Our bistate region is awash in interesting, historic communities to visit, all within an easy drive from nearly anywhere within St. Louis city or county. Near the top of that list is Alton, Illinois, an old river town of resonant character hugging the bluffs atop the rambling Mississippi. You can tour Alton any time of year and have fun, but you especially shouldn't miss it at Christmastime. That's when the "Grandpa Gang" expends maximum effort to install more than 2.5 million lights in Rock Spring Park (2116 College Avenue, Alton, Illinois) for its Christmas Wonderland. Stay in your vehicle, kill the headlights and let the gramps' lighting prowess guide you through the park -- or better yet, rent a horse and carriage for conveyance on Fridays through Sundays ($30 for first rider, $5 each additional rider). Christmas Wonderland is open from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (November 29 through December 29). Admission is $7 for each car and small van, or $1 per person on each vehicle seating more than ten passengers. For additional info call 1-800-258-6645 or head to www.visitalton.com.
Nov. 29-Dec. 29, 2013