Life on the Mississippi 2018
(St. Louis/Alton to Red Wing/St. Paul)
8 days with American Queen Steamboat Rating: Deluxe
Day 1: Alton, IL
Departure 5:00 PM
Explore St. Louis at your leisure or consider a Pre-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with afternoon transfer to the American Queen.
Day 2: Hannibal, MO
Hannibal, Missouri has a rich history, diverse industrial economy, and truly remarkable arts. The city was founded in 1819 by Moses D. Bates and became a popular stop along the river for many steamboats traveling up the Mississippi. Hannibal offers more parks per citizens than most towns in the Midwest and was included in the famous “50 Miles of Art.” Today, the most popular draw of this quirky town is Hannibal’s very own, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, recognized world-wide as Mark Twain. Many of the popular characters featured in Twain’s novels were based on people Sam had known while growing up in Hannibal. Many of the characters and influences of this American icon are weaved into the streets, shops, restaurants, and museums of Hannibal waiting to be uncovered.
Included Shore Excursions:
Big River Train Town
Embark on a journey back in time when the steam coach stops at the Big River Train Town Model Train Museum. Here’s we will embrace the golden age of railroading. This Hannibal gem is packed with more toy trains than you have probably ever seen. Enjoy authentic replicas as they move swiftly along the tracks or learn the history of the models and the trains they are made after. As you walk around, relive your childhood and learn the stories of the railway’s past as you view some authentic memorabilia.
The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
Learn everything there is to know about this literary icon. The mission of the Mark Twain Home Foundation is to promote awareness and appreciation of the life and works of Mark Twain and to demonstrate the relevance of his stories and ideas to citizens of the world. This included tour visits eight buildings, six of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and two that are highly interactive museums showcasing fifteen original Norman Rockwell paintings! Learn about the Hannibal of Samuel Clemens’s childhood and explore the stories created through the powerful imagination of American icon, Mark Twain. Building 1: Interpretive Center – Here, explore interactive exhibits highlighting the stories and life of Samuel Clemens. Building 2: Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home & Garden – See the home where Clemens was raised, and where the adventures of Tom Sawyer took place, along with the home’s lovely gardens. Building 3: Boyhood Home Gift Shop – The original museum which was built in 1937 and goes even further into the life of Clemens. Building 4: Huckleberry Finn House – The childhood home of the real Huck Finn, who goes by the name, Tom Blankenship. Building 5: Becky Thatcher House – The home of Laura Hawkins, the inspiration for Becky. Building 6: J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office – The location where Sam’s father held court. Building 7: Grant’s Drug Store – The location where the family lived briefly and where John Clemens died. (Display through window). Building 8: Museum Gallery – This lovely 2-story building features interactive exhibits, the Norman Rockwell Gallery, and treasured Clemens family artifacts. Live performances are played throughout the day at specific times. Tom & Huck Statue – Located at the foot of Cardiff Hill and offers a perfect location for a photo!
Trinity Episcopal Church
A stunning historical church in the heart of Hannibal featuring beautiful interior and exterior decorations and architecture. For more than 150 years, the Sanctuary of Trinity Episcopal Church, designed by architect Joseph A. Miller, has stood the test of time. With an interior consisting of a deeply arched heavy wooden beamed ceiling, beautiful bronze lanterns and side wall lamps, an impressive pipe organ and 18 illustriously conceived stained glass windows, Trinity Church is truly an historic marvel. As you step into the church, you are immediately transported back into time and enveloped by Hannibal’s past. Early church members commissioned well-known artists to design the Sanctuary’s beautiful stained glass windows. With signature designs by Charles Booth, Emil Frei, Jr. and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Glass Company, these windows are truly remarkable in their diverse artistic style, thematic construction and conceptual execution.
Hannibal History Museum
Hear the history of this historical town along the Mississippi. View artifacts, photos, and exhibits explaining how the city evolved to where it is today.
