Day 1: Hotel Stay - Nashville, TN
Enjoy your complimentary stay at the iconic Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. The evening is yours to get self-acquainted with all that this legendary "Music City" has to offer.
Our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel for your convenience between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. It is here that our friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving Premium Shore Excursions. An American Queen Steamboat Company representative, as well as a local representative, will be readily available to provide you with dining, entertainment, and sight-seeing suggestions so that you may maximize your time in Nashville.
Day 2: Clarksville, TN (Nashville)
Today is the day you have been waiting for! Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey through history.
If you haven’t gotten your full dose of Nashville yet, visit the AQSC Hospitality Desk for ideas about how to spend your day. The official Voyage Check-In will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. During this time, our representatives will arrange for your transfer to the vessel and answer any questions you might have. The process is simple and will have you back to exploring in no time. If you have any additional questions, the Hospitality Desk will be at your service until the complimentary vessel transfers begin.
Day 3: Clarksville, TN
Clarksville is the fifth fastest growing city in the United States while keeping their small town charm. Founded in 1784 and incorporated as a town in 1785, Clarksville was named for Revolutionary War hero General George Rogers Clark. The town is lined with history ranging for centuries and can be seen through prime examples of Victorian and Roman styles of architecture that are prevalent throughout the city.
Included Shore Excursions:
This beautiful home overlooks the Cumberland River. It was designed by Adolphus Heiman in 1858 for a wealthy tobacconist by the name Christopher Smith. The home reflects the transition between Greek Revival and Italianate styles, which were very popular at that time. Although not as large as some, the home boasts grand hallways, an exquisite curved staircase and a “widow” walk” on the roof. The original main building consisted of four large rooms on each of the two floors, opening onto both the hallways and the balconies. The kitchen was attached to the back of the house, but there was no connecting door. Of the many out-buildings that must have been on the property at this time, only the slave’s quarters remains
Customs House Museum and Cultural Center
This center, located in the center of downtown Clarksville, is the State’s second largest general museum. The 1898 portion of the Museum was originally designed for use as a Federal Post Office and Custom House to handle the large volume of foreign mail created by the city’s international tobacco business. It measures 62 feet, 2 inches by 62 feet, 2 inches overall and is built on a smooth stone foundation. The brick exterior has decorative terra cotta around all openings and on the corners. The hipped roof with flared eaves is made of slate over long leaf pine, with the roof framing being of steel construction. The floor is of Knoxville, Tennessee marble, and the plastered walls feature extensive natural white oak trim. The building contains three vaults. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. With over 35,000 square feet of exhibit space, hands-on activities and special events, this museum can keep everyone busy. Explore the expansive museum visiting galleries displaying fine art, science, and history. Enjoy the museum’s collection of model trains that ride around the tracks each day.
Montgomery County Courthouse
The first Montgomery County courthouse was built from logs in 1796 by James Adams. It was located close to the riverbank with the rest of the early town, on the corner of present-day Riverside Drive and Washington Street. After this, numerous courthouses replaced the original, until finally reaching the sixth replacement. The sixth courthouse was built between Second and Third Streets, with the cornerstone laid on May 16, 1879. It was designed by George W. Bunting of Indianapolis, Indiana. Five years later, the downtown area was hit by a tornado, which damaged the roof of the courthouse and then in 1900, the structure was ravaged by fire, with the upper floors gutted and the clock tower destroyed. Some citizens wanted the building replaced, but the judge refused and ordered the damage repaired. The courthouse remained unfixed until it was destroyed by the January 22, 1999 tornado. Residents considered replacing it with a new building, but decided to restore and reconstruct the historic structure. In the process it was upgraded and adapted for use as a county office building.
Fort Defiance Interpretive Center and Park
In November 1861, Confederate troops began to build a defensive fort that would control the river approach to Clarksville. They mounted three guns in the fort. On February 19, 1862, Federal gunboats came up the river from Fort Donelson and reported the fort displayed a white flag and was deserted. The Federals took over the fort and enlarged it so that it would control traffic on the Hopkinsville Pike. Clarksville was left with a small garrison of Union Troops. In April 1862, this small garrison was made up of the 71st Ohio Volunteers commanded by Col. Rodney Mason. During July and August 1862, there was an increase in guerrilla activity around Clarksville. On August 18, 1862, Clarksville was recaptured by Confederate Calvary. Union soldiers were sent from Fort Donelson to retake Clarksville in September 1862. Battles were fought at New Provi- dence on September 6, 1862 and at Riggins Hill on September 7, 1862. The town and fort were reoccupied by Federal troops who remained for the rest of the war. Col. Bruce was placed in command at Clarksville and Fort Defiance was renamed Fort Bruce.
