The rivers are all in flood this week and the awesome River Road to Pere Marquette from Alton was closed, but the alternate directions (the "back way") to the park and lodge worked well. They were open and welcomed us on entry. Although we were way too early...well, we didn't know how long the detour was going to be and were eager to get there....they said a cabin room was ready for us if we wanted. We did! The A/C was off when we entered and there was a little bit of musty smell which almost instantly disappeared. (It is summer during flood season, after all!) By the time we unpacked, the room was quite comfortable. We walked back to the lodge to check out the massive fireplace in the great room and remember the efforts of the CCC "boys" who built this place, including the impressive furniture in the great room, in the 30's. These men deserve our gratitude, not only for the magnificent parks and lodges etc. that they built all over the US, but for serving us again in WW2, where their CCC training gave them a head start on basic training.
We sat on the porch and watched the flood level Illinois River for a while. The temperature was cool and humidity was surprisingly low enough to be very comfortable , although a citronella candle might have warded off a few pesky gnats that came visiting with the flood. When the wine bar opened at 3PM, we moved in there with our cousins who were joining us for dinner and enjoyed a bottle of Norton.
Dinner was relaxed and quite good, with our waiter Joe's friendly and efficient attention. The entrees were delicious (the fried chicken declared even better than at our cousin's favorite restaurant), the salads cold and crisp, but the starter mushrooms, stuffed with crab and asiago cheese, were especially marvelous!
The next morning I hit the exercise room, which is in the pool area. I was 30 minutes too early for the pool's opening time, but the front desk man made a quick call to the maintenance guy who came up and unlocked it for me. They were very friendly about it and I thanked them both for letting me in early. They could have stood by the posted times or made me feel that I was putting them out to open things up early, but they did neither and I appreciate that.
Breakfast was good...well, it's hard to hurt breakfast....and the young women on duty there were both friendly and efficient. All in all, we have only compliments for the entire staff, from the front desk, to the housekeeper, the wine bar manager, the maintenance man and the restaurant staff. Everyone was pleasant and helpful and made us feel welcome. The lodge itself is well maintained for a state park lodge (those who find fault should not expect the Ritz Carlton) and the park around it is beautiful, even with the Illinois coming closer than they (or we) would prefer. We will be back!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Thanks for visiting. Pere Marquette was built in the 1930's by the Civil Conservation Corps. The lodge is nestled withing the confines of the 8000 acre Pere Marquette State Park.The lodge has fifty guest rooms within the main building, some with park views and some with views of the Illinois river. The cabins sit 100 feet from the main building and contain 22 cabin rooms. All of the rooms have been updated with new beds, furniture and 32" tvs.The lodge also has a full service dining room open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a wine tasting room.Hiking, biking, nature, kayaking, tennis, volleyball, horseback riding, boating, Raging Rivers Waterpark, shopping, 45 minutes to downtown St. Louis ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pere Marquette Hotel Grafton
- Pere Marquette Lodge And Conference Center Grafton