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

Henry’s Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County

For our “Favorite Things” series we asked local artist of Stoned Art Studio, Henry Matthiessen III, to share what he loves about Jo Daviess County!

Driftless-Region

 

1. The Driftless Area scenery is just stunning. I’m very fortunate to be living and have my studio on top of one of the hills amongst it.

 

Henry-Matthiessen

2. Having access to and being able hang out with many of the artisans sprinkled through out Jo Daviess County. They inspire and mentor me as an artist.

 

Sharing

3. The sharing that takes place among the folks living here.

 

Mississippi

4. Access to the Mississippi River. (photo taken at the Mississippi Palisades State Park)

Elizabeth

5. The experience of small town Elizabeth, Stockton, and Warren. (photo taken in Elizabeth, IL)

 

Wineries

6. Having all the wineries in the area.

Henry has lived in Jo Daviess County for about two years, but has been visiting from the Chicagoland area for over 30 years. Stoned Art Studio has been established for 5 years…it’s a combination of his artwork and landscape photography. His studio on Snipe Hollow Rd. has been constructed from reclaimed, old barn steel¬†and¬†100 year old boxcar doors are planted in the walls. Post and beams, tongue and groove from an old locomotive shed, etc. Henry is moving his art and landscape photography into this space from his basement studio, to be ready for his open studio events on weekends.¬†

Studio

Henry has been involved in the development of the NW IL Art Festival and the All River Road Talent art tour (ARRT). The next tour will be held Saturday, November 7, 2015. Artists of all ages and art styles come together to showcase their talents by opening their studios to the public. Take a country drive, visit with artists and tour their studios. Please call the individual studio for specific hours. Some will be open Saturday and Sunday.

All photos are from Henry Matthiessen III, follow him on Instagram and Facebook!

10 Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County Series – #1

Molly’s Ten Favorite Things About Jo Daviess County

We asked local mom, teacher and business owner, Molly McGovern-Mensendike to share what she loved about Jo Daviess County!

1. Hands down, we have the best views of hills and greenery with historic downtown architecture tucked into the hillsides. I need to stop myself sometimes to take it all in and not overlook it with my busy lifestyle. In my opinion, the best view in Jo Daviess County is scenic overlook, just outside Elizabeth. I don’t think I’ve ever driven by when there wasn’t someone stopping to take a picture.

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2. I teach at one of the best public schools in Illinois, River Ridge CUSD 210. Our teachers and staff care about our students and provide them with the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in their careers and as citizens. The schools in Jo Daviess County are THE best in my opinion. The small-town feel with the highly educated teachers and staff makes for incomparable educational opportunities for our students in Jo Daviess County. Tootin’ my own horn here!

3. The interesting people of Jo Daviess County are friendly and unique. I’ve only known the townspeople to be friendly and wave as you go by, even when they don’t know your name. Take a cruise down a country road and you’ll see what I mean. AND, there are so many artists and musicians, too. I love to drive through downtown Galena and hear the music being played in the small park and see the artists working in their storefront windows.

4. The rural area provides the inhabitants and visitors an abundance of produce and baked goods at local farmers’ markets. A great example would be the produce crates that Groezinger Produce Farm provides upon request. The Elizabeth Farmer’s Market is on Friday night so you can pick up your needs as the weekend begins. I like to get my pumpkins and corn from Dittmar Farms at this one!

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5. Geocaching. This is an activity that all, young and old, can enjoy. Download the geocaching app, and watch the video of how it works. Then, wherever you are, you can geocache. I find it works well if I have been running a ton of errands and want to reward my patient kids with an activity! It takes a bit of navigation and some searching!

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6. You cannot comprehend the magnificence of Galena’s Halloween parade unless you have experienced it. My favorite part is the blowing of the hot air from the hot air balloon baskets driven through the parade. Oh, the warmth they bring…

7. Country Fair weekend in Galena that coincides with the Autumn Craft Fair in Elizabeth at River Ridge High School is my favorite of all the fall weekends. I have nostalgic memories of growing up in Galena and experiencing the caramel apples at the fair. The crisp apples and the crisp fall air are two things that bring comfort to my soul.

8. For a small town, Stockton’s 4th of July celebration is my favorite. The chicken that is grilled at the park is well worth the wait. There’s always a great band with afternoon music and a fabulous show of fireworks at dusk. This is my family’s go-to spot to celebrate Independence Day!

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9. Restaurants, restaurants, restaurants. I may be a little biased as I have a brother for a chef. I of course love his restaurant, Stella’s Café and Catering, with the ambiance of the historic building and the homemade soups and breads, the fresh salads and homemade dressings. Yum! My all-time favorite place for steaks (the only steak I ever eat without A1 sauce) and Bloody Marys is Galena’s Log Cabin Steakhouse. If you dine there, you MUST get the saganaki as an appetizer. Elizabeth’s Small Town Saloon is a great lunch destination for a burger and a beer. Their spicy ketchup is to-die-for. I mean, I crave this stuff like I were nine months pregnant.

10. The small towns in Jo Daviess County are full of activities and festivals. Galena’s Living Windows and the lighting of the luminaria really make Christmastime magical. All in all, I make it a point to try something new. For instance, this year, Elizabeth is hosting the Midwest Garlic Fest and I am dying to try it out!

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Molly McGovern-Mensendike was born in Galena, IL and currently resides in Elizabeth, IL with ties to all of the communities in Jo Daviess County. She opened Savvy Scavengers with her mom in November of 2006 in Galena. It’s a “boutique for the eclectic woman’s style offering clothing, shoes, purses, and jewelry.” They like to think of it as a place where both a mom and daughter can shop together. They’ve expanded their business to include another location in Stockton, IL and opened Stockton Floral & Gifts, along with Sweet Alice’s candy shop. In addition to these entrepreneurial pursuits Molly teaches high school English at River Ridge where her students “are forever engrained in her heart.”

Stay tuned for more favorites in our blog series!

 

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.

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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?

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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.

Where to Find a Fish Fry in Jo Daviess County

It’s that time of year when we’re looking for a good Fish Fry or seafood option. Here are 8 in Jo Daviess County to try!

Shrimp

Fried Shrimp from JJ & Freddies

JJ & Freddies – 211 W. North Ave. Stockton, IL (815) 947-2798
Olde Hotel/M&H BBQ – 108 S. Railroad St. Warren, IL (815) 745-9966 or (815) 297-2573
JM’s Tap – 7625 N. Menominee Rd. East Dubuque, IL (815) 747-7730
Southside Hornet Pub & Grill – 402 Franklin St. Scales Mound, IL (815) 845-2417

Whole Catfish

Whole Catfish at Charlie’s Place

Charlie’s Place – 213 Jefferson St. Hanover, IL (815) 591-3501
Paradise Bar & Grill – 205 N. Main St. Galena, IL (815) 777-3245
Taste Country Roadhouse – 14877 US HWY 20 W, East Dubuque, IL (815) 747-6656
Shark’s Roadhouse – 1366 US HWY 20 W, Elizabeth, IL (815) 858-9898

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Tell us on Facebook where you find you’re favorite Fish Fry in Jo Daviess County! Use our Where to Dine tab to find all of your options in Galena & Jo Daviess County!

 

 

 

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!

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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)