Day 4: Dover, TN
Stewart County is a small county enriched with history, picture-perfect scenery, and welcoming citizens. Guests are greeted with nature's beauty and wildlife surrounding the city. Located at the county's heart is Dover, its county seat and the home of Fort Donelson National Park. This peaceful, picturesque town is the location of one of the most historic battles of the Civil War - a battle that changed the direction of the war for the North. Today, bald eagles call this park their home as and soar through the skies; a true symbol of freedom. Although small and rural, Dover has much to offer her visitors who can enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many local restaurants or take in the comforting hometown charm found throughout the city. Dover and Stewart County are the perfect gateway to a simple, cozy, quiet, country experience.
Included Shore Excursions:
Stewart County Visitors Center/Fort Donelson Visitor Center & Museum
Set the scene for this battlefield journey at the Fort Donelson National Battlefield Visitor Center & Museum, the perfect place to get a background of the events leading up to the 1862 battle. Enjoy a short orientation film presentation, Fort Donelson: Gateway to the Confederate Heartland, which engages visitors with a storyline that draws on the lifelong friendship between Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Simon B. Buckner. Explore the facility’s many showcases, artifacts, and the Eastern National bookstore and learn some rare and interesting facts about the battlefield!
Fort Donelson Lower River Battery
The construction of the Fort Donelson started in the year 1861 by Daniel S. Donelson and was named after him. 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, ensuring that Kentucky would stay in the Union and opening up Tennessee for a Northern advance along the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. At Fort Donelson, visitors can learn about the battle, view the earthworks and cannons, and take a walk through the area on one of two trails. ere also are areas for picnics, parking, and strolls along the Cumberland River, as well as a Visitor Center, where guests can learn the history of the war leading up to this battle and the events that occurred after it was finished.
Fort Donelson National Cemetery
The Fort Donelson National Cemetery in Dover, Tennessee was established in 1867 as a burial ground for Union soldiers killed in a significant early Civil War battle. Today, the cemetery contains the graves of veterans representing the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, and the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Fort Donelson National Cemetery is one of 14 national cemeteries managed by the National Park Service and is a part of the Fort Donelson National Battlefield.
W.D. Sykes Historical Museum
The W.D Sykes Historical Museum is in the heart of Dover, TN. The museum houses an abundant collection of rich information on the county’s history, culture, and customs. While visiting the Historical Society Museum, guests have the opportunity to explore the county’s one-room schoolhouse and the history found inside, the beautiful Stewart County quilt showcased for all to see, and many more displays that demonstrate the local history. The building is also used to host many local events from charity dinners and dancing nights to educational seminars and talent shows, the W.D Sykes Historical Museum works hard to bring the community together.
The Surrender House/Dover Hotel
Built between 1851 and 1853, the Dover Hotel accommodated riverboat travelers before and after the Civil War. Te Dover Hotel was the site of the “unconditional surrender” of General Buckner to General Grant, on February 16, 1862. Grant’s terms of “unconditional and immediate surrender” were described by Buckner as “ungenerous and unchivalrous.” This was the Union Army’s first major victory of the Civil War, setting the stage for invasion of the south and eventual capture of the Mississippi River Valley. The structure was originally built in 1851, and still stands in the heart of Dover. The structure had served as General Buckner’s headquarters during the battle. The Fort Donelson House Historical Association and the National Park Service restored the house in the 1970s, and today the exterior looks much as it did at the time of the surrender.
Day 5: Paducah, KY
Paducah embraces their harmonious history between the European settlers and the Padoucca Indians native to the area. The city is located at the confluence of the Ohio and the Tennessee Rivers and because of this, it is often called the Four-Rivers Area due to the proximity of the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers. This prime location has played a major role in Paducah’s history, as transportation was easily accessible – the economy was strong and travelers were frequent!
Included Shore Excursions:
National Quilt Museum
Celebrating 25 years in 2016, The National Quilt Museum is the largest of its kind in the world. It is the portal to the contemporary quilt experience - exhibits and workshops by renowned quilters who are implementing creative approaches to fiber art. The 27,000-square-foot contemporary structure features three galleries highlighting a collection of contemporary quilts and changing thematic exhibitions that celebrate the talent and diversity of the global quilting community. Workshops taught by world-class fiber art instructors are offered year-round. The Museum Shop & Book Store offers Kentucky Crafted items and quilt-related instructional and collector books.
Lloyd Tilghman House
This historic Greek Revival house was built in 1852 for Lloyd Tilghman, a new member of Paducah’s community at the time. After the house was completed, Tilghman did not purchase the property. Instead, the builder, Robert Woolfolk became the sole owner of the house and grounds. Tilghman, his wife, their seven children, and five slaves resided in the home until 1861. It was then that Woolfolk and his family moved into the home. Their family was pro-South and proudly flew a Confederate flag causing many uproars in the community and with the Federal Troops who located their headquarters just across the street from the home. Eventually Woolfolk and his family were banished from Paducah and the United States, forced to live in Canada on August 1, 1864.
