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.

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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Spring Like Things To Do This Weekend

Waking up to the sun with a flock of birds singing outside can only mean one thing, Spring…in February. While it is ambitious to pack away the hats and mittens in exchange for sunglasses and shorts just yet, there is so much outdoor adventure to be had in the Tri-States with this unseasonably Spring like weather. Fishing, hiking, biking, and soaking up the bright and sunshine filled sky is just the beginning.


Find that tackle box buried in the garage and dust off your favorite rod for some fishing on the river. While hardcore fishermen bundle up for brutal winter days on the water, us seasonal anglers will appreciate the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing day soaking up some much-needed Vitamin D. Whether you are drifting down the Wisconsin River from Potosi, WI, plunking in a pool on the Mississippi River in Dubuque, IA, or camped out at a public stocked lake in Hanover, IL, you’ll be sure to catch the fish off guard in this February weather.


There is no better way to explore the Tri-States then by foot, hiking the glorious bluff country. Plan a weekend full of adventuring with the Grant Wood Loop in Eastern Iowa. Hike the historic bow-string bridge at Wapsipinicon State Park in Anamosa, IA, stop for a picnic along Copper Creek Trail in Preston, IA and take in a breathtaking view of the Mississippi from the bluffs of Bellevue State Park in Bellevue, IA. Plan your customizable loop here.


Break out the bikes and spin your way through the Tri-States with the sun warm sun. Follow the Galena River Trail for six miles through picturesque Galena, IL, wander along the Mississippi riverfront in Clinton, IA along the Discover Trail, or traverse the former railroad, the Dinky Trail in Platteville, WI.

No matter what outdoor adventure sends you soaring, be sure to get out and about in the Tri-States this weekend.

Two Must Do Events for Beer Lovers

Summer was made for one thing…beer. So why not spend the best days of the season sipping on fine local brews under the hot sun of the Tri-States.


The Tappening-Dubuque, IA

The Tappening is your one stop for all things craft beer and classic rock on Saturday, June 10, 2017. Located in the Port of Dubuque, Iowa, The Tappening is a celebration of premier beer and their brew masters from the around the Tri-States and beyond. Galena Brewing Company, Jubeck New World Brewing, Dubuque Bier Company, and more will make their appearance for a chance to win the people’s choice award for the favorite brew. While you sample your favorite beers, enjoy the classic American music of the Ryan McGrath Band. Then stick around for a truly rockstar lineup at America’s River Festival Saturday night. Styx, The Guess Who, and Little River Band take over the main stage for Classic Rock night. You won’t want to miss it!


Brews & Blues-Lancaster, WI

Take a trip up to Lancaster, Wisconsin for the Brew & Blues Festival on Saturday, June 17, 2017. This annual event full of locally crafted brews of the Badger State brings together the perfect summer drink and a lively afternoon of the blues. Taste the latest from Tri-State favorites, Potosi Brewing Company, plus over 30 other breweries. Live music for the afternoon is brought by two Grammy Nominated acts, Aaron Williams & The HooDoo and The Jimmy’s. With a lineup like this, you’ll be dancing all day long.

Uniquely Delicious Brunch Destinations

Curled up tightly in a blanket on a crisp winter morning, I daydream of the sweet and spicy scent of cinnamon wafting through the air and tickling my nose. I imagine the sizzle of freshly sliced bacon as it hits a creamy butter coated pan and reminisce of lazy Saturday mornings with my siblings. I envision a stack of fluffy pillow like pancakes is placed in front of me and stretch for the maple syrup I secretly hope is on my nightstand. Thank goodness a mouthwatering brunch is within reach in the Tri-States.


Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ at Potter’s Mill- Bellevue, Iowa

A little something extra special is exactly what’s in-store at Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ at Potter’s Mill in Bellevue, Iowa on Sunday mornings at their Lagniappe Brunch. Fried Chicken and Waffles will find your taste buds in perfect harmony between sweet and salty. A tower of Pancakes and Ice Cream is sure to make every kid’s eyes pop and the chef may throw on some chocolate chips if you ask! Not to mention, it’s a BBQ joint so their house-smoked bacon is spot on. It’s the brunch spot of choice for all things Cajun culture and historic charm.


Katina’s Kitchen- Dickeyville, Wisconsin

For a bright and cheery brunch along the Great River Road, check out Katina’s Kitchen in Dickeyville, Wisconsin. Serving up crowd favorites like crispy Cap N’ Crunch French Toast and heaping plates of Pecan Caramel Pancakes all day long can’t help but put a smile on your face and warm your belly. This whole-in-the-wall eatery is the perfect pit stop on your road trip or a destination itself.


Otto’s Place- Galena, Illinois

Gorgonzola Apple Bacon Omelets are only the beginning of your brunch experience at Otto’s Place in Galena, Illinois. While tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, their grub is anything but quiet. Egg Tacos topped with Goat Cheese and Sriracha will set your tongue on fire and gooey Bread Pudding French Toast will make you want to sign. And you are always in for a welcomed surprise with the Quiche of the Day. Add Otto’s to your restaurant bucket list.


Nourish your body and soul at these uniquely delicious brunch destinations in the Tri-States.