The Insider’s Guide to Galena/Jo Daviess County

Best Midwestern Small Town – Please Vote!

Galena, IL has been nominated in the USA Today 10 Best – Reader’s Choice Awards for the Best Midwestern Small Town! Please help us to the top with your vote. You can vote daily until April 24, 2017. We appreciate your help! 

 

Galena is a 3 hour drive west from Chicago, in the northwest corner of Illinois. The Mississippi River defines it’s western border and is the reason for the boom in the mid 1800’s that Galena attributes to it’s charm. One-of-a-kind shops, restaurants, along with bed and breakfasts, hotels, resorts and vacation rental homes, this midwestern destination is the perfect choice for your next vacation. There is plenty to do for everyone, with 10 golf courses in Jo Daviess County, two resort communities with lakes, horseback riding, hot air ballooning and canopy tours. Kayak the Galena River, race your friends down the mountain on the Alpine Slide at Chestnut and take a Mississippi River cruise. Indulge in the tastes of Jo Daviess County with four vineyards, a distillery and two breweries. Every season holds something special with special events and fun activities.

Plan your trip at galena.org and let us know if we can help!

 

Great River Road named in the “Top 50 Trips 2017”

Wanderlust Magazine out of the UK names the Great River Road as one of the “Top 50 Trips 2017” in their February issue! The seventeen page article highlights stops along the Mississippi River, including “thriving” Galena, IL. Author Phoebe Smith suggests dining at One Eleven Main and Otto’s Place while staying at the historic DeSoto House Hotel on Galena’s Main St. Ms. Smith also points out wine tours of our local vineyards and the rich American history all along the Mississippi River.

Photo: @lyndseylegrand on Instagram

Visitor’s wanting to make the Mississippi River a part of their Galena & Jo Daviess County experience can use these tips when planning their vacation.

Use these helpful websites when planning your road trip:

 

A Getaway for Wine Lovers

Plan your vacation to Galena and Jo Daviess County with these popular wine events in mind. Jo Daviess County’s picturesque landscape is the perfect backdrop to many of these annual festivals, celebrating local and regional wines. Explore the four wineries, the mom-and-pop shops and the fine restaurants featuring their best vintages and hear the stories behind them from the owners themselves. Take a tour, attend a festival and enjoy Galena Country’s finest!

2017 Wine-Lovers’ Events:

Wine Lover’s Weekend – March 24-25

Let your palate savor a weekend of wine, spirit and beer tastings in Galena. The Grand Tasting offer wines from all over the region, presented by the winemakers themselves or knowledgeable representatives. Purchase Grand Tasting tickets here…

Great Galena Balloon Race – June 16-18

Wine Flights, more than 100 wines to sample in the big tent. Enjoy live music and watch the balloons fly and glow.
Tickets are $25 each, sponsored by Family Beer & Liquor. Wine Flights on Saturday night always sell out fast! Learn more…

CorklessGalena_evening

Corkless Galena – June 24

Taste regional wines with Galena as your backdrop, outdoors at Depot Park in Galena. Elegant wines made from American hybrid grapes will be showcased in the afternoon and early evening. Selections of wines represent unique wines produced by family owned Northern Illinois Wineries. In addition to Wine Tastings, there will be an art exhibit, light snacks available, and music. Learn more…

Galena Cellars Fall Harvest & Art Festival – September 23

Purple feet, paint brushes, and lots of fall harvest fun for the whole family! Artists in the vineyard will give live demonstrations and have art for sale, free family activities such as pumpkin painting and horse-drawn wagon rides, our FAMOUS annual grape stomp, and of course, WINE TASTING! Live music, beautiful scenery and amazing food highlight the festivities. Noon – 6pm. Learn more…

Massbach Stomp – September 30

“Jump in FEET first and stomp grapes till you are purple! Celebrate a successful harvest with us in the vineyard.” Live music, food truck, corn hole and views of the picturesque countryside! Learn more…

galena-cellars

Nouveau Wine Festival – November 17-18

Inspired by European traditions, celebrate the release of Galena Cellars’ latest Nouveau by attending one of the special luncheons of the day, then watch as the revelers parade down Main St. in Galena, making deliveries of the new wine. Parties go on into the night at several local businesses and hotels. Learn more…

Local Vineyards:

Jo Daviess County presents the finest local award-winning wineries and vineyards in Illinois. Indulge in one of Galena Country’s four wineries, and enjoy a day of learning about the talent of wine making and specialty wine tastings. Stop in for a tasting and a tour one of Jo Daviess County’s award-winning wineries. Stay a while with a bottle of your favorite wine, cheese and crackers.

