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Best Weekend Excursion 

Great River Road

If the only hand-holding that takes place in your house is when the TV remote is passed back and forth, it may be time for a weekend getaway. In October, consider a road trip on the Great River Road in Illinois. No television, just breathtaking views of yellow, orange and red set against the backdrop of the Mississippi River. In the fall, the bald eagles begin their trek back to their winter nesting grounds along the bluffs, so travelers may get a glimpse of the birds setting up their roosts, soaring and diving toward the water. The 25-mile trip, which begins in Alton and ends at Pere Marquette State Park, is dotted with bed & breakfasts, where, with any luck, you'll be able to play more than just a game of pass-the-remote. The next morning, stop at a local apple orchard to pick your own fruit or take part in one of the many fall festivals held in the towns along the famed byway.

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