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Why You Need to Experience Grafton This Weekend

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Why You Need to Experience Grafton This Weekend

At 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, Illinois, 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 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. Boat rentals can 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 July 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 at The Loading Dock the fourth weekend of the month from March through October.

Other major attractions in Grafton, Illinois, include Grafton Zipline Adventures, Grafton Harbor, Pere Marquette State Park and the Hakuna Matata river cruises.


While in town spend the night at the numerous guest houses that are in Grafton including The Loading Dock Guest Houses, Lucy Mae’s Guest House, The Loft at The Whole Scoop and Tara Point Inn & Cottages B&B and Aerie’s Lodging.


Grafton Wineries
Here in the Alton region, the Napa Valley meets the Mississippi Valley, where you’ll find fine award-winning wines, grown from soil enriched by the rolling waters of America’s great rivers.  Light, crisp fruity wines are the perfect pair for your picnic lunch, while the blend of Cabernet Zinfandel and Syrah marry for a smooth red wine, best sipped slowly with a river view.  Visitors can savor every sip as they enjoy the spectacular scenic views available at each unique location.

Grafton Winery The Vineyards
21028 Eckert Orchard Road, Grafton •  (618) 786-3004
Settled among orchards and sprawling farmland, the 11,000-square-foot Grafton Winery, aptly named “the Vineyards,” has ample space for a new wine production facility, comfortable seating, a bar and a fireplace. A 5,000-square-foot pavilion with a view of the new vines offers space for outdoor seating, wedding receptions, corporate events, team building, family reunions, and class reunions. With a dressing room and wedding events already booked, the owners plan on the winery becoming a popular wedding destination.

Aerie’s Riverview Winery
600 Timber Ridge, Grafton  •  (618) 786-VIEW 
Aerie’s Riverview Winery opened in 2001 high upon the bluffs in Grafton. Visitors love the incredible view of the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. A full service restaurant and live music on the weekend add to the wine tasting and sipping experience. 

Grafton Harbor Floating Winery
215 Water St.  •  (618) 786-7678
Located at Grafton Harbor, visitors can enjoy a glass of wine with gently floating along with the river. The Grafton Harbor Signature Collection offers six different wines, in addition to a variety of imported, domestic and local labels.

Grafton Winery & Brewhaus 
300 W. Main St., Grafton • (618) 786-3001
Award-winning wines and craft beers are prepared on-site at the Grafton Winery & Brewhaus. Made from a combination of California and locally grown grapes and fruits, more than 15 wines are featured under the Grafton Winery label, including the ever-popular Apple Crisp. The winery features a full service restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating.  The brewhaus can be found on the lower level with bar and table seating, as well as food service from the restaurant. 

Mary Michelle Winery
13653 Lodge Blvd., Grafton  •  (618) 786-2331
Mary Michelle Winery in Carrollton, Illinois is closed to the public in order to preserve the vineyards and pristine wine making process. Pere Marquette Lodge houses the Mary Michelle Winery wine tasting room, providing the perfect atmosphere to enjoy the award-winning wines under the Illinois Cellars and Mary Michelle Winery wine labels.