3 Must Do Spring Excursions

Sunshine-filled days are meant for exploring historic destinations, leisurely afternoons on the green, and relaxing on the patio for drinks with friends. Start the season off right with one of these must do Spring excursions in the Tri-States.


Fenelon Place Elevator

Take a ride up the world’s shortest and steepest railway at the Fenelon Place Elevator in Dubuque, Iowa. This bucket list destination is the perfect junket for any traveler regardless of age. Scale up the steep bluff overlooking Cable Car Square and take in the widest view of historic downtown Dubuque and the Tri-State region. Now open through November 30 for the 2017 season, the elevator is a great option for budget friendly and historical.


Eagle Ridge Golf Course

Tee up for a day on the green at Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Galena, Illinois. Soak up some Vitamin D while you cruise through 63 holes laid out over four recently renovated courses. This PGA award-winning course is full of challenging fairways and relaxing woodlands suitable for any skill level of golfer. Book a tee time for your Spring getaway today, now open through late Fall of 2017.


Whispering Bluffs Winery

Taste some of the finest wines of the Mississippi River Valley at Whispering Bluffs Winery in Potosi, WI. Situated high atop the bluffs, it is home to the perfect vineyard setting with rich sun exposure and shelter from the cold winds where over 1100 grape vines grow. Make a tasty day by pairing your winery trip with a quick trek across the street to the Potosi Brewery. Whispering Hills is currently open Wednesday through Sunday with the option for private events.

3 Spots for Last Minute Pumpkin Picking

With Halloween, just around the corner, pumpkins are in great abundance. Whether you are carving a scary ghoul, preparing a favorite pumpkin treat or looking for a family excursion, the Tri-State region has you covered for last minute pumpkin picking.

Dittmar Farms– Elizabeth, IL

Find the perfect pumpkin for your front stoop while enjoying a family fun day at Dittmar Farms in Elizabeth, Illinois. Take a leisurely hayride, meander through a corn maze and pick a prized pumpkin at this family owned patch rich in history since opening in 1854. Learn More Here

Vesperman Farms– Lancaster, WI

Venture to Vesperman Farms in Lancaster, Wisconsin for a day of fall festivities. Take a hay wagon out to the pumpkin patch and select your jack-o-lantern to be. Then watch in amazement as the Versperman Farms staff launch pumpkins from their catapult and air canon high into the sky. Not to mention this patch is free for children under 5. Learn More Here

Papa’s Pumpkin Patch– Bellevue, IA

Peruse through nine acres of pumpkins, squash and more gourds at Papa’s Pumpkin Patch in Bellevue, Iowa. This inexpensive and family friendly spot is the perfect stop on a last-minute fall adventure. Free hayrides, a petting zoo, straw maze and a spooky bat cave await. Select the perfect pumpkin from fields of Cinderella pumpkins, Amish pie pumpkins, giant luminary pumpkins, new moon pumpkins, sugar pie pumpkins and more. Learn More Here

3 Tasty Fall Festivals

Appetites are evolving here in the Tri-States. We’ve said goodbye to our hydrating watermelons and charred burgers on the grill and moved onto soul warming Autumn treats. Get a taste of what the season is all about at one of these three tasty fall festivals happening in our backyard.

1. Fall Harvest Celebration at Rural Route 1 Popcorn – Montfort, WI
Sip, sample, and savor the weekend away at the Fall Harvest Celebration in Montfort, Wisconsin September 30 – October 2, 2016. Taste some of the most unique popcorn flavors your tongue will have ever enjoyed. Indulge in Cherry Cheesecake popcorn, a sweet mingling of creamy cheesecake fudge-dipped cherry flavored popcorn with cherry jelly beans or splurge on some of Rural Route 1’s wildly popular Cheesy Jalapeno popcorn for an extra kick. That’s not all. Peruse handmade artisan pieces, sip on piping hot cider, and so much more.

2. Tri-State’s Largest Chili Cook-Off – Dubuque, IA
Get some good eats at largest seasonal soup festival in the region, Tri-State’s Largest Chili Cook-Off in Dubuque, Iowa on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Sample savory chilies made on site and judged at this Chili Appreciation Society International event in the Historic Cable Car Square. Enjoy live music by local favorite, the Lonely Goats, as you digest a warm chili food baby alongside the picturesque fall foliage filled bluff.

