Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Discovering Grafton, Illinois Along the Great River Road

Discovering Grafton, Illinois Along the Great River Road

When my husband and I lived in Alton, Illinois, we relished weekend rides along the Great River Road. The drive along the Mississippi River has some of the most incredible views that I have seen. The spectacular views of the river and the bluffs instantly transport you away from your daily worries.


Bluffs along the Mississippi River and along the Great River Road in Illinois
Bluffs along the Mississippi River and along the Great River Road in Illinois
The Great River Road does go through Illinois along the Mississippi River with amazing views of the river at points where it hugs the river. I am most familiar with the stretch between Alton and Pere Marquette in Grafton because that is the section we traveled often when we lived in the area.

Admiring the View at Aerie's:

Spectacular view of the Mississippi River from atop the bluff at Aerie's in Grafton, Illinois
Spectacular view of the Mississippi River from atop the bluff at Aerie's 

We enjoyed Grafton a couple of times during our visit. On one evening, we visited Aerie's Winery for a glass of wine. The view from Aerie's perch up above Grafton was so remarkable that we opted to return for breakfast the next day.

Aerie's Winery perched above the Mississippi River
Aerie's Winery perched above the Mississippi River
Our breakfast was delicious and filling, exactly what we needed before a day of exploring. We arrived early, so nibbled while in a spot with a view. Great start to the day!

Full breakfasts at Aerie's in Grafton, Illinois
Full breakfasts at Aerie's
Aerie's Resort is quite impressive including a hotel, cabins, a zipline adventure and the winery and restaurant. I definitely recommend heading up for the view!


After having breakfast, save time to explore. A walk throughout Grafton is full of discoveries including the Grafton Lighthouse. Grafton was nearly wiped away during the devastating 1993 flood. The lighthouse was erected as a testament to the perseverance of Grafton.

Armchair sculpture in Grafton, Illinois

We also found the sculpture of an armchair. I believe this maybe a chair for Alton's Gentle Giant Robert Wadlow who also lived in Grafton. Robert Wadlow is the World's Tallest Man and this year would have been his 100th birthday.

Peace of Quiche:

Breakfast selections at the Peace of Quiche in Grafton, Illinois including quiche of course!

For another breakfast in Grafton, we explored Peace of Quiche which is an adorable cafe and a fair trade shop combo. Peace of Quiche offers a range of breakfast and lunch items including quiche and scrambles. They also have fresh baked goods. Everything we ate was delicious!


Of course, shopping is a must in the store! There are many artisan items both locally made and made throughout the world. Purchases at the shop help support a wide variety of causes. Peace of Quiche is a wonderful aside and a pleasurable place for a light bite.

Buena Vista Art:


There are few stores to enjoy will ambling around Grafton. We happened to stumble upon Buena Vista Art which is in itself an incredible adventure. Local Artist Greg Brummett crafts quite a range of jewelry from natural stones, copper and more and constructs steampunk lamps out of interesting salvaged materials and antiques. The store also purveys locally made items from other artisans including pottery, soaps, candles, tea blends and more.

Toy Soldier steampunk lamp crafted by Greg Brummett of Buena Vista Art in Grafton, Illinois
Toy Soldier steampunk lamp crafted by Greg Brummett of Buena Vista Art in Grafton, Illinois
Brummett's studio is in the shop, so you may get to see him definitely crafting. When we visited, Greg's wife Janey explained a bit about the process to us. So, ask questions! Each of the lamps has a unique name. The one above is my favorite -- the Toy Soldier. I came home with a Buena Vista bracelet made from jasper. I am happy to have this little piece of Grafton with me!

Buena Vista Art
Buena Vista Art is adorable from the outside and welcomes exploration.

Ferrying on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers 

Who can resist a ferry ride? We took two ferry rides while in Grafton. One was the Brussels Ferry which is run by IDOT and is free. We also took the Grafton Ferry after returning from an adventure in Missouri. A fun way to travel the river!



Pere Marquette State Park:

Both of our mornings in Grafton, we followed breakfast with exploring Pere Marquette State Park. Pere Marquette has long been one of my favorite hiking destinations, so you can imagine that I was really looking forward to this part of the road trip! Later, this week I will write about this natural gem and introduce you to a great spot for hiking.

View from one of the overlooks at Pere Marquette State Park
View from one of the overlooks at Pere Marquette State Park
As you can see, Grafton is fun spot along the Great River Road. Views along the Great River Road and in Grafton are spectacular and will give you a magnificent escape from the every day.

**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Discovering Grafton, Illinois Along the Great River Road




No comments:

Post a Comment