Steve Ayers has been a professional potter for 30 years and has been making pottery in Hannibal for 20 of those years. Ayers Pottery is recognized nationwide for its beautiful form and intense color-rich glazes. Especially notable are his deep rich red colors that are difficult to attain. Steve makes pottery with the customer in mind, pottery that is both attractive and functional. Handles must feel comfortable, spouts must pour, pottery must be microwaveable, oven-safe, and fit in the dishwasher. All of Ayers Pottery is lead free and food safe. Take some time to browse the showroom then take home a piece of functional art hand made in Hannibal. (Admission Additional)
Cave Hollow Complex
Explore the wild imagination of iconic American writer, Mark Twain, through the caves that inspired the many stories of his childhood. (Admission Additional. Tour Takes 55 minutes to complete, bring a light jacket). Mark Twain Cave Complex hosts the first show cave in Missouri dating back to 1886. Explore the natural wonder, beauty and the history, fictional and non-fictional, offered in this remarkable landmark that has been listed as a Registered National Natural Landmark since 1972. Discover the inspiration Twain had as he ran through the caves as a young boy and enjoy samplings of wine while you do it! (Admission Additional, located at the Cave Hollow Complex. Tour takes 55 minutes to complete, bring a light jacket)
Day 3: Leisurely River Cruising
There is always plenty to do between dawn and dusk on the river and today is the perfect day to enjoy the many public spaces and activities that are available to you onboard. Consider booking an indulgent, stress-relieving massage in the American Queen's spa. Browse The Emporium gift shop for that perfect keepsake or take the time to mingle with fellow guests.
Day 4: Clinton, IA
The city of Clinton has much to offer, all with the beautiful backdrop of the Mississippi River. Situated at the crossroads of the Lincoln Highway and the Great River Road, Clinton is the Eastern-most point in the State of Iowa. At the height of its local economy during the late 19th Century, Clinton was regarded as the lumber capital of the nation; a history that is reflected as visitors pass many old sawmills. Today, agriculture plays a big part in Clinton’s economy, which is visible in the beautiful rolling fields filled with luscious, fresh harvest crops. Explore the history of this fascinating river town and discover a lifestyle that will stand out from today’s norm!
Included Shore Excursions:
Clinton County Courthouse
Explore the history of Clinton’s historical Courthouse. Discover artifacts, articles, and photos depicting the stories of the structure and admire the architecture of this Clinton treasure.
Windmill Cultural Center
Walk through the Windmill Cultural Center, as you explore the different styles of windmills with impressive replicas and learn about the history and importance of the windmill throughout the century. The Windmill Cultural Center was dedicated in April of 2010 and showcases 22 European windmills, varying in sizes up to six-feet tall. The windmills can be traced to Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and The Netherlands. Their different backgrounds gives each windmill its very own unique design, demonstrating the culture and heritage of each country. Located inside the Windmill Cultural Center, a charming gift shop is available for guests, where unique gifts like fresh stone-ground flour, Delft pottery, and windmill souvenirs can be purchased.
Tour this functional windmill and learn how the wind-powered structure helps the town’s economy as well as provides some highly desired resources. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to visit one of two working Dutch windmills left in the United States! This impressive windmill, that goes by the Dutch Windmill, as well as, De Immigrant Windmill, and stands nearly 100 feet tall in the city of Fulton. It was assembled by Dutch craftsmen in 1999 and placed on the flood control dike in the heart of the city. It is fully operational today, turning its sails to generate wind power. The mill also assists a few blue basalt millstones to produce a variety of flours. Stone-ground buckwheat, corn, rye, and wheat flours are all manufactured here. (Located at the same stop as the Windmill Cultural Center)
Discover Clinton’s past as you walk around this museum highlighting the city’s first source of large economic income – lumber. Hear the history of the town and the struggles to get on their feet and how, with the help of lumber, the town began to flourish. Lumber was an essential resource in the city of Clinton, not only for construction of buildings and barns, but also contributing heavily to the industry that brought the railroad, the immigrants, and the entrepreneurs. Here, discover the stories that made the lumberjack a national hero, then experience what life was really like in a lumber camp. Hear the buzz of the saw mill as logs are cut into lumber and envision the workings of the Struve Mill where hundreds of pieces of wood became beautiful trims, doors, and flooring.
George M. Curtis Mansion
On this guided tour, explore this beautiful mansion that has been listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Indulge in wine tastings on this relaxing and beautiful visit to one of Clinton’s historical mansions. This restored Victorian home of lumber baron George M. Curtis is a prime example of period architecture with its original Tiffany glass windows, delicately carved banisters, ornate wood trim, and massive fireplaces. Rich in the history of the area, this mansion makes an elegant backdrop for special events. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The tour of the Mansion will end with a sampling of local Wide River Wines on the wrap-around front porch.
Clinton County Historical Museum & Library
Since its establishment in 1946, the Clinton County Historical Association and Museum has established a collection of over 30,000 artifacts from Clinton County. The museum has impressive collections of Redford Glass, rare and valuable pieces for collectors across the country, as well as a large collection of Native American relics, including more than 1,000 artifacts. Exhibits and galleries take up two floors of the building and display local art, Civil War artifacts and history, Native American Settlement, antique musical instruments, and much more! After exploring the expansive and incredibly fascinating and interactive museum floors, guests can stop into the gift shop, where an assortment of local historical books, prints, and souvenirs can be purchased!