3. Oktoberfest– Galena, IL
Saukerkraut, brezel, and a wurst. No fall celebration is complete without good ole’ German Oktoberfest in Galena, Illinois on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Eat, drink, and be merry at this 10th annual event with non-stop live music, wiener dog races, polka lessons, of course an endless supply of German grub and beer. Taste your favorite fall brews at the Potosi Brewing Company’s rolling bar and take part in this time-honored tradition because admission is FREE!

4 Winter Activities You Won't Want to Miss

Don’t let the weather keep you from experiencing winter in the Tri-States. Check out these four outings perfect for a snowy December day.

Chestnut Mountain

Have you been itching to hit the slopes? Now is your chance. Conveniently located outside Galena, Il, Chestnut is the perfect place for all levels of skiers and boarders alike. Enjoy 19 runs at this beautiful resort overlooking the Mississippi and be sure to stop at Mountainside Outfitters for all your gear needs!

Figge Art Museum

Cinema at the Figge. Enjoy this free event sponsored by Ford Photography. Enjoy a complimentary beer tasting and snacks, followed by short film and tunes before the feature film begins! The holiday time is also about giving, all donations during this event will go to charity. December 15, 2016, 5 P.M – 9:00 P.M.

The Mining and Rollo Jamison Museum

Santa Claus is coming to the museum! Join the museum to learn about Santa’s evolution from austere bishop to jolly St. Nick and enjoy a 14′ Victorian Christmas tree, toy trains, and children’s activities.  Program at no cost to the public from December 3 – 31, 2016 during regular business hours.

Swiss Valley Nature Center

Enjoy one of the largest nature preserves in the Midwest. Swiss Valley boasts over 10 miles of nature trails that pass through forest, prairie and wetland areas. Embrace this serene season and snowshoe through the cross-country ski trails at no cost! Free rentals available throughout winter.

Can't Miss Holiday Events in The Tri-States This Weekend

Bright twinkling lights and luscious green garland fill the Tri-States as we make way towards the holiday season. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see this magical Mississippi River region blanketed in holiday goodness at these stand out events.

Stockton Christmas Walk

Take part in the holiday traditions of Stockton, Illinois on Saturday, December 2, 2017. Bring the family for story hour with Santa at the library, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, plus Bowling for a Buck. The village of Stockton is a must stop for all of the small town holiday feels.

Holiday Stroll + Craft Fair

Join in on the holiday fun in Platteville, WI on Saturday, December 2, 2017, with everything from craft fairs to carolers. Carolers will be singing up and down Main Street as you shop the latest crafty deals and drink hot cocoa all day long. Keep a lookout for the Grinch, as he will be cruising his bike through town.

It’s A Wonderful Life

No Christmas is complete without a holiday show. Catch the final weekend of It’s A Wonderful Life at the Grand Opera House in Dubuque December 1 – December 3, 2017. An evening at this theater nestled in historic downtown Dubuque is just the ticket to start the holiday season off right.

Dickeyville Grotto Gift Shop Receives Best of Dickeyville Award

Dickeyville Grotto Gift Shop has been selected for the 2017 Best of Dickeyville Award in the Retailers category by the Dickeyville Award Program.

Each year, the Dickeyville Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Dickeyville area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2017 Dickeyville Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Dickeyville Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Dickeyville Award Program

The Dickeyville Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Dickeyville area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Dickeyville Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

Photo credit: @sizzle_bean

Getting Active in the Tri-States

It’s 7 a.m. on a crisp Autumn morning. While scarfing down a pre-race banana, you lace up those neon runners that have been with you for the last 100 training miles. You’re handed a shiny new bib and proudly pin racer number 1025 to your chest. Eagerly waiting at the start line you shuffle from side to side as your pacers file in next to you. One deep breath in, a gunshot, and you’re off on the latest running exploration. September is prime running season in the Tri-States region and we know you’ve been training all summer long for these unique races happening in our backyard.

Do you have a Labor Day tradition? Join in on the Benefit Classic Half Marathon and 5K, a 38-year tradition, in Dubuque, Iowa on Monday, September 5, 2016. Race through scenic Eagle Point Park, overlooking the mighty Mississippi River and Lock & Dam #11. Work your way up killer hills to the summit where you will have earned a beautiful view of the sunrise over the Tri-State region. Within a day’s drive from Chicago, Minneapolis, and St. Louis, the Benefit Classic makes for the perfect destination ‘runcation’ for your holiday weekend.

