Galena Country blog

Galena Country Blog

Immersed in The Arts in Jo Daviess County

Jo Daviess County has attracted artists of all mediums for years. It’s a place for inspiration and natural beauty. This summer promises to fulfill any art lover’s dream and bring cultural experiences with lasting memories. Keep track of all of the art festivals and performances on our Events Calendar when planning your trip, we’ve highlighted a few for you here!

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July 10 – 18: ‚ô™ Galena Festival of the Performing Arts (Galena, IL) See details about the artists performing at different venues in town including The Hunts, Tallymore, My Sweet Patootie and the Lincoln Trio! Click HERE for details!

July 11: ‚ô™ Wine Tasting & Concert with Truly Diva and Simply Jeorge at Fergaboudit Vineyard & Winery (Hanover, IL)
”Diva Montell, a Chicagoland classical singer, has a beautiful, outstanding voice. Her performance was one of the best I’ve ever heard.”  — Concert Venue Р5 Star Verified review Click HERE for details!

July 18-19: NW IL Art Fest (Stockton, IL) Stroll through the park with a beverage and take in the beautiful artwork from artists in the Midwest! (Pictured Stoned Art Studio) Click HERE for details!

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Now thru July 26: Wonder of Wood Exhibit at the Galena Center For The Arts (Galena, IL). Thursdays thru Sundays from 1-7pm.

August 6-8: Galena/Jo Daviess Quilt & Fiber Arts Show (Galena, IL) Thursday, August 6th enjoy dinner and the trunk show. Friday, August 7th join them for lunch, trunk show, vendor booths and the quilt show. Saturday will have vendor booths and the quilt show, all at the Galena Middle School. (Pictured) Click HERE for details!

Quilt Fiber Arts Show_Aug 2015

August 8-9: Market Square Art Festival by Hello Galena! Stroll through the booths of local artists one block off of Main St. in Galena.

August 8-9: Willow Folk Festival (Stockton, IL) Amateur and professional bluegrass country and spiritual singers with acoustic musicians perform from a hay wagon on a country church lawn. Home cooked food available. Located three miles east of Stockton then six miles south on Willow Rd. No dogs or alcohol allowed on church grounds. Click HERE for details!

There are plenty of options every weekend in Jo Daviess County…you can catch live music and performances at local bars and restaurants, make pottery with a local artist, assemble jewelry and tour artists’ studios throughout the county. We also have galleries and museums featuring artwork, sculpture and photography.

Use our Activity Guide or galena.org to find Where to Stay and your next cultural experience! Share your experiences with us on Instagram!

Where Can I Sit Outside With a Cocktail?

A vacation really feels like a vacation when you can sit outside and relax with a cocktail. We’ve made a list of some great spots to enjoy the beauty of Galena & Jo Daviess County and some local cuisine!

 

Gobbies_outdoorphoto by Gobbies Sports Pub & Eatery

1. Gobbies Sports Pub & Eatery (Galena) Spacious and beautifully decorated courtyard where you can sink into one of their outdoor sofas and enjoy the weather!
2. Sunset Grille at Chestnut Mountain Resort (Galena) Panoramic views of the Mississippi River, savor the sunset while enjoying great food and drinks!
3. The Corner Tap (Stockton) Every Saturday from April through October they have a Steak Fry in their outdoor patio area. Look for live music updates and free Buffalo Wings on Friday nights!
4. The Cove Bar & Grill (Apple Canyon Lake) Overlooks the Midwest’s premier golf course, The General, and there’s a good chance you may catch sight of a hot air balloon!

The Covephoto by The Cove Bar & Grill

5.  Green St. Tavern in the DeSoto House Hotel (Galena) People-watch on the patio while taking a break from shopping on Main St.
6. Woodstone Restaurant (Galena Territory) Overlooking the Midwest’s premier golf course, The General, where you just might catch a hot air balloon flying overhead!
7. Mid-Town Marina (East Dubuque) Casual dining on the Mississippi River. Watch the boats coming and going and nearby wildlife.

