Day 1: Hotel Stay - St. Louis
Day 2: St. Louis, MO
Departure 6:00 PM. Explore St. Louis at your leisure or consider a pre-cruise Premium Shore Excursion with afternoon transfer to the American Queen.
Day 3: Chester, IL
Samuel Smith built the first home in Chester, established a ferry system, and began the construction of a mill in 1829. He is said to be the town's founder. It was his wife Jane Thomas, a native of Chester, England, who gave Chester its name as a tribute to her home town. The Chester area includes a number of state parks and historic sites. The Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site has a beautiful overlook of the Mississippi River. Down the hill from the park is the Pierre Menard Home, an unusually fine example of French Creole-style architecture, which was built around 1815 and was the home of the first lieutenant governor of Illinois. Across the river from the fort is Kaskaskia Island, the only part of Illinois west of the current channel of the Mississippi River. The island was the site of the first state capital of Illinois. A historic church founded by French explorer Pere Jacques Marquette still holds weekly mass on the island. The Liberty Bell of the West, older than the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, is located near the church on the island and was a gift from King Louis XV of France.
Included Hop-on Hop-off Tour:
We will begin our tour at the Spinach Can, located in the old Opera House where creator of Popeye, Elzie Segar worked. Today, the Spinach Can serves as the international headquarters for the Popeye Fan Club and store for everything Popeye. Also at this stop, Pinky’s; this small historic building is now a specialty shop for cake pops, cupcakes, cakes and handmade greeting cards. Guests can’t miss this quant sweet-shop clad in a rosy bright pink hue. Then, take a stroll to the Gazebo to discover Wimpy—a fellow Popeye character. Enjoy a great photo opportunity here alongside the large murals and Popeye cutouts. Next stop, The Courthouse and Randolph County Museum. Here, guests can enjoy an outstanding 360-degree view of the Mississippi River, Missouri farmlands and Chester alongside Olive Oyl and Sweet Pea. At the Annex Museum, guests can tour the 1864 stone Gothic structure museum and explore artifacts that display the rich history of the early French settlers. After that, we’ll stop at the Welcome Center, marked by a larger-than-life bronze statue of Popeye, the Chester welcome center offers a lookout point which gives a fantastic vantage point to observe the majestic Mississippi River below. Our next stop is filled with charm and whimsy. As the tour comes to an end, we’ll stop at the Cohen Home. Dubbed by Mark Twain as “the house with the blue windows”, this historical home overlooks the Mississippi River from high atop the bluffs. Guests are welcome to tour the historic home and its original furnishings.
Day 4: Cape Girardeau, MO
Included Hop-on Hop-off Tour: Our tour begins with the impressive Mississippi River Tales Mural. Depicting Cape Girardeau’s rich history and heritage, the Mississippi River Tails Mural and the Missouri Wall of Fame highlight some of Missouri’s most notable citizens. Steps away, the historic downtown offers a wide variety of great shopping opportunities. The Red House Interpretive Center reveals what life on the Mississippi was like more than 200 years ago. Directly across the street is Old St. Vincent’s Church with its beautiful Renaissance architecture and ornate interior. The Glenn House is a historic Queen Anne Style home with authentic period furnishings gracing its late Victorian interior. Next, we’ll stop at River Campus; the home to the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts. At the Crisp Museum’s Crossroads Gallery, interactive kiosks and exhibits highlight the history of southeast Missouri, while the Old Bridge Overlook and Park provide a dramatic view of the impressive Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge. The Cape River Heritage Museum uniquely showcases the region’s culture and history. Last stop is at the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau there is tourist information, a rest stop and gift shop available.
Day 5: Cave-In-Rock, IL
Relive the outlaw days at Cave-in-Rock, a base for river pirates intent on robbing keelboats, flatboats and steamboats of their valuables as they passed by in the 1800s.