Let’s cover some elevation. Come to Galena, Illinois on September 10, 2016 for the most extreme outdoor stair event in America. Honor the fallen heroes and first responders on the 15th Anniversary of 9/11 at the Heroes for History Stair Challenge 5k Race. This heart-pounding competition comprised of 10 laps and 3070 stairs, traverses the stairs between Bench and Prospect Streets in Galena. For those who are a bit more faint-hearted, join in on the Fun Run/Walk and dress up as your favorite hero.

The Dubuque Color Vibe 5K Run on September 17, 2016 is sure to be the most colorful day of your life. Gather friends and family for race through four color zone where you will be blasted with vibrant pigments. Cruise all the way to the finish line for a dance party and color throw, a sight full of Instagram worthy pictures. Continue the party post-race at the Dubuque Oktoberfest, as you receive Free General Admission with your Color Vibe entry fee.

No matter if you are a seasoned athlete or a recreational walker, there are plenty of opportunities to get active in the Tri-State region this fall.


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Last Chance Summer

It’s the countdown till fall. The kids have packed their backpacks and are begging for the latest pair of Nikes to impress their classmates. Parents victoriously cross out days on the calendar, dreaming of the day they pass the carpool responsibilities to the bus driver. But before we get carried away with the back to school butterflies, we still have time to enjoy the last few weeks of summer around the Tri-State region.

Food, family, and garlic breath. Is there a better way to bond? The Midwest Garlic Fest in Elizabeth, IL features over 25 of finest food vendors from the region, specializing in garlic loaded delicacies August 13-14, 2016. Live entertainment by local favorites including The Black Sheep, Lonely Goats, and Chris Cavanaugh will keep your family dancing all day long. Wake up the next morning for Family Garlic Day, August 14. Ease the kids back into education with new knowledge of planting and growing garlic during the children’s events in addition to raffles, games, contests and prizes all day long.

Maybe the kids need a weekend with the grandparents to soak up those last few summer nights. What a serendipitous opportunity to take a trip to Wisconsin for the Potosi Brewfest on August 27, 2016. Enjoy a fun-filled day of tasting craft beer, wines, and artisan grub from nearly 60 vendors. Home of the National Brewery Museum, Potosi has deep roots in the beer industry dating back to its brewery founding in 1852.

Labor Day weekend is the telltale sign that summer has come to a close. A day full of baseball is the perfect way to say goodbye to the season. Come to Dyersville, Iowa on September 4, 2016 for the Team of Dreams. Experience the magic of the Field of Dreams Movie Site as baseball legends come together for a day celebrating the Great American Pastime. Share your love of the game with family while enjoying a celebrity autograph signing and game before an evening watching Field of Dreams on the very outfield where the Oscar nominated movie was filmed 27 years ago.

Don’t let summer slip away before you experience these exciting happenings in the Tri-State Region.

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See Tri-States Like Never Before

Way above the treetops of the Mississippi River Valley, you’ll find a multitude of possibilities for high flying fun. Soar to new heights on the regions most thrilling ziplines. Hit the summer slopes on an an alpine slide. Then trek through the forest on an adrenaline pumping sky bridge. Take your summer vacation to the next level with these Tri-State adventures.

Sky Tours Zipline

Soar to new heights at Sky Tours Zipline in Dubuque, Iowa. Flying over the deep timbered ravines of historic Union Park, you will zip down nine jaw dropping runs during two-hour guided tour. Add this zipline to your itinerary to please any nature-loving adventure-seeker ages 10 and up.

Chestnut Mountain Alpine Slide

Race down the mountains on the banks of the Mississippi River at Chesnut Mountain in Galena, IL. The seasonal Alpine Slide is a must for taking in the breathtaking panoramic views of the Tri-States. Cruise down 2,050 feet of tailored track via sled at lightening speed for a refreshingly fun family outing. Looking to add a little more to your time on the slopes? Check out the Soaring Eagle, an anything but ordinary zip line.

Long Hollow Canopy Tours

Hike, jump and soar at Long Hollow Canopy Tour in Galena, IL. This tree top tour of the Tri-States is sure to widdle down the bucket list of every outdoor thrill seeker. Soar down a series of ziplines reaching speeds of up to 40 miles-per-hour. Rappel and quick jump from towering platforms between runs. Then hike across the 140-foot sky bridge to finish out this unique tour.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see the Tri-States with a bird’s eye view.