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Old 02-21-2017, 12:05 PM   #1
LynndaofNJ
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Question Western Illinois (Alton, Elsah, and Grafton)

I've been reading about these towns in western Illinois (just outside of St. Louis) and am thinking of stopping in that general vicinity for a couple of days on my next homebound drive from Branson. If anyone here is familiar with the area, I'd appreciate any tips / suggestions regarding lodging, dining, places to visit, etc. Thanks!
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Old 02-21-2017, 12:38 PM   #2
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DW was born in Alton, IL, and then her family moved to Alton, MO.

I would never consider Alton, IL, as a place we would stop over at for a couple of days.

What's the attraction?
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Old 02-21-2017, 12:48 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by NotJLB View Post
DW was born in Alton, IL, and then her family moved to Alton, MO.

I would never consider Alton, IL, as a place we would stop over at for a couple of days.

What's the attraction?
I enjoy "quaint" towns; I've read that Elsah is supposed to be very pretty. I also would plan to visit the Cahokia Indian Mounds; I believe that they're in that area.
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Old 02-25-2017, 10:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynndaofNJ View Post
I've been reading about these towns in western Illinois (just outside of St. Louis) and am thinking of stopping in that general vicinity for a couple of days on my next homebound drive from Branson. If anyone here is familiar with the area, I'd appreciate any tips / suggestions regarding lodging, dining, places to visit, etc. Thanks!
Elsah is okay for a 1 minute photo stop, only. There is absolutely nothing there - No Shops, No Restaurants or Gas Stations. Principia College is up on the Bluff, but there are no viewpoints up there. The actor, Robert Duvall, graduated from there.

Scenic drive from Alton, Northwards along the Great River Road. Alton has a Statue to Commemorate the fact that the tallest man ever to walk the world, Robert Wadlow, came form there. He was 8'11" tall.

Nauvoo, IL, further North, is famous for being the location where the Mormons started their journey towards Salt Lake City. Still a small community of Mormons there, to this day.


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Old 02-25-2017, 01:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynndaofNJ View Post
I enjoy "quaint" towns; I've read that Elsah is supposed to be very pretty. I also would plan to visit the Cahokia Indian Mounds; I believe that they're in that area.
Lynnda, Lynda, Lynda, we need to talk!!!! . I would have to beg to differ about Elsah being worth only a one minute photo shop! The whole village is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is very quaint. It is true that the Elsah Inn, a cafe that brought many visitors to the village, is no longer there, and that is a shame, there are still a couple bed-and-breakfasts in the town. One of them, the Green Tree Inn, I stayed at many, many years ago. Since the village is only about an hour from me, my past visits have usually been daytrips. I know this doesn't fit in with the timing of your trip, but the village is particularly beautiful during the fall season and should also be nice in the spring. Back in my travel agent days, I was the agent for Principia College's student educational tours; I always enjoyed visiting their beautiful campus up on the bluff to deliver the the group's tour vouchers, tickets, etc. There are good restaurants & tea rooms in nearby Grafton, Godfrey, & other towns, plus of course, the Lodge at Pere Marquette State Park.

Regarding Alton, don't forget that it was the sight of one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates & that spot is prominent in the town. I've also visited many times the famous Robert Wadlow ("Alton Giant") statue. Good restaurants there too! And if you like antiquing .......

I would have to agree about the Great River Road between the state park & Alton being a very scenic drive! Watch for the modern day reproduction of the Piasa Bird, originally painted into the bluff by the Native Americans of the region. If locks & dams interest you, there are interesting sites along this segment of the GRR. Most of that drive will have the Mighty Mississippi on your one side & steep bluffs on the other. It's been a while since I've done it & depending on the dates, I might be inclined to join you for a day or 2 in the area, if I'm feeling well. That's right before my own Branson trip; so I'm not sure how that will work out.

Oops! Just read that you are planning this for your homebound trip. Unfortunately I will still be in Branson at that time. Right now I am still trying to regain my strength from having been zapped by the stomach bug this week. When I'm feeling a little better, maybe we can email more about this.
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Old 02-26-2017, 01:27 PM   #6
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I visit Principia College a couple of times each year, bringing Teams in for Games.

One thing I forgot to add, No Cell Phone Service in Elsah

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Old 02-26-2017, 04:25 PM   #7
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Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton is a great place to visit. There is a beautiful lodge that was built in the 1930s with CCC labor. It has a life-sized chessboard. Here's a website for the park: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/Parks/P...Marquette.aspx And here is the website for the lodge: http://www.pmlodge.net/

If you enjoy birdwatching, the bald eagles migrate to the River Road area in January every year, although that probably wouldn't coincide with your Branson trip.

Here is the link to the Illinois tourism website: https://www.enjoyillinois.com/en-us

Have you visited any of the Lincoln sites in Springfield? If not, that would make a nice side trip for you.
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