Day 5: Dubuque, IA
Dubuque is Iowa’s oldest city and is among the oldest settlements west of the Mississippi River. The first permanent settler of the area was French-Canadian fur trader Julien Dubuque who arrived in 1785. Dubuque’s location to the Mississippi and its abundant land and resources, attracted large numbers of immigrants, particularly Irish and Germans, from overcrowded cities on the east coast. Dubuque is filled with historic sites, architectural Historic Districts with well-preserved buildings and homes, history and art museums, the great Mississippi River, and a revitalized main street that invites guests with Dubuque’s claim-to-fame as an “All-American City.”
Included Shore Excursions:
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
Bask in the beauty of light filtered through 101 Tiffany stained glass windows, all of which are original pieces created by Louis Comfort Tiffany (from New York City). They have been fully restored to allow for intense, vibrant colors. This beautiful Romanesque style church is characterized by thick walls, heavy columns and round arches for windows and doors. On foundations 32 inches thick, the walls are built of enduring Bedford limestone from Indiana. Each stone was cut by hand and if one looks carefully, imbedded fossils may be seen. Inside, the original organ from 1897 has been restored and is once again functioning, murals are displayed, and impressive woodwork. The church is most noted for its large collection of Tiffany stained glass windows, which has been called, “one of the five finest Religious Tiffany Collections in the world.” Explore the history and art of the church as an expert guide chauffeurs guests through the expansive church explaining some of the most interesting facts.
Dubuque Museum of Art
Discover the third largest collections of Grant Wood art in Iowa. Its permanent collection concentrates on 20th century American art with an emphasis on American Regionalism. Their priority is to collect works by Regionalist artists and artists connected to the Tri-states region. The permanent collection is composed of more than 2,100 works, primarily paintings and works on paper. The Dubuque Museum of Art is Iowa’s oldest cultural institution, established in 1874. The Museum strives to present current, quality art in a beautiful and inspiring environment. Artist such as Iowa Regionalist Grant Wood and a complete collection of Edward S. Curtis’ The North American Indian, are on display in this facility. Its permanent collection is composed of over 2200 works, primarily paintings and works on paper
The Fenelon Place Elevator
Enjoy a view of the Mississippi River and downtown Dubuque on the Fenelon Place Elevator, also known as the Forth Street Elevator. The funicular railway is claimed to be the shortest and steepest railroad in the world. The Fenelon Place elevator is described as the world's shortest, steepest scenic railway, 296 feet in length, elevating passengers 189 feet from Fourth Street to Fenelon Place. The railway was constructed in 1882 for the private use a wealthy local banker and the former state senator. Where you will see a view of the historic Dubuque business district, the river and three states.
Hotel Julien Dubuque
Experience this remarkable boutique hotel, offering the area's most elegant accommodations and impeccable service. After a $30+ million complete renovation, the Hotel Julien Dubuque is now a true landmark of luxury and sophistication. The hotel's contemporary elegance and sumptuous comfort complement the grandeur of the historic Old Main District The original structure, four stories high, was called the Waples House and was named after its owner, Peter Waples, a wealthy Dubuque merchant. It was the first building visible to the travelers entering Dubuque from across the Mississippi. The Waples House was furnished extravagantly and was known far and wide for its gourmet cuisine. Now 170 years later, after a $33 million interior renovation and exterior restoration, Hotel Julien Dubuque has redefined elegance through the blending of its rich history with modern luxury and style.
Grand Opera House
This impressive opera house was built in 1889 for $65,000. At this time, it was the largest theater ever to be built in the city of Dubuque and over 2,600 live productions were performed at the theater. Dubuque's historic Grand Opera House is the oldest and grandest of more than 16 legitimate theaters which served the community prior to 1900. In 1889 W.L. Bradley, Jr. and other local businessmen invested $100,000 to create this iconic landmark of Dubuque culture. The architect Willoughby Edbrooke selected the Richardsonian Romanesque style and chose red sandstone and Dubuque brick for construction. The 1,100 seat auditorium included two balconies, eight boxes and stalls and a proscenium large enough to host major theatrical productions. Today, the theater is still used by the community and the productions continue to delight the viewers.