Midtown Marinaphoto by Midtown Marina

8. JJ & Freddie’s (Stockton) Stop at the Gateway of Jo Daviess County on US Hwy 20 and grab a bite to eat outdoors, watching the activity of Stockton.
9. Campeche (Galena) Listen to live music and the bubbling fountain as you sip your margarita under the stars!
10. Vinny Vanucchi’s (Galena) The patio is nestled in the historic building’s courtyard next to a cobblestone road. Sit under the colorful umbrellas and enjoy the music of the street performers nearby!

Family-friendly Tips

Traveling with kids is a great time to bond as a family and spend quality time together. Time is precious and you want to make sure your vacation is fun and action-packed. Here are some tips to help you plan the perfect getaway in Galena, IL & Jo Daviess County!

Where to Stay: There are options for every budget, here are some ideas to get you started. Use the Where to Stay tab at galena.org or our Activity Guide to find the right fit for you!

1. Country Inn & Suites (Galena): The indoor water park and complimentary breakfast make this a great option for families. Plus, Culver’s and Emmy Lou’s Diner are in the front yard! Stockton’s location is pet friendly and has an indoor pool!
2. LeFevre Inn & Resort: Feels like home in this comfortable resort. You’ll enjoy the outdoor pool, pond and panoramic views. Close to shopping in Galena, the Alpine Slide at Chestnut Mountain Resort & Horseshoe Mound Preserve.
3. Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa: High end amenities in the hotel or maybe a rental home or condo suits your needs. The indoor/outdoor pool, lawn chess and paddle boats make this a popular option.

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photo by UnPosed Photography

What to Do: Keeping busy, but not overdoing it is the name of the game! Use our Family Friendly Outdoor Recreation tab for more great ideas!

1. Rent a canoe at Fever River Outfitters to get up close & personal with the turtles in the Galena River.
2. Head out to the Shenandoah Riding Center for a trail ride through the beautiful Galena Territory.
3. Climb the rocks in the Gathering Circle, follow the clues along the trails and take in the views at Horseshoe Mound Preserve.

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What to Eat: Let’s face it, it’s vacation…sweets and ice cream make the day extra special!

1. Bugaboo’s (Warren, IL) Step back in time to an old fashioned Main St…indoors! Plan on lunch or dinner and then dig into an ice cream sundae. You may even see the barber shop in action!
2. Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe (Elizabeth, IL) Delicious, homemade cupcakes and treats, ice cream and charming decor. Sit on their outdoor patio and wave as the traffic goes by, enjoying small town life.
3. Great American Popcorn Co. (Galena, IL) Enjoy a sample when you walk in the door, then stock up on delicious popcorn mixes, candy & soda. Don’t forget an ice cream cone before you go…maybe Superman or Zanzibar Chocolate?

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What to See:

1. Walk through the Planetary Studies Foundation Earth & Space Museum where you’ll see items from NASA, meteorites and fossils!
2. Tour the living history at Apple River Fort  State Historic Site in Elizabeth and learn the story of the Blackhawk War.
3. Watch the experienced blacksmiths forge custom tools at The Old Blacksmith Shop in Galena, IL.

Locally Made Food & Gifts in Galena & Jo Daviess County!

Galena, IL and¬† Jo Daviess County offer up the best locally made products for you to fill up your shopping bags. From Farmers’ Markets to storefronts on Main Streets throughout the county, our area provides something for every occasion!¬† Find more information on Unique Foods & Goods and Locally Made products on our Shopping Page at galena.org. You’ll also find businesses listed in our FREE Activity Guide on page 43!

Scroll to the end of this post for information on all of the Farmers Markets in the area!

We recently spent time with Chef Ivo of Galena Canning Co. learning the process of making his Bread & Butter Jalapenos. His kitchen is located in his shop on Main St. in Galena, so it always smells delicious! Sample & taste all of his delicious products in both of his locations!

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1. 780 lbs of jalapenos are “de-stemmed” by hand and sliced in this industrial slicer. 2. Sliced jalepenos waiting to be washed! 3. The jalapenos are washed three times.

