We know, we  know. This hasn't been the greatest year. 2020 has been hard on everyone -- and yet, believe it or not, there were bright spots. We decided to put together a list of things to be grateful for this holiday season. Here is what we came up with:

  • Community
  • Adaptability
  • Time
  • Awareness
  • Opportunity

All of these were all given to us in one way or another this year and so let's take a moment and reflect on how they impacted our lives.

Morrison's Pantry

It's been all about 'community' this year as people came together to help each during the COVID pandemic

We Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends

No one has been unscathed by the events of 2020. And yet some of area businesses realized they could help by giving back. Morrison’s Irish Pub in downtown Alton created a food panty right outside the front door. “Take what you need, give if you can." Door signs promoted the impromptu food service which helped others make it through some tough days. Sammi’s Sandwiches at Norbs in Alton helped raise $12,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Alton and gifted essential workers free lunches during the hardest part of the year. 222 Artisan Bakery in Edwardsville provided baked oatmeal breakfast bags for kids in the region because they didn't want kids to go hungry while schools were not in session. This generosity proves that just a small act of kindness can go a long way. Our communities are strong. Whether it is surviving floods or a global pandemic -- we can get through anything together.

Germania Drive Thru

Area businesses adapted to changing times offering curbside delivery, carryout and online orders.

Ch.. ch.. Changes

Dining out in the Great Rivers & Routes region isn't just a stop between activities. It's an experience! Over the last few months, local restaurants have had to adapt to limited seating, restrictions on indoor dining and more. And yet, they did it. Let's celebrate all the local restaurants who embraced outdoor dining with tents, fans and heaters and made carryout and curbside just another way to get some great meals. Germania Brew Haus shifted its “craft culture” lounge area to a complete drive –up experience to ensure that everyone could get their favorite cup of Joe. From carry out/curbside only, outside dinning, and wearing a mask while working hard in the kitchen, the staff and owners at restaurants have earned our gratitude and thanks for keeping our lives somewhat normal.

Monticello Sculpture Gardens

More people are spending time outside enjoying nature, local parks and outdoor art this year than ever before.

Take Your Time

This year has given everyone the gift of time. Time to take in the outdoor attractions in the Great Rivers & Routes region!  There has been time this year to take a deep breath and walk around the beautiful college campuses in the region. The Monticello Sculpture Garden at Lewis and Clark Community College and the The Gardens at SIUE  both offer exquisite views of nature while walking along the trails.

NGREC

Taking a road trip and exploring new places, like the National Great Rivers Research & Education Center, has been part of 2020.

Becoming Stronger

One thing the last year has brought in to our lives is a new awareness of all the Great Rivers & Routes region has to offer. Exploring the region -- the great rivers and Route 66 -- has become a family adventure!

Check out the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center where you can find out about the history of the river, wildlife, and plants that grow all around us. If you crave more knowledge you can visit the Lewis & Clark State Historic Site and learn about the connection that Lewis and Clark have to our area. How about a visit to the 1820 Benjamin Stephenson House in Edwardsville or the D.D. Collins House in Collinsville. Both are sure to give you a new perspective on the history of the region.

Opportunities

Time and awareness lead to opportunity. Drive down the mother road of Route 66. Learn a new way to craft. Find that perfect antique for your home. Discover new shops like It’s Raining Zen which has all your spiritual shopping needs covered. Stop in at Pottery Hollow Painting and More and Mississippi Mud Pottery for your crafting needs -- whether its learning how to make them or buying some for your home. Treasures Past and Present may have the perfect antique you are looking for.


Here at the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau we are grateful for the communities, businesses, and regions that we service and we hope you all have a happy and safe holiday.