I am not originally from Alton, but it has become my home over the last 13 years. And thinking back on it, this is a great place for my family and me. We love history, nature, and tasty beverages. Alton has that and more.
The first thing I discovered is that Alton has a rich history and part of that history makes it one of the most haunted small towns in America. So, October is a perfect time for me to introduce you to some things that we love about our river town.
Alton Hauntings Tours
I met Luke Naliborski through my work, and he mentioned that he gave tours through Alton Hauntings. So, on a chilly October night, my husband and I gathered a group of our friends at the visitor’s center and started our 15-block walk along the hills and history of downtown Alton.
For me, the experience wasn’t so much about the ghosts, but more about the history, especially the ties to the Civil War. One stop led us into the cellar under a mansion-turned-apartment building. This spot was part of the Underground Railroad. When the light was turned off, and the darkness engulfed us— that was a feeling that still makes me pause to this day.
When you take the tour, you might also experience an alley where a merchant policeman haunts, a church with a tragic past, and the 1904 World’s Fair building – which now is home to the 1904 General Store (322 E. Broadway, Alton), if you need fudge.
Staying with all things haunted, there is the Milton School House. Not only is it known to maybe have a ghost or two, but it is also home to my favorite coffee shop, Maeva’s Coffee (1320 Milton Rd., Alton). It is walking distance from my house – which kept me sane when it re-opened during the first pandemic summer. They offer great seasonal brews – a selection of baked goods that are made on-site in the basement – try the cheesecake – *you’re welcome* – and roasted coffee beans to take home.
Recently they’ve also expanded to offer cocktails and beers to go along with their lineup of performers, open mic nights, and trivia. Once you get a brew, feel free to take a look around the school house which always houses new businesses and a community shelf of books if you’re looking for a new read.
And for the non-haunting fun, let me introduce you to Heritage Farm & Fruit Trees (1821 Winter Dr., Godfrey). It was the perfect Saturday morning activity for my son and me!
Last year we arrived right as they opened (sorry, we are those folks) and had the run of the place for a decent chunk of time. It got much busier as the morning progressed but there was plenty of space for everyone to get quality playtime.
The highlight for Josh was the kid’s area. He could have spent all morning running between the hay bale maze and the rock wall, rope wall, and slide area. The highlight for me was the pumpkin bowling – well, until Josh realized it was easier to run down the lane and kick the pins over – or sit at the end of the lane and knock them over before the pumpkin got there.
There are wagons for your pumpkin gathering and a huge field to find the perfect pumpkin. We didn’t venture into the field too far. Josh is more of a ‘first pumpkin he sees is the perfect one’ type of kid.
The staff was great. Josh had picked out a pumpkin just his size. Unfortunately, it was dropped and cracked open a bit – did I mention they have wagons? The staff let him pick out a new one, and he got to keep the cracked one free of charge. Side note, a little duct tape fixed it right up.
This year the kid’s area will be $6 for kids 2 and up, and the new addition of a corn maze will be $2 a person. They also have snacks and beverages you can purchase on-site.
These are just a few of our favorite fall things in the Alton area – I hope you can check some of them out!