A Wine Lover’s Weekend

Do you have a wine tracking app? Do you take notes of your favorite sips and must-try bottles? Add a Wine Lover’s Weekend to Galena, IL and Jo Daviess County to your wine-lovers bucket list! Here are our suggestions for taking it all in…

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2016 Wine-Lovers’ Events:

Wine Lover’s Weekend – March 18-19

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 17-19

More than 100 wines to sample in the big tent. Enjoy live music and watch the balloons fly and glow.
Tickets are $25 each (SOLD OUT),¬†sponsored by Family Beer & Liquor. Learn more…

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Corkless Galena – June 25

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 24

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 by Fever River String Band and amazing food highlight the festivities. Noon – 6pm. Learn more…

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Massbach Stomp – October 1 (pictured above)

“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…

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Nouveau Wine Festival – November 18-19

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.

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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…

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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 beginning 12/12/15 through 2/20/15, 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.

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…

 

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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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).

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 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

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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!