Over the Labor Day weekend, my husband, my kids and I traveled to St. Louis to visit my family. On Saturday, we loaded up a crew: grandpa, aunt Pam, us and two cousins, Marshall and Ellie.
We drove to Alton just across the Mississippi River on the Illinois side. My parents were both born and raised in the neighboring town of Wood River, Illinois and two of my aunts lived on the north edge of Alton up The Great River Road.
The River Road has many family stories woven into it's path. It is also well-known for the bike trail that follows the road north through many quaint, little towns.
As a child we drove the river road many times each year on the way to my aunt's homes up beyond the cliffs. This day we picked up my father's sister, Jean and headed up the road to Grafton, Illinois. Along the way we passed the turn-off to Piasa Creek where my grandfather had built a fishing cabin with his father. Many 4th of July's were spent at that cabin.
In Grafton, we ate lunch at the Finn Inn, which has a unique atmosphere...
All sorts of Mississippi River fish keep you company in large tanks at the end of the booths. We devoured fried catfish and buffalo, corn fritters and fries. Yummo, as long as you could keep your mind off your cholesterol level.
You may have heard of Grafton this summer, when it flooded. This isn't the first flood for Grafton, yet it's unique setting keeps it's residents determined to stay. So determined many of the homes and businesses are built on stilts.
Grafton has grown significantly since my more youthful days. This lighthouse is new as are many restaurants, and art and antiques shops. With it's proximity to St. Louis, the beautiful drive to reach it, the curious shops and wonderful food, Grafton has become a popular destination town. For me it remains woven into my memories. I so enjoyed taking my kids there.
I have a few more stories for from this trip: the legend of the Piasa Bird and the Geode Man. Coming soon.