Jo Daviess County is the extreme northwestern 600 square miles of Illinois. It was named after Joseph Hamilton Daveiss, the commander of the Indiana Dragoons at the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe.
It is dominated by rolling, rural fields and woodlands. It also boasts one of the top tourist destinations in the state, Galena, as well as some interesting stops in Elizabeth, Stockton and East Dubuque.
Galena was part of the lead mining tri-state area region in the 1820s that drew miners by the thousands. Named after the mineral galena, it made use of the Galena River to send lead to the Mississippi River.
Ulysses S. Grant wasn’t the only famous person to be part of Galena’s history: Both Abraham Lincoln and his famous debating opponent, Stephen A. Douglas, spoke from the DeSoto House balcony. As time went on, Galena’s populace made a concerted effort to maintain the look and feel of a late 1800s town.
Today, with more than 85 percent of its buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s like taking a step back into time.
Check this out: U.S. Grant Home Historic Site, 500 Bouthillier St., 815-777-3310. The former Civil War general and 18th president lived in town for a spell, and this community embraces him in many ways. The home was built in 1865, to where Grant returned following the war. For more information on the historic site, go to www.granthome.com.
Places to stay: DeSoto House, 230 S. Main St., 815-777-0090, featuring three restaurants; Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel, 9853 U.S. 20, 815-776-0707, with Frank O’Dowd’s Irish Pub & Grill a popular nightspot; Stoney Creek Inn, 940 Galena Square Drive, 815-777-2223. About 15 minutes east is Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, 800-892-2269, a high-end lodging option.
Don’t miss these: There are several other museums and sites to choose from. Here are just a few:
Galena & U.S. Grant Museum, 211 S. Bench St., 815-777-9129
P.T. Murphy Magic Theater, 204 Hill St., 779-214-0035, continues to receive great reviews.
Chestnut Mountain, 8700 W. Chestnut Mountain Road, 800-397-1320, offers an alpine slide, zipline and other activities.
When you’re hungry, practical: Gobbie’s Sports Pub & Eatery, 219 N Main St., 815-777-0243; Log Cabin, 201 N. Main St., 815-777-0393; Cannova’s Pizzeria, 247 N. Main St., 815-777-3735.
When you’re hungry, a little more fancy: Fritz & Frites, 317 N. Main St., 815-777-2004;Fried Green Tomatoes, 213 N. Main St., 815-777-3938; Courtyard Restaurant (one of three in the DeSoto House Hotel), 230 S Main St., 815-777-0090, desotohouse.com/restaurants.
A night on the town: Galena Brewing Company, 227 N. Main St., 815-776 9917; Grape Escape, 242 N. Main St., 779-214-0003; The Cornerstone, 125 N Main St., 815-776-0700.
More on Galena/Jo Daviess County: www.jodaviess.org
The town of around 1,700 is just across the Mississippi River from Dubuque and offers a few things to see and do.
Check this out: Gramercy Park. This park, located high atop a huge bluff, offers views of the Mississippi River looking across to Dubuque and southward. There’s playground equipment and picnic areas. To get there from Dubuque, take the bridge exit onto Sinsinawa Avenue. Make a right on Montgomery Avenue and then lefts on both Sherwood and Beecher.
Places to stay: Swiss Inn Motel & Lounge, 20670 U.S. 20, 815-747-3136; Quality Inn East Dubuque, 7787 Timmerman Drive, 815-747-3181.
Don’t miss this: Timmerman’s Supper Club, 7777 Timmerman Drive. Built another bluff in 1961, this well-known restaurant is not only lauded for its broad menu, but also its magnificent view of the Mississippi River valley. For more info, call 815-747-3316.
When you’re hungry: Happy Joe’s Pizza, 222 Sinsinawa Ave.. 815-747-3300; Mulgrew’s Tavern and Restaurant, 244 Sinsinawa Ave., 815-747-3845.
A night on the town: Kats Meow, 288 Sinsinawa Ave., 815-747-2113; George’s Bar & Grill, 32 Sinsinawa Ave., 815-747-8810.
More on East Dubuque: cityofeastdubuque.com.
Other Jo Daviess ideas
Apple River Fort: Located in Elizabeth, this historic site helps tell the story of the 1832 Black Hawk War. Along with the tours, there also are regular special events. For more information, go to, www.appleriverfort.org/index.html
Eagle Ridge Resort: There are modern rooms, villas and homes to stay in, along with premier golfing and a spa in this Galena Territory destination. For more information, go to www.eagleridge.com.
Long Hollow Canopy Tours: Located near the Galena Territory at 3247 W. Longhollow Road, this is one of those hidden gems for outdoors enthusiasts. The tour includes six ziplines, two ladders, a sky bridge, rappel or quick jump, UTV ride and hike. For more information, go to longhollowcanopytours.com.
Stockton Heritage Museum: A classic small-town historic site that showcases its past. Located at 107 W. Front St. For more information, call 815-947-2220.
Thunder Bay Falls: Located in the Galena Territory at 7998 W Glen Hollow Road, it is one of the more popular natural wonders in the northwest part of the state.