elsahOften referred to as the "village where time stood still," get ready to turn back the clock and take a leisurely stroll through the Village of Elsah. Nestled in the bluffs of the Mississippi River, this quaint little village was the first village in its entirety to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Once an important steamboat landing, Elsah is better known today for its picturesque beauty, stone houses and lush gardens.
Elsah is one of the many treasured stops along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway. During every season of the year, visitors enjoy traveling back in time as they walk the streets of Elsah to experience the spring blooms, the warm breeze of summer, the crunch of leaves underfoot in the fall and the light dusting of snow upon the ground in the winter. Escape to a simpler way of life and prepare to be pampered at one of the delightful bed & breakfast inns. Whether you are staying the night or just passing through, get ready for a relaxing visit.
For more information on the Village of Elsah, visit their community website at www.elsah.org
graftonAt the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, experience life in a real river town - Grafton, Illinois. The early settlers of Grafton saw the potential of this plat of land at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. It was not long before this little river town became a center for riverboat traffic, and the riverfront was packed with manufacturing companies, mills wharfs, loading docks and riverboat traffic.
The once thriving riverboat industry in Grafton has become a thing of the past, but you can still see the towboats and barges pushing their way along the Mississippi. For 150 years, the "river rats" of Grafton have battled the swelling waters of the rivers with numerous floods. Lines on the sides of buildings along Main Street mark where the rising waters consumed the community during the flood of 1993.
The resilience of the town is evident in the bustling tourist community that Grafton has become. People from all over are welcome to celebrate the hometown flavor and down-to-earth qualities of this river town. Gift shops, antique stores, wineries, guest houses, "hot fish" sandwich stands and the famous Ruebel Hotel line the Main Street and riverfront.
If you are looking for outdoor recreation, look no further than Grafton. The Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail runs through the heart of downtown with views of the river. Canoe, kayak, boat and bike rentals can all be found on the riverfront. Nearby, splash the summer heat away on the bluffs at Raging Rivers WaterPark. Unique festivals add to the flair of this river town. Plan to be in Grafton each June and celebrate life on the river at the Great Rivers Towboat Festival. Treasure hunters will not want to miss out on the Riverside Flea Market held in the Historic Boatworks the fourth weekend of the month from April through October.
For more information on Grafton, visit their community website at www.enjoygrafton.com