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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.
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.
Crocker & Springer
Early American folk pottery is the specialty of nationally known potters Jan & Jonathan Wright. They create pie birds, butter crocks, Pennsylvania wide mouth jars and whimsical chicken banks among other items using a salt glaze to impart a distinctive orange peel-texture finish on these early-American style pieces. Visit the studio to watch the duo fashion clay into brilliant pieces of art. Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Village of Elsah
Travel back in time with us to the Village of Elsah. The entire village of Elsah is on the National Registry of Historic Places. This village, with a population of around one hundred people, is often referred to as the "village where time stood still." Visitors to Elsah can escape back to the Americana of the early 1800s with quiet streets and 19th century stone homes. This “picture perfect” village nestled in the valley is a perfect place for photographers – amateur and professional – anxious to capture a glimpse of the past.
Village of Elsah Museum
Discover what life was like in historic Elsah when it was founded in 1853 by James Semple. The museum, housed in the Elsah Village Hall built in 1887, showcases former residents, architectural styles used in constructing buildings, and implements used by residents in the mid-1800s. The museum is open Saturday and Sundays only from 1 - 4 p.m.
Maple Leaf Cottage Inn
Located in the historic village of Elsah, the Maple Leaf Cottage Inn offers bed and breakfast cottage style. All rooms have private bath, sitting area and a full hot breakfast delivered to you each morning.
Green Tree Inn Bed & Breakfast
Come home to Green Tree Inn where you can enjoy all the comforts of home and more. Let us pamper you while you enjoy the peacefulness of the quaint village often referred to as the “town that time forgot”. Green Tree Inn is located right off the Great River Road between Alton and Grafton. Take advantage of all the local activities and then come back to the Inn to relax, refresh and rejuvenate. All rooms have private bathrooms with shower/tub combo. Take advantage of our screened in porch, fire pit in the garden or fireplace in our great room to relax and unwind. The Inn is great in all seasons. Free Wi-Fi is available. Bicycles are available for our guests to take a leisurely ride around the village or on one of the local bike trails. This is a non-smoking facility
Come in and experience our fantastic fish sandwiches, steaks, and many, many more great dishes. Right on the river.
Golden Eagle Music Hall
Located inside one of America’s oldest country stores, the Golden Eagle Music Hall or "The Eagle" is a perfect setting to enjoy "the very best" in entertainment. Just a short drive from Alton, IL along "The Great River Road."
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.