The Ultimate St. Louis Day Trip

Something for everyoneIt’s a beautiful day and I am just not in the mood to do that housework that seems to never stop calling my name.  It’s time for a miniature escape, a day trip close to St. Louis that won’t bend my pocket book into an unrecognizable shape.

If you are anything like me, this little thought is your constant companion for most of the week.  For example: when the kids are yelling, when your boss is demanding, when you can’t seem to catch a break…all you can think is getaway, getaway, getaway!!!!

Of course there are the go-to St. Louis day trips such as the Saint Louis Zoo, Science Center, shopping in University City and so on.  But let’s do something a little different this time.

st louis day tripI am speaking of Grafton, IL. Just a short drive up the Great River Road and our trip is already unforgettable.  This national scenic byway winds along the Mighty Mississippi between Alton, IL and Grafton, IL.  Its 20 miles of pure beauty with commanding bluffs on one side, and the shimmering river on the other.

Stop by the Visitors Center just before arriving in Grafton to plan your day. What shall it be?

Shall we shop the adorable Main Street with dozens of antique, boutique, fudge and ice-cream shops? Or stop by the Book N Barber for a trim and a delicious cup of joe?

Grafton, IL getawayMaybe you are in more of a vacation mood.  Shuffle on over to the Grafton Oyster Bar or the Loading Dock located right on the river for a little Jimmy Buffet style atmosphere made complete with live music and the best margaritas!

If wine-ing is more your thing, check out seven different wineries that call Grafton home.  I am speaking of the Grafton Winery, Aeries Winery, Two Rivers Winery, Piasa Winery…need I go on?

Riverboat cruises st louisLooking for more of an adventure?  Try out the Grafton Zipline located at Aeries Winery or go horseback riding at the Pere Marquette Stables.  Take a rambling ride on the Hakuna Matata Tour Boat!

If you would rather keep your feet on the ground, you can also hike to McAdams Peak (best view ever) in Pere Marquette State Park. They also have a Scenic Drive, a Visitor’s Center and over 8,000 acres to explore.

historic pere marquette lodgeIf you are more of a history buff then you must see the Lodge at Pere Marquette State Park.  It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression and has a winery, restaurant and overnight rooms and cabins.  The Great Room is massive with a 700 ton stone fireplace and a life-size chess set where black and white duel to the death at least 30 times a day.

Whatever you choose to do, just remember that a day trip to Grafton, Illinois is WAY more fun than housework. So I may be a little partial…but can you blame me?

Leslie Franklin