The Old Jail Museum & Dubuque County Courthouse
As a prime example of Egyptian Revival style, the Dubuque County Jail is one of three of its kind still standing today. It is famous for having once hosted Butch Cassidy, who was detained here for a mere four hours. The jail was built in 1857 and is a rare example of Egyptian revivalist architecture. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also an official National Landmark. The Old Jail Museum exhibits some of the Dubuque County Historical Society's most unique and interesting artifacts. It's one-of-a-kind collection pieces include the Julien Dubuque family cradle, a passenger wagon from the Dubuque-based A. A. Cooper Wagon Works company dating back to the 1860s, the ACME Life Saving Device that saved 27 people from the 1946 Hotel Canfield fire, and a Civil War flag. The Old Jail also features a light and sound show, "The Hanging of Patrick O'Connor", which tells the story of how O'Connor was condemned and hanged for the murder just 20-yards from the jail.
Day 6: La Crosse, WI
La Crosse, named by explorer Zebulon Pike who saw a group of people playing a game with sticks that looked like a cross, is a popular destination for tourists. Filled with statues, architecture, and an exquisite view of the river, this river city is an artist’s dream. Like much of Wisconsin, La Crosse became heavily involved with the lumber industry in the mid-1800's until the decline of the forests throughout much of Wisconsin took its toll. But in the wake of the vanishing lumber era, La Crosse became a city renowned for its beer making, with around five breweries operating in La Crosse near the turn of the century. Today, make note of lingering pieces of history along the streets of the city, inside local breweries, and within the floorboards of historic homes and businesses.
Dahl Auto Museum
View antique cars and learn about the Ford Motor Company and its five generations of history through their automotive journey since 1911. The Dahl Auto Museum celebrates the Dahl family's involvement as automotive dealers spanning over 100 years and 5 generations. It also features the history of the automobile through the eyes of Ford Motor Company, an extensive mascot collection and many beautifully restored classic automobiles from the turn of the century to present. Approximately 20 antique and classic cars are on display to highlight each decade from Dahl Automotive inception in 1911. To incorporate historic La Crosse, the museum also features a re-creation of the Starlite Drive-in Theatre.
Chapels of St. Rose
A beautiful historic Romanesque-style house of worship. It has been open since 1871. The shape of this immense and beautiful chapel symbolizes attributes of God. The high ceilings represent a God who transcends the finite world while the shape of the nave, transepts and sanctuary form a cross, acknowledging an immanent God who has been with humankind even through suffering and death. At the entrance of the chapel, just above the door, a relief of Moses before the burning bush is showcased. Admire bronzed statues, symbolic paintings and sculptures, stained glass windows, and mosaics.
A beautiful look back in time at an authentic Victorian home. Built in 1859, this Italianate house features beautiful woodwork and lavish interior decoration. With approximately 90% of its original furnishings, the Hixon House is a unique historical home truly representative of its era. This beautiful Victorian house is filled with nearly all of the original furnishings, making it stand out from many other historical homes. The construction of the home began in 1859 by lumber baron Gideon Hixon, who featured beautiful woodwork and ornate interior decoration. His wife, Ellen is responsible for the decoration of the home, who chose the Aesthetic fashion style, accenting rooms with “Turkish Nooks.” It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visit the Riverside Museum to enjoy exhibits that explore the chronological history of La Crosse. Riverside Museum exhibits chronicle the history of La Crosse, concentrating on the Mississippi River and its importance to the area. Exhibits range from prehistoric artifacts to a large collection of birds and fresh water clams. A video of the history of La Crosse is shown and artifacts of the steamboat “The War Eagle” are on display.
Riverside International Friendship Garden
A place of beauty that reflects an appreciation for the diverse cultures that share the earth. Here, you’ll find gardens to represent six different nations from around the world. La Crosse enjoys thriving relationships with sister cities, business partners, students and people from around the world. To celebrate the success of these partnerships, and build a tribute to the culture and traditions, the township decided to create a garden filled with the flowers and decorations closely resembling a garden that could be found in one of these sister cities. The town is currently sister cities with areas in Ireland, Russia, France, Norway, Germany, and China. The township has worked together to create the Riverside International Friendship Gardens in Riverside Park along the banks of the beautiful Mississippi River. (Located inside the same building as the Riverside Museum)
Day 7: Red Wing, MN
Red Wing, Minnesota was included on National Geographic Traveler’s list of most historic places in the world. Discovered in the early 1850’s, the lands were used mostly for harvesting wheat that would be transported up the river. Later in Red Wing’s history the economy began to flourish due to the thriving pottery industry, which became a main source of income between 1877 and 1967. Today, the city offers endless opportunities to travel back in time and learn about settlers and travelers that occupied the land before today, or to admire the craftsmanship and creativity of local artisans of both the present and the past.
