Day 1: Clarksville, TN
Departure 5:00 PM
Explore Nashville at your leisure or consider a Pre-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with afternoon transfer to the American Queen.
Day 2: Dover, TN
Stewart County is a small county enriched with history, picture-perfect scenery, and welcoming citizens. Guests are greeted with nature's beauty and wildlife surrounding the city. Located at the county's heart is Dover, its county seat and the home of Fort Donelson National Park. This peaceful, picturesque town is the location of one of the most historic battles of the Civil War - a battle that changed the direction of the war for the North. Today, bald eagles call this park their home as and soar through the skies; a true symbol of freedom. Although small and rural, Dover has much to offer her visitors who can enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many local restaurants or take in the comforting hometown charm found throughout the city. Dover and Stewart County are the perfect gateway to a simple, cozy, quiet, country experience.
Explore the battlefield where Union and Confederate soldiers fought in February of 1862. Discover the history of the past displayed inside the Visitor Center or scattered across the battlefield, where monuments, plaques, and canyons portray the battle that ultimately ended with the Union forces capturing Fort Donelson. The construction of the Fort Donelson started in the year 1861 by Daniel S. Donelson and was named after him. During the Civil War of the 1860s, the Union forces were heading south to fight the Confederacy. Fort Donelson was key because of its location on the Cumberland River. When Fort Donelson was captured by the Union in February 1862, it was their first major victory for the Civil War. With the fort under Union control, they now had the door open to the Confederacy, ensuring that Kentucky would stay in the Union and opening up Tennessee for a Northern advance along the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. At Fort Donelson, visitors can learn about the battle, view the earthworks and cannons, and take a walk through the area on one of two trails. There also are areas for picnics, parking, and strolls along the Cumberland River, as well as a Visitor Center, where guests can learn the history of the war leading up to this battle and the events that occurred after it was finished.
Fort Donelson National Cemetery
The Fort Donelson National Cemetery in Dover, Tennessee was established in 1867 as a burial ground for Union soldiers killed in a significant early Civil War battle. Today, the cemetery contains the graves of veterans representing the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, and the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Fort Donelson National Cemetery is one of 14 national cemeteries managed by the National Park Service and is a part of the Fort Donelson National Battlefield. In July 1862, Congress passed legislation giving the President of the United States the authority to purchase land for the establishment of cemeteries “for soldiers who shall die in the service of their country.” The legislation effectively began the National Cemetery System. In 1863, the Union Army abandoned the Confederate works and constructed a new fortification on the ground that became the cemetery site. A freedmen's community developed around the new Union fort. Four years later, this same site was selected for the establishment of the Fort Donelson National Cemetery and 670 Union soldiers were reinterred here. These soldiers (including 512 unknowns) had been buried on the battlefield, in local cemeteries, in hospital cemeteries, and in nearby towns. These totals include five known and nine unknown soldiers from the United States Colored Troops. In 1867, Fort Donelson Cemetery was established as the final resting for Union soldiers and sailors initially buried in the Fort Donelson area. Today the national cemetery contains both Civil War veterans and veterans who have served the United States since that time.
The Surrender House/Dover Hotel
This 1850s building was originally the Dover Hotel and was a popular stop for travelers of the time. During the Battle at Fort Donelson, General Buckner and his staff used the hotel as their headquarters during the battle. It also served as a Union hospital after the surrender. After Buckner accepted Grant's surrender terms, the two generals met here to work out the details. Today, the building is restored and showcases historical artifacts and galleries. Built between 1851 and 1853, the Dover Hotel accommodated riverboat travelers before and after the Civil War. The Dover Hotel was the site of the "unconditional surrender" of General Buckner to General Grant, on February 16, 1862. Grant's terms of "unconditional and immediate surrender" were described by Buckner as "ungenerous and unchivalrous.” This was the Union Army's first major victory of the Civil War, setting the stage for invasion of the south and eventual capture of the Mississippi River Valley. The structure was originally built in 1851, and still stands in the heart of Dover. The structure had served as General Buckner's headquarters during the battle. The Fort Donelson House Historical Association and the National Park Service restored the house in the 1970s, and today the exterior looks much as it did at the time of the surrender.
Stewart County Visitor Center
Explore the Stewart County Visitor Center to learn about the history and future of the city of Dover. Walk through the Gallery located inside to get a visual representation of the city’s culture and history or talk to a resident at the Visitor Information Desk to hear their own piece of Dover history! Stewart County proudly opened its Visitor Center in October 2010. It has been a beautiful addition to the county and serves the community on multiple facets. The Center includes a Visitor Information Desk, where guests can discover the history of the county, hear about how the city is changing and improving through future plans, and even get tips on the best local eateries and stores. Take a tour through the Gallery, where the history and culture of Stewart County is highlighted through interesting articles, incredible art pieces, and rare artifacts, and then relax in the comfort of the fireplace.
