Warren IL

Winter Holidays in Galena Country

There’s something special about the holiday season. Maybe it’s the sense of wonder and amazement looking at the beautiful light displays, or the smell of hot cocoa and a fire burning in the fireplace. Or maybe, it’s the sentiment of gift-giving, family and traditions.

There’s no better way to cultivate those special feelings about the holidays, than a trip to Galena Country. Whether you’re on a family vacation, romantic getaway, or want to start a new tradition with friends, it’s the perfect addition to a wonderful holiday experience. Enjoy these wonderful events and activities during your ‘Christmas in Galena Country’ stay!

Galena

Dinner Date with History: SOLD OUT (Progressive) Sat., Nov. 10, 2018, 5-8 p.m. 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 each be served at a different location. A wonderful opportunity to visit three different locations, meet new friends and start off your holiday festivities. Reservations required. To reserve tickets and for more information, contact Lorraine via email at info@belleairemansion.com.

Nouveau Weekend: Nov. 16-17, 2018. Calling all wine lovers and epicureans of all levels! Join us as we celebrate the French-inspired tradition of Nouveau previewing a sampling of the vintage from the fall harvest.

Shop Small Galena Country: Nov. 23-25, 2018. The weekend is kicked off with Friday Night Lights, including extended shopping hours, free parking, and free gourmet hot cocoa. Team up with your best shopping crew and #GetToGalenaCountry for some retail therapy on the #HelluvaHalfMile.

Holiday Kick Off: Sat., Nov. 24, 2018. 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 p.m., Lighting of Tree: 6 p.m.

Holiday Fire in the Sky: Sat., Dec. 1, 2018. Live Carolers, hot cocoa and a fireworks display will take over the Galena River levee during this holiday celebration. 3:30-6 p.m. – Attend a pre-party celebration at The Elks Club. This family-friendly gathering and will include kids activities and live music by the Wundos. 6 p.m. –  Music on the Galena River levee. Sing along to Holiday music as fireworks fill the sky!

Night of the Luminaria & Living Windows: Sat., Dec. 8, 2018, 4-7 p.m. The streets, stairs, and sidewalks of Galena will be lined with nearly 5,000 candle-lit luminaries. Experience Living Windows as the storefronts come alive with holiday vignettes, sure to bring a smile to any Grinch. Stay tuned to learn how to vote for your favorite Living Window with a chance to win a free overnight in Galena!

Dinner at Desoto House Hotel: Sat., Dec. 8, 2018, 5-10 p.m. While the town is aglow with luminaries and ‘living windows’, enjoy a dinner by candlelight in the hotel’s courtyard where you will be enchanted by white twinkling lights and magical decorations. A special menu will be offered with live entertainment by Tony Sconyers

 

Galena Festival of the Performing Arts Christmas Concert: Sun., Dec. 9, 2018, 2-4 p.m. After enjoying the Luminaria spectacle on Galena’s festively decorated streets on Saturday night, settle in for a fun-filled Sunday afternoon of Celtic music and charm – a lovely way to usher in the holiday season!

Breakfast with Santa: Sun., Dec.9, 2018, 9 a.m.-noon. For big kids and little kids… bring a list for Santa and enjoy Rudolph, Frosty, and a helpful elf while enjoying an extensive breakfast buffet. Santa arrives at 9 a.m. and leaves at noon. Reservations are highly recommended.

The Generals Christmas Ball: Sat., Dec. 15, 2018, 7-11 p.m. Formed in 1961, The Galena Generals portray the nine Civil War Generals from Galena. This fundraiser offers dinner, dancing and fun in the historic confines of the historic Desoto House Hotel. Period music provided by the Americana Band and stories by The Generals themselves. Meal of Stuffed Pork Chop and Mixed Vegetables. Period Dress Welcomed.

Christmas Carols & Cookies: Sat., Dec. 21, 2018, 7-10 p.m. Warm up with Galena Cellars as you enjoy the sounds of Christmas accompanied by seasonal holiday wines and delicious cookies! Pianist and talented soloist Lannette Calhoun will host the evening that is sure to bring you Christmas cheer. Come sing along to your favorite holiday songs and enjoy a glass of your favorite Galena Cellars wine!

New Years Eve…DeSoto Style! Dec. 31, 2018, 9:30 p.m.–Midnight. Ring in the new year with Travis Hosette and the music of “Sinatra.” Dance and party all the way to 2019! Enjoy a cash bar, Hors d’ oeuvres, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Reservations are highly recommended.

Take a tour! 
Tri-State Trolley will be offering 45 min. Night of the Luminaria tours at 5, 6, 7 and 8 p.m. for $16. Sat., Dec. 8.
Enjoy a romantic, Night of the Luminaria heated shuttle bus tour with Amelia’s and a candlelit tour of the historic Ryan Mansion for $18. Shuttle Departs right behind the Desoto House Hotel. Tours run on the hour beginning at 5 p.m. and finish with a guided candlelit tour of one Galena’s most famous homes, the Ryan Mansion.

Mistletoe Stroll Holiday House Tour: Sat., Dec. 15, 2018, 1-4 p.m. Join Best of Galena as they open up their Bed and Breakfasts! Experience Galena’s finest Bed and Breakfasts. Tour their parlors and dining rooms, which have been decked out for the holidays and enjoy a couple of tasty treats – they may even share some recipes!

Tip: Plan a romantic dinner for just the two of you, try One Eleven Main for farm-to-table or Fritz & Frites for an intimate setting with a European flair.

Elizabeth

Christmas in Elizabeth: Sat., Dec. 1, 2018, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 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, ride a trolley and visit Santa. While you are there, partake in the living history demonstration at the Apple River Fort and participate in the Santa Dash! Enjoy a craft fair, live music, food and children’s activities. In cooperation with the Elizabeth, IL Chamber of Commerce annual event, “Christmas in the Village‚” the Apple River Fort State Historic Site will provide holiday atmosphere with seasonal music and host baked items and small home-made gifts sale at the Interpretive Center (311 E. Myrtle St.). Costumed history interpreters will also participate in interactive impressions and activities.

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

Stockton

Living Windows: Fri., Nov. 23, 2018, 4-6 p.m. As part of the Shop Small Galena Country weekend event, Stockton’s store front’s will come alive with Living Windows! An event that is sure to get you into the holiday sprit! Come hungry and enjoy a pop-up dinner at Stella’s Cafe & Catering from 5-9 p.m. Reservations are recommended!

Stockton Christmas Walk: Fri. Dec. 7 2018, 5:30 p.m. Welcome the holiday season with caroling, Christmas tree lighting and the crowing of Little Jack Frost and Miss Merry Christmas. On Sat., Dec. 8, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., stroll from store to store and shop, visit Santa, explore the festival of trees, ride in a horse-drawn wagon and grab a bite to eat in downtown!

Tip: Stop into Sweet Alice’s for a treat then shop for gifts and holiday decor at Beautifully Berkeley Bouquets & Home. Warm up in Stella’s Cafe & Catering with a blooming tea and fresh bread.

 

Warren

Warren Christmas Walk: Enjoy the Festival of Trees in the charming & historic Warren Community Building (Old Stone Hotel), starting November 30 and ending January 6, 2018. Stroll through town to see the decorated snowmen contributed by local businesses and holiday decorations. Santa will arrive in a parade on Monday, December 3 from 5 – 7:30 p.m. Explore the town and sample the treats and refreshments provided by participating businesses, don’t forget to register for door prizes!

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

More Ideas

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!

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.