10 Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County Series – #1

Molly’s Ten Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County

We asked local mom, teacher and business owner, Molly McGovern-Mensendike to share what she loved about Jo Daviess County!

1. Hands down, we have the best views of hills and greenery with historic downtown architecture tucked into the hillsides. I need to stop myself sometimes to take it all in and not overlook it with my busy lifestyle. In my opinion, the best view in Jo Daviess County is scenic overlook, just outside Elizabeth. I don’t think I’ve ever driven by when there wasn’t someone stopping to take a picture.

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2. I teach at one of the best public schools in Illinois, River Ridge CUSD 210. Our teachers and staff care about our students and provide them with the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in their careers and as citizens. The schools in Jo Daviess County are THE best in my opinion. The small-town feel with the highly educated teachers and staff makes for incomparable educational opportunities for our students in Jo Daviess County. Tootin’ my own horn here!

3. The interesting people of Jo Daviess County are friendly and unique. I’ve only known the townspeople to be friendly and wave as you go by, even when they don’t know your name. Take a cruise down a country road and you’ll see what I mean. AND, there are so many artists and musicians, too. I love to drive through downtown Galena and hear the music being played in the small park and see the artists working in their storefront windows.

4. The rural area provides the inhabitants and visitors an abundance of produce and baked goods at local farmers’ markets. A great example would be the produce crates that Groezinger Produce Farm provides upon request. The Elizabeth Farmer’s Market is on Friday night so you can pick up your needs as the weekend begins. I like to get my pumpkins and corn from Dittmar Farms at this one!

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5. Geocaching. This is an activity that all, young and old, can enjoy. Download the geocaching app, and watch the video of how it works. Then, wherever you are, you can geocache. I find it works well if I have been running a ton of errands and want to reward my patient kids with an activity! It takes a bit of navigation and some searching!

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6. You cannot comprehend the magnificence of Galena’s Halloween parade unless you have experienced it. My favorite part is the blowing of the hot air from the hot air balloon baskets driven through the parade. Oh, the warmth they bring…

7. Country Fair weekend in Galena that coincides with the Autumn Craft Fair in Elizabeth at River Ridge High School is my favorite of all the fall weekends. I have nostalgic memories of growing up in Galena and experiencing the caramel apples at the fair. The crisp apples and the crisp fall air are two things that bring comfort to my soul.

8. For a small town, Stockton’s 4th of July celebration is my favorite. The chicken that is grilled at the park is well worth the wait. There’s always a great band with afternoon music and a fabulous show of fireworks at dusk. This is my family’s go-to spot to celebrate Independence Day!

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9. Restaurants, restaurants, restaurants. I may be a little biased as I have a brother for a chef. I of course love his restaurant, Stella’s Café and Catering, with the ambiance of the historic building and the homemade soups and breads, the fresh salads and homemade dressings. Yum! My all-time favorite place for steaks (the only steak I ever eat without A1 sauce) and Bloody Marys is Galena’s Log Cabin Steakhouse. If you dine there, you MUST get the saganaki as an appetizer. Elizabeth’s Small Town Saloon is a great lunch destination for a burger and a beer. Their spicy ketchup is to-die-for. I mean, I crave this stuff like I were nine months pregnant.

10. The small towns in Jo Daviess County are full of activities and festivals. Galena’s Living Windows and the lighting of the luminaria really make Christmastime magical. All in all, I make it a point to try something new. For instance, this year, Elizabeth is hosting the Midwest Garlic Fest and I am dying to try it out!

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Molly McGovern-Mensendike was born in Galena, IL and currently resides in Elizabeth, IL with ties to all of the communities in Jo Daviess County. She opened Savvy Scavengers with her mom in November of 2006 in Galena. It’s a “boutique for the eclectic woman’s style offering clothing, shoes, purses, and jewelry.” They like to think of it as a place where both a mom and daughter can shop together. They’ve expanded their business to include another location in Stockton, IL and opened Stockton Floral & Gifts, along with Sweet Alice’s candy shop. In addition to these entrepreneurial pursuits Molly teaches high school English at River Ridge where her students “are forever engrained in her heart.”

Stay tuned for more favorites in our blog series!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Special Events

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

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