Perfect weather on one of the last calendar summer Saturdays just had to be honored with a road trip. We headed south on the Great River Road through some of the most beautiful Mississippi River terrain a traveler is likely to see. We sailed through St. Donatus – no time to stop this trip – and on to Bellevue.

Bellevue overlook from State Park

overlook at Bellevue State Park

The view from the bluff in Bellevue State Park is not to be missed. Stand there, near the three Woodland Culture Mounds and look north to the hills of Illinois. If you squint just right, you might see Spratts Lake and Casper Bluff where fifty-one more Woodland Culture Mounds are located. The lyrics to “Time Passages,” the old Al Stewart song, played in my head. “The back of beyond, my friends. The back of beyond.”

The mill stream runs directly below the observatory bluff. Potter’s MillPotter's Mill is also a stone throw below the bluff. It recently reopened with a Bayou menu and live blues music in the Flattened Fifth Blues & BBQ. I enjoyed the blackened catfish with roasted corn salsa and a sweet tea. Blackened CatfishPotter’s Mill Inn offers three B & B rooms, should you plan to enjoy the blues too much and too late. After lunch we strolled the length of Bellevue. Lock and Dam 12 and the expansive porches of the homes lining Riverview Drive made the walk interesting.

Czipar's Store

Czipar’s Store

We made sure to save time to stop at Czipar’s Apple Orchard between St. Donatus and Dubuque.

Czipar's Orchard

Czipar’s apples and pumpkins

Czipar’s offers numerous apple varieties as well as jams, jellies, baked goods and other fresh and home grown products. We both purchased Paula Red apples which were new to me. They were delicious but didn’t seem like a variety with a long shelf life. I solved that in short order by making two pies. We ate the two crust one immediately and I froze the French Apple Pie to enjoy later.Ready to Pick