Me and my wife Melissa try to take day trips often as too break the monotony of everyday life, to stay active, and enjoy as many sites we can that are within driving distance of St. Louis. Most of our day trips consist of visiting a state parks or somewhere we can take a lengthly walk coupled by a small town with a quaint shopping district. One of the nicest things about living in St. Louis is that you are very close to the Illinois border which provides an entirely different state to explore. Illinois has many different rural and small town areas that offer an array of different hiking trails and eateries. One of those areas are along the “Great River Road” that travels through Alton and Grafton, Illinois which are close enough to experience in one trip.
As you travel the Great River Road you go through Alton which then proceeds into Grafton. The scenery along the river between the two towns is great to take in and just past the downtown area of Grafton you enter Pere Marquette State Park which has a nice visitor center with historic buildings, multiple trails, and lodging if you’d like to make a weekend out of it. The morning we traveled through was one of the foggiest mornings I had ever scene so I was a little hesitate in my excitement for what we’d actually be able to see once we entered the park. We walked a trail that intersected with all the trails which start directly behind the welcome center of the park, this ended up being about a 3 mile trek. Throughout the hike I was able to snap a handful of great photos and towards the end of the fog cleared to reveal a very tempered sky. This made for some awesome scenery and got us ready for out next stop.
As I said The Great River Road will take you from Alton to Grafton and the best thing about the trip back home from Pere Marquette is that you have to travel back through Alton. Anyone from the Greater St. Louis area who has heard of Alton unanimously associates it with one amazing establishment in particular, which is Fast Eddie’s. After our three mile hike it was quite comforting to know that I would be stopping for a great bite to eat at a place where you can get peel and eat shrimp for $.29 a piece, a Big Elwood on a Stick (a grilled beef skewer with green peppers) for $1.99, and a house-made bratwurst for $.99! Not to mention they have oversized draft beers that ring in at $2.75 a pop, so this little slice of heaven was defiantly the cherry on top my perfect sundae of a day!
All the photos in the slide show were taken in Pere Marquette State Park and I highly suggest if you are a St. Louis native of someone living in Illinois that you take a day off or a weekend to experience what sites are along this historic stretch of road that we call The Great River Road. Save travels my friends!