We took advantage of the spectacular weather today (high of 78 and low humidity in the middle of July) by taking a trip to the Confluence State Park and Graffton, IL.
The Confluence State Park sits between the Mississippi and Missouri river where they conflue (aka converge, no idea if conflue is a real word or what it's proper spelling may be). The actual confluence point was closed today due to flooding but we went to a spot below the lock and dam and chatted with fisherfolk and watch barges go through the locks and threw rocks. All wonderful things in the minds of young boys.
We also hiked the Two Pecan Trail. I'm a big fan of wetlands and meadows and thus loved this trail. There are certainly parts of it that aren't perfect, but it also has some spectacular sections that make up for the lesser areas.
We finished up at the Confluence State Park around 4pm and on a whim decided to head over the river into Alton, and then up the Great River Road...
Every time I drive the Great River Road between alton and Grafton, I chide myself for not making that trip more often. The Mississippi doesn't look like the Mississippi up there. It's calm, wide, and appears fairly clean from the road. There are sections of bluffs that are magnificent. You see all sorts of boats from john boats, to speed boats, to party pontoon boats, to yachts, to barges, and 24' sail boats.Some spots look like the Everglades, others remind me of the coast of Oregon. Such an easy way to escape from the city.
We ended up having a great time in Grafton. We drove through town and parked at "The Loading Dock", an old steel mill turned into a great bar/resturant, and walked around the main drag through town a bit. There's quite a few nice little places (Inns, Ice Cream/Fudge shops, bars, resturants, wineries/breweries, home grown produce, ...) along the main strip but there's a few too many closed down and run down places for it to really shine but hopefully, it will continue to grow and improve.
The Loading Dock is wonderful; Great views, fun-party atmosphere without overdoing it, great drinks, live music, good food, good prices, and family friendly. They truly made the most of the wonderful river views they have. The crowd was great too, a nice mix of locals, bikers, families, boaters, and party people. Declan had a great time dancing to the band, eating catfish, and watching boats pull up and tie off along the flood wall.
All around, a pretty darn perfect day (I even got stuff (mowed lawn and painted) done in the morning so there wasn't even any guilt. And, I plotted out some options for our upcoming 5-year anniversary... seems like Grafton could be a fun place to have a nice weekend romantic getaway.
Our Confluence Greenway Pics | Our Grafton Pics