Date night with Carmin…

Happy Thursday! We are kicking off date night with a bottle of Carmin 2014 from Danenberger Family Vineyard. 

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Sycamore’s Taste of Spring 2017

Last night I wandered the beautiful streets of Sycamore, Illinois with some great friends. Sycamore’s Taste of Spring offers 22 wines to try at 19 unique locations. The whole community gets behind this event with wine stops ranging from a beautiful nursery (Blumen Gardens) to Prairie State Winery to a dentist office (Grand Dental). This was my second year attending and I feel like every year I have more fun. I cannot wait to see what they come up with for 2018.


Check out my Facebook page to see my album with all of the photos.

Traveling Murphy

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Happy Tuesday

Some days you just have a good day at work and cannot wait to come home to have a glass of wine. This weekend we picked-up our Barrel Reserve bottles from Cooper’s Hawk Winery so we will be enjoying a couple glasses of it with pizza tonight! 

Cheers my friends! 

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Local Spirit at a Local Bar

I love when you go out for drinks after work and realize they serve local spirits. The Barrel + Rye in Geneva won me over as soon as they used the Herrington Gin from Fox River Distilling Co. (Geneva). I will not drink Gin unless it is Herrington Gin.

Here is Rosemary Negroni!


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Wine Wednesday – Sushi & Wine Pairing

Happy Wine Wednesday! This week’s wine pairing was inspired by dinner tonight.

Sushi Pairs Perfect with Snap! Ginger Wine


One of my favorite sushi spots is Fushi Yami in DeKalb. The rolls are delicious and affordable. This week’s pairing includes the Husky Roll. Husky Roll includes Super White Tuna,  Yellowtail Tuna, Spicy Tuna and Unagi Sauce.

The SNAP! Ginger Wine is from Prairie State Winery in Genoa (tasting room in Sycamore). All sushi lovers know that ginger and sushi go hand-in-hand so this is an amazing combination.

Fushi Yami
822 W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb

Prairie State Winery
222 W. Main Street, Genoa
WebsiteFacebook Page



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Announcement – Summer/Fall Wine Festival


I have received multiple emails asking me to release my Summer/Fall Wine Festival post early this year. I am so excited to see so much interest for Illinois Wine and travel through the state so I will start working on the post right away.

In the meantime if you have not picked up your tickets for Galena’s Wine Lover Weekend I recommend starting your wine travel March 24-26.

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Mardi Gras Wine Dinner at Cooper’s Hawk Winery

Every year my mother-in-law and husband work together to plan experience Christmas presents for me (and my husband). They have given us a weekend getaway to Lake Geneva that included a cooking class, tickets to a farm-to-fork dinner and our new favorite is tickets to Cooper’s Hawk wine dinners. Last month we did the Red Wine Dinner and this month was the Mardi Gras Dinner.


Check out the Traveling Murphy Facebook page to see the full photo album. Click here.

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Preparing to Attend Wine Lovers’ Weekend

Last year I was the guest at Galena’s Wine Lovers’ Weekend (WLW). There was so much to see and do it was hard to figure out where to start. So I am writing this post to help you figure out everything you need to know to get the most out of Wine Lovers’ Weekend. Let’s start with the wine.

Wine Lovers’ Weekend – March 24-26, 2017


Wine Events

Grand Tasting Event
When planning your WLW trip the most important decision is when you want to do the Grand Tasting. I prefer doing the Grand Tasting on Saturday so it is almost like a finale to your weekend. The Grand Tasting allows attendees to try a variety of wines from all around the country. There is a cheese spread that will make any cheese lover drool and pairs perfect with the wine selection. If drinking wine for two hours sounds like too much for you then sample some of the local craft beers and distilled spirits. It is always good to mix it up.


Wine Lovers’ Weekend at the Vineyard
I think the biggest crime is visiting a town known for wine and not visiting the vineyard. For Wine Lovers’ Weekend I think it is a must to visit Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery at least once but I highly recommend doing it during this event. Chef Ivo with Galena Canning Co. and Galena Cellars’ wine maker Chris Lawlor work together on a five-course lunch pairing. Meals on vineyards always take on more of a magical feel because you are enjoying a wine you like, right where the grapes were grown and where the wine was produced.


There is a full weekend of wine events so I suggest starting with these two and then figure out the rest of your schedule. Remember Galena has multiple wineries and wine shops so a couple old fashioned wine tastings can be done on the fly.


Galena is rich with award-winning wines and quaint accommodations. Every traveler to the area has their own choice but here are some of my recommendations.

