Feb 23, 2015

Scenes from the Pelican Inn, Grafton, Ill.

(Editor's Note:  The Pelican Inn has been closed for business since heavy rains caused the Mississippi River to flood and mudslides to occur near the property in Spring 2015.  There is currently no timetable for when it will reopen.)

When it comes to being a hopeless romantic, I've always seemed to be a lot more hopeless than romantic.  For this Valentine’s Day, however, I wanted to make sure it was special for the girlfriend (who from henceforth shall be known as “The April” for blogging purposes), particularly since I had chosen that day to pop the engagement question. 

To celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend, I decided to take her back to one of our favorite nearby places for a brief getaway -- Grafton, Ill., where the Illinois and Mississippi rivers meet.  Even in the dead of winter, the village of Grafton provides some spectacular scenery and plenty of choices for couples to find some privacy and quality time together. 

And so, as I reviewed notes from our last trip in October, I kept coming back to one guest house we spotted that just looked irresistibly cute -- the Pelican Inn.  After all, what was the worst that could happen in February – getting snowed in with access to winery a block away?  I’ll take those chances, especially when it involves our engagement.  I called the number on the website, spoke to the very friendly proprietor and learned it was still available for Valentines’ Day weekend.  I pounced on the opportunity and booked the room.   

The Pelican Inn is among a smattering of cottages and homes nestled under the bluffs along Illinois Highway 100 on the north end of town.  Its location is close enough to almost everything you’d want to walk (weather permitting) or take a short drive to in Grafton. 

The place is also nothing short of charming, inside and out.  At the risk of making the place more popular and making it more difficult for me to book in the future, let me show you what I mean.   

It was a lot cleaner before we showed up and made ourselves at home.
Here’s a view of the living area from the entrance. We took the sun shining through the French doors as a good omen. 

The open rafter look of the ceiling provided a bit of a rustic feel to the accommodations.  

Immediately to the right of the entrance is a small kitchenette featuring everything you need (e.g., plenty of glasses and silverware) and several nice amenities provided by the hosts (although they need to do a better job at keeping caffeinated coffee in supply … about the only minor quibble we had about our entire stay). 

A queen-sized bed sets to the left of the living area.  Notice all the pelican-and nautical-themed decorations.

A cozy bathroom is off to the left of the bedroom area.  We especially liked the contemporary look of the bowl-shaped sink and the corner shower.  Again, plenty of bath amenities were provided.  And, we never had to worry about hot water since the cottage was equipped with an energy-efficient tankless hot water heater.    

In warmer weather, I’m sure guests get plenty of use out of the patio/arbor, which you can access from the living room area.  The fountain, grill and fire pit are all nice touches.

And to be honest, even though it was February, The April and I enjoyed sitting outside anyway to watch the snow fall on Valentine’s Day morning. 

Well, I guess you had to be there.  but it really did look pretty.
Between the view of the river and the bluffs behind us, it turned out to be a great spot to ask the big question.  (Spoiler alert:  She said yes.)

So, yeah, Grafton and the Pelican Inn have become something pretty special to us.  We both look forward to many return trips.  Just do us a favor, and keep a few good dates open for us every February and March.  

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