Midwest Itinerary: A Main Course of History With Chocolate for Dessert Tour
The Itinerary at a Glance
Our 3-day tour is perfect for your group of history buffs who LOVE chocolate. Stops at a variety of historic sites such as the President Ronald Reagan Birthplace and Boyhood Home and an authentic Dutch Windmill & Museum are intermixed with fun chocolate martini tastings, chocolate samplings and more.
4 Unique Experience on This Trip
- Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home
- Crystal Cork Wine Shoppe
- Dillon Home Museum
- Heritage Canyon
Duration: 3 Days
This Itinerary is Ideal For: All
Day 1: Dixon
Your day begins with a tour of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home, which has been restored to the 1920s 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 Americans & the 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.
The Loveland Museum will welcome you for lunch catered by Baker’s Street Cafe, which will include a selection of their signature chocolate specialties – 14-layer cinnamon torte, rich Bavarian cake or the chocolate ganache filled and topped in rich chocolate.
Board the bus for the Dixon Welcome Center, where you can shop for Reagan memorabilia and check out the Lincoln Highway interpretive exhibit. 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 chocolate ports and chocolate martinis. Not sure how to pair wine with chocolate? Allow their knowledgeable staff to assist you. The chocolate martini sampling for your group will include three 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 2: Tampico & Sterling/Rock Falls
Following breakfast you will travel to Tampico to visit the Ronald Reagan Birthplace. 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 Sterling/Rock Falls Historical Society Museum. The Dillon Home Museum features 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 Little Chocolatier, where owner Dennis Little will give a demonstration and you’ll have a chance to check out this chocolate specialty shop featuring 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 Fire Museum, which boasts vintage firefighting equipment.
Check in for an overnight at Holiday Inn Express & Suites located along the Rock River 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 3: Fulton
Following check out and breakfast you’ll travel the historic Lincoln Highway to Fulton, which is the 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. The Windmill Museum & Cultural Center across the street features exhibits and 23 large scale models of European windmills that will broaden your understanding of the important roll windmills played in early Europe.
Lunch at Manny’s in downtown Fulton will feature a chocolate dessert.
Following lunch the tour will continue at Heritage Canyon, located on the Mississippi River in an old 12-acre quarry restored and furnished to replicate a mid-1800s 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 to check out the unique shops or depart for home.