Stewart County Historical Society Museum
This historical building showcases the history, culture, and customs of the city of Dover. Guests can explore many displays of local art, artifacts, and photographs as local experts recount the stories of this historical county. The museum houses an abundant collection of rich information on the county’s history, culture, and customs. While visiting the Historical Society Museum, guests have the opportunity to explore the county’s one-room schoolhouse and the history found inside, the beautiful Stewart County quilt showcased for all to see, and many more displays that demonstrate the local history. The building is also used to host many local events from charity dinners and dancing nights to educational seminars and talent shows, the Stewart County Historical Society Museum works hard to bring the community together.
Day 3: Paducah, KY
Paducah embraces their harmonious history between the European settlers and the Padoucca Indians native to the area. The city is located at the confluence of the Ohio and the Tennessee Rivers and because of this, it is often called the Four-Rivers Area due to the proximity of the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers. This prime location has played a major role in Paducah’s history, as transportation was easily accessible – the economy was strong and travelers were frequent!
National Quilt Museum
25 years in the making- the National Quilt Museum supports quilters and aims to advance the art of quilting by displaying exceptional quilt and fiber art exhibits. This museum celebrates the work of today’s quilters and offers a variety of unique exhibits that change throughout the year. Forget what you think quilting is—the National Quilt Museum isn’t full of dated simple block quilting, but exhibits works of art with a quilt as a canvas. Be certain to stop by, this museum is a must see! Celebrating 25 years in 2016, The National Quilt Museum is the largest of its kind in the world. It is the portal to the contemporary quilt experience - exhibits and workshops by renowned quilters who are implementing creative approaches to fiber art. The 27,000-square-foot contemporary structure features three galleries highlighting a collection of contemporary quilts and changing thematic exhibitions that celebrate the talent and diversity of the global quilting community. Workshops taught by world-class fiber art instructors are offered year-round. The Museum Shop & Book Store offers Kentucky Crafted items and quilt-related instructional and collector books.
Lowertown Arts District
Paducah’s oldest neighborhood is famous for the award-winning Artist Relocation Program that prompted its colorful revitalization which continues today with the expansion of the Paducah School of Art & Design campus. The Arts District is populated with working artists, students and artists-in-residence who add to the City’s vibrant artistic landscape.
The Lloyd Tilghman House & Civil War Museum
Prepare to be amazed at the significant influence Paducah had on the outcome of the Civil War. Generals U.S. Grant, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and others made their astounding contributions to history here. Hear this untold story inside the 1852 Greek revival home of Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman. This historic Greek revival house was built in 1852 for Lloyd Tilghman, a new member of Paducah’s community at the time. After the house was completed, Tilghman did not purchase the property, instead, the builder, Robert Woolfolk became the sole owner of the house and grounds. Tilghman, his wife, their seven children, and five slaves resided in the home until 1861. It was then that Woolfolk and his family moved into the home. They family was pro-South and proudly flew a Confederate flag causing many uproars over the community and with the Federal Troops who located their headquarters just across the street from the home. Eventually Woolfolk and his family were banished from Paducah and the United States, forced to live in Canada on August 1, 1864.
The Paducah Railroad Museum
A project of the Paducah Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society showcases equipment and memorabilia from the romantic past of America’s railroads. New simulator gives the sensation of riding a locomotive cab. The original Freight House (Across the parking lot from the Museum) was built in 1925 by the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway. In 1996, the freight house was sold and the Museum moved to a building one-half block away. Here, learn the history of the railroad and those who used it, explore the authentic train models, and enjoy the memorabilia showcased for guests.
River Discovery Center
Celebrate Paducah’s maritime legacy and lore with interactive, water-filled exhibits, including a working model of a lock and dam. Captain a towboat, pleasure watercraft or Coast Guard buoy tender through various scenarios in the new pilothouse simulator. Take a turn behind the pilot wheel to experience river traffic at the Port of Paducah. In 1988 Mayor Gerry Montgomery and his committee pursued the development of a museum to showcase the Four Rivers Region maritime heritage. The River Heritage Center was planned in 1992 as the very beginning stages of the mayor’s dream. Years later the museum was located by Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and renamed the River Heritage Museum before finally receiving its’ current name, the River Discovery Center in 2008. Here explore artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that share the history of marine life and the history of the river.
Day 4: Savannah, TN
Savannah is the largest town on the Tennessee, discovered in the 1820’s and incorporated in 1833. The most common association with this historical town comes with its ties to the Battle of Shiloh – a major Civil War Battle also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, fought on April 6th 1862. Spend the day exploring the stories and history associated with the city of Savannah and its deep Civil War ties then explore the city’s many trails and paths winding down the lush banks of the Tennessee River and admire the beautiful sights!
