Historical Places of the Tri-States: Get Personal with the Past

The Tri-States is a perfect getaway for anyone who has an affinity for the Victorian era and steamboats, revels in the early days of agriculture or the lead mining rush, or simply appreciates American history. The region is full of established communities with historical homes and buildings that allow you to get up close and personal with the past through artifacts, possessions, and stories of the individuals and families who lived there.

ILLINOIS offers excellent examples of Italianate architecture and Civil War-era homes, and is also where you can literally follow in the footsteps of history.

Galena, IL

> The Belvedere Mansion & Gardens is called Galena’s “Downtown Abbey;” it is a well-preserved, historically accurate example of upper-class, mid-19th century life. Just across town you will find the oldest house in Galena – the Dowling House. It was once the only trading post in Galena and provided primitive living quarters for fur traders.

Dixon, IL

> Built in 1908, the Northwest Territory Historic Center is where President Ronald Reagan once attended school as a child. See President Reagan’s 6th Grade Classroom restored to his time there. A separate room features memorabilia from his time as president. Learn about the struggles of the Native American’s as well how they fought to keep their land and how early farmer’s climbed an uphill battle to prosper in a new area.

Savanna, IL

> The City of Savanna is known as an “outdoor paradise” due to its proximity along the shores of the Mississippi River. The dense forest and steep cliffs of nearby Mississippi Palisades State Park had once been home to area Native Americans; present-day visitors to the park can hike the same trails forged by those pathfinders nearly 1500 years ago.

On the IOWA side of the Mississippi, you’ll discover Victorian-era opulence and other cultural traits associated with the booming lead industry and bustling river economy during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Dubuque, IA

> The Mathias Ham House is significant to the Midwest lead mining phenomenon. The mid-Victorian home is on the National Register of Historic Places; it was built by local entrepreneur Mathias Ham and designed by architect John F. Rague. You can visit this living history site from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Davenport, IA

> In 1900, Davenport was described as the most German city in the Midwest. The German American Heritage Center works to teach present and future generations about German immigrant experiences. The Center was a former immigrant hotel and is the last one remaining in the region.

Guttenberg, IA

> The Lockmaster’s House Heritage Museum is where the lockmaster and assistant lockmaster of Lock and Dam #10 were required to live between 1938 and 1973. The house has since become a museum preserving the history of both the lock and dam and Guttenberg. This is the last remaining lockmaster house on the Upper Mississippi River and it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The scenic rolling hills of Southwest WISCONSIN offer breath-taking views, Swiss hospitality, and a rich agricultural heritage that developed the growth of Wisconsin.

New Glarus, WI

> The New Glarus Hotel Restaurant has a rich history dating back to 1853. Nowadays, it is a called a hotel despite the fact that most guests are there to dine in for the Swiss specialties. The building began as a hotel and the current main dining room was once an old opera house. Silent movies with pianists were often the featured show.

Cassville, WI

> Stonefield Historical Site celebrates Wisconsin’s agricultural history. Learn about the rise of turn-of-the-century dairy farming and see why Wisconsin is known as “America’s Dairyland.” Stonefield has a 1901 farmstead, an agricultural museum, a living history rural farming village, and more!

Mineral Point, WI

> Pendarvis Historical Site interprets the history of Cornish settlement during the early 19th century and Wisconsin’s lead-mining heyday. Touring the historic homes at Pendarvis will transport you into the typical day of a lead-mining immigrant family and how they lived and worked.

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.

Summertime Along Each State's Great River Road

Summer is a wonderful time to travel……along each state’s stretch of the Great River Road:

THE GREAT RIVER ROAD IN ILLINOIS offers 550 miles of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, historic sites, local attractions and shopping. Marvel at the views of the Mississippi River and see 26 ancient Hopewell Indian Mounds when visiting Gramercy Park in East Dubuque. Go back in time to the 1800’s in Fulton with the Heritage Canyon where you will find a village built in a former rock quarry that overlooks the Mississippi River. Throw a line into the Mississippi in Savanna and you might hook a walleye, largemouth bass, or a catfish!

IOWA’S GREAT RIVER ROAD features 10 Counties and 15 designated Great River Road Interpretative Centers. Take in views from high on the bluff at Breitbach’s Country Dining in Balltown and see one of the most spectacular views of the valley. In Dubuque, take a leisurely outing on the Spirit of Dubuque for lunch, dinner or just to sightsee. Be sure to stop in Bellevue at the Bellevue State Park – home of a butterfly garden. Get lost in the world class art exhibits and collections at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport.

THE WISCONSIN GREAT RIVER ROAD will take you on a 250 mile journey through 33 river towns. There are spectacular scenic overlooks along the entire Wisconsin Great River Road with nearly two-thirds of the roadway passing along or through protected natural environments. With a stop in Cassville, you might take a ride on the Car Ferry that connects the Iowa and Wisconsin Great River Roads. Tour through the National Brewery Museum to discover the history of brewing in the area on your way through Potosi and be sure to grab a local brew at Potosi Brewery right next door! Take in the beauty of the Dickeyville Grotto – comprised of stone, mortar and bright colored objects collected from around the world.

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.


Winter Escapes in the Tri-States

Don’t let the chilly winter months keep you from a much-needed getaway. Venture out into the Tri-States where there are sweet deals on luxurious lodging.

Chalet Landhaus-New Glarus, WI

Get a taste of little Switzerland in New Glarus, Wisconsin at the Chalet Landhaus. Now featuring the Taste of New Glarus Package, the Chalet Landhaus Inn welcome you with traditional Swiss hospitality and charm as well as some of the town’s finest brews. Included in the $219 two-night accommodation deal, you will receive a 6-pack of assorted New Glarus Beer, locally made artisan cheese and sausage, two Chalet Landhaus/New Glarus Hotel pint glasses, as well as a tour and tasting for two at the New Glarus Brewing Company. Available for check-in dates Sunday through Thursday, New Glarus is the perfect mid-week getaway for a couple of beer connoisseurs.

Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa-Galena, IL

Hitting the slopes is one of the best ways to beat the winter blues. Check out the Ski & Stay package at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa in Galena, Illinois. Spend the day carving down Chestnut Mountain. Then relax in one of the quiet inn rooms at Eagle Ridge to close out an active day. Add on a bonus trip to the onsite spa for a little extra relaxation. Package includes accommodations for one night in a single inn room or up to five-bedroom private home plus two lift ticket per bedroom. Hurry up and get to Galena because this offer only lasts until March 1, 2017. Date exclusions do apply.

Hotel Julien Dubuque-Dubuque, IA

The Hotel Julien Dubuque is an excellent option for those looking for a quick trip full of historic charm. Rest your head at this iconic hotel in the heart of Dubuque, Iowa’s Old Main District. With onsite entertainment, a spa, and fine dining, you are never more than a few moments away from a memorable trip. Save a few extra dollars on your stay at the Hotel Julien Dubuque with Groupon, $119 per night with 5% back in Groupon Bucks Credit.

Start planning your winter escape today in the Tri-States.