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If I were the boss of things, I’d declare Friday a citywide “Day to Get Out.” I’d close the shops and the offices and the banks, and I’d send everyone in town to a park to enjoy the blue skies and beautiful autumn weather. I’m not the boss of things, but I am tossing around the idea of taking a vacation day and heading out for some fun fall activities. Here are a few ideas if you want to follow suit:

Color Drive on the Great River Road

There’s no nicer way to enjoy the Mid-Mississippi valley than a color drive on the Great River Road. The Great River Road stretches over 2,000 miles in 10 states along the Mississippi River. The section that we live on has been named a National Scenic Byway and is often mentioned as one of the most splendid drives in the Midwest. If I were color hunting this weekend, I’d head north along the GRR. The stretch between Hamilton and Nauvoo, Ill., features stunning river views to the west and beautiful forested bluffs to the east.  If you fancy a slower color tour, the same stretch of road is lovely to experience by bicycle. The Great River Road Golf Club is also right along this drive and greens fees for 18 holes are only $13 on the weekdays and $15 on the weekends.

As the changing colors move to the south next weekend, follow the GRR toward Hannibal or all the way to St. Charles, Mo. For more information on the Great River Road and useful maps, check outwww.great

riverroad.com.

Wine Tasting in Ursa

Spirit Knob Winery is just a short drive from Quincy up the Great River Road. The winery was established in 2002, and sitting
outside sipping a glass of semi-dry Bluff Ridge White Wine is one of the best ways I can think of to while away an afternoon. The scenic location overlooks farm fields, forested hillsides and the river valley. For the winery’s hours, events calendar, directions and wine list, visit www.spiritknob.com.

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

The 2,200-acre Cahokia Mounds site is located in Collinsville, Ill. — just northeast of St. Louis. It’s one of the most historic sites in the state and has been designated as both a World Heritage Site and as a National Historic Landmark. There are more than 120 separate mounds at Cahokia, and each reveals something unique about the Mississippian culture that once thrived there.

"Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi" by Timothy R. Pauketat is available at the Quincy Public Library.

Archeologists believe that there were around 20,000 inhabitants of the city at its height; which means that in the year 1250 A.D., the city of Cahokia was bigger than London. You can explore the ancient city through walking tours, trails, museum exhibits, a theater and much more. You can’t miss my favorite spot in the park — Monk’s Mound. It’s 100-foot tall, nearly 1,000-feet across and is the largest Pre-Cambrian earthwork in North America. For more information on Cahokia Mounds, visit cahokiamounds.orgAlso, I highly recommend the book, “Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi” by Timothy R. Pauketat. This book is available at the Quincy Public Library.

I hope you all get some opportunity to get out this week and enjoy fall. This nice weather is going to be gone before we know it. If you’ve got other good ideas or activities to share, leave a comment below.

Original Post October 6, 2011

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