600 Timber Ridge Drive, Grafton, IL, 62037 / Cake artist: Rich Brooks
A place that calls itself, ‘the Greatest View of the Midwest’, this sits on a very steep hill from the village of Grafton. Aerie’s not just a winery, but a full-service restaurant with a variety of things. What’s great (besides the views) is the outdoor patio, consisting of two floors. While here, you can also go bird/eagle watching. Stay overnight at their lodge and/or cottages. Aerie’s is also in the process of making this into a venue that is great for any special location, be it reunions or weddings. Grafton Zipline is also available here too!
Grafton, the oldest city in Jersey County, was founded in 1832 by James Mason. It was named after Mason’s hometown of Grafton, Massachusetts. Grafton is located near the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. At one time, the village had thousands of people living there due to the number of job opportunities in the second half of the 19th century. There was employment in a number of quarries, as well as in boat building and fishing. In 1993, Grafton was one of a number of river towns affected by the Great Flood of that year. Today, the village thrives on tourism, as a number of its shops and buildings have been restored. It is also a popular destination for bicyclists and motorcyclists. The popular family water park Raging Rivers is also to the east of Grafton.
Cake placement date: February 25
Where is the cake now?: The cake still sits outside the building. (May 2017)
Rich Brooks, the cake’s artist, on painting the cake: This was Rich’s ninth cake, and it “was made specifically for Grafton Illinois and placed at Aerie’s Winery on the top of the bluffs of the Mississippi River. This cake was done Tourist Center and the Chamber of Commerce of Grafton, IL. There Eagles flying and perching on trees, Raging River water park, skydiving and parasailing and all the things that are available in Grafton. A lighthouse with red and white stripes is one of the most popular tourist attractions. Aerie’s Winery on top of the bluffs was fun to paint showing the ragged edges of the rocks with a spectacular view of the Mississippi River.”