Pottery Museum of Red Wing
Explore one of the most important trades in the Red Wing, with history stretching back centuries. Learn about the importance of pottery in the city and see why so many people collect their particular pottery pieces! Pottery was a very historic industry in the city of Red Wing, dating back from 1877 to 1967. This museum opened in 2001 in the former Stoneware Company building, where crocks, jugs, churns, and other stoneware items were made between 1883 and 1930. The original building was 3000 square foot and could hold up to 1200 items. After the museum relocated across the street, they had access to 13,000 square feet which could hold much more. Many beautiful pieces of pottery were donated and displayed in the museum for their grand opening in 2014. View more than 6,000 unique pieces, all with different stories to tell.
Red Wing Pottery Showroom
Watch and interact with potters at work in the pottery studio of the as they wheel-throw and decorate their own pottery.
The country's first city-owned theatre, which showcases the best in arts and entertainment from Minnesota's heartland and beyond. The theater began in the early 20th century after Theodore B. Sheldon loaned an impressive $83,000 in trust to the City of Red Wing, with the hope that they would develop something that the public could benefit positively. When the doors first opened in 1904, the interior showcased beautiful arches, plaster sculptures, decorative paintings, and extreme detail all across. Over the years, through many economic hardships, the theater was slowly stripped of its ornate furnishings and details. Today, the theater has been fully restored to its original elegance.
Bush & Main Street’s Shopping District
Stop for a snack or a souvenir, visit the Native-American Store, UFFDA shop, and more. A must-see at this stop is the St. James Hotel where Clara will greet guests to share a story that can’t be missed.
St. James Hotel
Guests will be greeted by the hotel’s historical “Clara” in the main lobby of the grand hotel. Clara will guide you through the hotel, painting a picture of the history and art within for all guests. Learn her role in the hotel and the impacts she left for years to come. (Tours offered at 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, and 3:00 PM) The hotel opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1875 and drew many businessmen in that wished for first-class lodging in the wheat-trading center of the world. The four-story Italianate structure was filled with beautiful furnishings, Brussels carpets, English velvet carpets, steam heat, hot and cold running water, gas on every floor, and a state-of-the-art kitchen! Then, hear about the history of Clara Nelson, a waitress hired at the St. James in 1914. It wasn’t long after she was hired that she learned she had much more talent than even she knew, as she slowly began to gain control of the kitchen and claim her position within the hotel and its history.
Red Wing Visitor Center and Art Association
Exhibits local artwork and shops.
Red Wing Marine Museum
This incredibly interesting museum is located in a fully-restored 1883 Red Wing building. The original building was the home of Red Wing Waterworks and fed the Red Wing Fire Department a clean supply of water. After a disastrous fire swept through the Diamond and the Red Wing Flour Mills, the town reassessed the importance of the building. Eventually a grant was given for $80,400 to implement a new water system and gas supply company, leaving the building abandoned until 2011. Now, the building hosts the Marine Museum which showcases the history of engines and boats. Exhibits include Steamboats, Sea Wing, Tug Boats, Riverboat History, Barge Industry, Red Wing Yacht Club History, Thorobred Marine Engines, and much more!
Day 8: Red Wing, MN
Arrival 8:00 AM
Thank you for cruising with us! We hope that you had a memorable experience and look forward to welcoming you aboard in the future. Enjoy nearby Minneapolis at your leisure or consider a Post-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer.
All This Included
THE AMERICAN SPIRIT THRIVES – This is a timeless voyage that allows passengers to experience the heartland of America traveling the Upper Mississippi River on a beautiful roundtrip voyage from beautiful Minneapolis - an area rich with frontier tales of fur traders and pioneers set among picturesque geography and abundant wildlife.
Complimentary Hop-On Hop-Off shore excursions in each port of call
All onboard meals, including both fine dining and casual cuisine
24-Hour Room Service
Complimentary wine and beer with dinner
Complimentary cappuccino, espresso, specialty coffees, tea, bottled water and soft drinks throughout your voyage
Gracious service from a friendly, all-American staff
Daily lectures by the Riverlorian, our onboard historian
Acclaimed entertainment worthy of Broadway
American Queen Steamboat Company's own dedicated fleet of deluxe motorcoaches
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: cabin onboard the American Queen
Cabin upgrades are available.
Single occupancy cabins are available.
Port Taxes of $179 per person are additional and not included in the prices shown above.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.
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