A Country Drive
Nestled between the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, the ideal place to begin for your fall color drive along the Calhoun County Loop is crossing the Brussels Ferry, north of Grafton’s Main Street. Just off the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, the trip across the Brussels Ferry takes you into the whole new world of Calhoun County where your fall adventure begins.
Pick of the Crop
Settled in the early 1800s, Calhoun County yields miles of rolling hills and farmland juxtaposed against limestone bluffs jutting out as a backdrop to these lush prospering fields. This rural stretch of land is dotted with historic communities, peach orchards, apple orchards, pumpkin patches and rich farmland. Visitors travel for miles in July for luscious juicy sweet Calhoun County Peaches. In the fall, apples of every variety can be found during the months of September and October. Stop in at Odelehr’s Roadside Market for fresh seasonal produce to enjoy now and popping corn to enjoy throughout the fall. Located at the northern end of the Calhoun County Loop near Hardin, Tom Ringhausen Orchard & Market offers visitors an option to pick-your-own produce or shop the market for the best of the crop.
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As you drive along the Calhoun County Loop, the heritage of these small towns and their early settlers is celebrated on the sides of barns. The Calhoun County Barn Quilts Tour features more than 85 quilt blocks hand- painted on the side of both barns scattered along the countryside. Each quilt block represents a replica of a block from a family heirloom quilt or a symbol representing the family. Quilts can be found throughout the county. Guidebooks are available to experience the barn quilts as a self-guided tour or plan to visit during the annual Quilt & Church Tour.
Taste of the Country
The flavors of Calhoun County are downright delicious. At the northern end of the Calhoun County Loop, the Illinois Riverdock Restaurant hits the spots every time with slow cooked brisket and slices of homemade pie. Boaters an even pull right up to the dock! The Barefoot Restaurant may not be fancy, but the river view and the fried catfish make for a great meal. Or, stop off for a relaxing glass of wine on the decks at Point Pleasant. This rustic schoolhouse turned restaurant features soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps, providing the perfect stop near Golden Eagle.
Glimpse into the Ancient Past
No trip to Calhoun County is complete without a visit to the Center for American Archeology in Kampsville. The inhabitants of the Illinois River valley date back more than 10,000 years. The Visitor Center and Museum housed in the historic Kamp Store brings years of research and excavation to the surface, creating a clear picture into the past.