A Special Feature of Southwest Illinois News
Grafton's Landing Bar & Grill at the Marina is a favorite stop for visitors to enjoy a view of the Mississippi.
Grafton - "A Real Little River Town"
© 2009, Southwest Illinois News
Nestled between towering sandstone bluffs on one side and the Mississippi River on the other side, the real little river town of Grafton, Illinois, has many year round attractions for visitors. Founded in 1836 by James Mason, the town stretches out for approximately two miles along the river.
Enjoy the beautiful scenery as you drive up Route 100, officially known as the "Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway", from Alton to Pere Marquette State Park. The Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail runs along the same route. Once in Grafton, you will find a wonderful selection of various craft and antique shops, bed and breakfast places among homes and a host of other unique businesses.
Grafton, the oldest town in Jersey County, offers a wonderful selection of antique and craft shops, restaurants and bed & breakfast lodgings. Families can enjoy year round fun country activities. Visitors will discover as they stroll along the East Main Street of the historic town.
The Grafton Riverside Flea Market, located in the Old Boatworks building, hosts many antique and craft stalls. The Old Boatworks once housed an old paint house and machine shop where they built paddle wheels and the PT109 boats used in the Korean and Vietnam wars. The Kampsville II Ferry, Brussels Ferry, Barge II Ferry and the Brussels II Ferry made at the Old Boatworks are in use daily. Boat building ceased in Grafton in the early 1980's. Today, antique lovers can browze through endless tables of collectibles on the 4th weekend of each month from April through October at the Old Boatworks.
Grafton was a steamboat stop where the old paddle wheel boats would stop for supplies and repairs. You can still see some of the ice houses from those periods that were cut into the bluffs on West Main Street. Grafton was also a large fishing hub, the old foundation of Schaffer's Warf still stands today next to the marina and was made from Grafton Stone. Grafton Stone was cut from the quarry where the Grafton Visitors Center is now located and used in many of the homes and businesses in the region.
Visitors can relax a while and enjoy a hearty meal or a refreshing snack at some of the most popular eating establishments or stroll down to the river's edge and drink in the beauty of the riverfront scenery from the open-air dining decks at the restaurants overlooking the river at the newly expanded Loading Dock.
Grafton is host to many year round events such as the annual Tow Boat Festival (June), the Grafton Riverside Flea Market (4th weekend April through October), the Great Grafton Pub Crawl (May and September), Pelicans arrive early April, The Art Festival (September), Fall Color watching (late September thru early November), The Rendezvous and The Bike Brigade (October), The Taste of Chocolate and The Festival of Lights (December), Eagle Watching (December through February), plus much more.
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