Hands-On Experiences

Galena & Jo Daviess County are loaded with creative people who open their studios and businesses to share their talents with others. Learning something new or adding talents to your tool box are a great way to bond with family and friends. Try these activities on your next visit, click these links to learn about more hands-on experiences and studio tours!

 

Cooking

Enjoy learning to cook from the Breakfast Diva herself! Voted Best Breakfast 2015 on B&B.com and a Food Network 2015 Holiday Baking Championship competitor, Susan knows her way around the kitchen! Susan will share her knowledge, stories, hints and tips with you. Tastings and a tour of her kitchen are included. Learn more at The Farmers’ Guest House…

You can also sign up for a gourmet cooking experience at The Goldmoor Inn and Fine Dining with Chef Carlos Valdez in his state-of-the-art kitchen!

Glaze and Graze_web

Pottery

It’s a creative experience that combines ceramic artistry with the enjoyment of good food at a harvest table. Your hosts are master potter Charles Fach and his wife, Sandra, Galena residents since 1971. With their expertise and guidance, you‚Äôll decorate and glaze your own dinnerware, and then enjoy dinner on your new dishes. Learn more at Stonehouse Pottery & Gallery…

Rustic River Finds_class

Jewelry

This is the perfect beginner beading class to learn the basics of design, stringing, and clasping; including the proper use and application of tools. ¬†Choose a necklace, bracelet, or earrings to be completed in about 1.5 hours and able to be worn home by the end of class. Walk-in or reservations. Learn more at Rustic River Finds…

The Mystery of Wire Crochet: Learn the fine art secrets to Jan Ketza’s Wire Crochet technique in this innovative class. Create your own triple strand necklace with toggle clasp. Basic crochet chain stitching is required to know prior to class. Samples are available for viewing at the Mercantile.
Class fee is $30.00 Kit Fee is $35.00. Reservations are required with payment upon booking.

Add to your getaway at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa by booking a jewelry making class with Mackie Mullane of Bella Vintaj!

Painting

Intuitive Painting with Jan Ketza….Follow your heart with the desire to paint for the sake of exploration, raw expression, and the release into the joy of creating art.¬†This class is about expressing yourself intuitively through color, shape, and techniques that open up a world of creativity where anything is possible.
Class fee is $50.00 and includes a canvas, paints, brushes, and easel. Reservations at The Mercantile are required with payment with this popular class.

Sandra Principe

Sandra Principle heads up a Cork & Canvas painting class one Saturday a month at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa! Sandra Principe, a local Galena artist and author, will be hosting paint by wine events at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa. She will take you step by step through the creation of your painting. Sandra’s paintings are inspired by the beauty of flowers and the Midwest landscape. And there is no better place than Eagle Ridge Resort as the setting for this unique experience. Let your creative side come out as you create your masterpiece overlooking Lake Galena and the beautiful Eagle Ridge Landscape.
All supplies are included in the class and of course wine, fruit, cheese and more are provided throughout the class! In three hours you will have a completed painting that you will be extremely proud of to take home and show your friends and family.

Paint with Janet Checker in her studio, call ahead and set up an appointment!

Check our Events Calendar for classes and events happening during your visit or contact the business to make a reservation!

Christmas in the County 2015

Christmas-in-the-County
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!

NewYearsEve

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.

Apple River Fort

Elizabeth

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!

Stockton Christmas 2014_sm

Stockton

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!

Santa_Trees

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

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)

Front1

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

GalenaExtras-09FinalLgJPG

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)

11406436_10153393260320856_60903873680108566_o

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)

12027637_892197777538504_874639666514185399_n

  • 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!

 

 

 

 

Celebrate the 4th of July in Jo Daviess County!

Stockton 4th_fireworks

photo by StocktonJuly4.com

Here’s your guide to navigating all of the fun for the 4th of July in all of the communities in Jo Daviess County!

Galena: Start your day with a workout at Galena’s Buckhill Run/Walk & Community Day or the Firecracker 5K at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa!

Don’t miss the Star Spangled Shenandoah Pro Rodeo July 3 & 4! Bring the family and a blanket and enjoy the fireworks set to music after the show. Western wear, food & drinks are available for purchase.

Enjoy the old-fashioned, all-American experience of Galena’s 21st Independence Day Celebration brought to you by the Kiwanis Club of Galena! Bring a bag for the kids to load up on candy at the parade, shop Main St. and then roll out the blanket and grab a seat on the levy for the fireworks over Grant Park.

You can also reserve a spot on the rooftop of the DeSoto House Hotel! Call for details, tickets sell fast!

thonline_rodeo2

photo by THOnline (Star Spangled Shenandoah Pro Rodeo)

Stockton: Activities all day on July 4, including a 5/10K, 3 on 3 basketball tournament, tug-of-war competition, great food, live music & more! Head to Stockton Memorial Park for all the fun and pack the swim bag to cool off in their wonderful public pool between events!

East Dubuque: Start the celebration early on June 27 with fun games for the entire family including a screamer slide, climbing wall, cash & smash car, inflatable obstacle course, and more. Enjoy all your favorite fair food and snacks, live entertainment, all followed by an awesome fireworks display at dusk.

Hanover: The holiday celebration starts on July 3rd with Hanover Days! The VFW offers their traditional annual beef roast dinner. Then Main St. comes to life with activity as the celebration parade starts at 6 p.m. Try your skills with the canoe race down the Apple River for the Overall Prize in male, female and mixed divisions. There will also be awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. At dusk the fireworks light up the river in beautiful holiday tradition. Finish the evening at the VFW with live music by 2nd Generation Band.

