Itineraries

Barbed Wire Sites Bus Tour

Hosted each November by the JF Glidden Homestead 

Barn Tours

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

DeKalb County Barn Quilt Trail

Self-guided Barn Quilt Trail

Group/ Couples Getaway

(3-day/2-night)

Day One

Be one with nature and begin your journey with a paddle down the mighty Kish in Genoa! But wait – first coffee, please don’t forget the coffee. Stop at the new Open Door Coffee downtown Genoa and grab a specialty coffee or tea. Then head over to the Genoa Park District where they will then drop you and your canoe or kayak rental off at the Kishwaukee River. About two hours later, depending on the current, they will pick you up. Weekday or weekend rentals are available, with rates starting at just $25.

At this point you’ve probably worked up a nice appetite. Head to Crusin’ for delicious food and a fun, car-theme restaurant. Be sure to check out Old Barn Salvage for vintage finds. Old Barn Salvage is paired with The Warehouse on Park, who typically either has workshops, live music, or food trucks on the weekends.

Check into your charming B&B, The Genoa Guest House, and freshen up for the rest of your night out. Built as a private residence nearly 130 years ago, this circa 1888 home features a complete, eco-friendly remodeling. The chef, Mary, makes the best breakfast and if you’re lucky, she’ll pair it with some home baked goods. It’s so cozy and walking distance to your next stop – the winery!

Prairie State Winery has delicious award winning wines accompanied by the perfect atmosphere. With their newly expanded patio, you can enjoy a wonderful dinner, nice breeze, and live music most Friday and Saturday nights. They have over 30 wines to select from with 100% Illinois-grown grapes bred to thrive in the Midwest. They use ingredients from nature such as ginger, key lime, elderberries, orange oil, and local honey to create one-of-a-kind wines that tantalize your taste buds.

Day Two

After breakfast head to downtown Sycamore and do some shopping. Experience the joy of finding that perfect gift (even if it is for you) with unique treasures that range from clothing, furniture, antiques, garden goodies, and home décor. While you’re downtown shopping, stop in to one of the local galleries, such as, KVAL on State.

Lunch time. There are plenty of options to choose from! Brewery and one-of-a-kind brick oven pizzas, the Forge of Sycamore. Prefer a rooftop where you can catch some rays and enjoy drink specials, try MVP’s Sports Bar.

Head to DeKalb and visit 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. Reservations required for the tour, the grounds are free to explore.
In the evening, grab dinner then catch a show or tour at the Egyptian Theatre. This beautifully restored 1920s art deco theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of only seven Egyptian Style Theatres from the era left in the country.

Afterward, walk to one of our downtown restaurants or bars for a drink before heading back to rest and revitalize at one of our comfortable and affordable hotels.

Day Three

Wake up feeling refreshed and head out to grab some brunch. If the weather is nice, dine alfresco! Grab a treat at the confectionary on your way out of town.
Head home and make plans to come back to explore more of DeKalb County!

 

Savor a Taste of DeKalb County History

(3-day/2-night)

Day One

Begin your journey at 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.

How about a little shopping 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.

Enjoy a sweet treat before dinner, enjoy hand-dipped chocolates at the Confectionary in either DeKalb or Sycamore, or get Blast (others call them blizzards), Sunday or Shake at Ollie’s Frozen Custard, a DeKalb County top spot.

Cap off your night with award-winning wine at Prairie State Winery in Genoa. Prairie State offers live music on Friday nights, and occasionally on Saturdays and Sundays as well. The kitchen is open Thursday-Sunday and offers delicious shareables, paninis, soup, and flatbreads.

If you’re ending in Genoa, might as well stay at the charming bed and breakfast, The Genoa Guest House.

Day Two

Start your day off with a hike at one of our many forest preserves! Enjoy the fresh outdoors at MacQueen Forest Preserve in Kirkland, Russell Woods in Genoa, or Knute Olson Jr. Preserve in Kingston. Almost all the forest preserves in DeKalb County are over 40 acres!

Enjoy lunch at Forge Brewhouse’s Downtown Sycamore location. House Brewed Craft Beer, Food Made from Scratch, it’s the perfect way to enjoy what DeKalb County has to offer. The Forge features seasonal brick oven pizza and sliders to pair with their craft beers.
After lunch, you are definitely going to want to plan a tour of the Egyptian Theatre, and if you have time, catch a show. This beautifully restored 1920s art deco theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of only seven Egyptian Style Theatres from the era left in the country. The theatre is right around the corner from Downtown DeKalb shopping and the Confectionary.

Next, head out to Jonamac Orchard to pick apples, sample their Jonasmack Hard Cider and Apple Wines, and enjoy an afternoon apple cider donut. Jonamac Orchard’s hard cider, apple wines, pies, and donuts are all made from apples grown on the 170-acre orchard. The orchard also features a corn maze, petting zoo, apple cannon, campfire pits and more.

End your day before heading back to your hotel with a nice dinner at Remington’s Gastropub, in Downtown Malta. Remington’s Gastropub brings an incomparable and well-crafted gastropub to the heart of corn and tractor country. Remington’s offers a vast craft beer selection, a few dozen wine varieties, signature “Mad Men” and “Prohibition Era” inspired cocktails, while featuring tasty pub staples, albeit, with a bit of culinary flair.

Day Three

Enjoy a relaxing morning and brunch before heading over to 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 blacksmith’s shop!

Head down to Waterman Winery to sample their wines and bring home your favorites. Before you head down, schedule a tour of the vineyards.

Whiskey Acres Distillery caps off your three days in DeKalb County. Meet farm crafted spirits. Grown from the finest grain, handcrafted and distilled on their fifth-generation family farm. From us to you. From seed to spirit. Whiskey Acres is the first estate distillery in Illinois growing all the grains they use to distill their whiskey, vodka, bourbon, and ryes. Tours and tastings include a souvenir shot glass and occur every hour, on the hour. Once you’ve taken your tour, you can relax on the patio or in the tasting room and enjoy a few more hand-crafted drinks.

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

DeKalb County History and Heritage Tour

(2-day/1-night)

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, grab a cup of coffee or tea from Coroco and get ready for a short drive. Select some barn quilts or historical markers from the north end of either the Barn Qult Tour or Historical Marker Tour.

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 1 of 7 remaining Egyptian Theatres.

Download DeKalb County’s touring app, Out & About, and find all sorts of places to check out! It’ll take you on a road trip throughout the county and fill you with loads of fun history.

Enjoy lunch from a wide selection of restaurants that offer both American and ethnic cuisine. If the weather is nice, dine alfresco! Another option is to pick up lunch and head to Northern Illinois University’s campus. Grab a table by the lagoon and enjoy the scenery and beautiful architecture.

A Taste of DeKalb County

(2-day/1-night)

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 Cortney Strohacker for Group Tour Planning at 815-756-1336 or contact us.