galena il events

10 Reasons to visit Galena Country this winter.

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 Country offers the perfect winter escape. From a couple’s retreat to a family vacation, from skiing to sleigh rides, from a Winter Carnival to wine tastings, here are the 10 reasons winter is the best time to visit Galena Country.

1. Skiing & Snowboarding at 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.

 

2. The Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

For other winter activities, Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa 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.

3. Winter Carnival Weekend at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

Take advantage of the long Presidents Day Weekend and come for Winter Carnival Weekend at Eagle Ridge. The Nordic Center activities will be available plus an assortment of carnival fun, including balloon glows, 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. 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. For other parks and trails, check out this link.

 

 

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.

 

6. Shopping

Shop Galena’s Main Street, otherwise known as the Helluva Half-Mile. With more than 125 independently owned stores, offering everything from crafts to vintage clothing to fine chocolates, this shopping excursion is sure to keep you warm. The purchase you make for yourself or a loved at one of these specialty shops will be something you’ll find nowhere else. The towns of Elizabeth and Stockton offer even more boutique stores to pique your interest. Visit Sweet Alice’s for some sweet treats, Beautifully Berkeley for a new home-ware item or how about Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Mall for that unique treasure!

 

7. Cozy Dining 

Whether you’re looking for farm-to-table, like One Eleven Main, fine dining, like Goldmoor Inn, or just a really good sandwich, Galena Country offers amazing dining establishments with a full range of culinary choices. There’s breakfast with ambience at Stella’s Cafe & Catering, 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 wines, reign in Galena Country.

 

8. Wine, Beer and Spirits 

Galena Cellars offers more than 40 varieties of wine. Stop by their main street tasting room, located in a historic 1840s granary building. Massbach Ridge Winery also offers visitors the ease and accessibility of a tasting room right in downtown Galena. Ask to sample their St. Pepin, displaying “a whiff of citrus and cuts with a spray of green apple.” 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&B’s

Named the B&B Capital of the Midwest, Galena Country 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 Abe’s Spring Street Guesthouse, 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 time comes and you want to know where to go… enjoy live music venues, such as The CornerstoneMiss Kitty’s Grape Escape, Galena Brewing Company and 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. Experience fine dining and exceptional entertainment in a unique Supper Club atmosphere at Amelia’s Under the Lamplight Dinner Theater. Other annual events to look forward to are the Mardi Gras Weekend, St. Patty’s Day Weekend (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. Check out even more events here.

Bonus tip: 

For the history buffs out there, some historic attractions are indeed open in the winter! Keep warm in the Ulysses S. Grant Home, learn all about the history of Galena Country at these museums, and make sure that you stop by the Old Market House in Galena where you will find the largest collection of Ulysses S. Grant memorabilia in the world! It also happens to be the Galena Country Welcome Center where you can gather some more information on what to do in the area.

Shop Small in Galena Country

Shop Small, Shop Local.

Shopping Small is a BIG DEAL. Here in Galena Country, we are celebrating independent businesses county-wide, all weekend long. On Fri., Nov. 23, businesses will be featuring Friday Night Lights with extended shopping hours and gourmet hot cocoa to keep you cozy while you snag some deals! Continue to revel in the unique finds and delicious eats as you gear up for the holidays with our ‘Lighting of the Christmas Tree’ on #SmallBusinessSaturday.

Nov. 23-Friday Night Lights

After settling in, stop in our Welcome Center on 123 N Commerce St. for a complete list of businesses that are open late and offering special deals in honor of #ShopSmallGalenaCountry. While you are sipping your delicious (and free) hot cocoa at the Welcome Center, take a look at very impressive Grant memorabilia on display. After all, it is the largest display of Grant memorabilia… in the world!

 

Shop Small Specials

Carlotta’s Studio – Special deals all weekend long. Stop in and sign a Christmas card to be send to the soldiers overseas.

Cajun Jack’s – A bowl of jambalaya for $5.

Embe – Sweet Tooth Small Business Saturday! With purchase of any drink and a full-size sandwich or salad, receive a free Bread Pudding!

Ethyl’s – Open late and will have deals all weekend long.

Fan Zone – 20% of all profits will be donated to the Galena ARC.

