Barbed Wire Sites Bus Tour

Hosted each fall by the JF Glidden Homestead 


Barn Tours

DeKalb County has 2 self-guided Barn Tours that happen each summer.


DeKalb County History and Heritage Tour


Day One:

Begin your journey at the Joseph F. Glidden Homestead where you will learn about the invention of the most widely-used type of barbed wire in 1873. Joseph F. Glidden helped change the history of the American West and had a far-reaching impact throughout the world. Don’t forget to stop by the working blacksmiths shop!

Next head to the Ellwood House Museum to tour the beautifully restored Victorian mansion that was built by barbed wire baron Isaac L. Ellwood in 1879. The hour-long tour features the Little House and a charming Victorian-era playhouse on the grounds. Visitor Center exhibits include “Fencing Frontiers: The Barbed Wire Story” and the carriage gallery.

It’s time to sit down and enjoy lunch to get ready for a little shopping in Sycamore’s historic downtown shopping district.

After lunch, head over to the Midwest Museum of Natural History in Sycamore and travel through the natural biomes of North America, from the arctic tundra to the desert, and observe animals in their habitats. You may even get the chance to encounter live animals while there!

Make your next stop at the Sycamore History Museum to learn all about the people who developed and lived in the area. Make sure you stop by the Sycamore Courthouse to marvel at the beautiful and majestic architecture of days gone by.

Time for dinner and a glass of wine before you head back to your hotel.

Day Two:

You are definitely going to want to plan a tour of the Egyptian Theatre, and if you have time even catch a show. This beautifully restored 1920s art deco theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places and is right around the corner from Downtown DeKalb shopping and the Confectionary. You and your group can do some vintage shopping and indulge in old-fashioned, hand-made chocolates.

Enjoy lunch from a wide selection of restaurants that offer both American and ethnic cuisine. If the weather is nice, dine alfresco!

Head home and make plans to come back to explore more of the history museums and historical societies in DeKalb County.

A Taste of DeKalb County


Day One:

Begin your day at one of DeKalb County’s fine wineries. Both Waterman Winery and Prairie State Winery (Genoa) offer a wide variety of wines to sample. See how the wine is made and bottled or take a tour of the vineyards at Waterman Winery. Plan on taking home your favorites.

How about a little shopping and lunch in one of our historic downtown shopping districts? Experience the joy of finding that perfect gift (even if it is for you) with unique treasures that range from antiques, to vintage jewelry and clothing, baby clothes, furniture, and home décor.

Looking for dessert? Head on over to Sweet Dream Desserts and indulge in a ganache-filled cupcake after a hands-on decorating session. If you have a taste for hand-dipped chocolates, visit the Confectionary in either DeKalb or Sycamore. And there are plenty more sweet stops in DeKalb County.

Want both a taste of DeKalb County and an international culinary experience? Inboden’s Meat Market will treat you to a wine and cheese tasting while you shop. People from all areas come to Inboden’s to shop for fresh cut meats, breads, pastries and fresh hand-picked produce.

Still hungry? Satisfy your palette with a diverse selection of dining choices that serve up a savory experience with friendly service. Dinner is the perfect place to discuss all the fun that you had today making memories together.

After dinner you can visit one of our local pubs for a signature drink, or check out the DCCVB website to see what events are going on. Maybe you can catch a show performed by local actors!

Now it’s time to rest and revitalize at one of our comfortable and affordable hotels.

Day Two:

Start out with a free continental breakfast at your hotel or hop in the car and find a great local restaurant to begin the day.

Head out to Jonamac Orchard to pick apples and sample some of the freshly made treats before deciding what to shop for to take home.

Shop green at one of our farmers markets (June-September) and browse over all the fresh, locally grown produce that DeKalb County has to offer. Our farmers markets offer more than just food. Keep your eyes open for jewelry, crafts, and wine. You might even get to see a cooking demonstration or enjoy live music.

Enjoy a late lunch and head home to savor your Taste of DeKalb County.

Contact Debbie Armstrong for Group Tour Planning at 815-756-1336 or contact us.