Paducah Railroad Museum
The original Freight House (across the parking lot from the Museum) was built in 1925 by the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway. In 1996, the Freight House was sold and the Museum moved to a building one-half block away. Here, learn the history of the railroad and those who used it, explore the authentic train models, and enjoy the memorabilia showcased for guests.
River Discovery Center
In 1988 Mayor Gerry Montgomery and her committee pursued the development of a museum to showcase the Four Rivers Region’s maritime heritage. The River Heritage Center was planned in 1992 as the very beginning stages of the mayor’s dream. Years later the museum was relocated by Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and renamed the River Heritage Museum before finally receiving its current name, the River Discovery Center in 2008. Here explore artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that share the history of marine life and the history of the river.
The Moonshine Company
Explore, taste, and purchase traditional and international award-winning Kentucky moonshine and moonshine flavors at The Moonshine Company in historic downtown Paducah. Located only blocks from the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, The Moonshine Company offers complimentary guided museum tours and moonshine samples that are distilled on-site in our 108-year-old building. Get a glimpse into the rich Kentucky moonshine history with their collection of historic moonshine stills and purchase that same moonshine secretly produced and bootlegged by our family over 80 years ago to bring home with you!
Day 6: Cape Girardeau, MO
Nestled along the western banks of the mighty Mississippi River lays the city of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It’s a community rich in history and heritage. For more than 250 years, people have been drawn to Cape Girardeau and the river on which it lies. Stroll along the riverfront, where the passion that led Mark Twain to write so eloquently about Cape Girardeau in Life on the Mississippi, the inspiration that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant used to lead with firm conviction as he took command of the Union Army in the historic downtown, and the warmth and hospitality that community founder Louis Lorimier extended to Lewis and Clark while on the journey of a lifetime as they set forth on their Corps of Discovery to explore the Louisiana Purchase will be prominent.
Included Shore Excursions:
Mississippi River Tales Murals
The Mississippi River Tales Mural is the largest and most dramatic of Cape Girardeau’s murals and is located on a portion of the downtown floodwall. Covering nearly 18,000 square feet, this 1,100-foot-long mural features 24 historically-themed panels that vividly portray Cape Girardeau’s rich history and heritage; descriptive markers provide an explanation of each panel. The Missouri Wall of Fame Mural features 47 individuals who were born in Missouri or achieved fame while living in the state.
Red House Interpretive Center
The Center commemorates the life of community founder French-Canadian, Louis Lorimier, as well as the visit of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in November, 1803. The Interpretive Center houses an early 1800s exhibit that reflects the lives of the early settlers of the old Cape Girardeau district. In addition, a rendering of Lorimier’s Trading Post displays authentic items that would have been sold at the turn of the 19th century. The gardens on the north side of the house show the types of garden you might have seen in 1803 with flowers, vegetables, cooking herbs, and medicinal herbs.
Old St. Vincent’s Church
The Renaissance architecture, referred to as English Gothic Revival style, is not only beautiful but also extremely rare, as very few churches of this style exist in America today. Explore the many artifacts preserved in the church as you admire the arches and woodwork lining the interior of the chapel. Discover this fully restored beauty as it transports you back in time.
Completed in 1883, the Glenn house is a fully restored historic museum in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It is a prime example of the Victorian period lifestyle including the architecture, furnishings, clothing, and décor. The Glenn House was built for David A. Glenn, who was an influential figure in the city’s history. He and his family occupied the home until 1915. Before they vacated the home, it was renovated in 1900 to the Queen Anne Style. The house is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Many of the furnishings and features of the home have been restored to their original beauty and have been kept authentic to the Victorian time interior.
Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts River Campus
Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts is composed of departments covering the history and science of art, music, theater, and dance. Visit the beautiful campus and explore the unique styles and subjects taught here. Walk around and discover impressive pieces of art, in many different styles, showcasing the talent and hard work of local students.
The Crisp Museum collects in three thematic areas: archaeology, history, and fine art. The Archaeology collection has several collections of prehistoric Native American artifacts, which illustrate aspects of the daily and ceremonial lives of the indigenous peoples who lived in southeastern Missouri from 13,500 B.C. to 1400 A.D., highlighting some very rare and exotic artifacts. The museum’s historical collections cover a wide range of artifacts with strengths in the areas of militaria, firearms and their accessories, clothing, and hand tools.
Cape River Heritage Museum
Since its founding in 1981, the Cape River Heritage Museum has focused on local history while preserving a historic building at the corner of Frederick and Independence streets. Located in an old fire house, the museum offers events, tours, and exhibits on steamboats, education, commerce, the Missouri mule, the state flag, the Show-Me slogan, Native American culture, and fire and police memorabilia. Snap a picture of yourself in the model steamboat or in the cab of a tall-ladder fire truck from the 1950s!