From Head to Toe – An extra 10% off our clearance and specials all weekend!

Gabby’s Gifts – 20% off your entire purchase on Friday and Saturday.

Galena Cellars Winery – Friday Night: Warmed apple, caramel and mulled wine for $6/glass, Saturday: 2 for 1 tastings.

Honest John’s Emporium – Free gift with purchase over $70.

Honest John’s Trading Post –  Enter a drawing on small business Saturday for a $100.00 gift certificate that is redeemable at any of our five locations.

Massbach Ridge Winery – 5% off a three bottle purchase or more, all weekend long!

New Earth Animals – 10% off storewide on Small Business Saturday and will also have giveaways all day.

Poopsie’s – Spend $75+, get a $15 gift card, spend $125+, get a $30 gift card, spend $200+, get a $60 gift card. One gift card per customer per day, gift card valid on a future purchase.

River Bend Gallery – Personalized Custom Ornaments for the holidays!

Sinchiladas Trading Co. – Spend $20 and get a Large Pashmina cashmere scarf for just $20! Reg. Price $40.

Wild Birds Unlimited of Galena – Friday: Free tote-bag and 25% off of everything you can fit in it. Saturday: 20% Off all holiday merchandise.

Open Late

Carlotta’s Studio

Ethyl’s

Fan Zone

Galena Cellar’s Winery

Poopsie’s

River Bend Gallery

The Welcome Center 

Wild Birds Unlimited of Galena

Other stores participating in #ShopSmallGalenaCountry: Wooden Wardrobe, Common Cents Resale, Dittmar Farms Orchard Station, E-town, Jane Marie Boutique, Barkau Automotive, Beautifully Berkely’s Bouquets & Home, Fritz Nursery, Glad Rags Boutique, Marie’s Wood Carving, Savvy Scavengers, Stella’s Cafe & Catering, Stockton Heritage Museum, Stockton Bowling Lanes, Sweet Alice’s, Woodbine Bend.

Nov. 24-Small Business Saturday

Make time for the holiday parade, to welcome ‘Santa’ as he rides through town. After the parade, stop back at the Welcome Center for our annual ‘Lighting of the Tree’ to help kick off the holiday season!

Enjoy local specials, late hours and endless memories as you make your way through Galena Country shops and eateries. Not only are small businesses vital to the national economy, they also benefit the communities in which they operate, both economically and socially. Everything from retail to dining, distilleries, spas and family-owned lodging, we pride ourselves in only the best independent businesses. When you purchase ‘small’, you can feel great knowing that the money you spend directly impacts the community. From all of us in Galena Country, thank you for being here and thank you for shopping small.

Capture Peace & Relaxation Midweek

The colors and scenery of Fall in Galena, IL and the communites of Jo Daviess County draws thousands of visitors. Weekends fill up fast so a midweek stay is a great opportunity to find peace and relaxation. Take advantage of the region and it’s attractions during the week  or extend your weekend getaway to avoid the crowds and enjoy the quiet beauty.

Here are a few tips to get your Fall trip-planning started!

LOOK FOR THE DEALS

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Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages

We are known for our unique, one-of-a-kind lodging properties. Find one that suites your needs and ask if they have Midweek specials/packages. Choose from historic bed and breakfasts, hotels with amenities or resorts for the ultimate getaway. A roadside motel or country inn with incredible views might be just the ticket for your autumn road trip. If you want to bring your friends or reunite up with family try a vacation rental home or condo.

SET YOUR OWN PACE

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Trolley Tours

One of the perks of visiting a small town is not having to deal with traffic, long lines and crowds. But Fall, with all it’s glory, is one of our busiest times of the year and weekends fill up fast. Take advantage of the quiet days during the week.

State historic attractions are closed Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday and Thursday are great days to explore and tour, avoiding any lines and crowds. The Galena & US Grant Museum, a trolley tour or an evening ghost tour will give you a great glimpse into the history of the area. Call one of the historical societies for an appointment or visit the library for a more personal experience. Even General Grant himself will give you a personal tour of Main St. in Galena, IL!

ENJOY PERSONAL SERVICE

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ELLE Day Spa & Salon

Book an appointment at a peaceful spa. Slow it down and make your visit all about relaxation. Many of our lodging properties will help you get the services you want on site too, just ask!
For a great dinner recommendation or tips on great deals in town, book a mani/pedi at one of the local salons.

EXPLORE MORE

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Apple River Canyon State Park

Hike the trails to take in the views and snap some beautiful fall photos. Use our Outdoor Recreation section to explore all of your options. Whether you’re up for the extreme or a nice, quiet overlook to enjoy the panoramic views & autumn colors, you’ll find an activity that fits your definition of adventure! Chestnut Mountain Resort and Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa offer lots of options for every season and have convenient packages to make trip planning easy. Doesn’t hurt to rest at a vineyard and indulge in a wine tasting while you’re out exploring!

KEEP IT EASY BREEZY

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Bella Vintaj

We have a lot of options for shopping in the county, and some of our small business owners have limited hours. If you run into a closed sign, give them a call and see if you can make an appointment. That’s the beauty of a small town! You can find phone numbers for most businesses on their listings at galena.org. Most businesses will ship your purchases if you decide to make the trip on a motorcycle or in a convertible.

SMALL TOWN CHARM WITH BIG CITY CHOICES

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Perry Street Brasserie

Try some of the amazing restaurants and bars that fill up fast on the weekends. You’ll also have more time to chat with the staff and get the local scoop! The Beer Cheddar Fondue at One Eleven Main, the flaming saganaki at Log Cabin Steakhouse, and the delicious fried green tomatoes at Fried Green Tomatoes are great ways to start your night out.

When you’re out exploring, maybe following the NW IL Antique Trail, use galena.org to help you find what you need in each community. They have options that fit what you crave. If you’re looking to start the day with a good breakfast, try Charlie’s Place in Hanover and then walk it off at Wapello Land & Water Reserve. Otto’s Place always has something fresh and delicious and the Galena River Trail is just steps away. Try a blooming flower tea and fresh bread at Stella’s Cafe in Stockton or a tasty panini and homemade soup at E-Town in Elizabeth.

Get a flight of beers and chat with the master brewer at Galena Brewing Co. and linger over a cocktail after touring Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. Both are great ways to meet fellow travelers!

BONUS TIPS

Check our Events Calendar for Things to Do every day of the week. Our mobile-friendly website makes it easy for you to find fun while you’re out and about. You can also ask us on our social channels, we’re here to help!
Click the icons on our homepage or search for @enjoygalenactry.

 

 

 

 

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 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.

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!

 

 

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!

A Family Celebration

Plan your family celebration at galena.org! When October hits we start the sprint towards the holiday season. If¬†you feel rushed and busy it takes away from the quality family time you want from these¬†holidays. Here¬†are some Insider Tips¬†to enjoy this time of year and focus on what’s important to you.

1. Rent a vacation home so that everyone gets to be on vacation and cleaning up doesn’t fall to the hosts! (Robert Johnson Rental Homes pictured)

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2. Choose a resort or hotel so that everyone has something (or nothing!) to do and no one has to cook. (Stonedrift Spa pictured)

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3. Order in! We have many options for you…from a private chef, a caterer or dinner-to-go from your favorite restaurant. (Fried Green Tomatoes, Tuscan Mac-N-Cheese¬†pictured)

FGT_Tuscan Mac n Cheese

4. Is it just the two of you, but you want the feeling of coming home? Book a bed & breakfast, the innkeepers have a knack for thinking of everything when it comes to your comfort. (Susan Steffan of Farmers’ Guest House pictured)

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5. Stock up on the local flavors, wine from our four vineyards, spirits from the distillery, seasonings, garlic, olive oil and treats from Galena’s Main St. shops and the shops all over Jo Daviess County.¬†(Rigopoulos Grove Extra Virgin Olive Oil at Galena Canning Co. pictured)

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  • Let us know if we can help you plan your family getaway at galena.org.
  • Request free travel information HERE!
  • Also use our Events Calendar to plan activities for the whole family to enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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.

ER Exterior 01

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.

Photo Oct 02, 9 29 42 AM

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?

Dave Lewis-May2015_lowres

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.

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!