Galena Cellars_web

Galena Cellars Vineyard (pictured above)

The Lawlor family, with more than 30 years of winemaking experience, proudly offers tours and tastings of 40 award-winning wines. Tour the vineyard and enjoy the scenery on Ford Rd. and then check out the tasting room on Main St. in Galena. Learn more…

Massbach Ridge Vineyard & Winery

Sample award-winning, estate-grown wine while enjoying the breathtaking Jo Daviess County hills. Open daily, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., year round. You can also taste their wines in their tasting room on Main St. in Galena. Learn more…

Rocky Waters Vineyard

Experience the spectacular view, taste wines from their locally grown grapes, relax on the deck, and enjoy some wine. Open year-round. Learn more…

Fergedaboudit Vineyard

A boutique winery located in a scenic valley in Hanover. Specializing in dry-red-bold wines from their picturesque vineyard. Open seasonally. Learn more…

Buy & Taste:

Shop and stock up on favorites or plan a night out to experience the local flavors, Galena & Jo Daviess County have a lot to offer wine fans.

Jamie’s Wine Studio of Galena

Intimate wine and martini bar and fine wine shop. Unique selection of wines, spirits, and gift items. Saturday wine tastings. Learn more…

Miss Kitty’s The Grape Escape

Wine/martini lounge, craft beers. Live music Friday, Saturday, and Quiz Show Sunday. Bloody Mary bar. Gourmet apps until last call. Learn more…

Fried Green Tomatoes

Prime steaks, fresh scallops and homemade lasagna paired with a Wine Spectator award-winning wine menu. Outstanding service and atmosphere. Half price bottles of wine every Friday! Learn more…

Goldmoor Inn & Dining

Simple elegance describes this dining experience. Unmatched Old World decor, diverse wine cellar, premier service complements our chef’s creative cuisine. Learn more…

ETown_wine

E-Town Coffee (pictured above)

Great atmosphere with hearty, homemade bites for breakfast & lunch. Check ahead for wine tastings and stop in to shop! Learn more…

Unique Wine Adventures

Hike the Vines

Every Saturday this winter (weather permitting), from Noon & 2 pm, snowshoe the vineyard and enjoy the sparkling new snow! Then, warm up next to the fireplace and enjoy a glass of wine in the vineyard tasting room. Book through Fever River Outfitters.

Scooter to the Vineyard

Scooter to Galena Cellars Vineyard‚ imagine scootering on gorgeous remote country roads to the Galena Cellars Vineyard. Ride with our small group, take a vineyard tour, taste some wine, and kick back on the wicker furnished veranda. After you’ve indulged in the essence of the lush green countryside we’ll drive you back to town. $75 person includes scooter rental, wine tasting, and shuttle transportation back to Galena. Advanced reservations are required. Weekday trips are $75 per person, for groups under 8 persons and require a reservation made a minimum of 48 hours in advance. Book through Fever River Outfitters.

Countryside Tours

Visit three of the areas very best vineyards. Enjoy local wines and beautiful views. All while traveling Galena’s rural Countryside. Tastings are included! Learn more…

Ring in the New Year

blaum-bros-edit2

There are so many ways to ring in the New Year in Galena & Jo Daviess County! Cozy up in a quiet B&B, choose an inclusive package at a resort or hotel or gather up your family or friends in a vacation rental home. All of these choices will provide the perfect setting for a festive New Year!

Here are some of our ideas, let us know on Facebook or Twitter if we can help you customize your visit or answer any questions.

Breakfast at Jail Hill Inn (@halcraftem)

Breakfast at Jail Hill Inn (@halcraftem)

The luxurious Jail Hill Inn, just steps from Galena’s Main St. Dine at a European-style bistro, Fritz and Frites Bistro, and then jump into the live music & festivities at The Grape Escape, Gobbie’s or The Cornerstone. When you wake up you can enjoy a bubble bath in spa-like bathrooms of the Jail Hill Inn and a gourmet breakfast. Galena has excellent choices for cuisine and nightlife, including a special NYE event at Galena Brewing Co.!

Goldmoor Inn & Dining

Goldmoor Inn & Dining

The Goldmoor Inn & Dining offers a New Year’s Eve package that includes a gourmet meal, dancing and bubbly. Wake up to fantastic views of the Mississippi River, breakfast in the dining room or delivered to your suite, then treat yourself to spa services. A quiet retreat to get away from the busy city, but close enough to enjoy the charm of Galena and the surrounding communities and Chestnut Mountain Resort is just down the road.

The Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

The Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa in the Galena Territory has options galore for families, couples and a group of your friends. A family party at the Inn, the Nordic Center for winter fun and the indoor pool will make a festive family getaway. Guests over 21 can enjoy dinner and dancing in the ballroom at the Inn or maybe a prime rib buffet at The Woodstone is more your speed! There is something for everyone, with lots of amenities, including Stonedrift Spa and lake views with the potential for eagle sightings. Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa offers rooms at the Inn, condos & villas and vacation rental homes with up to 5 bedrooms.

Winter-Chestnut Skiers - Cropped3 low

Ski at Chestnut Mountain Resort

Ski under the lights at Chestnut Mountain Resort and then fuel up with three different dining options on the property. Relax in the pool after a day on the slopes and enjoy the sunset over the Mississippi River while enjoying a cocktail from the bar. Don’t miss the fireworks at midnight on New Year’s Eve!

DSC_4803-WEB

Stockton Bowling Lanes

Stay at Country Inn & Suites – Stockton for it’s prime antiquing location in Jo Daviess County. Trips to Warren, Elizabeth and Hanover are easy from Stockton, with a lot to see and do along the way. Dinner and a monster skillet cookie sundae in a log cabin at JJ & Freddie’s will be just what you need after a day of “hunting!” There’s also a well-maintained bowling alley from the 1940’s that will really be a treat!

frankodowds

A traditional Irish snug at Frank O’Dowd’s Pub

Toast in the new year in a traditional Irish snug at Frank O’Dowd’s Pub. Dinner, live music, Irish dancers and a festive crowd make this a great spot to celebrate. Head upstairs to your room in the Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel after enjoying some pints!


Take a Cab! Call A to B Cab Company to drive you to and from celebration destination from your lodging property. Do you have a group staying at a vacation rental home in the Galena Territory? Log Cabin Steakhouse and Fried Green Tomatoes will pick you up, just make sure to call ahead for availability. Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa also has a shuttle to Chestnut Mountain Resort and downtown Galena, again, call ahead for availability.

This is just a sampling of what’s available! Check our Events Calendar and explore galena.org for more options. Enjoy Galena Country on your next getaway and best wishes to you in 2017!


Japanese TV show shoots Illinois special, features Galena, IL

Jo Daviess County raised its tourism profile with a Japanese television program called Tabi Salad. In September 2016, the TV celebrity travel show filmed a visit to Illinois, including Galena in part two of the series. Tabi Salad is a 90-minute weekend morning show featuring a 20 minute travel segment. The Illinois Office of Tourism partnered with Connect Worldwide Japan Co., Ltd. and secured Illinois for their 4 part overseas travel show. The Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) worked with the Illinois Office of Tourism for this special road trip.

The team traveled from Chicago to Galena, IL; enjoying the views on US Hwy 20. Upon arrival the host, Ms. Aoi Yoshikura, tells viewers, “Here you will find the old-fashioned mid-western town of Galena, a 19th century mining town with a quiet pace of life where you can escape the busy city. With the old buildings just as they were, it looks like a nice place to live. It takes you back in time and you get a feel for the way America used to be.”

Ms. Yoshikura enters the charming bed and breakfast, Farmers’ Guest House, commenting that “the owner is lively and cheerful and greets you like an old friend.” She also enjoyed the accommodations, the “cute, country-style rooms, great for relaxing,” and the homemade cherry danish is a “real taste of Mid-America.”

The travel show takes viewers to a relaxing mud & charcoal facial at the Stonedrift Spa at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, before heading downtown for dinner at Log Cabin Steakhouse. The petite host enjoyed their specialty, hand-cut Allen Bros. steak, “so big, everything is big here! So tender and delicious and I ate the whole thing!”