Elizabeth: Living History at Apple River Fort on July 4! Join costumed interpreters as they recreate 1830s frontier life at the Apple River Settlement. Pioneer youngins’ games, patriotic crafts and refreshments.

Station Barn Bar

photo by Council Hill Station (Barn Dance w/Fever River String Band)

Scales Mound: Keep it casual at Council Hill Station  (pictured above)! Join The Fever River String Band  and the Blackberry Bushes Bluegrass Band on July 4th from 1-7pm for an afternoon of real country music in a unique rural General Store. Enjoy the surrounding area complete with a railway station, mill and wading pond.

—————————————————————————————————

Find every event and activity on the Events Calendar! Where should you stay?
Check out all of our unique and diverse properties in Jo Daviess County on our Where to Stay Page!

—————————————————————————————————

 

 

 

 

 

Active Getaways in Galena & Jo Daviess County

You’ve worked hard on staying fit and healthy and you don’t want to fall off the wagon on your vacation. Choose Galena, Illinois and Jo Daviess County for your active getaway! Here’s a list of events that will help you plan the dates for your active vacation.

————————MAY————————

May 2: Spring In My Step: 2 Mile Run/Walk & Kid’s Fun Run (Elizabeth, IL) – A great day outdoors for the whole family! The Kids’ Run is at 8:15 am in Terrapin Park and the 2 mile Run starts at 8:30. This event coincides with the Spring Fling activities in Elizabeth which includes a bounce house if the kids still have energy! Click HERE for more information!

May 2: Ride the Ups and Downs Bicycle Ride (starts in Elizabeth, IL) – 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. Choose one of four clearly marked routes on rolling, low traffic, paved roads throughout our rural setting: 26 miles – 32 miles (50 km) — 52 miles – 63 miles (100 km). Delicious, homemade cookies are waiting for you at each water station! Click HERE for detailed information from the G.O.A.T.S. Cycling Club!

DSC_6512

May 16: 20th Annual Galena Triathlon & Duathlon (starts at Apple Canyon Lake, ends in Galena) РCelebrate with the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau as they host their 20th Triathlon/Duathlon! This early season triathlon will start with a 660-yard swim in the clear, cool waters of Apple Canyon Lake with a beach start and finish. Athletes will be tested by a 16.8-mile bicycle ride from the lake to Recreation Park in Galena. The bicycle route features plenty of “ups and downs” on the curvaceous country roads of Jo Daviess County. To finish, competitors will run 4.2 miles out and back on the hills of Galena. Registrants can also opt to enter the duathlon which starts with a two-mile run in lieu of the swim portion. The duathletes then compete on the same bicycle and final run courses as the triathletes. Click HERE for more information & registration!

————————JUNE————————

June 5-7: Tour of Galena (Galena, IL) – The 5th annual omnium stage race. Premiere track cycling along the historic streets of Galena. Click HERE for more information!

————————JULY————————

4th of July

July 5: Stockton 5K/10K – Run/Walk (Stockton, IL) – Another great family event! In addition to all of the 4th of July festivities in Stockton you can add a 5K or 10K to the list. They even have a family discount and a stroller division, so everyone can enjoy! For more information and registration click HERE!

Color Run2
photo: images by Amanda

July 18: 2nd Annual Paint the Barnyard Color Run (Elizabeth, IL) – A family-friendly 2.5 walk/ 5K/10K run through the rolling hills in Elizabeth.¬† Look for the tractors & wooden barnyard animals to let you know how far you’ve gone & get ready for some COLOR! We’ll update this post when registration is available. Pre-registration will be $30, day of the event is $35. Kids 8 & under are free! Click HERE for the Paint the Barnyard Facebook Page!

————————SEPTEMBER————————

September 19:  Fever River Outfitters Adventure Triathlon (Galena, IL) 6 mile kayak paddle down the Galena River, 17 mile bicycle ride and a 3.1 mile run. See their Events page for all the details! For year-round action and adventure, no matter what the season, check out Fever River Outfitters РCycling, kayaking, yoga, paddle-boarding and so much more.

September: Warren Pumpkin Festival 5K (Warren, IL) – Event info coming soon!

————————OCTOBER————————

October 3: Midwest Health & Fitness Walk/Run 5K (Galena, IL) РRegistration includes admission to Oktoberfest in Depot Park for participants 21 & over! Bring your kids and/or your dog for a Fun Run/Walk 5K, benefiting the Galena Food Pantry. Kids 12 & under are free. Click HERE for more information! Visitors can use the Fitness Center with a day pass for $9/day and attend classes for usually around $7/class.  You can also look into their free Kids Camps with sessions June 9-18 & July 14-23 (space is limited).

————————NOVEMBER————————

Mile-13_2014

 November 7: Lead Rush Half Marathon (Galena, IL) РRun the magnificent countryside of Jo Daviess County in northwest Illinois… past rolling pastures with spectacular views of the Mississippi River. Start & finish at Chestnut Mountain Resort, and take the chairlift up to the after-party! Hosted by the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, click HERE for more information!

We’ll update this post as more information becomes available, bookmark us and check back for more active getaway ideas!

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!)

Horseshoe Mound_stargazing

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)

larrypav's telescope 8.21.03

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!