Day 7: Chester, IL
Known as the “Home of Popeye”, Chester, Illinois is a city rich in history and pop culture. Because creator and writer of Popeye, Elzie Crisler Segar, was born here, the famous characters starred in the show will be seen showcased frequently throughout the town. Stop at the Popeye Character Trail to view granite statues of the characters overlooking the Mississippi or check out America’s only Popeye museum and gift shop to take home a souvenir to remind you of your visit to Chester! Spend the day exploring the unique history as you walk through luxurious homes, historical buildings, and museums!
Included Shore Excursions:
Cohen Memorial Home
The Cohen home is located on a beautiful historical site on Harrison Street overlooking the Mississippi River. Its unusual blue storm windows make it a very visible landmark for boats on the river and travelers approaching the Chester Bridge from Missouri. Built in 1855, it was the home of the William Cohen family who lived there until 1983. The upstairs’ bedrooms contain furnishings and collections from several families of Chester including the Cohen family.
The Spinach Can Collectibles and Museum
As the only Popeye collectibles store and museum in America, this small shop located in Downtown Chester will surely bring back memories of the past as you explore. Walk around the front to see original and rare collectables featuring Popeye, Olive Oyl, Wimpy, Bluto, Swee’Pee, Jeep, and much more. Pick out the perfect unique book, toy, video, postcard, poster, or other memorabilia for someone back home or to keep for yourself. Then head into the back to see some rare and highly sought after Popeye collectibles.
The Courthouse and Randolph County Museum
The museum houses permanent displays as well as some artifacts that are temporarily on loan, and it hosts shows and exhibits which showcase specific treasures from the heritage and the long history of Randolph County. In addition, the newly established archives room will enable the museum to properly preserve and store documents, photographs, and other non-displayed artifacts for generations to come. Explore the history of Randolph County through collections of paintings, articles, photos, and artifacts that depict their past.
The Chester Welcome Center offers a lookout point which gives a fantastic vantage point to observe the majestic Mississippi River below. You won’t miss this building as a large statue of the iconic Popeye cast in bronze marks its location along the Chester streets. The Chester Welcome Center is located in Segar Park next to the Chester Bridge overlooking the Mississippi River. The new Welcome Center contains restrooms, an information center with displays and a large deck overlooking the Mississippi River and Missouri Bottoms. The bronze statue of Popeye the Sailor Man has been overlooking the Mississippi River in Segar Park for more than 30 years. This is the first of numerous Popeye & Friends Character Trail statues of Popeye characters placed in various areas in Chester.
Day 8: Alton, IL
In its early days, Alton was a bustling river town, much larger than Chicago. Alton was built on industry - flour mills, quarries, brick making, pottery making - and relied on the Mississippi River. The “Steamboat Era” played an important role of the growth of Alton, and riverboat traffic can still be seen from the riverfront up and down the Mighty Mississippi River.
Included Shore Excursions:
Audubon Center at Riverlands
Guest can view an ever-changing variety of songbirds and waterfowl at The Audubon Center at Riverlands. This unique attraction connects people to the beauty and significance of the Mississippi River. View bald eagles and herons as you experience the magnificent views of the quiet waters of Ellis Bay.
Alton Visitor Center
Stop at the Visitor’s Center and Mercantile Shop to learn more about the area and pick up a unique souvenir. Uncover the history of this American city and gather information on the best places to visit during your stay. Guests can then cross the street and explore the boutiques and shops with their eclectic collections!.
The Piasa Bird is a local legend in the Alton area. Its founding’s go back to 1673 when Father Jacques Marquette, in recording his famous journey down the Mississippi River with Louis Joliet, described the “Piasa” as a birdlike monster painted high on the bluffs along the Mississippi River, where the city of Alton, Illinois now stands. View the Piasa Bird and learn the tail of this Native American Mystical creature that is painted along the cliffs of Alton.
Jacoby Arts Center
The Jacoby Arts Center is a beacon in downtown Alton, attracting community interest and art lovers from across the country. Housed in the renovated 1899 Jacoby furniture store on Broadway this three-story, 40,000-squarefoot brick building was donated to the Madison County Arts Council by C. J. Jacoby and Co., Inc. and opened as an art center in 2004. In this new facility you will find a sparkling art gallery, a dynamic educational facility, and an array of exquisite artisans’ crafts.
Hop-off at this Central Alton stop, where you will find an array of activities to explore at your leisure. Choose to spend your afternoon shopping at the unique boutiques, treat yourself to a delicious lunch at one of the local eateries, or stroll along the street and admire the historic buildings and the stories they have to tell. As you make your way through town, discover why Alton is often referred to as one of the Most Haunted Towns in America.
Day 9: St. Louis, MO
Departure 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 St. Louis at your leisure or consider a Post-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer.