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!

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.

Warren Pumpkins and FAll Harvest Festival 022

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!

10 Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County Series – #2

Douglas’s 10 Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County

 We asked local innkeeper of the Aldrich Guest House, Douglas Mahan, to share what he loves about Jo Daviess County! 

Robert_Douglas

1. The people of Jo Daviess County РAs soon as my husband and I moved here we were instantly welcomed with opened arms. The sense of community is really unlike anything I have experienced anywhere else. Some of the most kind and genuine people you’ll ever meet call Jo Daviess County home.

2. Casper Bluff РThere is so much rich history in Jo Daviess county that revolves around the mid- 1800’s but to go even further back by thousands of years and see intact Native American burial grounds with some of the most incredible views of the Mississippi River is so incredible. One of my favorite spots for a sunset picnic.

Casper-Bluff

3. Pesto Salmon at Fried Green Tomatoes – Always at the top of my list of places to eat, they have so many great options on their menu, but i could eat this salmon every day!

4. The architecture – For as many hard hits the area has taken through floods and depressions it is truly amazing to see so much of the architecture is still intact, being used and preserved. A trip anywhere in the area is like being on a history tour.

5.  Views of Galena from the Grant House -  The statue of Julia Grant may remind me of Mrs. Buttersworth and always make me suddenly crave pancakes, but sitting up on the hill alongside her are some of the most gorgeous views of our charming city from East Galena.

6. Geology -  I have lived in the Midwest my entire life and until recently never dreamed our flat area of the world could have such fascinating terrain as The Driftless Area. Not only does it create some of the most scenic vistas it also maintained some natural life that the Ice Ages wiped out everywhere else.

7. Outdoor Activities in Nature – We have so many fun ways to experience nature in an active way. I love to be able to ride my bike down the Galena River trail in the warmer months and cross country ski along it when there is snow. Taking a stand up paddle board from Fever River Outfitters down the river might just be one of the most peaceful forms of exercise I have ever experienced and then downhill skiing at Chestnut Mountain where you zoom down the hills right to the Mississippi River is a thrill all its own.

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8. The Seasons РAlmost cliche to say of the Midwest, but Jo Daviess County really does get the best of all seasons and I can now say that as i have been here for all 4 of them now. I think the landscape has something to do with it though, all of our hills and valleys create a collage of nature’s best in any direction you look.

9. Hand-Crafted & Locally Made – There is so much talent in the area, artists of every kind. Some of my favorite are the artists of the food and beverage variety. Places like Kandy Kitchen where Chuckles were invented and they have been making rich and chocolatey Pecan Georgies for decades. Chocolaterie Stam makes the most refreshing and decadent flavors of homemade gelato around. Historic places like the Galena Brewery where they revived a brewery from years past and serve a little bit of history in every pint or new operations like Blaum Bros. Distillery where you can find some very unique and witty spirits.

10. Night of Luminaria РGalena’s most magical night of the year. To see this incredible city illuminated in paper luminaries is really just the most enchanting way to light the holiday spirit within.

Luminaria
Douglas Mahan and his husband Robert are the innkeepers at the Aldrich Guest House in Galena, IL. They’ve given the historic home a fresh, updated look and have brought their years of upscale hospitality experience to their comfortable inn. The Aldrich Guest House dates back to 1845 and it has been a bed and breakfast since the mid 80‚Äôs. They are the 6th innkeepers, giving it a fresh new life to continue on another 170 years!

Stay tuned for more in our blog series and share your favorite things with us on Facebook!

 

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!

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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.

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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!

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Family-friendly Tips

Traveling with kids is a great time to bond as a family and spend quality time together. Time is precious and you want to make sure your vacation is fun and action-packed. Here are some tips to help you plan the perfect getaway in Galena, IL & Jo Daviess County!

Where to Stay: There are options for every budget, here are some ideas to get you started. Use the Where to Stay tab at galena.org or our Activity Guide to find the right fit for you!

1. Country Inn & Suites (Galena): The indoor water park and complimentary breakfast make this a great option for families. Plus, Culver’s and Emmy Lou’s Diner are in the front yard! Stockton’s location is pet friendly and has an indoor pool!
2. LeFevre Inn & Resort: Feels like home in this comfortable resort. You’ll enjoy the outdoor pool, pond and panoramic views. Close to shopping in Galena, the Alpine Slide at Chestnut Mountain Resort & Horseshoe Mound Preserve.
3. Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa: High end amenities in the hotel or maybe a rental home or condo suits your needs. The indoor/outdoor pool, lawn chess and paddle boats make this a popular option.

