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Mighty Mississippi: Bridging America

Program Number: 20726RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/12/2014 - 9/20/2014; 9/5/2015 - 9/13/2015;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Minnesota/Wisconsin/Iowa/Missouri
Price starting at: $4,197.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 22; 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners    

Explore the Upper Mississippi aboard the magnificent American Queen, an authentic paddlewheel steamboat that recalls the romance and adventure of the past. From the Gateway Arch to the Wisconsin Amish Country, fill your heart with the spirit of expansion and feed your mind with the historic events and fascinating figures that define this iconic corner of America.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile per day.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

St. Louis, Mo., 1 night; aboard American Queen, 7 nights.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.



Days 1-2: Arrival St. Louis, Mo. / embark American Queen:

Explore St. Louis which includes a visit to the historic Forest Park neighborhood, site of the 1904 World's Fair and the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library at the University of Missouri.



Days 3-4: On River / Hannibal:

Absorb the natural beauty around you as you steamboat up the Mississippi River. At the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum learn how the life of Samuel Clemens inspired the classics he penned as Mark Twain.



Days 5-6: On River / Dubuque, Iowa:

Visit the Mississippi River Museum (a satellite of the Smithsonian) The National Rivers Hall of Fame captures the drama of river people from all across America. Explore our nation's rivers in the keelboat audio exhibit, enjoy the steamboat invention theater, then steer barges in a modern-day towboat pilothouse simulator. Hall of Fame inductees are the pioneers, the explorers and the artists who are no longer living.



Day 7: La Crosse, Wis.:

A visit to the University of Wisconsin Library, housing the largest collection of steamboat photographs in the world.



Day 8-9: Red Wing, Minn. / disembark St. Paul / departure:

In Wabasha, Minn., the oldest city on the Upper Mississippi River, visit the National Eagle Center to observe bald eagles and a golden eagle.









American Queen

The largest steamboat ever built, the American Queen is a recreation of a classic Mississippi riverboat featuring a steam-powered paddlewheel, lacy filigree and, inside, glistening woodwork and antiques. Public areas include the Mark Twain Gallery library, the Grand Saloon and a lounge. Wine and beer are complimentary with dinner.


Meals and Lodgings
   Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch
  St. Louis, Missouri 1 night
   American Queen
  On the Mississippi River aboard the American Queen 7 nights
 Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch
Type: Hotel
  Ship Information: .
  Contact info: 2 South 4th Street
St. Louis, MO 63102 USA
phone: 314-231-3003
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability Contact Road Scholar Travel Services at 800-241-1404 or via email at travelinfo@roadscholar.org.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 American Queen
Type: Riverboat
  Description: •The only authentic overnight paddlewheel steamboat in America. •The acclaimed cuisine of famed American chef Regina Charboneau. •The only steamboat with multiple, specialty dining options, all at no additional charge. •Complimentary bottled water and soft drinks throughout your voyage. •Complimentary wines and beers at dinner. •All staterooms feature gourmet coffee brewers and Starbucks coffee. •Gracious, friendly service from a professionally trained all-American staff. •The warm and inviting ambiance of an antebellum mansion. •Public rooms and accommodations are decorated with Victorian charm and carefully selected antiques. •Elegant-casual attire throughout your voyage — no formal wear required. •Daily lectures by the Riverlorian, our onboard river historian. •Professional showboat-style entertainment nightly. •Nightly dancing to swing and big band music. •Enthralling calliope concerts and a chance for guests to play!
  Ship Information: Length: 418 feet long Capacity: 436 passengers
  Contact info: One Commerce Square
40 South Main Street, 21st Floor
Memphis, TN 38103 USA
phone: 190-165-4260 x0
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The welcome reception begins at 5:30PM at the hotel. You will be staying at Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch that night.
  End of Program:
The ship docks at 8:00AM in St. Paul, Minnesota. You will be staying at American Queen the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. "The Guest Information Form" towards the back of your packet must be completed and emailed or faxed to the cruise line at gif@aqsc.com or 901-654-2639.
  Parking availability:
n/a
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  St. Louis, Missouri
  Nearest airport:  Lambert St. Louis International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location:  On the Mississippi River aboard the American Queen
Travel Details
 

Lambert St. Louis Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $40
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

20 minutes from the airport 

 

Distance:

 

15 miles

   

Taxis are readily available at the airport.

