Enjoy your complimentary stay at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. The evening is yours to get self-acquainted with the many treasures of New Orleans.
Day 3: Nottoway, LA
Nottoway is the South’s largest, most glorious remaining Antebellum mansion with a rich history dating back to 1859. In a fabulous location along the great River Road overlooking the grand Mississippi River, this “White Castle” of the South transports visitors back to an era of glory and grandeur. Set amongst a natural backdrop of vibrant gardens and two hundred-year-old oak trees, Nottoway Plantation captivates all with a brilliant blend of true Southern hospitality, history and mystery.
Included Shore Excursions:
Take a short walk from the dock of the American Queen and enjoy an American Queen Steamboat Company exclusive Christmas Market in the shadow of the “White Castle” of the south. Local artisans, bakers, and craftsmen will line the walkways of Nottoway offering their finest and most unique souvenirs. Use this time to pick out the perfect gift to take back to a loved-one back home.
Traditional Plantation Dinner
Before you step out onto the grounds of Nottoway Plantation, you will be treated to a special dining affair aboard the vessel. The choice is yours for a Traditional Creole, Plantation or Vegetarian inspired four-course meal before setting off on your Nottoway adventure.
Traditional Southern Ball Demonstration
Nottoway Plantation is a true beauty on the Mississippi. Tonight, enjoy the holiday season in one of the most lavish and luxurious settings the south has to offer. After spending the day touring the historical plantation and its perfectly manicured grounds, join us in the stunning White Ballroom, where a spectacular performance will be held depicting the extravagant southern balls held here during the plantation era. Dressed in full gowns and proper suits, impersonators will share a little about the incredible festivities held at Nottoway Plantation.
Exclusive Holiday Gala
Join us for an enchanted holiday evening on the stunning plantation grounds, lavishly decorated for the occasion. Spend a magical night dancing to live music, indulging in decadent desserts and sipping your favorite cocktail.
Bonfire Lighting Ceremony on the Levee
Following the Exclusive Holiday Gala, gather on the levee overlooking the American Queen where a ceremonial bonfire will be lit extending a warm, red glow across the waters of the Mississippi River. As you make your way back to the American Queen, keep your eyes to the sky for a shimmering fireworks display.
Day 4: St. Francisville, LA
Established in 1809, St. Francisville is the oldest town in the Florida Parishes. Below where St. Francisville is located currently, was a settlement called Bayou Sara in the 1790’s. When this settlement was destroyed by flooding and fires, many of the structures and artifacts were hauled up the bluff into St. Francisville, where they are still standing. The town is referred to as “two miles long and two yards wide,” but that definitely doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer! Stop in at one of the unique shops, historical homes, beautiful churches, or breathtaking parks and you will agree with that! Spanish moss trees grow throughout the town, which creates a beautiful southern comfort to the atmosphere.
Included Shore Excursions:
Guests can hop off here and walk over to The Republic of West Florida Historical Site. Or choose to stroll into Grandmother’s Buttons, a very unique southern boutique. Take a stroll down Royal Street at any of the shops or just to admire the beautiful trees and houses. Or stop into Grandmother’s Buttons – a unique boutique that offers jewelry made out of 100 year old buttons. Inside the store, you can visit the button museum to learn the history of the business and the inspirations of the art. The store is located inside of a former historic bank lobby with 16-foot ceilings and a bank vault, even if jewelry is not in your plans – the architecture is beautiful!
Old Market Hall
Become steeped in southern charm and local artistry. Stop at Harrington Gallery to experience one-of-a-kind paintings and beautiful pieces by local artists. Visit the Shanty Too, a quaint boutique featuring artisan jewelry and gifts. The structure was built in 1819 and has a beautiful open layout. Now, the building is used as a market center for the town to host their small businesses. Every day is different, you may see anything from jewelry and makeup, scarves and dresses, or snacks and produce!
West Feliciana Historical Society Museum
Learn about St. Francisville and Louisiana’s history and culture. Also, feel free to stop at the West Feliciana Parish Library and relax with a good book or newspaper. This museum is dedicated to the history, people, and architectures of West Feliciana Parish. Built inside a former hardware store built in 1896, the Historical Society Museum displays many artifacts, photos, costumes, and articles all portraying the history of St. Francisville. Just across the street, you can stop in any of the fine boutiques and shops!