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4.¬† They’re poured into the brine mixture and heated. 5. The jalapenos are cooked and stirred for about 10 minutes. 6. Chef Ivo strains them and removes them from the brine mixture.

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7. Each jar is filled one by one. 8. Now for the lids, canning & labeling! 9. Stacks & stacks of jars ready for labels!

Thank you Chef Ivo for showing us how you make these delicious Bread & Butter Jalapenos, perfect for your summer hamburgers & hotdogs!

Local Farmers Markets: Buy local products & food on your way! Follow Jo Daviess County Farm Bureau for updates & request a free guide!

East Dubuque: Every Wednesday from 4-6pm in the secondary lot of Van’s Liquor Store (off Hwy 20) Check Van’s Facebook Page for starting date!
Elizabeth: Every Friday from 3-6pm in Terrapin Park (right on US Hwy 20), May 1 – October 30. Click here for more info!
Hanover: Every Saturday from 9-11am in front of the Hanover Library on Jefferson St. (Hwy 84)
Galena: Every Saturday morning through October from 7am – 12pm at the Old Market House on Commerce St.
Galena Territory: Scheduled Sundays from 8am-noon at the Galena Territory Owners Club. Click here for more info!
Scales Mound: Every Thursday from May to October from 3-6pm at Dr. Woodchuck’s Auction parking lot across from the post office and next to the railroad tracks. Click here for more info!
Stockton: Every Tuesday from 3-6pm in front of Spahn & Rose and every Saturday morning from 8am – noon if front of the high school.
Warren: Every Saturday from 8am-noon next to the Warren Community Building (Stagecoach Trail)

We’ll update this post as more information becomes available!

 Special Events

The Shenandoah Riding Center’s Junk Roundup: THIS WEEKEND! May 23-24 at the Shenandoah Riding Center, in the Galena Territory…details HERE!
Midwest Garlic Festival: Brought to you by Galena Garlic Co. on August 15 in Terrapin Park, Elizabeth, IL…details HERE!

  • Visit our Events Calendar for even more events featuring locally made foods & gifts!
  • Visit our Communities Page to find the businesses in each town & village in Jo Daviess County that offer locally made products!
  • Visit our What to Do Page for locally made Wine, Beer & Spirits!

 

Active Getaways in Galena & Jo Daviess County

You’ve worked hard on staying fit and healthy and you don’t want to fall off the wagon on your vacation. Choose Galena, Illinois and Jo Daviess County for your active getaway! Here’s a list of events that will help you plan the dates for your active vacation.

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May 2: Spring In My Step: 2 Mile Run/Walk & Kid’s Fun Run (Elizabeth, IL) – A great day outdoors for the whole family! The Kids’ Run is at 8:15 am in Terrapin Park and the 2 mile Run starts at 8:30. This event coincides with the Spring Fling activities in Elizabeth which includes a bounce house if the kids still have energy! Click HERE for more information!

May 2: Ride the Ups and Downs Bicycle Ride (starts in Elizabeth, IL) – 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. Choose one of four clearly marked routes on rolling, low traffic, paved roads throughout our rural setting: 26 miles – 32 miles (50 km) — 52 miles – 63 miles (100 km). Delicious, homemade cookies are waiting for you at each water station! Click HERE for detailed information from the G.O.A.T.S. Cycling Club!

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May 16: 20th Annual Galena Triathlon & Duathlon (starts at Apple Canyon Lake, ends in Galena) РCelebrate with the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau as they host their 20th Triathlon/Duathlon! This early season triathlon will start with a 660-yard swim in the clear, cool waters of Apple Canyon Lake with a beach start and finish. Athletes will be tested by a 16.8-mile bicycle ride from the lake to Recreation Park in Galena. The bicycle route features plenty of “ups and downs” on the curvaceous country roads of Jo Daviess County. To finish, competitors will run 4.2 miles out and back on the hills of Galena. Registrants can also opt to enter the duathlon which starts with a two-mile run in lieu of the swim portion. The duathletes then compete on the same bicycle and final run courses as the triathletes. Click HERE for more information & registration!

