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BEST OF THE RIVER 2019 

The 2019 Best of the River is focused on the best attractions, accommodations,  food & drink, and trails & tours along the Great River Road from northern Minnesota down to the Gulf of Mexico.

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Best Brewery

  1. Potosi Brewery (Potosi, WI)
  2. Green Tree Brewery (Le Claire, IA)
  3. Bent River Brewing Company (Moline, IL)
  4. The Old Bakery Beer Company (Alton, IL)
  5. Toppling Goliath Brewing Co (Decorah, IA)

Best Brewery Tour

  1. Anheuser-Busch (St. Louis, MO)
  2. Potosi Brewery (Potosi, WI)
  3. Budweiser Brewery Experience (St. Louis, MO)
  4. The Old Bakery Beer Company (Alton, IL)
  5. Pearl Street Brewery (La Crosse, WI)

Best Farmer’s Market 

  1. Freight House Farmers Market (Davenport, IA)
  2. Alton Farmers Market (Alton, IL)
  3. Soulard Farmers Market (St. Louis, MO)
  4. Cameron Park Farmers Market (La Crosse, WI)
  5. Winona Farmers Market (Winona, MN)

Best Food Trail 

  1. Driftless Wine & Cheese Trail (Wisconsin Driftless Region)
  2. Hot Tamale Trail (Mississippi Delta)
  3. Coulee Region Craft Beverage Trail (La Crosse, Wisconsin)

 Best Wine Trail

  1. Great River Road Wine Trail (Upper Mississippi River Valley)
  2. Driftless Wine & Cheese Trail (Wisconsin Driftless Region)
  3. Mississippi Valley Wine Trail (Illinois River Road)
  4. Heartland River Wine Trail (Southern Illinois)
  5. Iowa Wine Trail (Upper Mississippi Valley Wine Region)

 Best Winery 

  1. Elmaro Vineyard (Trempealeau, WI)
  2. Wide River Winery (Le Claire, IA)
  3. Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery (Galena, IL)
  4. Grafton Winery & Brewhaus (Grafton, IL)
  5. Villa Bellezza (Pepin, WI)

Best Winery Tour

  1. Grafton Winery & Brewhaus (Grafton, IL)
  2. Elmaro Vineyard (Trempealeau, WI)
  3. Eagles Landing Winery (Marquette, IA)
  4. River Ridge Winery (Scott City, MO)
  5. Danzinger Vineyards (Alma, WI)

 Best Distillery

  1. Mississippi River Distilling Company (Le Claire, IA)
  2. La Crosse Distilling Co. (La Crosse, WI)
  3. The Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. (Galena, IL)
  4. Old Herald Brewery & Distillery (Collinsville, IL)
  5. Old Dominick Distillery (Memphis, TN)

Best Distillery Tour

  1. Mississippi River Distilling Company (Le Claire, IA)
  2. La Crosse Distilling Co. (La Crosse, WI)
  3. The Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. (Galena, IL)
  4. Bluestem Vodka (St. Louis, MO)
  5. Old Dominick Distillery (Memphis, TN)

 Best Cultural Trail

  1. Great River Road National Scenic Byway (MN-LA)
  2. Effigy Mounds National Monument (Harpers Ferry, IA)
  3. RiverWay Trails (Quad Cities)
  4. Mississippi Blues Trail (MS)

 Best Education Center

  1. National Eagle Center (Wabasha, MN)
  2. National Great Rivers Museum (Alton, IL)
  3. Delta Blues Museum (Clarksdale, MS)
  4. The Nature Institute (Godfrey, IL)
  5. Effigy Mounds National Monument (Harpers Ferry, IA)

 Best Festival

  1. Tug Fest (Le Claire, IA)
  2. Twain on Main (Hannibal, MO)
  3. Juke Joint Festival (Clarksdale, MS)
  4. Mississippi Earthtones Festival (Alton, IL)
  5. Oktoberfest USA (La Crosse, WI)

 Best Hidden Gem

  1. Alton, Illinois
  2. Bluestown Music (Clarksdale, MS)
  3. Potosi Brewery (Potosi, WI)
  4. River Pilot Homes (LeClaire, IA)
  5. Yellow River State Forest (Allamakee County, IA)

Best Historic Home

  1. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum (Hannibal, MO)
  2. Villa Louis Historic Site (Prairie du Chien, WI)
  3. McPike Mansion (Alton, IL)
  4. Laura Ingalls Wilder Cabin (Pepin, WI)
  5. Oak Alley Plantation (Vacherie, LA)

 Best Historic Site

  1. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (Collinsville, IL)
  2. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum (Hannibal, MO)
  3. Vicksburg National Military Park (Vicksburg, MS)
  4. Graceland (Memphis, TN)
  5. Grandad Bluff (La Crosse, WI)