Included Hop-on Hop-off Tour:
At Cave-In-Rock in Southern Illinois, American Queen guests will experience the awe-inspiring and intriguing natural formations of "The Cave.” Sitting atop the high bluffs overlooking the scenic Ohio River, the heavily wooded state park is named for the 55 foot wide cave that was carved out of the limestone rock by thousands of years of water flow. The deep, dark recesses immediately conjure up images of adventure, mystery, terror, robbers and pirates. Guests will have the opportunity to explore the cave and experience what life was like in a much simpler time. In addition to the natural splendor of the cave itself, more adventurous guests can explore the two established hiking trails (moderate difficulty) and appreciate the tranquil forests and inspired views. Please note: This included attraction involves walking on some uneven terrain.
Day 6: Paducah, KY
Known as the city of art, rhythm and rivers, Paducah boasts a lively Lowertown Arts District, the renowned River Heritage Museum, a Save America’s Treasures project, and tours via foot, trolley or horse-drawn carriage reveal its charm. OR Elegant displays at the Museum of the American Quilter’s Society highlight the vigorous rebirth of quiltmaking. It’s just one of the colorful attractions in a lovely city of 19th century architecture, specialty shops and one-of-a-kind eateries.
Included Hop-on Hop-off Tour:
Board our luxury motorcoach as we tour Paducah and all that this Kentucky town has to offer. If the fine art of quilting interests you, stop at the National Quilt Museum where you’ll fine championship quilts by modern day artists. Next, we’ll stop at the Lower Town Shopping District, Paducah’s oldest residential neighborhood. Lower Town serves as home to relocated artists from around the world as a results of the City’s Artists Relocation Program.
As our tour continues, we will visit a Greek Revival home that exhibits highlights of Western Kentucky’s role in the War Between the States; The Lloyd Tilghman House & Civil War Museum. Next, we’ll stop at The Paducah Railroad Museum which displays heavy equipment and memorabilia from railroads throughout Paducah. Along the way we will observe some unforgettable portraits from Paducah’s past depicting Paducah’s rich history in more than 50 life-sized panoramic murals. Explore the Market House Square area and browse through the specialty shops and antiques. Lastly, we will visit Paducah’s maritime legacy and folklore at the River Discovery Center, a Save America’s Treasures project in Paducah’s oldest standing structure.
Day 7: Dover, TN
Included Tour: Fort Donelson. 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. You'll tour this historic battleground and learn about the battle, view the earthworks and cannons, the National Battlefield Cemetery and the Visitor's Center.
Day 8: Clarksville, TN
Included Hop-on Hop-off Tour: Smith-Trahern Mansion: Built in 1858 by wealthy tobacconist Christopher Smith, this majestic antebellum home overlooks the Cumberland River. Constructed during the troubled pre Civil War era, the architecture reflects Greek Revival and Italianate styles. The home boasts grand hallways, an exquisite curved staircase and a “widow’s walk” on the roof.
Montgomery County Courthouse: Originally constructed n the 1800’s, the Courthouse and Courts Complex is a blend of state of the art technology and historic charm. Restored after the 1999 tornado, this architectural beauty is the symbol of Clarksville’s historic downtown. Adorning the corridors of both buildings are 150 photographs illustrating the history and heritage of Montgomery County.
Customs House Museum and Cultural Center: Built in 1898 as a US Post Office and Customs House for the flourishing tobacco trade, this architecturally fascinating structure is among the most photographed buildings in the region. The state’s second largest general museum, the center features rotating shows, galleries and sculpture garden.
Fort Defiance Interpretive Center and Park: In April of 2011, the Fort Defiance Civil War Park opened its doors to the new interpretive center, kick off the 150th anniversary of the war that defined a century and changed the country. Fort Defiance overlooks the Red and Cumberland Rivers and has a breathtaking view of the Downtown. Visitors are encouraged to walk the trails and enjoy the history that the location represents. Displays, cannons and the occasional re-enactors are just some of things you can enjoy on your visit to Fort Defiance.
Day 9: Nashville, TN
Arrival 8:00 AM. Explore Music City at your leisure before making your way home, or take the opportunity to enjoy the city of Nashville