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June 5-7: Tour of Galena (Galena, IL) – The 5th annual omnium stage race. Premiere track cycling along the historic streets of Galena.

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4th of July

July 5: Stockton 5K/10K – Run/Walk (Stockton, IL) – Another great family event! In addition to all of the 4th of July festivities in Stockton you can add a 5K or 10K to the list. They even have a family discount and a stroller division, so everyone can enjoy! For more information and registration click HERE!

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photo: images by Amanda

July 18: 2nd Annual Paint the Barnyard Color Run (Elizabeth, IL) – A family-friendly 2.5 walk/ 5K/10K run through the rolling hills in Elizabeth.¬† Look for the tractors & wooden barnyard animals to let you know how far you’ve gone & get ready for some COLOR! We’ll update this post when registration is available. Pre-registration will be $30, day of the event is $35. Kids 8 & under are free! Click HERE for the Paint the Barnyard Facebook Page!

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September 19:  Fever River Outfitters Adventure Triathlon (Galena, IL) 6 mile kayak paddle down the Galena River, 17 mile bicycle ride and a 3.1 mile run. See their Events page for all the details! For year-round action and adventure, no matter what the season, check out Fever River Outfitters РCycling, kayaking, yoga, paddle-boarding and so much more.

September: Warren Pumpkin Festival 5K (Warren, IL) – Event info coming soon!

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October 3: Midwest Health & Fitness Walk/Run 5K (Galena, IL) РRegistration includes admission to Oktoberfest in Depot Park for participants 21 & over! Bring your kids and/or your dog for a Fun Run/Walk 5K, benefiting the Galena Food Pantry. Kids 12 & under are free. Click HERE for more information! Visitors can use the Fitness Center with a day pass for $9/day and attend classes for usually around $7/class.  You can also look into their free Kids Camps with sessions June 9-18 & July 14-23 (space is limited).

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 November 7: Lead Rush Half Marathon (Galena, IL) РRun the magnificent countryside of Jo Daviess County in northwest Illinois… past rolling pastures with spectacular views of the Mississippi River. Start & finish at Chestnut Mountain Resort, and take the chairlift up to the after-party! Hosted by the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, click HERE for more information!

We’ll update this post as more information becomes available, bookmark us and check back for more active getaway ideas!

Mancation Destinations

We talk a lot about Girlfriends’ Getaways in Galena & Jo Daviess County, but let’s turn our attention to the men! There are tons of options for your bachelor party, reunion with college buddies or getaway from everyday life, we have plenty to keep you busy.

Here’s our Top 10 Things for Guys to Do in Galena & Jo Daviess County:

1. Golf -¬† Jo Daviess County is home to TEN stellar golf courses, all with great views of our Driftless Region. Click HERE for a detailed list of all ten courses! Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa can check lots of boxes for your vacation…four golf courses, fishing and fantastic bar & dining options.

Eagle Ridge-North course

2. Chestnut Mountain Resort – Winter isn’t winter without downhill skiing and snowboarding at Chestnut. Did you know about their Alpine Slide, Segway Tours and mountain biking during the summer? You can have lunch and dinner while enjoying the sweeping views of the Mississippi River after a day out on the hill.

3. Fever River Outfitters – Your one stop shop for adventure! Rent a canoe, paddle board or kayak and hit the quiet Galena River. You can also rent bicycles and electric bycycles to get a larger overview of Galena & Jo Daviess County! Fever River Outfitters has what you need for an active vacation, enjoying the outdoors.

4. Guided Hunting & Fishing – Whether it’s a half day or a full day, you and the guys can spend the day outdoors hunting pheasant & chukar with experienced guides at River Valley Hunting (Scales Mound). You can also spend the day with Galena Fly Fishing Outfitters.

5. Yote’s Archery Den (Stockton) -¬† Practice your aim at the indoor archery range and stock up on bait and fishing supplies. Stop by the Corner Tap down the street on a Friday evening for FREE endless buffalo wings!

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6. Log Cabin Steakhouse -¬† Call ahead and reserve Al Capone’s booth at the Log Cabin Steakhouse. Premium cocktails and food, along with great service and atmosphere! Check with your hosts about having the Log Cabin Limo/Bus pick your group up and don’t forget to order the flaming Saganaki!

7. Local Museums РInterested in the Civil War era, space or trains? Tour the Planetary Studies Foundation Earth & Space Museum and Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum in Elizabeth, then the Ulysses S. Grant Home and the Galena & US Grant Museum for a look at our rich history.

8. Taste & Tour - Head to Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. of Galena to see how they make handcrafted spirits and enjoy a cocktail in their modern copper & leather tasting room. You can also order a flight of local brews and grab a bite to eat while listening to great music at Galena Brewing Co.

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9. Live Music – See who’s onstage at the The Corner Stone, Council Hill Station or The Grape Escape (where you can also play Golden Tee)!

10. Cars, Cars, Cars – Every Thursday Night starting May 21, you can head to East Dubuque for Gary’s Graffiti Nights, a weekly cruise for cars & trucks made in 1972 and older. Afterwards you can head to Mulgrew’s for a foot-long chili dog!

Plan your trip at galena.org! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for daily ideas on how to Enjoy Galena Country. See you soon!

A Day in Galena with Michelle Oben

Michelle Oben challenged herself to start a project called ‚ÄúA Month Of”, where every month she will experiment with a new idea or task. March was her inaugural¬†month, titled “A Month of Going“, where¬†she headed out on her own to explore towns and locations that she had never been to. Most recently these included locations in Wisconsin and Kentucky. Last weekend the Tri-State area made her list and Galena, IL was her destination for a day. We caught up with her on¬†Instagram, and now you can too! #amonthofgoing

Ice cream “Rocky road trip.” – at Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor

cows “Drive by moo-gram.” – Jo Daviess County

Isabellas
“This chalk paint is used to give a facelift to unique pieces of furniture in the store. Nailin’ country chic.” – at Isabella’s Ltd

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“Cutest towns of all towns.” – Main St., Galena, IL

Vintage Retold

“Your cheat sheet. In case US history ever comes up over dinner” – at All Things Vintage

Devour

“My coffee was more hip than I was.” – at Devour Cafe

Michelle‚Äôs day trip has inspired her to make a weekend of it in the future! Follow Michelle‚Äôs¬†‚ÄúA Month Of”¬†on Instagram (@michellesunoben). Next month she’ll be experimenting with “A Month of Creation” where she challenges herself to draw/create something every day.

Mini Q&A with Michelle:

What inspired you to start this experiment?

“I grew up around the world as an “Army Brat” (meaning my Dad was in the military), so we moved around every couple of years; as you can imagine, the need to experience new ideas, cultures, and places is in my blood! Now that I am an adult, I really want to continue that lifestyle and always be challenging myself to avoid a stagnant, boring lifestyle! By day, I am a Business Analyst / Project Manger for PotentiaMetrics, a tech company that creates products that provide predictive information in healthcare, fitness and pro sports. By nights and weekends, I love to explore my interests in social media, design, and travel.”

You said this was a day trip for you, where are you from? Have you ever been to Galena before?

“After my Dad retired from the military, we called Michigan home. I spent all of high school and college (Michigan State University) in the mitten state. I have never been to Galena, but I had heard wonderful things!

Thank you for sharing with us Michelle! Share your story with us on Instagram by using the hashtag #GalenaFeature or tag us in your pics @enjoygalenactry!

Stargazing in Galena & Jo Daviess County

Mark Dierker_Bear Dancer Photography

photo: Mark Dieker of Bear Dancer Studios – “Orionid meteor over The Castle near Elizabeth, IL”

One of the first things you’ll notice besides the beautiful landscape of our Driftless Region are the dark skies overhead. Any time of year, on a clear night you’ll see the sky lit up and spot many if not all of the familiar constellations.

Aurora Lights in Illinois

photo: Shane Smith Photography – The Northern Lights from the Overlook in Elizabeth, IL

Galena & Jo Daviess County have wonderful lodging options where you can relax and enjoy the night skies like Hawk Valley Retreat and Cottages.¬† Rent a home or condo from Rosebud Rentals or take it easy around the campfire at Marcotte’s Family Motel.

You can also plan a night dining outdoors under the stars this summer. A few restaurants with outdoor seating to note are…The Sunset Grille in Chestnut Mountain Resort with views of the Mississippi River, The Cove at Apple Canyon Lake and Mid-Town Marina in East Dubuque. (Call ahead for summer hours!)

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Stargazing Circle at Horseshoe Mound Preserve

We encourage you to take advantage of one of our county’s treasures and go stargazing with Dr. Paul Sipiera and his wife Diane Sipiera of the Planetary Studies Foundation Earth & Space Museum.¬† Dr. Sipiera was a professor of astronomy and geology at William Rainey Harper College for 27 years and now resides full-time in the Galena Territory. His main research interest is in studying meteorites, which lead him to Antarctica seven times.¬† His writings have been published in Meteorite Magazine and Popular Science, as well as contributions to numerous scientific journals. He’s written over 29 non-fiction books for children. Diane has a background in education for NASA and the Field Museum in Chicago, IL.

The Sipieras invite you and the whole family to Apple River Fort¬† for an evening of stargazing. Bring a camp chair, blankets and your own telescope if you have one. The team at PSF bring the big telescopes for you to use and they’ll teach you how to use the one that’s been sitting in the corner all these years! Snacks and bug spray are encouraged, no alcohol please.

May 1, 2015 from 7-8pmPlanetary Studies Foundation Earth & Space Museum РElizabeth, IL РINTRO TO NIGHTTIME SKIES: Come to this wonderful lecture about what you can see in the nighttime skies for the season. Come learn about the beauty of Virgo and how she influenced farmers for hundreds of years. Learn how to get prepared for the summer season of stargazing. Afterwards, come into the PSF’s Starlab Planetarium for the wonders of the universe. Tour of museum is included. (cost: $5)

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Stargazing with the PSF at dusk

The most ideal nights to look at the moon and stars are before the first quarter of the moon cycle, when the Milky Way is visible and the moon isn’t too bright. Stargazing sessions are held once a month starting in April and continue through October, from sunset until around 11pm…they’ll stay later if good things are happening in the skies! Plan ahead & join them for the meteor showers in August & October!

Stay tuned to our Events Calendar for exact dates or contact the Planetary Studies Foundation Earth & Space Museum for details!
***We’ll update this post as more information comes available!

 

Hiking Trails in Galena & Jo Daviess County

FB March 2015_Spring Open

photo: Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation

Time to get outside and enjoy the outdoors in Galena & Jo Daviess County! Look for new Spring buds and sprouts and watch the birds migrate back to the North from the beautiful parks and preserves we have to offer. See our featured blog post of Horseshoe Mound & Gateway Park HERE!

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Primrose Trail at Apple River Canyon State Park

The Galena River Trail will be closed for repairs indefinitely, but we have lots of opportunities to get fresh air. Find all of the Hiking Trails in Galena & Jo Daviess County HERE and Enjoy Galena Country!

 

St. Patrick’s Day in Galena & Jo Daviess County!

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  • Our pastoral, rolling hills are reminiscent of the green landscapes of Ireland, making Galena & Jo Daviess County a draw for homesick Irish. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with us!
  • Frank O’Dowd’s Pub & Grill for music & Irish dancers – Friday, March 13 & 17 – (866) 284-7474
  • Miss Kitty’s Pub Crawl – Friday, March 13, call for details (779) 214-0003
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Galena, IL – Saturday, March 14 at 4pm – The Elks Lodge (815) 777-0011

Use our Events Calendar to find all of the FUN in Galena & Jo Daviess County!