Best History Trail

  1. Great River Road (MN-LA)
  2. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum (Hannibal, MO)
  3. Mississippi Blues Trail (MS)
  4. Underground Railroad Tour
  5. Trail of Tears (MS)

Best Interpretive Center

  1. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum (Hannibal, MO)
  2. National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque, IA)
  3. National Eagle Center (Wabasha, MN)
  4. National Great Rivers Museum (Alton, IL)
  5. Delta Blues Museum (Clarksdale, MS)

 Best Kept Secret On The River

  1. Mark Twain Riverboat (Hannibal, MO)
  2. Buffalo Bill Museum (Le Claire, IA)
  3. Elsah, IL
  4. (Tie) Potosi Brewery (Potosi, WI)  & Audubon Center at Riverlands (West Alton, MO)

 Best Live Music Venue

  1. Music Under the Stars (Hannibal, MO)
  2. Ground Zero Blues Club (Clarksdale, MS)
  3. Wide River Winery (Le Claire, IA)
  4. Grafton Winery & Brewhaus (Grafton, IL)
  5. Liberty Bank Amphitheater (Alton, IL)

 Best Memorial 

  1. Lincoln and Douglas Debate (Alton, IL)
  2. Soldiers Walk Memorial Park (Arcadia, WI)
  3. Illinois Memorial (Vicksburg, MS)
  4. Veterans Memorial Park (Cuba City, WI)
  5. Fort Jefferson Memorial Cross (Wickliffe, KY)

 Best Monument

  1. Gateway Arch (St. Louis, MO)
  2. Effigy Mounds National Monument (Harpers Ferry, IA)
  3. Elijah P. Lovejoy Monument (Alton, IL)
  4. Scott County Freedom Rock (Le Claire, IA)
  5. Soldiers Walk Memorial Park (Arcadia, WI)

 Best Museum for Art

  1. Figge Art Museum (Davenport, IA)
  2. Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis, MN)
  3. Minnesota Marine Art Museum (Winona, MN)
  4. Jacoby Arts Center (Alton, IL)
  5. Brooks Museum of Art (Memphis, TN)

 Best Museum for Children

  1. National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque, IA)
  2. Children’s Museum of La Crosse (La Crosse, WI)
  3. The Science Museum of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN)
  4. National Great Rivers Museum (Alton, IL)
  5. LARK Toys (Wabasha County, MN)

 Best Museum for History

  1. National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque, IA)
  2. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (Collinsville, IL)
  3. Buffalo Bill Museum & River Pilots Pier (Le Claire, IA)
  4. Lewis & Clark State Historic Site (Hartford, IL)
  5. Bell Museum (St Paul, MN)

 Best Military Museum

  1. Rock Island Arsenal (Quad Cities)
  2. Vicksburg National Military Park (Warren County, MS)
  3. Fort Crawford Museum (Prairie du Chien, WI)
  4. Soldiers Walk Memorial Park (Arcadia, WI)
  5. Columbus Belmont State Park (Hickman County, KY)

 Best Open-air Museum

  1. Vicksburg National Military Park (Warren County, MS)
  2. Soldiers Walk Memorial Park (Arcadia, WI)
  3. Minnesota Military Museum (Morrison County, MN)

 Best Museum for Science

  1. National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque, IA)
  2. The Science Museum of Minnesota (Saint Paul, MN)
  3. Minnesota Marine Art Museum (Winona, MN)
  4. Elmer’s Auto & Toy Museum (Fountain City, WI)

 Best Toy Museum

  1. National Farm Toy Museum (Dyersville, IA)
  2. LARK Toys (Kellogg, MN)
  3. Children’s Museum of La Crosse (La Crosse, WI)
  4. Pink Palace Museum (Memphis, TN)
  5. Elmer’s Auto & Toy Museum (Fountain City, WI)

 Best Native American Cultural Site

  1. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (Collinsville, IL)
  2. Effigy Mounds National Monument (Harpers Ferry, IA)
  3. Wyalusing Effigy Mounds (Harpers Ferry, IA)
  4. Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site (Wickliffe, KY)
  5. Perrot State Park (Trempealeau, WI)

 Best Nature Center

  1. Nahant Marsh Education Center (Davenport, IA)
  2. National Eagle Center (Wabasha, MN)
  3. Nature Institute (Godfrey, IL)
  4. National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium (Dubuque, IA)
  5. Effigy Mounds National Monument (Harpers Ferry, IA)

 Best New Attraction

  1. Grafton Zipline (Grafton, IL)
  2. Driftless Area Education And Visitors Center (Lansing, IA)
  3. Vino Over The Valley (Arcadia, WI)
  4. Trempealeau Interpretive Path (Trempealeau, WI)
  5. National Pearl Button Museum (Muscatine, IA)