Tennessee River Museum
Here, exhibits chronicle prehistoric times, life of the Mississippi Mound Builders, the tragic story of the “Trail of Tears,” the Civil War on the River, the Golden Age of Steamboats and the Tennessee River today. This museum was founded in 1992, located in an old post office building in downtown Savanna that was constructed in 1939. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Inside, exhibits and collections are dedicated to preserving the history of the Tennessee River Valley so that future generations have an accurate depiction of their heritage and history. The museum features seven permanent exhibits such as “Paleontology,” filled with more than 200 fossils, “Archeology,” comprised of antique pottery and tools, “Pioneers,” exploring the Chickasaw Treaties, “Trail of Tears,” portraying the historical Native American travels to Oregon, “War on the River,” explaining the battles of Union invasions, “The Golden Age of Steamboats,” highlighting the historic Tennessee Riverboat trade, and “Musseling,” featuring the story of the historic pearl button industry.
Savannah Historic District
Get a unique view of more than 40 homes and several styles of architecture to experience on a two mile strip in downtown Savannah. This two mile stroll passes 42 historical homes accurately portraying the architectural styles from across Savannah’s history. Many of the homes are privately owned so are not open to tour, but are just as beautiful on the outside as they are on the interior. Featured homes include Cherry Mansion, U.S. Grant’s Headquarters, the Churchwell-MicGinley-Taylor House, a former women’s college from the 19th century, and Irwinwood which was named after the owner who was credited for acquiring the land for Shiloh National Military Park in the 1890’s.
The Cherry Mansion
Explore the private residence used as General U.S. Grand headquarters during the Battle of Shiloh. See artifacts, photos, and learn the history of this period of time in Grant’s life. This beautiful mansion was the headquarters for U.S. Grant during the Battle of Shiloh. Hear the stories of Grant during his time within the property and hear about some of the Battle of Shiloh history. Admire the unique fireplaces, desks where Grant would sit to construct plans of battle, hand-made stone fences surrounding the property, and views of the Tennessee River off of the back porch.
Spend a relaxing day outdoors with a beautiful view of the Tennessee River as you stroll down the paths or lounge on the seats facing the river. Enjoy a day in the Tennessee sunshine in this 44 acre park overlooking the Tennessee River. Relax in front of the water at any of the pavilions or benches, take a brisk walk on the paved walking trails wrapping around the banks of the river. The park also the public with tennis courts, baseball fields, disc golf, a playground, and restrooms.
Day 5: Florence, AL
Established in 1818 as a small river town, it is impressive how far this city has grown. Today, Florence is considered one of the largest and most progressive cities in North Alabama. The city offers an extremely developed arts initiative and a vibrant and alive downtown district. Visitors are never disappointed with this city’s delicious cuisine and the unique shopping options.
Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Bureau & Information Center
Make a stop here to learn about Florence’s past, present, and future plans. Pick up some useful brochures and local maps that will help make the best of your time in the city and make sure to check out the unique merchandise for sale as a way to remember your visit!
Pope’s Tavern Museum
Previously used as a stagecoach stop, tavern, inn, and hospital for both Confederate and Union forces during the Civil War, the Tavern Museum beautifully displays the cultural history of Florence. At one time a stagecoach stop, tavern and inn, Pope's Tavern is one of the the oldest structures in Florence. Located on the military road that connected Nashville to the Natchez Trace and on to New Orleans, the tavern was an ideal stop-over for weary travelers in the 1800's. It served as a hospital for both Confederate and Union wounded during the Civil War. The wounded were brought here from as far away as the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, and Shiloh. Later home to the Lambeth family, it remained a private residence until purchased by the city in 1965.The museum houses beautiful antiques and fascinating artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries. The second floor is filled with artifacts from the Civil War and items of local history.
Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts
This gallery and center for the coordination and promotion for cultural activity in the area serves as the cultural hub of Florence. Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts is a gallery, educational facility, museum, and a center for the coordination and promotion for cultural activity in the area. It serves as the administrative office for all the museums. It is a home base and meeting place for cultural groups and a showcase and classroom for all arts disciplines. The Center features annual exhibits and rotating exhibits by artists from the Southeast, workshops and classes for all ages, concerts, and interesting lectures and programs.
The WC Handy House Museum
Home of ‘The Father of Blues’, William Christopher Handy. Born in 1873, he would become one of the most influential songwriters in America. Full of artifacts and memorabilia, this stop will chronicle the life of Handy and explain how he shaped the Blues. W.C. Handy was born in a small log cabin in Florence on November 16, 1873. Handy became famous for his blues compositions such as "Memphis Blues" & "St. Louis Blues". He was also a musician, band conductor, and author. The museum houses a collection of memorabilia, musical instruments, personal papers and original sheet music. Handy's famous trumpet and his personal piano are just a few of the items on display. W.C. Handy died in New York in 1958. His hometown of Florence honors the legacy of the "Father of the Blues" with a birthday party at the museum each November 16th and with the week-long W.C. Handy Music Festival during the summer.
Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House
A cypress, glass and brick abode built by Wright in 1939-1940. This historic home has been called one of the purest examples of Wright’s Usonian style, an approach to architecture named after the United States of America. The Rosenbaum House is the only Wright-designed structure in Alabama. It was built in 1939-1940 for Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum who were the sole owners and occupants of the house until 1999 when the house was purchased by the City of Florence. The house is constructed of cypress, glass and brick and has all the hallmarks of Wright's Usonian style...flat multi-level roofs, cantilevered eaves and carports, flowing space, use of natural materials and expanses of glass. Wright designed an addition to the house in 1948, adding two wings. The house has been meticulously restored. The City of Florence received the 2004 Wright Spirit Award in the Public Domain from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy for the preservation of this important architectural gem. The house holds its original Wright-designed furniture and is open as a city museum.
Florence Indian Mound & Museum
The Florence Indian Mound is the Tennessee Valley area's largest domiciliary mound. It is typical workmanship of the Indians who lived in this area before the Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Creeks. Early settlers found steps on one side of the mound, and discovered that it had been enclosed by an earthen wall. The museum contains Native American artifacts dating back over 10,000 years arranged in chronological order. (Visible as we turn from Chamber Street onto Court Street)
Day 6: Decatur, AL
Nestled in the Tennessee River Valley, the city of Decatur boasts a rich and colorful history. Originally a river crossing for settlers west of the Appalachian Mountains, the town became known as Decatur in 1820. Settlers were drawn to the community at this time by its fertile river valley soil and relatively easy river access to other cities. Enjoy this charming Tennessee River town and all of the amenities it has to offer!
Carnegie Visual Arts Center
Here we can experience the visual arts in a personal, relaxed and meaningful way. The Carnegie presents eight to ten exhibits annually and showcases the work of both local and national artists. Completed in September of 1904, the Carnegie Library of Decatur was one of the 2,509 libraries built by the millionaire philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Decatur’s Carnegie Library is an example of one of the classic Carnegie buildings. For nearly 70 years, Decatur’s public library was housed in this facility. When the main library outgrew the facility the Carnegie became the children’s library. Now, located in the Carnegie Library, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center shares some of the most unique and impressive art pieces with the public.
Old State Bank Building
Built in 1833, this one time home of the Bank of the State of Alabama has survived the turbulent history of Decatur and even withstood the burning of the town during the Civil War. We’ll tour this historic landmark and learn about its important role in the banking industry of Alabama. Completed in 1833, the building originally housed the Tennessee Valley branch of the Bank of the State of Alabama. The bank survived the destruction of Decatur during the Civil War, along with many other events of destruction through the city’s history. The Old State Bank played a significant role in the influence and development of architectural style in Alabama for several decades. By combining elements of the Federal style with the Greek Revival style, the Old State Bank introduced a new look and influenced building style in Alabama until the Civil War.
Blue and Gray Museum
Believed to be the largest privately owned collection of Civil War artifacts within the country. The entire collection is owned by one man. This museum holds one of the largest private collections of Civil War era relics. The entire collection is completely owned by one man, who along with his associate, organized, displayed, and opened the collection to the public. See Civil War military equipment, including guns, swords, rifles, bayonets, uniforms, etc. Pre- and post-Civil War items are also on display. Guests will also hear the deep history of Decatur as they learn about the Civil War.
St. John's Episcopal Church
Beautiful family friendly church with a deep historical background. After enduring some extremely difficult times, a divided church decided to separate completely and begin their own church. In 1890, previous members of the St. Paul congregation began planning for the location and funding for the church. In 1893, the construction of the new St. John’s Church began, which is still the same building that member worship in to this day. Explore the church and admire the limestone floors, beautiful church steeple, stained glass windows, organ, and bells.
Day 7: Scenic River Cruising
While cruising aboard the American Queen, don’t forget to set aside some time for a little pampering. Experience Pevonia spa treatments for optimum de-aging and unparalleled rejuvenation. Pevonia green skincare products and in-spa treatments unite the finest natural botanical and marine ingredients with advanced technology and delivery systems to ensure the products reach the deepest layers of the skin for maximum absorbency and truly phenomenal results.The American Queen Spa by Pevonia will have you feeling like royalty! From body wraps and deep-tissue massages to spa-quality skincare, you will feel totally revitalized from head to toe.
Day 8: Chattanooga, TN
Arrival 8:00 AM
Enjoy Chattanooga at your leisure or consider a post-cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer.