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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)

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!

Christmas in the County 2015

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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.

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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!

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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.

More Ideas

The Bed and Breakfast Experience

UPDATED POST! Congratulations to¬†Farmers’ Guest House for being named one of the Top B&Bs of 2015 by BedandBreakfast.com!

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The Bed and Breakfast experience has existed for hundreds of years. Country travelers found a place to clean up, fill their bellies and get some rest before making their way slowly down the road. The elite have always known the pleasures of a holiday, to restore their health and spirit. It wasn’t until the Middle Class emerged after World War II that Americans took a vacation as we know it today. The war had opened a lot of soldiers’ eyes to traveling the world and American travelers to Europe fell in love with the cozy, friendly and affordable Bed & Breakfasts. Learn more about the 30+ Bed & Breakfasts, Guest Houses and Inns of Jo Daviess County HERE!

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Aldrich Guest House, 900 Third St., Galena

What can you expect from your Bed & Breakfast experience in Galena/Jo Daviess County, IL?

  • Dedicated owners and managers who are passionate about the hospitality industry.
  • Great food! Whether it’s breakfast in the morning, dessert after a dinner on Main St. or cookies anytime, the innkeepers each have their own specialties!

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The Inn at Irish Hollow, 2800 S. Irish Hollow Rd.,  Galena

  • Comfortable rooms with special touches and private bathrooms.
  • Unique experiences for each property…it could be a porch with a view, nightly cocktail hour, fireplace in your room, spa services and libraries with movies and books.

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Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages, 2752 W. Cording Rd., Galena

Break from the norm and stay in one of Galena and Jo Daviess County’s bed and breakfasts, guest houses and inns. Our historic B&Bs, guest houses and inns, many 19th century architectural treasures, provide fascinating opportunities to truly step back in time. Enjoy a cozy evening like an early settler in one of our comfortable guest houses or inns. Catch up on a good book or bring your journal to capture the special moments of your stay. Whether you’re searching for a romantic getaway, quiet time away from home or a stay unlike others, our unique properties work hard to make your time in Galena and Jo Daviess County unforgettable.

Learn more about The Bed & Breakfast Experience on HuffPost Travel¬†and¬†“Top 10 Benefits to Staying in a Bed & Breakfast!”

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!

 

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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.

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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!

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.

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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!

Stargazing in Galena & Jo Daviess County

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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!

 

Celebrating Peace in Union

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We’re proud to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Peace in Union with Galena and the rest of the United States in April of this year. Our commemoration host, the Galena-Jo Daviess County Historical Society at the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum, houses the famous painting “Peace in Union” by Thomas Nast depicting General Ulysses S. Grant formally accepting the surrender of General Robert E. Lee in the Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia 1865. Galena, IL was home to nine Civil War generals, including Ulysses S. Grant and four are represented in the painting.

Head to the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum on April 17 at 10:15 am for a dedication of the commemorative stamps celebrating the sesquicentennial!

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We’re celebrating with a series of programs, exhibits and tours from April 9-19, 2015.
Download a schedule of events HERE!

The Elizabeth Historical Society will be hosting the following event:
Come meet Brad Albrecht, Kevin Ertmer, Corey Walters, Frank McCann, Caroline Sipiera, Martha Purchis, and Paul Sipiera as they put on a program that will take the format of the play, Soldier, Come Home, based upon the letters from family and loved ones. This program will take place on Thursday, April 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Apple River Fort State Historic Site. This program is being sponsored by the Elizabeth Historical Society. For more information and to make reservations please contact Shelia at the fort at (815) 858-2028.. It is suggested that those in attendance consider making a $5 donation to help offset the royalty costs of staging the play. After the performance, light refreshments will be served.

View General Grant’s Recollections for more information!

Use galena.org for lodging, recreation and dining options!