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ReaganFulton Windmill

Trip Highlights:
• Ronald Reagan Birthplace & Boyhood Home
• Historic Museums & driving tours
• Tour authentic Windmill & Cultural Center
• Stops at a variety of shops featuring chocolate

Cities where the itinerary operates:
Dixon, Rock Falls, Sterling & Fulton, Illinois

Day One: Dixon Illinois
Your day begins with a tour of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home which has been restored to the 1920’s era when Ronald Reagan and his family lived there. Through the guided tour you will learn about his boyhood and teen years spent in Dixon. There is a gift shop and visitor’s center on site.

Your next stop is The Northwest Territory Historic Center, a Smithsonian-affiliated history, research, and learning center housed in Ronald Reagan’s boyhood South Central School. Here you will find interactive exhibits on Native American & Black Hawk war and early American farming; "Dutch" Reagan's restored classroom, Reagan history room, Walgreen history room, original Reagan movie posters, original Reagan diplomas, historical paintings on every floor, changing historical exhibits and the museum store.

Board the bus for the Dixon Welcome Center where you can shop for memorabilia and souvenirs from your visit. You’ll be joined by a step-on guide for a driving tour of the historic community that helped shape a future president.

A stop in downtown Dixon will include The Crystal Cork Wine Shoppe which offers hand poured Bavarian Chocolates, Chocolate Ports and Chocolate Martinis. Not sure how to pair wine with chocolate? Allow their knowledgeable staff to assist you and we can also arrange an optional chocolate martini sampling for your group which includes 3 kinds of martinis and chocolate samples as well.

Check-in for an overnight at the Dixon Comfort Inn. A group dinner can be arranged or take your pick of the many area dining options offered.

Day Two: Tampico & Sterling/Rock Falls, Illinois

Following breakfast, you will travel to Tampico to visit the birthplace of President Ronald Reagan. The apartment where he was born has been restored and authentically decorated and your visit will include a stop at the museum and gift shop.

The tour proceeds to the Sterling/Rock Falls area for stops at the Dillon Home Museum and the Sterling/Rock Falls Historical Society Museum. The Dillon Home Museum featuring history of the founders of Northwestern Steel and Wire and features fine antiques belonging to the Dillon family. The Sterling/Rock Falls Historical Museum is located in the Carriage House on the grounds of the Dillon Home Museum.

Lunch at The Factory Pub & Grub in downtown Sterling.

Following lunch, you’ll stop at The Little Chocolatier where you’ll have a chance to check out this chocolate specialty shop features hand-dipped chocolates, caramel and cheese popcorn, novelty and holiday candies, gourmet coffees, espresso bar drinks, and gift items.

Your next stop is the Rock Falls Art in the park Sculpture Walk. Enjoy the beautiful art sculptures and the beautiful view of the riverfront, a perfect photo op moment. Stretch your legs and take in the fresh air.

Check-in for an overnight at Holiday Inn Express located along the Rock River next to the park or Country Inn & Suites in Rock Falls. A group dinner can be arranged or take your pick of the many area dining options offered.

Day Three: Fulton, Illinois

Following check out and breakfast you’ll travel the historic Lincoln Highway to Fulton which is the Lincoln Highway’s gateway to the west where it crosses the mighty Mississippi River. Fulton’s strong Dutch heritage offers travelers many interesting sites. The authentic Dutch Windmill, “De Immigrant”, was prefabricated in the Netherlands and erected by Dutch craftsmen in Fulton on the banks of the Mississippi River. The Windmill Museum & Cultural Center and gift shop across the street features exhibits & 23 large scale models of European windmills that will broaden your understanding of the important roll windmills played in early Europe and has souvenirs and other memorabilia.

Lunch at Manny’s in downtown Fulton will feature a chocolate dessert.

Following lunch, the tour will continue at Heritage Canyon which is located on the Mississippi River in an old 12-acre quarry restored and furnished to replicate a mid-1800’s settlement. Paths through the wooded hillside lead from home sites to a doctor’s office, one room school, church, covered bridge, swinging bridge and much more.