ER Exterior 01

photo by UnPosed Photography

What to Do: Keeping busy, but not overdoing it is the name of the game! Use our Family Friendly Outdoor Recreation tab for more great ideas!

1. Rent a canoe at Fever River Outfitters to get up close & personal with the turtles in the Galena River.
2. Head out to the Shenandoah Riding Center for a trail ride through the beautiful Galena Territory.
3. Climb the rocks in the Gathering Circle, follow the clues along the trails and take in the views at Horseshoe Mound Preserve.

Photo Oct 02, 9 29 42 AM

What to Eat: Let’s face it, it’s vacation…sweets and ice cream make the day extra special!

1. Bugaboo’s (Warren, IL) Step back in time to an old fashioned Main St…indoors! Plan on lunch or dinner and then dig into an ice cream sundae. You may even see the barber shop in action!
2. Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe (Elizabeth, IL) Delicious, homemade cupcakes and treats, ice cream and charming decor. Sit on their outdoor patio and wave as the traffic goes by, enjoying small town life.
3. Great American Popcorn Co. (Galena, IL) Enjoy a sample when you walk in the door, then stock up on delicious popcorn mixes, candy & soda. Don’t forget an ice cream cone before you go…maybe Superman or Zanzibar Chocolate?

Dave Lewis-May2015_lowres

What to See:

1. Walk through the Planetary Studies Foundation Earth & Space Museum where you’ll see items from NASA, meteorites and fossils!
2. Tour the living history at Apple River Fort  State Historic Site in Elizabeth and learn the story of the Blackhawk War.
3. Watch the experienced blacksmiths forge custom tools at The Old Blacksmith Shop in Galena, IL.

Mancation Destinations

We talk a lot about Girlfriends’ Getaways in Galena & Jo Daviess County, but let’s turn our attention to the men! There are tons of options for your bachelor party, reunion with college buddies or getaway from everyday life, we have plenty to keep you busy.

Here’s our Top 10 Things for Guys to Do in Galena & Jo Daviess County:

1. Golf -¬† Jo Daviess County is home to TEN stellar golf courses, all with great views of our Driftless Region. Click HERE for a detailed list of all ten courses! Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa can check lots of boxes for your vacation…four golf courses, fishing and fantastic bar & dining options.

Eagle Ridge-North course

2. Chestnut Mountain Resort – Winter isn’t winter without downhill skiing and snowboarding at Chestnut. Did you know about their Alpine Slide, Segway Tours and mountain biking during the summer? You can have lunch and dinner while enjoying the sweeping views of the Mississippi River after a day out on the hill.

3. Fever River Outfitters – Your one stop shop for adventure! Rent a canoe, paddle board or kayak and hit the quiet Galena River. You can also rent bicycles and scooters to get a larger overview of Galena & Jo Daviess County! Fever River Outfitters has what you need for an active vacation, enjoying the outdoors.

4. Guided Hunting & Fishing – Whether it’s a half day or a full day, you and the guys can spend the day outdoors hunting pheasant & chukar with experienced guides at River Valley Hunting (Scales Mound). You can also spend the day with Galena Fly Fishing Outfitters.

5. Yote’s Archery Den (Stockton) -¬† Practice your aim at the indoor archery range and stock up on bait and fishing supplies. Stop by the Corner Tap down the street on a Friday evening for FREE endless buffalo wings!

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6. Log Cabin Steakhouse -¬† Call ahead and reserve Al Capone’s booth at the Log Cabin Steakhouse. Premium cocktails and food, along with great service and atmosphere! Check with your hosts about having the Log Cabin Limo/Bus pick your group up and don’t forget to order the flaming Saganaki!

7. Local Museums РInterested in the Civil War era, space or trains? Tour the Planetary Studies Foundation Earth & Space Museum and Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum in Elizabeth, then the Ulysses S. Grant Home and the Galena & US Grant Museum for a look at our rich history.

8. Taste & Tour - Head to Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. of Galena to see how they make handcrafted spirits and enjoy a cocktail in their modern copper & leather tasting room. You can also order a flight of local brews and grab a bite to eat while listening to great music at Galena Brewing Co.