Grace Episcopal Church
Originally built in 1827, this restored Gothic structure is one of the oldest Protestant churches in Louisiana. Learn about its significance during the Civil War and its’ historical Civil War cemetery. Built in 1860 and rebuilt in 1893 after the Union caused heavy damage in 1863, Grace Episcopal Church stands tall in St. Francisville. Enjoy a self-guided tour of the church and the grounds and make sure to check out the organ located inside – it dates all the way back to 1860! This church is one of the state’s oldest Protestant churches that still stand today.
Day 5: Natchez, MS
This charming river town was first inhabited by Natchez Indians and French explorers who shared the land. It was founded in 1716, making it the oldest city on the Mississippi. The city is known for its elegance, hospitality, and impressive preservation of history – found on every street corner throughout Natchez. Guests enjoy the unique shops, restaurants, museums, and historical homes located in Natchez, all of which contribute to Hugh Bayless’ book, “The 100 Best Towns in America.”
Included Shore Excursions:
Built in 1823, this was a Union headquarters for Natchez during the Civil War built in 1823. This 1716 mansion was built by the French as a fort on the bluffs of Natchez. The Mississippi State Society Daughters of the American Revolution have since gained ownership and have been maintaining the house and grounds since 1938. On this guided tour, hear the history of the house and the artifacts from an expert tour guide dressed in period clothing. Guests can explore the extensive gardens, gift shop, library, or carriage house before they leave
Natchez Visitor’s Center
Learn about the river in this beautiful southern town, visit exhibits, or shop at the gift shop! Enjoy a short, 20-minute video in the Visitor’s Center Theater and hear about the history of Natchez upon arrival. Then, explore the building at your leisure. At the entrance a scaled display model of the city is showcased. Stop in the office for some general information and questions about the town and its history, including town highlights and points of interest.
William Johnson House Museum
An incredible, historic 3-story brick house constructed after the 1840 Natchez tornado. William Johnson was known as the “Barber of Natchez”; he began as a slave and gained his freedom at age eleven. After his freedom, he began to work his way up in society, eventually becoming almost fully accepted within society. As the town barber, William Johnson was able to hear the stories and gossip of many of the residents, which he documented in his diary for more than 16 years. His 3-story brick home was built in 1840 and showcases many
This fully restored mansion was owned by a wealthy cotton broker and merchant and was built in 1858. This Greek Revival Mansion was built in 1858. The house was built before the breakout of the Civil War in town but did suffer some damage – a cannon ball was actually launched into their kitchen! It is now fully restored – the main floor offers a showcase of many antiques and furnishings and the upper floors offer a costume collection located in the Historic Clothing Museum. Tour the house and then stop in the gift shop for some souvenirs.
A magnificent, Antebellum Greek Revival Mansion built on an entire city block of Natchez. Irish Immigrant and cotton merchant Frederick Stanton built this Palatial Greek Revival mansion in 1857. It was appraised at $83,000 during that period, even before it was furnished. Take a 30-minute tour of the house – which takes up the entire block and is fully furnished. Afterwards you can stop for lunch in the Carriage House Restaurant, known for their fine southern cuisine.
King’s Tavern and Charboneau Distillery
Step off the motorcoach and walk through the front gate leading to the second-floor porch of this 1789 building – the oldest structure in the city of Natchez. Join us for an American Queen exclusive tour of the King’s Tavern – a newly opened restaurant and bar, owned by Regina Charboneau, a nationally known chef, and her husband Doug. Enjoy an exclusive tour of the distillery, followed by a guided tour of the bar, located just next door, with a custom drink on the house.
Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture Museum
View photographs and artifacts or hear the history of African-American heritage in Natchez and Adams County. Here, learn the history and culture of the African Americans in Natchez over time. Guests can hear the stories or explore the many exhibits that portray the hardships that African Americans suffered and those that prevailed in a time period which allowed for minimal success to the entire race. Add another dimension of Natchez history by stopping at this museum.