 Best Public Art

  1. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (Minneapolis, MN)
  2. Dickeyville Grotto (Dickeyville, WI)
  3. Yarn Bombing / The Riverbend Yarnbombers (Alton, IL)
  4. Public Art in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)
  5. Wall to Wall Murals (Paducah, KY)

 Best Park

  1. Pere Marquette State Park (Grafton, IL)
  2. Riverview Park (Hannibal, MO)
  3. Pikes Peak State Park (McGregor, IA)
  4. Yellow River State Forest (Harpers Ferry, IA)
  5. Riverside Park (La Crosse, WI)

 Best Preserve 

  1. Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge (Onalaska, WI)
  2. Pere Marquette State Park (Grafton, IL)
  3. John M Olin Nature Preserve (Godfrey, IL)
  4. Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MN)
  5. Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary (Saint Paul, MN)

 Best River Boat Tour

  1. American Queen
  2. Mark Twain Riverboat (Hannibal, MO)
  3. La Crosse Queen (La Crosse, WI)
  4. Riverboat Twilight (Le Claire, IA)
  5. Grafton River Tours (Grafton, IL)

 Best River Event

  1. Fair Saint Louis (Louis, MO)
  2. Port Byron Tug Fest (Port Byron, IL)
  3. La Crosse Riverfest (La Crosse, WI)
  4. Potosi Brewfest (Potosi, WI)
  5. Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival (Clarksdale, MS)

 Best Roadside Attraction

  1. Delta Blues Museum (Clarksdale, MS)
  2. Grafton Lighthouse (Grafton, IL)
  3. Dickeyville Grotto (Dickeyville, WI)
  4. Potosi Brewery (Potosi, WI)
  5. The Rock in the House (Fountain City, WI)

 Best Scenic Overlook 

  1. Lover’s Leap (Hannibal, MO)
  2. Pikes Peak State Park (McGregor, IA)
  3. Pere Marquette State Park (Grafton, IL)
  4. Buena Vista Park (Alma, WI)
  5. Grandad Bluff (La Crosse, WI)

 Best State Park

  1. Pere Marquette State Park (Grafton, IL)
  2. Perrot State Park (Trempealeau, WI)
  3. Yellow River State Forest (Harpers Ferry, IA)
  4. Wyalusing State Park (Bagley, WI)
  5. (tie) Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site (Wickliffe, KY) & Wildcat Den State Park (Muscatine, IA)

 Best State Trail

  1. Great River Road
  2. Mississippi Blues Trail (MS)
  3. Yellow River State Forest (Harpers Ferry, IA)
  4. Great River State Park Trail (Onalaska, WI)
  5. Columbus-Belmont State Park (Columbus, KY)

 Best Tour

  1. Underground Railroad Shuttle Tours (Alton, IL)
  2. Galena Trolley Tours (Galena, IL)
  3. Delta Bohemian Tours (Clarksdale, MS)
  4. Potosi Brewery Tour (Potosi, WI)
  5. Spook Cave & Campground (McGregor, IA)

 Best Visitor Center

  1. Alton Visitor Center (Alton, IL)
  2. Effigy Mounds National Monument (Harpers Ferry, IA)
  3. Gateway to the Blues Museum & Visitor Center (Tunica, MS)
  4. LeClaire Information Center (LeClaire, IA)
  5. Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site (Wickliffe, KY)

 Best Walking Tour

  1. Alton Haunted Tours (Alton, IL)
  2. Galena Main Street Walking Tours with General Grant (Galena, IL)
  3. Clarksdale Walking App (Clarksdale, MS)
  4. McGregor Historic Walking Tour (McGregor, IA)
  5. Columbus-Belmont State Park (Columbus, KY)

 Best Wildlife Refuge

  1. Audubon Center at Riverlands (West Alton, MO)
  2. Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge (Trempealeau, WI)
  3. National Eagle Center (Wabasha, MN)
  4. Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge (Brice Prairie, WI)
  5. Two River National Wildlife Refuge (Calhoun County, IL)

 Best B&B Lodging

  1. Rockcliffe Mansion (Hannibal, MO)
  2. Castle La Crosse Bed & Breakfast (La Crosse, WI)
  3. Jail Hill Inn (Galena, IL)
  4. Honey Hill Bed and Breakfast (Clarksdale, MS)
  5. Point of View Bed & Breakfast (Harpers Ferry, IA)

 Best Boutique Lodging

  1. Cracker Factory (Alton, IL)
  2. The Charmant Hotel (La Crosse, WI)
  3. Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel (Galena, IL)
  4. Lofts at the Five & Dime (Clarksdale, MS)
  5. Historic Trempealeau Hotel (Trempealeau, WI)

