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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

 

 

 

 

Scenic Drives with MORE!

Historic US Hwy 20 has been called one of the most scenic drives in the Midwest. Explore the rolling hills and winding roads of Jo Daviess County. Here are two ways to add to your scenic drive throughout Jo Daviess County!

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The Vintage Shop Hop is coming through Jo Daviess County in March. This regional annual event is a self-guided tour of the 280+ antique and resale shops in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin! Hit the road and follow the map of participating businesses for special deals and promotions.

The shops participating in Jo Daviess County, along the Northwest Corridor Scenic Drive are:

Antiques Etc. (Stockton)
Dusty’s Closet Antiques (Warren)
Common Cents Resale Shop (Elizabeth)
Elizabeth Grand Antique Mall (Elizabeth)
Sullivan’s Antiques (Hanover)
All That’s Vintage (Galena)

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Another way to enhance your road trip is to follow the All River Road Talent (ARRT) Art Drive. Artists from Jo Daviess County and beyond open their studios to the public on special dates throughout the year. For a list of participating artists click HERE. Check their Facebook Page for upcoming dates and locations! The studio pictured above is Henry Matthiessen III’s Stoned Art Studio in rural Elizabeth, IL. Hear the stories behind the art, buy for yourself or as a gift and enjoy the atmosphere!

Take pics along the way and share them with @enjoygalenactry on Instagram and Twitter and EnjoyGalenaCountry on Facebook!

Festival Of Trees

Things to do in Galena, Illinois

Festival of Trees continues its mission of sharing the spirit of the holidays

The 6th Annual Festival of Trees will kick of the holiday season on Saturday, November 28 in the DeSoto House Ballroom 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.

Entrance tickets are $2 per person and available at the door. With your entrance ticket you will also receive two chances to win a raffle item donated by a local business. The raffle drawing will take place at 5 p.m. Santa will be stopping by to visit with children as well as greet people on Main Street. Enjoy holiday music, cookies, and hot chocolate as you browse through this winter wonderland. All items will be available for purchase through a silent auction format with a "Buy it Now" option as well. Silent auction winners can bring their items home at the end of this one-day event.

"The DeSoto House is transformed for the season into a magical place and the ballroom comes alive with all the gorgeous holiday trees, wreaths, and other festive auction items. It is a wonderful must-see family event for all ages." –Helen Mayberry, festival chairperson.

A sampling of the festival items will be on display prior to the event from November 14 until November 27 at Tammy's Piggly Wiggly in the coffee room, in Galena.

The Festival is organized by a small group of local volunteers who want to give back to their community. Every year a not-for-profit organization receives all funds raised. This year proceeds will go to the Galena ARC Art Department to help maintain affordable youth art class registration fees by offsetting costs for administration and art supplies. But most importantly it will help build and maintain a scholarship fund to ensure all Jo Daviess County youth have an opportunity to participate in youth art classes.

"It's support like this that allows the Galena ARC to be a vital community organization
offering quality programs for all ages. Please stop by and enjoy the festival and bring home a beautiful holiday item to decorate your home or give as a gift."–Dave Decker, Galena ARC Executive Director.

Christmas in the County 2015

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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

Fantastic Fall Events!

Lodging properties fill up fast each autumn in Galena/Jo Daviess County, IL! With that being said we couldn’t help tempting you with some of our fantastic Fall events! The leaves are at their peak around Columbus Day weekend, count on us to keep you updated on our Fall Foliage Meter!

Dittmar Farms Mill Creek Valley¬†is opening September 19 and will remain open until October 25. Admission includes a pick-your-own pumpkin, a run through the corn maze and a wagon ride! Enjoy some homemade sweet treats and coming soon…APPLES! The Dittmars are estimating a pick date for apples in 2017! Insider tip: After getting your pumpkin head to E-Town in Elizabeth for lunch!
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Warren Pumpkin Festival is held September 25-27, 2015! An old-fashioned festival with antique tractor pulls, parade, carnival rides, pumpkin-themed games, lots of food and beverage and much more. Fun for the whole family. Special for this year is the 144th Army Band performing especially for the festival.

