Great River Road drawing visitors for spectacular fall foliage views


GRAFTON, Ill. – As autumn colors continue to emerge, visitors flock to the Great River Road for unobstructed views of the fall foliage.

This weekend we’re looking forward to a nice warm-up and the unseasonably warm October delayed fall colors this year, meaning there’s still plenty of time to take those fall drives.

Over at Aerie’s Resort, people are taking in the changing colors up on the bluffs.

“Fall is the busiest time of the year for us. For Grafton and the riverbend area, especially Aerie’s. It seems like it’s a little late right now. They’re really not popping yet. That just gives us a couple of more weeks, I think,” said JD Lorton, director of operations at Aerie’s Resort.

And that’s good news for those who want to get outside and get a taste of autumn.

“People have been coming out and enjoying themselves. Upper 60s, low 70s; it’s going to be beautiful,” Lorton said.

Meanwhile, along the Great River Road, Harrison’s Gifts has been a fixture of the riverfront for two decades now.

And this year, crowds trend way up compared to the previous few years.

“2019, of course, we had the flood. And then ‘20 we had the pandemic. So, this is excellent,” said Sharon Harrison, owner of Harrison’s Gifts.

And with the rise in temperatures means an increase in foot traffic.

“People they just love walking up and down the streets. And they love eating by the river. You know, we got the views, we’ve got the SkyTour, we’ve got the marina. You know we have a lot for people to see when they come here,” Harrison said.

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