 

Minneapolis St. Paul Airport

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
American Queen
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$25
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

30 minutes from the pier in St. Paul 

 

Distance:

 

20 miles

   

Transportation by coach is available by the cruise line. Reservations can be made while on board the ship.

 

Minneapolis St. Paul Airport

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $60
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

30 minutes from the pier in St. Paul 

 

Distance:

 

20 miles

 

Minneapolis St. Paul Airport

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Super Shuttle
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

N/A
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

30 minutes from the St. Paul pier 

 

Distance:

 

20 miles

   

Shuttle services available. Please call Super Shuttle at 800.258.3826 to make reservations.

 
Driving Directions
  From Lambert St. Louis International Airport 15 Miles Southeast Turn Right To Take The I-70 East Ramp Take The Broadway/Convention Center Exit Follow Broadway To Walnut, Turn Left Turn Left Onto 4th Street Hotel Is On The Right Park Out Front & Register With The Front Desk
  Traveling East On I-64 Take Exit 40B (6th Street) Turn Left at Gratiot St Turn at 4th Street Hotel Will Be On Right
  Traveling On I-70 Take The Broadway/Convention Center Exit (#249C) Follow Broadway To Walnut, Turn Left Turn Left Onto 4th Street Hotel Is On The Right
  Traveling West On I-64/Hwy 40 Cross Poplar Street Bridge & Stay In Right (Downtown) Lane Take Downtown/Memorial Dr Exit Turn Left At 2nd Stoplight (Market St) Go 2 Blks Turn Left At Broadway Turn Left At 1st Stoplight (Walnut St) Turn Left At Next Stoplight (4th Street) Hotel Is On Right
Elevation Note: Flat terrain.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival, orientation, welcome dinner.
(Friday, September 12)
   
 Afternoon: Arrivals in St. Louis. Check in for your program in the lobby at the hospitality desk between 12 and 5 pm. Check in at the hotel begins at 3:00 pm.
 Dinner: Meet your group leader and fellow Road Scholars during orientation and a welcome dinner beginning at 5:30 pm in the hotel lobby.
   
Accommodations: Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: St. Louis, Missouri
(Saturday, September 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast we will enjoy a field trip of St. Louis which will include: a visit to some historic neighborhoods; Forest Park, site of the 1904 World’s Fair; and the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library at the University of Missouri- St Louis.
 Lunch: Lunch in a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Transfer to the American Queen for boarding.
 Dinner: Welcome aboard dinner on the American Queen.
 Evening: Take in the sights as The American Queen departs St. Louis at 9 p.m. The St. Louis skyline is at its most striking when seen from the vantage of the river itself. This will also give us a rare opportunity to view two iconic structures – Eads Bridge and the Gateway Arch – from the deck of a moving steamboat.
   
Accommodations: American Queen
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Steamboating on the Mississippi
(Sunday, September 14)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the American Queen.
 Morning: This morning we will enjoy a lecture by Jerry Sutphin: "Locks and Dams on the Upper Mississippi River". We will learn what the Upper Mississippi was like before locks and dams, why 27 locks and dams are needed, how they were constructed, how they operate, and the benefits they provide.
 Lunch: Aboard the American Queen.
 Afternoon: This afternoon you have time to enjoy the ship board activities. Prior to dinner, we will gather for an exclusive Road Scholar cocktail party.
 Dinner: Aboard the American Queen.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening show aboard the American Queen.
   