Stoney Creek Inn
This is the hotel I stay at every time I visit Galena. It does not matter if I am having a romantic getaway with my husband or escaping the busy life of the suburbs with some girlfriends. The fire place set in the log cabin themed hotel lobby is my favorite part of the stay. Every night when you come in it is so welcoming. My friends and I will grab some coffee and sit by the fire every night as we look through photos of our adventures that day. A huge advantage to staying in this hotel during Wine Lovers’ Weekend is that the Grand Tasting event is right next door. You can walk over rather than having to worry about who is going to be the designated driver.

Hotel Website – Hotel Facebook Page 


Farmers Guest House
Now any hotel package that includes “Wine Time” at 5pm and a full breakfast with mimosas has my name all over it. This bed and breakfast has a lot of heart and every past guest I have spoken with said that you will not leave hungry.

Hotel WebsiteHotel Facebook Page

Here is a list of all the hotel packages and specials being offered in Galena for Wine Lovers’ Weekend. Website 

What else can we do?

I am all about drinking wine…every day and sometimes all day. However, even I know that you have to take a break to see the amazing town of Galena. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Galena that have nothing to do with wine but are still fun.

Cooking Class at Breakfast Diva School
Wine and cooking go hand in hand. Take a break from the wine and enjoy an intimate cooking class (16 people max) with Galena’s very own Breakfast Diva. If you are a true food lover you will recognize the Breakfast Diva from the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship. Learn how to make delicious recipes with opportunities to step in and help with the preparation.
WebsiteFacebook Page

LIVE Music at Galena Brewing Company
Every time I go to Galena there are people piling into Galena Brewing Company’s front doors and live music coming out the door. Stop in for food or spend the night dancing with all of your friends. They have live music every weekend!
WebsiteFacebook Page

Shopping Downtown Galena
Every story I have heard about a trip to Galena mentioned shopping…lots of shopping. Galena is known for the wine but they also have a downtown that looks like a movie set for a Hallmark Channel movie. As a matter of fact, it was the setting for the classic Kevin Costner film “Field of Dreams.”

Tour Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. 
So many of us know that we like vodka or whisky but do you know why you like it? Take a behind the scenes tour that will have you using all of your senses to learn why so many people like Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.
WebsiteFacebook Page

If you still have time to spare than I recommend checking out the local convention  and visitors bureau, Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB’s website. They list things to do as well as a current event schedule. Visit Galena has a Visitor Information Center located in downtown Galena. Stop in for information on local attractions and events. website and Facebook event page are a wealth of information for visitors.

Illinois Wineries

I could not end a post about Wine Lovers’ Weekend without at least telling you where all the wineries are.

Galena Cellars Vineyard
4746 North Ford Road, Galena
WebsiteFacebook Page

Galena Cellars – Downtown Galena
515 S. Main Street, Galena
WebsiteFacebook Page

Massbach Ridge Winery & Vineyard
8837 Massbach Road, Elizabeth (This is the perfect spot to stop on your way into town.)
WebsiteFacebook Page


Massbach Ridge Tasting Room – Downtown Galena
117 N. Main Street, Galena
WebsiteFacebook Page

Fergedaboutit Vineyard
4595 W. Speer Road, Hanover
WebsiteFacebook Page


Rocky Waters Vineyard Winery
2003 W. Hanover Road, Hanover
WebsiteFacebook Page


Whatever you decide to do to celebrate Wine Lovers’ Weekend in Galena I hope you have a fun and safe time. Please, remember to get a designated driver or call a taxi!

Wine Lovers’ Weekend WebsiteWine Lovers’ Weekend Facebook Event

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Happy National Margarita Day!

Happy National Margarita Day! Whether you like a Classic Margarita or something more unique like this Avocado Margarita you cannot go wrong with this fun day. Cheers!


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Happy National Drink Wine Day!

Who knew that we needed a special day to drink wine? I welcome the excuse. Haha


Here are some great ways to celebrate the holiday:

  • We are in the heart of Girl Scout Cookie season, even National Drink Wine Day cannot slow that down. August Hill Winery and Illinois Sparkling Co. are hosting a cookie and wine flight today until 8pm. Event Page
  • What better way to celebrate this awesome holiday than enjoying some wine on Prairie State Winery‘s patio. Grab a glass of the Honey Orange Blossom Wine Slushie. (Genoa Location)
  • Fox Valley Winery is hosting their Annual Case SALE this weekend. Stop in and stock up on some of the fan favorites while saving a lot of money. I picked up a case of wine yesterday for $60.
  • Enjoy a wine tasting on Third Street in Geneva at Galena Cellars. This is the perfect time to purchase tickets for Wine Lovers’ Weekend (March 24-26, 2017).


How ever you decide to celebrate National Drink Wine Day I hope you keep your glass full and have a wonderful day on this unusually warm winter day.

Traveling Murphy


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