Day 6: Vicksburg, MS (Half Day)
Vicksburg perfectly blends Southern culture and heritage with exciting modern-day attractions. Described as the “Key to the South” by Abraham Lincoln, this southern town carries a history unlike any other Civil War city. Vicksburg was founded in 1811 and grew as a vital river port city. It was a major component to the Civil War and carries much of the history within the town. Today, Vicksburg is a popular spot for tourists to learn about the battles of the city, taste the cuisine, visit the many museums, and pick out the perfect souvenir.
Included Shore Excursions:
Church of the Holy Trinity
This Episcopal Church is more than 125 years old and houses six Tiffany stained-glass windows. This incredible church spans over 125 feet long, is 52 feet wide, and reaches 61 feet high to the apex of the roof. The church was constructed in Norman style, finished in red brick, though it showcases zigzag tracery which was highly unique to the style at the time. The stained glass windows may be the main draw – there are 34. They were given as memorials and six of them were created by Tiffany Studios in New York under the supervision of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Anchuca, meaning “happy home” is one of the most significant antebellum homes in Vicksburg and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1830 and provided shelter for those suffering during the War. The word Anchuca derives from an Indian word meaning, “happy home”, which is the exact vibe this home gives off. Built in 1830 by politician J.W. Mauldin, Anchuca is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During the war, the house was used as a shelter for those who had suffered. Tour the home and its beautiful furnishings.
Old Court House Museum
Built in 1858, this building stands as the most historic structure in Vicksburg, hosting speakers and guests like Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, and others! Construction for this colossal courthouse began in 1858 and was completed miraculously just two years later in 1860 for $100,000. It was restored by Eva Whitaker Davis after the tornado of 1953 swept through Mississippi. Now, the courthouse is filled with countless artifacts including, confederate flags, portraits, the trophy antlers won by steamboat Robert E. Lee in an 1870 race, an original Teddy Bear given by Theodore Roosevelt, and much more!
Yesterday’s Children Antique Doll & Toy Museum
Yesterday’s Children was featured in Southern Living, Delta Magazine, and Dolls Magazine. Enjoy a self-guided tour featuring over 1,000 dolls and toys dating back to 1843.
Biendemham Coca-Cola Museum
At the Biedenharn Coca-Cola™ Museum, enjoy the wide variety of Coca-Cola™ memorabilia in an authentic candy store and soda fountain setting. This building is where Coca-Cola™ was bottled for the first time anywhere in the world in 1894.
Lower Mississippi River Museum
Listen to the risks and benefits of life surrounding the Mississippi River and learn the Federal Government’s role the Mississippi River’s past and present. This museum’s mission is to show the role of the government in Mississippi’s past and future, to maintain a healthy river. Guests can explore showcases of the history of Vicksburg and the region or exhibits about the 1927 flood and how it affected Vicksburg and the Mississippi River. Learn about the fish of the river up close in the museum’s 1,515 gallon aquarium or choose your own adventure on the river with the Mississippi Trail Interactive exhibit! (Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)
Old Depot Museum
Featuring the world’s largest collection of ship models and a collection of riverboat models and naval vessels with Mississippi names. Also, the museum offers the only diorama of the Siege of Vicksburg, shown in a birds-eye view of the battlefield with 2,300 miniature soldiers. Formerly a depot for the Grand Trunk & Western Railroad, this museum has more than 150,000 historical and genealogical items in its collection. It features a scale-model village of the buildings important to the development of Vicksburg and the South Kalamazoo County Region and outback guests can check out the caboose! Before you leave, make sure to visit the gift shop!
Day 7: Leisurely River Cruising
Relax on deck with a copy of Huckleberry Finn or another imaginative selection borrowed from our revered Mark Twain Gallery, enjoy some quiet time in the Ladies' Tea Parlor, or recruit your fellow guests for an exciting board game in our Gentlemen's Card Room. For a remarkable one-of-a-kind experience, take a guided tour of the American Queen's Engine Room to explore the inner workings of our classic, steam-powered vessel. There is always plenty to do between dawn and dusk on the river!
Day 8: Tunica, MS
Thank you for cruising with us! We hope that you had a memorable experience and look forward to welcoming you aboard in the future.