Accommodations: American Queen
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Hannibal, Missouri
(Monday, September 15)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the American Queen.
 Morning: This morning we arrive in Mark Twain’s boyhood hometown, Hannibal, MO, to board the Twainland Express for a journey enlivened by the spirit of Samuel Clemens, who authored American classics under the pen name of Mark Twain. Begin your journey into the town that inspired the author’s imagination at the Mark Twain Boyhood House & Museum. See the Justice of Peace, the courtroom setting used for trial in Tom Sawyer’s story. Visit the Becky Thatcher House, home of Tom Sawyer’s first sweetheart. Then, take a journey to a time where the Golden Age of railroading and toy trains were part of most everyone’s life at the Big River Train Town Museum. Lastly, visit the local Trinity Church, or perhaps taste some wine at the Mark Twain Winery.
 Lunch: Aboard the American Queen.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we will gather for a lecture by Jerry Sutphin which will focus on the navigation on the Upper Mississippi River tributaries and the logging industry. He will discuss the history of steamboats, navigation on the St. Croix River, Wisconsin-Fox Rivers, Missouri River, and Illinois River, and the impact of these rivers on the Upper Mississippi River.
 Dinner: Aboard the American Queen.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening show aboard the American Queen.
   
Accommodations: American Queen
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Steamboating on the Mississippi River
(Tuesday, September 16)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the American Queen.
 Morning: The Great Waters of the Mississippi originate in Lake Itasca and roll relentlessly to the Gulf of Mexico. This force of nature is your constant companion during a magical day of uninterrupted cruising. Spend some free time on the ship's Front Porch of America, cozy up with a book in the Mark Twain Gallery, or try your hand at some cards in the Ladies Parlor or Gentlemen's Card Room.
 Lunch: Aboard the American Queen.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we will gather to watch "200 Years of Steamboating, 1811-2011." This movie focuses on the first Western Rivers steamboat and its impact on the history of the development of the United States. This will be followed by an open discussion of the movie and Western Rivers navigtaion.
 Dinner: Aboard the American Queen.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening show aboard the American Queen.
   
Accommodations: American Queen
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Dubuque, Iowa
(Wednesday, September 17)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the American Queen.
 Morning: Visit the Mississippi River Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. The National Rivers Hall of Fame captures the drama of river people from all across America, as the inductees are pioneers, explorers and artists who are no longer living. Visit the keelboat audio exhibit to explore our nation's rivers, enjoy the steamboat invention theater, and steer barges in a modern-day towboat pilothouse simulator.
 Lunch: Aboard the American Queen.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore Dubuque on your own. You might want to join the American Queen's Hop-On, Hop-Off coach and explore the Grand Opera House.
 Dinner: Aboard the American Queen
 Evening: Enjoy an evening show aboard the American Queen.
   
Accommodations: American Queen
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: La Crosse, Wisconsin
(Thursday, September 18)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the American Queen.
 Morning: Enjoy a relaxed morning on board before we dock in La Crosse, WI, a gem of Victorian and Art Deco architecture.
 Lunch: Aboard the American Queen.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, we will visit the University of Wisconsin Library, housing the largest collection of steamboat photographs in the world.
 Dinner: Aboard the American Queen.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening show aboard the American Queen.
   
Accommodations: American Queen
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Red Wing, Minnesota
(Friday, September 19)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the American Queen.
 Morning: Red Wing ranks as one of Minnesota's leading manufacturing cities. Historically it is known as home to many products including its famous shoes, pottery and linseed oil. Red Wing also boasts a variety of shops including arts, antiques, pottery and one-of-a kind boutiques. Start your exploration of Red Wing at the Visitor Center for some vital information about the city. Discover Minnesota’s favorite destination for things such as antiques and pottery at the Pottery Place District. Then visit the Stoney Ends Harps, who have made handcrafted folk lever harps for 25 years. At the Historic West End, you will find the Native American, Military and Sheldon Performing Arts Theatre. Don’t miss the spectacular view of bluffs of Minnesota and Wisconsin that await you at Memorial Park!
 Lunch: Aboard the American Queen.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, we travel to Wabasha, Minnesota, the oldest city on the Upper Mississippi River. At the home of the National Eagle Center eagles nest here year-round and are in abundance during the winter months. The Center in downtown Wabasha houses Bald Eagles and a Golden Eagle, and is open for programs and special groups. Visitors from all over the world have been to Wabasha to have a "nose to beak" experience with America's national symbol of freedom - the American Bald Eagle.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening show aboard the American Queen.
   