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Galena Oktoberfest (Galena Lions Club) is October 3, 2015. “The 9th annual Galena Oktoberfest will feature a Ceremonial Tapping of the Keg; non-stop live music; wiener dog races; polka lessons and dancing; bean bag tournament; beer stein endurance contest;
bounce house & pumpkin decorating, for the kids; lots of food and beer.” Insider tip: Wear layers, you can have all sorts of weather in one day!

Galena Country Fair: An arts & crafts festival filling historic Grant Park. The food, the smells, and the beauty of Fall will lure you in as you wander through the paths filled with country crafts and fine art. The Country Fair is held annually on the Saturday & Sunday of Columbus Day weekend. This year the event is October 10 & 11! Insider Tip: Can’t get enough crafts? Head to Hwy 84 in Hanover to the indoor River Ridge Craft Fair!

Galena Country Fair

 

Fear Forest at Shenandoah Riding Center will definitely deliver some screams! Fear Forest opens on Friday October 9 then will be open Friday & Saturday evenings until Halloween! Insider tip: Don’t forget your running shoes! 😉

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The Galena Halloween Parade & Festival brings thousands to Main Street for our colorful and spooky parade. Fun for the whole family! This year the parade will be held on October 31! Insider tip: wear a costume!

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There is so much going on around here, check our Events Calendar at galena.org for updated event information! Enter to win our Fall Escape Sweepstakes, get the details HERE!

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!

 

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!

The Insider’s Guide to Wine Lovers’ Weekend

It’s fast approaching and some 2015 events are sold out! Here’s a comprehensive guide to what’s happening and where to enjoy great WINE!

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Grand Tasting
wineloversweekend.com
Galena Convention Center – 900 Galena Square Drive
March 27-29, 2015 – Saturday is SOLD OUT! Learn more & purchase tickets here!
Be a part of the largest indoor wine tasting event in the state of Illinois! Featuring more than 40 distributors from across the United States and over 300 varieties of wine and spirits, the Grand Tasting is a wine lover’s dream. Designated drivers get a discounted ticket and complimentary shuttle service available from downtown Galena! Your ticket includes: Wine and spirit sampling from sponsors, a keepsake wine glass, live music, entry in a grand prize drawing for a getaway to Galena Basket, complimentary cheese, bread and fruit.
Tasting Program

Galena Cellars Vineyard
Luncheon at the Vineyard – $49.95 per person, advanced reservations required
Saturday, March 28, 2015 at noon
Serving an amazing five-course meal paired with Galena Cellars wine, hand chosen by Chef Ivo and winemaker Chris Lawlor. Event hosted by Galena Cellars’ Allan Hyland. Also includes vineyard tour and grape vine cutting to plant. View the menu HERE!

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Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa
Weekend Package:
This package, made especially for all you wine lovers includes:

    Accommodations for (1) night for two people
    Ca’ Momi Winery Dinner on Saturday night for two
    Sunday Brunch in Woodlands Restaurant for two
    A voucher for (1) bottle of Eagle Ridge Private Label wine (per reservation)

This package is available Saturday, March 28th, 2015 ONLY.
Prices start at $300. Please Note: This price is based on two people per bedroom.

Jamie’s Wine Studio
March 27-29Tastings at the Studio & Sunday Brunch
209 S. Main St., Galena

Aldrich Guest House
Wine Pairing Dinner & Magic Show
Sunday March 29, 2015, 6:30pm, $75 per person
900 Third St., Galena
Join us for a four-course wine paring dinner.  Dinner is catered by Fried Green Tomatoes and specially paired with an exceptional wine from one of our local wineries. Dinner will then be followed by a magic show in our historic parlor by P.T. Murphy.

Fried Green Tomatoes
Wine Pairing Dinner
213 N. Main St. – 815-777-3938
Friday, March 27, 2015
Enjoy a Michale David Wine Flight paired with an Opentable award winning dinner.  Earthquake Zin, Freakshow and Petite Petit. Dinner Features include cracked crab legs and filet mignon Рreservations suggested.

***Go to our Wine, Beer & Spirits page for a complete list of wineries, vineyards, distilleries and breweries in Galena & Jo Daviess County! Tastings & tours! ***