Christmas in the County 2016

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!

  • Elizabeth

  • Warren

  • Galena

  • Stockton

  • East Dubuque

Galena

Festival of TreesNovember 26, 2016, 11am – 4pm. The 6th Annual Festival of Trees will kick of the holiday season on Saturday, November 26 in the DeSoto House Ballroom in Galena from 11-4PM. 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. Admission is free, purchase raffle tickets here!

Old-Fashioned Christmas in Galena: November 26, 2016. 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: SOLD OUT! December 3, 2016, 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.

Holiday Housewalk: December 3, 2016. Five homeowners invite the public to tour their beautifully decorated private homes during this year’s Galena Territory Holiday Housewalk. Light holiday refreshments will be served at the Owner’s Club, where a raffle will be held for a unique handmade quilt and related items made by the Quilters of the Territory. $12 per person

Luminaria & Living Windows: December 10, 2016. The streets, steps, and sidewalks of Galena will be lined with nearly 5,000 candle-lit luminaries. Living Windows is when the storefronts come alive with holiday vignettes, sure to bring a smile to any Grinch. This year it will feature it’s 2nd Wedding in A Window!

Mistletoe Stroll: December 10th and 17th, 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. Tickets are $10 per person, children under 12 are free.

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.

Elizabeth

Christmas in Elizabeth: November 26, 2016, 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, soup & bake sale, Christmas Tree decorating contest, Santa Dash – 1 mile fun run 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 State Historic Site 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 latté or bottle of wine at E-Town Coffee and make sure there’s time to stroll through Elizabeth’s Grand Antique Mall.

Stockton

Stockton Christmas Walk: December 3, 2016, Stockton‚ holiday tradition, this year’s theme is “A Candy Cane Christmas.” Start the season with a Christmas tree lighting on Friday evening at 6 p.m. On Saturday, December 3, 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 then shop for gifts and holiday decor at Stockton Floral & Gifts. Warm up in Stella’s Cafe & Catering with a blooming tea and fresh bread.

Warren

Warren Christmas Walk: Enjoy the Festival of Trees in the charming & historic Warren Community Building (Old Stone Hotel), starting Saturday November 26 and ending January 1, 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 5 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 26, 2016, 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

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Photo credit: Henry Matthiessen III of Stoned Art Studio, East Dubuque Lions Club, Sweet Alice’sShenandoah Riding Center

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!

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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…

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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!

Warren’s Festival of Trees

Journey up Stagecoach Trail in Jo Daviess County to see Warren’s¬†Festival of Trees in the historic Warren Community Building! You can see a preview here and then plan a day to tour this charming old hotel all dressed up for the holidays. You will also be greeted by the decorated snowmen contributed by local businesses and organizations, including us…the Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB! Click HERE for more “Christmas in the County” events!

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The Warren Community Building is located at 110 W Main St. and is open daily from 8am to 8pm. The festival runs until January 3, 2016. You can call (815) 745-2217 for more information.

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)

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

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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)

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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)

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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)

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  • 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!

 

 

 

 

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.

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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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