Accommodations: American Queen
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9: St. Paul, Minnesota
(Saturday, September 20)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the American Queen.
 Morning: Disembark in St. Paul, Minnesota. Transfer to the airport for flights back home.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Delta Wedding / The Ponder Heart


Author: Eudora Welty


Description: A double-bill including Delta Wedding, Welty's delightful comedy of manners, which affectionately sends up an extended southern clan, and The Ponder Heart, a comic novella about a wealthy family’s attempts to prevent a hapless son and heir from giving away the family fortune.



Hannibal Missouri, A Brief History


Author: Ken Marks


Description: Tracing this history of Mark Twain's hometown from hamlet to bustling river port.



Hannibal, Missouri, Bluff City Memories


Author: Steve Chou


Description: A volume in the illustrated Images of America series.



Life on the Mississippi


Author: Mark Twain


Description: Twain returns to the days of his youth spent on the Mississippi in this classic. Full of historical information, anecdotes, character sketches and fond memories, it's at once a romantic history of a mighty river and an autobiographical account of Twain's early steamboat days.



Mark Twain On Travel


Author: Mark Twain, Terry Mort (Editor)


Description: A journalist, wanderer, opinionated and marvelously entertaining, Mark Twain wrote five well-received travel books over his long career. Editor Terry Mort handpicks choice selections for this satisfying anthology, organized geographically.



Mark Twain, An Illustrated Biography


Author: Geoffrey C. Ward, Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns


Description: This illustrated companion to the PBS series follows the arc of Twain's celebrated career.



Mississippi Solo: A River Quest


Author: Eddy L. Harris


Description: From Minnesota to New Orleans, Harris travels the length of the Mississippi in a canoe, facing shotgun-wielding bigots, wild dogs and tumultuous waves, ultimately emerging with an unforgettable and engaging American memoir.



Moon Handbook St. Louis


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National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America


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Old Man River, The Mississippi River in North American History


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River Horse: The Logbook of a Boat Across America


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Shantyboat: A River Way of Life


Author: Harlan Hubbard


Description: Hubbard and his wife built a 24-foot houseboat and lived on it for six years, eventually drifting downriver to New Orleans.



The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


Author: Mark Twain


Description: This Pengun Classics edition of Twain's story of Missouri river-rat Tom Sawyer is introduced by noted Twain scholar Seelye, who considers Twain's impact on American literature.



The Emigrants


Author: Vilhelm Moberg, Gustaf Lannestock (Translator)


Description: The author, Vilhelm Moberg, one of Swedens' great 20th century writers, captures the daily lives of Swedish pioneers in early America in this first of four novels about a Swedish couple who make a new life in Minnesota.



The Mississippi Steamboat Era in Historic Photographs, Natchez to New Orleans, 1870-1920


Author: Joan Gandy, Thomas Gandy


Description: An excellent collection of early steamboat photos. Images include steamboat exteriors, interiors, passengers, crew and river scenes.



The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation


Author: Stephen Ambrose, Douglas Brinkley


Description: This illustrated popular history -- and travelogue -- tells the story of the great river from the time of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.



The River Queen


Author: Mary Morris


Description: An engaging, meditative account of travels aboard a houseboat on the upper Mississippi (the journey ends in Paris Landing, Tennessee).



Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn


Author: Mark Twain


Description: A handsome Everyman's Edition of Twain's classics.



USA, Central Map


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Description: A map of the central United States.



Views on the Mississippi, The Photographs of Henry Peter Bosse


Author: Mark Neuzil, Henry Peter Bosse


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Voices on the River


Author: Walter Havighurst


Description: Havinghurst relates the colorful tale of famous steamboats and men who piloted them in this classic collection of tales of the Mississippi.



Wilderness and the American Mind


Author: Roderick Nash


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William Clark and the Shaping of the West


Author: Landon Y. Jones


Description: Jones captures the drama and significance of the life of Brigadier General William Clark in this vivid tale of the man and the ruthless, often lawless, expansion of the American frontier.





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