A Quiet Weekend Getaway
Spend a relaxing and fun weekend exploring charming towns and quaint local attractions from the comfort of a lovely B&B or boutique hotel.
DAY 1 | Grafton Means Camping or Resorts, Wineries and a Historic Wooden Bar
In Grafton, choose between being immersed in nature or settled into town. At the Pere Marquette Lodge & Conference Center, you will be staying inside the beautiful Pere Marquette State Park. Go for a hike or settle in next to the 700-ton stone fireplace with a glass of wine from the in-house Mary Michelle Winery. Wine lovers will also want to visit the Grafton Winery either at their vineyard location where you can enjoy a glass overlooking their lake and grapevines, or their original downtown Grafton site offering both wine tasting and beer flights from their craft brewery.
At Aerie's Resort, you can choose to sip or zip! The resort features an on-site winery, but is also known for its zipline, which lets you fly through the treetops. Enjoy Aerie's newest attraction with a leisurely ride from Grafton's Main Street to the top of the Aerie's bluffs on the Grafton SkyTour aerial lift. Your stay can also be as private as you'd like thanks to a choice of traditional rooms or individual cottages. If you’re looking for a riverfront stay, try the Ruebel Hotel in the heart of town. Stop for dinner at its restaurant, Abigail's, containing a piece of history with its wood bar originally made for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.
For the ultimate romantic getaway, Tara Point Inn & Cottages takes the prize. Nestled into the riverside, this retreat offers luxurious accommodations and spectacular views of the Mississippi River. Stay at the main inn or get cozy in a secluded cabin.
Looking for a relaxing drive before dinner, or on your way to Alton the next day? Travel down the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway and escape to Elsah — a historic village with charm and history. Set in the bluffs of the Mississippi River, the entire village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Stop in at the Elsah General Store for a vintage soda or scope out The Green Tree Inn Bed & Breakfast or Maple Leaf Cottage Inn to plan ahead for your next stay.
DAY 2 | Stay in Alton’s Historic Homes and Shop for Handmade Gifts
Step into a gracious past in Alton by staying at a stately home now converted into a hotel or bed and breakfast. Consider a stay at the elegant BEALL Mansion, or opt for river views at the Alton Cracker Factory.
Inside Alton, shop local artists' works at Mississippi Mud Pottery for handcrafted stoneware and stained glass at Alton Stained Glass. Those interested in more antiques should make their way over to the nearby Country Meadows Antiques which has expanded to fill two separate store fronts.
Take another quick day trip to Edwardsville — a charming, historic city known for attractions like the historic Wildey Theatre or treat yourself to a unique gift from The Gingham Buffalo. Think ahead to spending an entire day here, as downtown Edwardsville is also a walkable city.
Popping over to Collinsville, grab a quick photo of the World's Largest Catsup Bottle Water Tower on Route 66. While there, you can also explore the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site — a UNESCO World Heritage Centre preserving ancient Native American mounds.
Back in Alton, take a break with a delicious sandwich and glass of wine (with over 100 varieties) at State Street Market and the adjacent Copper Bar. Or you can go straight to dessert with a tempting treat from local favorite My Just Desserts. A stay at The Beall Mansion means you're in for a decadent experience, including its signature 24-hour Chocolate Buffet, fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. You can even book a spa service for inside your room!