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Old Man River


A leisurely ramble along the Great River Road from St. Paul to St. Louis.


  • Visit and sleep in five states!
  • 2 nights in Dubuque and Mark Twain’s Hannibal
  • Overnights in Eagan, La Crosse and Rock Island
  • Tour Minnesota’s Mill City and Watkins Company Museums
  • See Iowa’s Effigy Mounds, Pike’s Peak and Field of Dreams
  • Visit Illinois’ John Deere Pavilion and Nauvoo
  • Explore Missouri’s Hannibal and Gateway Arch Complex



Daily Itinerary

Day 1

Fly non-stop to Minneapolis/St. Paul arriving around noon. After lunch visit the only waterfall on the Mississippi and the Mill City Museum intertwining the area’s agriculture and industry with the lifeblood of them both – the Mississippi River. Hilton Garden Inn – Eagan (L)

Day 2

Begin a slow, southerly drive with stops in Red Wing (famous for shoes and pottery) and Winona (home of The Watkins Company, maker of spices and extracts since 1868). We’ll cross the river for a night in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Gundersen Hotel (FB,L)

Day 3

Most consider Iowa to be a flat, rather boring state. Prepare to be surprised as our next few day of travel have us mostly on the west side of the river among soaring limestone bluffs, the country’s largest number of ancient ceremonial and burial mounds (many preserved within Effigy Mounds National Monument) and even a place called Pike’s Peak! There will be a chance to slip your toes into the Mississippi River mud while searching for sea shells. Sea shells in Iowa? You bet! Our destination is Iowa’s oldest city, Dubuque, and a fabulously restored historic hotel named for its founder. Hotel Julien – 2 nights (FB,L)

Day 4

Dubuque is the home of New Mellary Abbey, a Trappist monastery. We’ll meet some of the brothers and learn of their unique industry – a product nearly everyone will eventually need, but hopefully no time soon! Then on to a favorite Sports Leisure stop, the Field of Dreams near Dyersville. Anyone for a game of catch? Tonight, the Dubuque Historical Society is our host for a progressive dinner through three historic downtown buildings. (FB,L,D)

Day 5

Continue around Iowa’s “big bend” past Lock and Dam numbers 12 and 13 towards the Quad Cities. Moline was the city John Deere called home. We’ll explore his life, legacy and yes, his green farm equipment upon arrival, and spend the night on Rock Island in the heart of the city’s trendy arts, entertainment and dining district. Holiday Inn (FB,L)

Day 6

No trip along the Mississippi would be complete without a cruise on the Mississippi, right? Board the Celebration Belle midmorning for a 4-hour luncheon cruise to Muscatine, the Melon Capital of Iowa. We’ll hop across the river for a short drive on the Illinois side to visit Nauvoo, one of the key sites on the Mormon western migration and still sacred to their faith today. In the evening arrive in Mark Twain’s boyhood hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. Best Western on the River – 2 nights (FB,L)

Day 7

Explore the real childhood of Samuel Clemons to discover the inspirations for the fictional lives of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in this quaint riverside town that the unsinkable Mollie Brown also called home. A farewell dinner (which simply MUST include catfish) will end the day in style. (FB,D)

Day 8

It’s the last day, but the fun isn’t over yet! In St. Louis visit the newly reengineered Gateway Arch and the new Museum at the Gateway Arch, our National Monument to Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase and Western Expansion in these United States. Fly out of St. Louis Lambert International Airport in the early evening. (FB,L)

Daily Itinerary Meal Legend
CBContinental Breakfast
BGenerally a limited buffet or menu
FBFull buffet or choice of menu
BRBrunch, often buffet-style
LLunch, often several menu options
HT or ATHigh or Afternoon Tea
DDinner, often several menu options


Friday, October 11, 2019 to Friday, October 18, 2019

8 Days, 16 Meals

Daily breakfast, 7 lunches (including a luncheon cruise aboard the Celebration Belle), 2 dinners


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