Your group can explore downtown Fulton and check out their unique shops or depart for home.

All locations and times listed in this sample itinerary are subject to change according to your needs. To personalize this itinerary contact us and we’ll work with your group to make your tour special! Blackhawk Waterways will make all the arrangements for your group of 25 or more.

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Pride of Oregon

Trip Highlights:
• Fun chocolate shopping experiences
• *Dinner Theater
• Overnight Stay with a scenic view of the Rock river
• Lunch in a rustic lodge
• Indulgent Desserts

Day 1 – Oregon

The first stop on your chocolate escapade is Maxon's Riverboat cruise on the Pride of Oregon paddlewheel boat. Take in the beauty and serenity of nature while enjoying lunch and a chocolate dessert on the water with scenic views of Lowden State Park and the Eternal Indian Statue. The lower deck is enclosed for a climate controlled dining experience. 

The next stop is Conover Square in Oregon; spend time wandering through the unique and eclectic blend of shops and vintage stores. Built in 1893, the building was once the home of the Schiller Piano Factory where victrolas, music pianos, player pianos, spinnets, and baby grands were built. In addition to shopping, on the 2nd floor take a walk back through time in the Farm Museum filled with antique farming pieces and memorabilia. Visit the  Model Railroad room filled with fully operational Large HO scale railroad display that is quite impressive featuring its own community and Mt. Rushmore.

For stop number three travel a short distance to Oregon Soap Shoppe; here the CHOCOLATE GOODIES have some very important features! They are; 100% guilt free, 100% calorie free, OH so very good for you and only mildly "habit forming"! Choose from their many soaps, the delicious chocolate varieties or any of the other 150 plus blends to really nurture the skin you are in! Besides the Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Amber & Milk Chocolate Almond soaps for your bathing adventures, keep your lips kissable with Chocolate Covered Cherry and Chocolate Mint lip balms. Relax and luxuriate with Chocolate Bath Salts or exfoliate with Chocolate Mint Sugar Scrubs. Call ahead and get a great presentation of what goes into soapmaking. 

After a day of shopping, Head North enjoying the scenic view of the Rock River as you arrive and check in at The Paddlewheel Inn. Chocolate treats will be provided if you arrange in advance and mention Blackhawk Waterways. 

After checking in, go across to Maxson’s Manor Restaurant or Blackhawk Steak Pit for an upscale dinner with salad bar. Group reservations are requested. Return to hotel.

Day 2 – Mt. Morris, Rochelle

After a refreshing night sleep and breakfast, visit Merlin’s Greenhouse and Flowers with seasonal home decor and mores and The Otherside Boutique, featuring apparel, shoes, accessories and gift items and enjoyable shopping experience is their top priority. 

Continue your trip 10 min west to White Pines Inn, located in the beautiful White Pines Forest State Park; enjoy a delicious lunch while you relax and enjoy a live theater production(tickets purchased in advance) in the rustic historic lodge. Make sure you save room for chocolate cobbler or chocolate covered ice cream dessert. Chocolate lovers will delight in the gift shop’s assorted chocolates, truffles, and myrtles.

As you head home your last stop is Colonial Flowers & Gifts in Rochelle. Featuring seasonal settings, Colonial Flowers & Gifts offers a wide variety of fresh, classic chocolates in upscale packaging and free chocolate samples.

Depart for home.

*Model Railroad is 

Day One: Oregon, Mt. Morris, Dixon, Rochelle

Start in Oregon, the northern-most part of Ogle County.

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Trip Highlights:
  • Shopping at a variety of stores selling chocolate "everything"
  • Chocolate themed English High Tea at a historic B&B
  • Visit a Soap Shoppe that makes Chocolate Soap
  • Overnight in historic Oregon or in upscale cabins at nearby White Pines State Park

Blackhawk Waterways

Blackhawk Waterways