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If there is one thing that you can always count on, it's the exceptional family-style meal at Wittmond's in Brussels. Just a quick ride will bring you to this hometown mainstay where pulling up a chair at the table reminds you of a visit to Grandma's house. Once you're nice and cozy in your seat, get ready to eat! They start with noodle soup, a relish platter, sausage and hot rolls. Next, they bring out the homemade fried chicken, roast beef, dumplings, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and green beans. It's all served family-style, and they'll keep bringing it out until you say you're finally full. If you still have a little room left, order up a slice of homemade pie. With just one visit to Wittmond's, you'll be adding it to your trip itinerary every time you visit the Alton region. Hours: Friday - Monday, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge
Near the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers lies a veritable bird-watching utopia. Visitors to Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge can expect to see a variety of migratory birds, from waterfowl and warblers to Acadian Flycatchers and American Bald Eagles. In fact, Two Rivers is the winter home to one the largest Bald Eagle populations in the continental United States.
Brussels Historic Village Jail
Once known as the local "calaboose", the Brussels Jail was built around 1876 and centered in the heart of the village. The jail mainly housed men overnight for drinking too much and the last person to stay in the jail was in 1952. The jail is open seven days a week.
Eagle Watching with Ranger
Join refuge rangers from Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge for a morning of eagle watching. Visit multiple areas at the wildlife refuge that are known for eagles. A personal vehicle will be needed. Attendees are reminded to dress for the weather. Open to all ages. Space is limited, call 618-883-2524 to register in advance. This program will be on December 5th & 19th, January 2nd & 16th, February 6th & 20th, and March 5th & 19th at 9 am to 10 am each day.
Eagle Watching Open House
Visit Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge to learn about bald eagles and how to watch for them, then venture out to watch for eagles with a refuge ranger. Experienced eagle watchers will be set up with viewing scopes at various locations at the wildlife refuge. Kids crafts will be available at the visitor center. For more information, call 618-883-2524.
Koster Farms Hunting Club
Hunting on 2,000 acres of farm, timberland, cropland, and creek bottoms provides a large terrain selection for prime hunting. New club house sleeps 10, full kitchen, 2 baths, dish TV and VCR. Nine hole golf course nearby.
Mary Michelle Winery
Mary Michelle has 60 acres of vineyards adjacent to the winery and grows most of the grapes that it uses for its wines. This Winery sells only through stores and restaurants. Mary Michelle’s winemaker is the award-winning Lucian Dressel, a fifth generation Greene County resident by way of Boston, New York, Augusta, Mo., and Davis, Ca. In 2003, inspired by the vision of the founders of Mary Michelle, Dressel returned to the Midwest to help make a contribution to the fulfillment of this dream.
McMaster Woods Nature Preserve
McMaster Woods is a beautiful oak woodland and barrens that occurs on deep ravines, steep slopes and a ridgetop. Limestone bedrock outcrops along the bases of ravines and an intermittent stream crosses the northwest corner of the preserve. A great variety of wildflowers, grasses, sedges and ferns occur here, including large-flowered bellwort, spikenard, false dragonhead, wood reed and maidenhair fern. A small, but interesting barrens remnant occurs on the ridgetop. For Further Information Contact: Illinois Department of Natural Resources, District Natural Heritage Biologist, 4521 Alton Commerce Parkway, Alton, Illinois 62002 (618-462-2424)
Porthole Barn Trail
After the Civil War, Confederate shipbuilder Joe Minch was looking for a fresh start. He made his way back to the Rockbridge area and traded his building expertise for a set of tools. That first project of building a barn set into motion a new trend in barn design. Joe placed round windows, now know as portholes, in the barn. Travel through Greene County today to view the highest concentration of Porthole Barns in the country.
Lone Oak Golf Course
The 9-hole "Lone Oak" executive course at the Lone Oak Golf Course facility in Carrollton features 2,150 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 32. Designed by George DeGeal, the Lone Oak golf course opened in 1984.
Live Bald Eagle at TreeHouse Wildlife Center
There will be live bald eagles on display every weekend in January and February at the TreeHouse Wildlife Center. Free admission. Donations are appreciated.
James J. Eldred House Historic Site
Visit the James J. Eldred House, completed in 1861, and step back in time to view one of the most elegant residential structures in the region and an important surviving example of Greek Revival architecture. The home had fallen into disrepair over the years, but with the creation of The Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Association, the Eldred House has come back to life and is being painstakingly restored. The home is open for tours during the annual Greene County Days celebration.