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9. Live Music – See who’s onstage at the The Corner Stone, Council Hill Station or The Grape Escape (where you can also play Golden Tee)!

10. Cars, Cars, Cars – Every Thursday Night starting May 21, you can head to East Dubuque for Gary’s Graffiti Nights, a weekly cruise for cars & trucks made in 1972 and older. Afterwards you can head to Mulgrew’s for a foot-long chili dog!

Plan your trip at galena.org! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for daily ideas on how to Enjoy Galena Country. See you soon!

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!

 

Top 10 Ways to Spend Valentine’s Day!

@addbutter on Instagram

photo by @addbutter on Instagram

Galena, IL and Jo Daviess County make the perfect setting for a Winter Romantic Getaway for Valentine’s Day. The spectacular views of our Driftless Region and the charming, historical towns dotting the county set the scene for romance. ENTER our Romance Sweepstakes and see if one of our Romance Packages is the right fit for you at galena.org. Ask us on Facebook if you have any questions or would like more ideas. The following is our Top 10 Ways to Spend Valentine’s Day in Galena, IL & Jo Daviess County!

1. Book the right room – See all of your options at galena.org on our Where to Stay page. Whether it’s a B&B, a cabin in the woods or a themed suite – Galena & Jo Daviess County has it all! Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, Chestnut Mountain Resort, the Goldmoor Inn, The DeSoto House Hotel and Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel have restaurants on the property!

Goldmoor1

The Goldmoor Inn

2. Book a Spa Treatment – Use our Salons & Spas page at galena.org and find more info on our blog. You could spend the afternoon in a spa getting the full treatment or have a private massage in your B&B, rental home or hotel.

3. Reserve a table at one of our fantastic restaurants – Perry St. Brasserie was just named by Open Table as one of the Top 100 restaurants in the United States! Log Cabin Steakhouse, Fritz & Frites and Vinny Vanucchi’s in Galena are excellent for a romantic dinner. Holy Mackeral in Elizabeth and Stella’s (BYOB) in Stockton are worth the trip! Use our Where to Dine page for details!

4. After Dinner Drinks &/or Dessert – Fried Green Tomatoes, Embe, Green St. Tavern and Jamie’s Wine Studio in Galena set the scene for a quiet conversation and meeting .

5. Dancing and Live Entertainment – On Valentine’s Day weekend, Galena has events celebrating Mardi Gras all day and into the night, including a parade! Check out the events at the Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape and The Corner Stone for live music and our Arts & Entertainments page has lots of options for fun, like the PT Murphy Magic Show and the Irish Dancing at Frank O’Dowd’s!

6. Shopping hand in hand – Pick up a game & unique jewelry at Poopsie’s or sample the treats as you make your way down Galena’s historic Main St. Take a romantic drive through the county to an antique shop or pottery studio, meeting the artists and local shopkeepers. Enjoy the Chocolate Binge at the Banwarth House in Elizabeth and Mardi Gras all day & into the night in Galena!

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Poopsie’s of Galena

7. Get your blood pumping outdoors – See our Events Calendar for many options for Snowshoe Hikes, Sleigh Rides, and Cross Country Skiing. You can also hit the slopes at Chestnut Mountain Resort overlooking the Mississippi River!

8. Enjoy Nature with Bald Eagle Tours – Our proximity to the Mississippi River gives our visitors an opportunity a chance to be up close to nature and it’s beauty. Visit the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation site and Eagle Nature Foundation for guided tours or set up a private tour with Galena Birding!

9. Wine Tasting and Distillery TourGalena Cellars and Massbach Winery have tasting rooms on Main St. in Galena or you can head out to the wineries for the complete experience, like Rocky Waters Vineyard in Hanover! Be sure to check our Events Calendar for Paint & Pour events, mixing art with a lovely glass of wine! Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. offers distillery tours and tastings, then stay to order a handcrafted cocktail in their cosmopolitan tasting room!

10. CHOCOLATE! – Indulge your sweet tooth at one of our confectioneries including, Chocolat, Chocolaterie Stam Galena, the Great American Popcorn Co., Galena Kandy Kitchen and Sweet Alice’s (Stockton). Chocolate covered bacon, delicious handmade turtles and exquisite delights will tantalize the taste buds of the one you love!

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Chocolat in Galena

Share pics of you and your honey enjoying Galena Country with us on Instagram!

(Valentine’s Day pic from @addbutter’s Instagram)