A Floating Island in the midst of Historic Floods – Quimby's Cruising Guide

A Floating Island in the midst of Historic Floods

The city of Grafton sits at a unique position along the confluence of the Illinois & Mississippi Rivers and is a popular spot for local and transient boaters – as well as motorists from across the country traveling the Great River Road. With the 2019 tourist season just underway, the city of Grafton has been hit with historic flooding – leaving the main road in and out of the town underwater and the local marina only accessible by boat. As the flood waters begin to affect the local economy, this has not perturbed the owners of the Marina – mainstays in the City of Grafton since 2006 – from continuing to attract customers and generate business.

With a diversified business to offer more than just docking – including a winery, seafood restaurant, condos and a marina swimming pool – Grafton Harbor has come to be a thriving establishment and a defining feature of this historic town. As the 2019 crest continues to rise, Grafton Harbor has essentially become a floating island – restaurant included – away from the city center. With the restaurant still open above the floating ship store, the owners have been utilizing their existing pontoon rental fleet to shuttle passengers from less conventional locations of the city to their restaurant – including a drop-off and pick-up point at the local bank downtown at the edge of the flood waters.


A normal day at Grafton Harbor below flood stage


Flood waters rising


With the ship store and restaurant floating on the docks, they remain open for business


Rental fleet providing rides for customers to and from downtown buildings – including the local bank 🙂


The flooding can’t stop this bachelorette party


Enjoying Grafton Harbor’s signature wine slushies while waiting for the water taxi


Making a stop at the ship store


Even with near-record flooding, spirits remain high


The city of Grafton has always found a way to bounce back better than before after floods, and the determination of Grafton Harbor along with the local community’s support is proof of that resilience.



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