Bluffdale Vacation Farm
Bluffdale is an Illinois farm vacation dude ranch and bed & breakfast. Parent Magazine's "Top 10 Family Resorts in North America." Our family has been welcoming guests to our historic Illinois farm near Eldred, Illinois since 1963. Recreation activities include horseback riding, boating, fishing, swimming, hayrides, bonfires, sing-alongs and more. Bluffdale is famous for its generous home cooked meals with home baked bread, rolls and pies. Our luxury cabins, featuring a fireplace and hot tub, are ideal for romantic getaway weekend or honeymoon bed & breakfast lodging. Spring brings a wide variety of wildflowers and morel mushrooms. In fall the bluffs make a colorful drive and eagle watch from Alton to Bluffdale along the Great River Road, a National Scenic Byway. Check our website for rates and availability.
Mississippi River State Fish and Wildlife Area
Consisting of 15 wildlife management areas and 13 public access areas, the Mississippi River State and Wildlife Area manages a majority of its 24,400 acres to accommodate waterfowl hunting and habitat enhancement.
Ruebel Hotel & Restaurant
Located near the convergence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers is Grafton - a little town steeped in history. In the heart of that history is the Ruebel Hotel. The Ruebel was built in 1884, caught fire in 1912 and was rebuilt and completely renovated in 1997. The Ruebel Hotel has a magnificently restored bar from the 1904 Worlds Fair in St. Louis. The Ruebel Saloon offers excellent food and a great variety of beer and wines.
Pere Marquette Lodge Restaurant
Enjoy family-style dining in a rustic setting at the Pere Marquette Lodge dining room. The Lodge is famous for its family-style fried chicken and fried catfish dinners. You won't leave the table hungry at all! Seasonally, the Lodge offers a brunch buffet on Sundays with everything from made-to-order omelets to baked ham and fried chicken. There is something for everyone. Hours: Sunday - Thursday, 7 a.m. - 8 p.m., and Friday - Saturday, 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Jeni J's Gifts & Guest Houses
The boutique gift shop offers several lines of unique women’s clothing, trendy handbags, artisan jewelry and stylish scarves. Each season brings exciting new fashions and accessories for shoppers to choose from. The adjoining IceHouse Winery features our private label wines, award-winning wines from the Midwest and imported varietals from abroad. Visit the store to see for yourself the large assortment of exquisite items to adorn yourself and your home. Choose from our beautiful selection of fashion jewelry, women's sweaters, flags, wind chimes, scented candles, scented night lights, seasonal items, and gifts. Friday - Sunday, Noon to 5 p.m.
Looking for a souvenir of your trip on the Great River Road? Don't miss this fun little store full of authentic Native American jewelry, pottery, crafts and books. Many items featuring the legendary Piasa Bird, a local Native American legend, can be found at Pajarito. Store staff is knowledgeable and willing to spend time with customers explaining the legends behind the keepsakes. Hours: Monday - Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Friday - Saturday, 10:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Centrally located in Grafton with two suites available. Each suite has a wet bar with a refrigerator, microwave and coffee pot. A large sitting area with a TV, DVD player and a full size sofa. The bedroom has a queen size bed and fireplace. The bathroom has a shower, a large make-up vanity and features the Bain Ultra air jetted tub for two. Making it perfect for the special couples getaway!
Lucy Mae's Guest House
Built at the dawn of the 20th century this two-story home retains its turn of the century charm while offering the convenience of modern pleasures and comfort. The home offers 2 units, upstairs & downstairs with an adjoining stairway that can be opened for large groups.
The Riverside Cottage - A Loading Dock Guest House
Relax in this riverfront cottage located a block from Main Street in downtown Grafton. This unique, art-filled guest house is just a stone's throw from the Mississippi River. The flower-filled back deck faces the river and the historic Boatworks building, which houses the monthly Riverside Flea Market. A restful atmosphere and overstuffed comfy furniture will entice you to read by the fireplace or paint a picture at the artist's easel. A full kitchen allows for snacks of cooking in style. This cottage is designed for two. Free Wi-fi.
Raging Rivers WaterPark
Choose from four winding waterslides, brave the waves at the Breaker Beach wave pool or just spend the afternoon floating along the Lazy River. Located just outside Grafton on the Great River Road.
Pere Marquette State Park
At 8,000 acres, Pere Marquette State Park is the largest state park in Illinois. Go hiking on wooded trails, biking along scenic bluffs, fishing and boating on the Illinois River, or horseback riding through the forest. The park is also known for its guided fall color drives and eagle-watching tours in the winter. The rustic stone-and-timber Pere Marquette Lodge makes a great base for exploring the area.
Mary Michelle Winery Tasting Room
Enjoy award-winning wines at Mary Michelle Winery located at Pere Marquette Lodge, in scenic Pere Marquette State Park. The Tasting Room, Fountain Patio and Riverview Terrace are the perfects spots to relax with a glass of wine and unwind. Mary Michelle wines include Norton, Chardonel and Moscato. The winery is open 2 p.m. - 8 p.m. daily.