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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.
Calhoun County Quilt & Church Tour
Over 200 quilts, old to new, more hand stitched than machine stitched, are displayed in historic churches across Calhoun County. Visitors can also take part in quilt demonstrations, quilt appraisals, supplies, sales & raffels.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eckert's Country Store & Farms - Grafton
Eckert's rustic barn and farm looks just like it did years ago, specializing in peaches, apples and pumpkins. Take a free wagon ride out to the farm to pick your own produce, and enjoy the charming country store and bakery.
Aerie's Cottages & Vacation Villas
At Aerie's, the individual Cottages include jaccuzzi tubs, kitchenettes and private decks. The Lodge, perfect for family gatherings includes a common room, full kitchen and a deck shared by four ensuite rooms. The Vacation Villas offer multiple arrangements and include private deck space with access to the swimming pool and clubhouse. Free Wi-fi.
The River House
Relax, reflect and unwind in this private guest house that is a turn-of-the-century cottage completely restored with modern amenities. Located high above the confluence of the Mississippi & Illinois Rivers, it offers a quiet retreat with a spectacular view, yet it is only one block from village shops, marina, restaurants, bike trails and the scenic byway.
Golden Eagle Antiques
A true treasure trove for the more traditional antique hunter. Comb through booth after booth piled high with antiques, collectibles and refinished furniture. Pieces are moderately priced and there are store members on hand to help antiquers sort through the items. Hours: Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sunday, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Located in the only Victorian home in Grafton Harrison's Antiques and Gifts features seven rooms crammed full of antiques and collectibles. Plan to spend several hours browsing through the home and flea market located in the garage.
Iron Decor & More
Iron Decor & More provides many decorative items for the home, yard, garden or business... any space you can think of. Browse the shop for hand-blown glass gazing balls and a variety of iron works, including handcrafted iron tables, chairs, fencing, decorative sculptures, kinetic wind sculptures and more.
The Fish Market - A Loading Dock Guest House
This upscale cottage was designed with comfort and fun in mind. Perfect for families or singles, the Guest House sleeps up to 6 with one king size bed and four twin size bunks. A full kitchen and large living room makes for a most relaxing stay. Two televisions and wireless internet access keep you in touch. The Guest House is small-pet friendly with a fenced-in side garden.