People enjoying chocolate

History With Sweet Suprises

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.