Ms. Yoshikura took to the skies in a hot air balloon with Galena on The Fly, enjoying the panoramic views of Jo Daviess County. The footage from the balloon is stunning.

Viewers of Tabi Salad can find travel information here at galena.org!

Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB Will Shine a Light on the Destination at the 25th BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival in Chicago, IL

The Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) will be partnering with the Illinois Office of Tourism to represent the state at the Magnificent Mile® Lights Festival during its 25th anniversary celebration. The Magnificent Mile® invites visitors to kick off the holiday season with a day full of family fun. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida will lead an unforgettable evening lighting parade down North Michigan Avenue, illuminating more than one million lights on 200 trees.  But first, on November 18-19, 2016 from 11AM – 4PM, in the consumer exposition area, Lights Festival Lane, the Illinois Office of Tourism will be using their mobile Tourism Information Center to offer attendees the Travel Illinois magazine and other statewide information.  In addition, to best showcase some of the amazing experiences throughout the state, visitor bureaus such as the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau have been invited to highlight their destinations. The CVB will be showing visitors how they can capture the moment with great places to stay, things to do, taste and see in Galena & Jo Daviess County in northwest Illinois.

The Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB (galena.org) is honored to be a part of the 25th year of this popular festival in downtown Chicago, which sees over 50,000 visitors annually. “Our partners in Jo Daviess County are helping us offer chances to win overnight packages to our destination, restaurant vouchers and more,” says Executive Director, Katherine Walker. “Stop by our booth in Lights Festival Lane at Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan Avenue, to enter our magnificent giveaways and learn more about your next Great Midwest Getaway!”

The Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) was established in 1983 as a department of county government and is certified by the State of Illinois. The Bureau’s mission is to promote Galena/Jo Daviess County as the Midwest’s Premier Destination Getaway for overnight visitors. Find travel information on their mobile-friendly website, galena.org. Follow and tag the CVB in your getaway photos @enjoygalenactry on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Christmas in the County 2016

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!

  • Elizabeth

  • Warren

  • Galena

  • Stockton

  • East Dubuque

Galena

Festival of TreesNovember 26, 2016, 11am – 4pm. The 6th Annual Festival of Trees will kick of the holiday season on Saturday, November 26 in the DeSoto House Ballroom in Galena from 11-4PM. 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. Admission is free, purchase raffle tickets here!

Old-Fashioned Christmas in Galena: November 26, 2016. 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: SOLD OUT! December 3, 2016, 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.

Holiday Housewalk: December 3, 2016. Five homeowners invite the public to tour their beautifully decorated private homes during this year’s Galena Territory Holiday Housewalk. Light holiday refreshments will be served at the Owner’s Club, where a raffle will be held for a unique handmade quilt and related items made by the Quilters of the Territory. $12 per person

Luminaria & Living Windows: December 10, 2016. The streets, steps, and sidewalks of Galena will be lined with nearly 5,000 candle-lit luminaries. Living Windows is when the storefronts come alive with holiday vignettes, sure to bring a smile to any Grinch. This year it will feature it’s 2nd Wedding in A Window!

Mistletoe Stroll: December 10th and 17th, 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. Tickets are $10 per person, children under 12 are free.

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.

Elizabeth

Christmas in Elizabeth: November 26, 2016, 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, soup & bake sale, Christmas Tree decorating contest, Santa Dash – 1 mile fun run 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 State Historic Site 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 latté or bottle of wine at E-Town Coffee and make sure there’s time to stroll through Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Mall.

Stockton

Stockton Christmas Walk: December 3, 2016, Stockton‚ holiday tradition, this year’s theme is “A Candy Cane Christmas.” Start the season with a Christmas tree lighting on Friday evening at 6 p.m. On Saturday, December 3, 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 then shop for gifts and holiday decor at Stockton Floral & Gifts. 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 Saturday November 26 and ending January 1, 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 5 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 26, 2016, 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

sleigh-ride_2015_twitter

Photo credit: Henry Matthiessen III of Stoned Art Studio, East Dubuque Lions Club, Sweet Alice’sShenandoah Riding Center

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

dsc_0400

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

dsc_0558

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

Elle Day Spa_massage_FB

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

apple-river-canyon-sp_web

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

Bella Vintaj - Edited

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

Perry-St_web

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.

 

 

 

 

Page 1 of 612345...Last »