For as long as I can remember, I have always heard tourists visiting local establishments comment and praise the beauty that is the River Bluffs Scenic Byway. Being a Clayton County local, I have always taken things like living along the Mississippi River, and living in what is known as the Driftless Region for granted. It wasn’t until my close friends and family members from out of town visited and pointed those things out to me that I understood how lucky I was to live in such a unique, picturesque niche of the country. The bluffs were beginning to change colors, so I had decided to take a tour along the Scenic Byway myself to see what I’d been overlooking for years.
Starting in Guttenberg, I drove by Murray’s Outdoor Store as I ventured along the Scenic Byway route and passed through Garber and Elkport. Even though I had ridden through this area multiple times before, I had never really taken in the natural scene that had always lain beyond the windshield. When I actually took the time to step out and feel the breeze on my face and watch the trees along the towering bluffs sway along with it, I was finally able to understand why people kept coming back to drive along this specific route. As I continued along the route and road by the Osborne pond and nature center, I could remember being a child again; canoeing on the pond, watching the park’s wolves run along the fence as visitors passed by, and walking through the woods surrounded by the trees and bluffs I had taken for granted all those years. I stopped in the nature park to see the animals for the first time in years, and actually pay attention to the area surrounding their enclosures.
After one last stroll through the pens, I hopped back in my car and road the Scenic Byway to Marquette, marveling at the side of Clayton County I had overlooked for so many years. While in Marquette, I couldn’t resist a rest top in Eagles Landing Winery for a glass of Mrs. Sippi. As the semi-sweet red’s robust essence filled my senses with a swirl of the glass, I reflected on my adventure along the Scenic Byway. It was wonderful to finally see what others saw; a natural wonder that I hadn’t appreciated before. Clayton County is full of hidden gems and wonderful sights, and now I would be paying much closer attention to those hidden wonders.
Written by Jayna Felder | Photo Credit to CCDG