 Best Cabin

  1. Pere Marquette State Park (Grafton, IL)
  2. Shack Up Inn (Clarksdale, MS)
  3. The Cabin (Trempealeau, WI)
  4. Pine Point Lodge (Potosi, WI)
  5. Grumpsters Log Cabins (McGregor, IA)

 Best Campground

  1. Pere Marquette State Park (Grafton, IL)
  2. Yellow River State Forest (Harpers Ferry, IA)
  3. Columbus-Belmont State Park (Columbus, KY)
  4. Grant River Recreation Area (Potosi, WI)
  5. Perrot State Park (Trempealeau, WI)

 Best Farmstay

  1. Bonne Terre Louisiana (Breaux Bridge, LA)
  2. Arcadia Farm & Inn (Arcadia, WI)
  3. Rainbow Ridge Farms (Onalaska, WI)
  4. Briggs Outdoors (Winona, MN)

 Best Glamping

  1. Camp Holiday Resort and Campground (Deerwood, MN)

 Best Hostel

  1. Little Bluff Inn (Trempealeau, WI)
  2. Auberge Hostels (New Orleans, LA)
  3. Old Wilson School (La Crosse, WI)
  4. Mississippi Headwaters Hostel (Park Rapids, MN)

 Best Hotel

  1. The Charmant Hotel (La Crosse, WI)
  2. Hotel Julien Dubuque (Dubuque, IA)
  3. Travelers Hotel (Clarksdale, MS)
  4. Historic Trempealeau Hotel (Trempealeau, WI)
  5. The Saint Paul Hotel (Saint Paul, MN)

 Best Inn

  1. Jail Hill Inn (Galena, IL)
  2. Shack Up Inn (Clarksdale, MS)
  3. Clarksdale White House (Clarksdale, MS)
  4. Inn on the River (Trempealeau, WI)
  5. Little Switzerland Inn (McGregor, IA)

 Best Lodge 

  1. Pere Marquette State Park (Grafton, IL)
  2. Historic Trempealeau Hotel (Trempealeau, WI)
  3. White Deer Lodge (Arcadia, WI)
  4. Arrowwood Lodge Baxter (Baxter, MN)
  5. Kinni Creek Lodge & Outfitters (River Falls, WI)

 Best Lodging for Families

  1. Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark (Dubuque, IA)
  2. Chestnut Mountain Resort (Galena, IL)
  3. Best Western on the River (Hannibal, MO)
  4. The Charmant Hotel (La Crosse, WI)
  5. Historic Trempealeau Hotel (Trempealeau, WI)

 Best Lodging for Romantic Getaway

  1. The Charmant Hotel (La Crosse, WI)
  2. Aerie’s Resort & Winery (Grafton, IL)
  3. Goldmoor Inn (Galena, IL)
  4. Hotel Julien Dubuque (Dubuque, IA)
  5. Old Mill Guest House (Le Claire, IA)

 Best Luxury Lodging

  1. The Peabody (Memphis, TN)
  2. The Charmant Hotel (La Crosse, WI)
  3. Hotel Julien Dubuque (Dubuque, IA)
  4. Four Seasons Hotel (St. Louis, MO)
  5. Jail Hill Inn (Galena, IL)

 Best Mom & Pop Accommodations 

  1. Old Jail and Firehouse (McGregor, IA)
  2. Little Bluff Inn (Trempealeau, WI)
  3. Potosi Inn (Potosi, WI)
  4. Carriage House Inn (Stockholm, WI)
  5. Waller House Inn (Little Falls, MN)

 Best Motel

  1. Inn On the River (Trempealeau, WI)
  2. Up Town Motor Inn  (Clarksdale, MS)
  3. Best Western (Prairie du Chien, WI)
  4. Fountain Motel (Fountain City, WI)
  5. Grandview Motel (Ferryville, WI)

 Best Parks to Stay

  1. Pere Marquette State Park (Grafton, IL)
  2. Yellow River State Forest (Harpers Ferry, IA)
  3. Perrot State Park (Trempealeau, WI)
  4. Natchez State Park (Natchez, MS)
  5. Itasca State Park (Park Rapids, MN)

 Best Resort 

  1. Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa (Galena, IL)
  2. Aerie’s Resort & Winery (Grafton, IL)
  3. Grand Harbor (Dubuque,  IA)
  4. Historic Trempealeau Hotel (Trempealeau, WI)
  5. Monmouth Historic Inn & Gardens (Natchez, MS)

 Best Vacation Rental

  1. Great River Houseboats (Alma, WI)
  2. (Tie) Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa (Galena, IL) & Galena Territory (Galena, IL)
  3. Carriage House Inn (Stockholm, WI)
  4. McGregor Manor (McGregor, IA)
  5. Iowa Cabin Rentals (Lansing, IA)