the fairy-tale wedding these days. A board can capture the look, feel and style of your wedding and gives everyone in your crew an idea of where you’re headed. After family members told Megan Bartchlett of Bowling Green, Ohio¬†tales of elopement and destination weddings, she¬†took to Pinterest to plan her “happily-ever-after” and came across a pin of The¬†Goldmoor Inn & Dining. Megan has never been to Illinois, and had never heard of Galena and Jo Daviess County, but the images of The Goldmoor Inn really left a¬†lasting¬†impression.

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The couple both come from large families and a huge wedding that included everyone wasn’t going to work. An intimate ceremony in a gorgeous location was calling their name. A scouting trip to Galena was planned this Spring, so Megan, her fianc√© Wade¬†and their excited moms¬†made their way to NW Illinois. The historic town of Galena, the beauty of Jo Daviess County and the enchantment of the Goldmoor Inn won them over and their destination wedding was booked for June 2016!

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We wish Megan & Wade a bright future full of happiness. They’re off to a great start…their story of exploring and finding their fairy-tale is so inspirational!

Find information on wedding venues, vendors and personal touches on our Weddings Page at galena.org!
(Photo contribution: Megan Bartchlett)

Finding Fun for Kids This Summer!

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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 Country 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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

Shop Downtown!

If you’re looking for a one-stop spot to shop, look no farther than downtown Galena. With gift shops, boutiques and ANtiques, you could spend your whole weekend here!

Visit our business directory, or come up and see us in person to see all that Galena has to offer.

Spring Events

There is so much to do this Spring in Galena and Jo Daviess County! Use our Events Calendar to see what’s happening during your visit. Explore more at galena.org!

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Big Nut Classic
March 5-6

Chestnut Mountain Resort: Compete in Big Air, Rail Jam and Slope-style snowboarding.

 

 

 

 

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Galena St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 12

Galena Elk’s Lodge presents their annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.¬†Fun for the whole family!

 

 

 

 

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Wine Lovers Weekend
March 18-20

wineloversweekend.com:¬†Be a part of the largest indoor wine tasting event in the state of Illinois! Featuring more than 40 distributors from across the United States and over 300 varieties of wine and spirits, the Grand Tasting is a wine lover’s dream.

 

 

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U.S. Grant’s Pilgrimage
April 22-24

Enjoy Civil War reenactments & encampment, the Galena Fire Department’s bucket brigade and watch as Midwest Boy Scouts parade down Galena’s Historic Main Street.

 

 

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Ride the Ups & Downs
May 7

G.O.A.T.S. Bicycling Club: This bicycle ride is a one-day tour of beautiful Jo Daviess County, Illinois that features hilly terrain, spectacular ridge top panoramas and long valley views.

 

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 Galena Country. Here are two ways to add to your scenic drive throughout Jo Daviess County!

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The Vintage Shop Hop comes to Galena Country every 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 Galena Country, along the Northwest Corridor Scenic Drive are:

Antiques Etc. (Stockton)
Common Cents Resale Shop (Elizabeth)
Elizabeth Grand Antique Mall (Elizabeth)
Sullivan’s Antiques (Hanover)

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Another way to enhance your road trip is to follow the All River Road Talent (ARRT) Art Drive. Artists from Galena Country 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 @visitgalenaorg on Instagram and Twitter and @visitgalena.org on Facebook!

Travel Illinois

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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!

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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!
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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…

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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.

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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.

eBike to the Vineyard

eBike to Galena Cellars Vineyard‚ imagine electric bicycleing 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 electric bycycle 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…

 

Warren’s Festival of Trees

Journey up Stagecoach Trail in Jo Daviess County to see Warren’s¬†Festival of Trees in the historic Warren Community Building! You can see a preview here and then plan a day to tour this charming old hotel all dressed up for the holidays. You will also be greeted by the decorated snowmen contributed by local businesses and organizations, including us…the Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB! Click HERE for more “Christmas in the County” events!

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The Warren Community Building is located at 110 W Main St. and is open daily from 8am to 8pm. The festival runs until January 3, 2016. You can call (815) 745-2217 for more information.

Festival Of Trees

Things to do in Galena, Illinois

Festival of Trees continues its mission of sharing the spirit of the holidays

The 6th Annual Festival of Trees will kick of the holiday season on Saturday, November 28 in the DeSoto House Ballroom 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.

Entrance tickets are $2 per person and available at the door. With your entrance ticket you will also receive two chances to win a raffle item donated by a local business. The raffle drawing will take place at 5 p.m. Santa will be stopping by to visit with children as well as greet people on Main Street. Enjoy holiday music, cookies, and hot chocolate as you browse through this winter wonderland. All items will be available for purchase through a silent auction format with a "Buy it Now" option as well. Silent auction winners can bring their items home at the end of this one-day event.

"The DeSoto House is transformed for the season into a magical place and the ballroom comes alive with all the gorgeous holiday trees, wreaths, and other festive auction items. It is a wonderful must-see family event for all ages." –Helen Mayberry, festival chairperson.

A sampling of the festival items will be on display prior to the event from November 14 until November 27 at Tammy's Piggly Wiggly in the coffee room, in Galena.

The Festival is organized by a small group of local volunteers who want to give back to their community. Every year a not-for-profit organization receives all funds raised. This year proceeds will go to the Galena ARC Art Department to help maintain affordable youth art class registration fees by offsetting costs for administration and art supplies. But most importantly it will help build and maintain a scholarship fund to ensure all Jo Daviess County youth have an opportunity to participate in youth art classes.

"It's support like this that allows the Galena ARC to be a vital community organization
offering quality programs for all ages. Please stop by and enjoy the festival and bring home a beautiful holiday item to decorate your home or give as a gift."–Dave Decker, Galena ARC Executive Director.