Day 1: Hotel Stay - Chattanooga
Enjoy your complimentary stay at the pre-cruise hotel. The evening is yours to become acquainted with the city. Our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel, and our friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving premium experiences. Both American Queen Steamboat Company and local representatives will be readily available to provide you with dining, entertainment and sightseeing options to maximize your time here.
Day 2: Chattanooga, TN
The gateway to Tennessee and a scenic city of the South, this corner of the state invites visitors to capture the natural world without wandering far from its city center. Downtown Chattanooga harmonizes its water worlds, verdure and industry into a picture-perfect melody. A pedestrian bridge stretches over the Tennessee River to connect south side to north shore. Here, boutiques and specialty shops offer the quaint and quirky opportunity to experience life as a native Chattanoogan. Bring comfortable shoes, an empty stomach and a sense of certainty that this city will show you a great time.
Day 3: River Cruising
Watch small river towns and lush landscapes slowly become lost in the horizon as sunlight plays upon the deck. Take hold of a literary classic, curl up on a plush chair in a cozy corner and relish in the moment of tranquility. Experience the fulfillment that river cruising offers.
Day 4: Decatur, AL
History awaits in Decatur. Reach out and touch the past – with living stories of the Civil War at your fingertips. Be sure to visit the Old State Bank Building, one of only four structures in the town left unscathed by the turmoil of the Civil War. Its vault, with 22-inch-thick walls, was a haven from blistering bullets, mortar bombs and cannon fire. Take time to experience this Tennessee River legend and absorb the living heritage it has to offer.
Included Shore Excursions:
Carnegie Visual Arts Center
Completed in September of 1904, the Carnegie Library of Decatur was one of 2,509 libraries built by the millionaire philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, Decatur’s Carnegie Library is an example of one of the classic Carnegie buildings. For nearly 70 years, Decatur’s public library was housed in this facility. When the main library outgrew the facility, the Carnegie became the children’s library. Now, located in the Carnegie Library, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center shares some of the most unique and impressive art pieces with the public.
Old State Bank Building
Completed in 1833, the building originally housed the Tennessee Valley branch of the Bank of the State of Alabama. The bank survived the destruction of Decatur during the Civil War, along with many other events of destruction through the city’s history. The Old State Bank introduced a new look and influenced building style in Alabama until the Civil War.
Blue and Gray Museum
Believed to be the largest privately-owned collection of Civil War artifacts within the country. The whole collection is owned by one man. This museum holds one of the largest private collections of Civil War era relics. The whole collection is completely owned by one man, who along with his associate, organized, displayed, and opened the collection to the public. See Civil War military equipment, including guns, swords, rifles, bayonets, uniforms, etc. Pre- and post-Civil War items are also on display. Guests will also hear the deep history of Decatur as they learn about the Civil War.
St. John's Episcopal Church
After enduring some extremely challenging times, a divided church decided to separate completely and begin their own church. In 1890, previous members of the St. Paul congregation began planning for the location and funding for the church. In 1893, the construction of the new St. John’s Church began, which is still the same building that member worship in to this day. Explore the church and admire the limestone floors, beautiful church steeple, stained glass windows, organ and bells.
Princess began as a livery stable in 1887; was transformed into a vaudeville playhouse named the Princess in 1919; and, following a 1941 facelift, emerged with the art deco style that remains today and features a brilliantly lit neon marquee. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the 677-seat theatre now serves as Decatur’s performing arts center.
Day 5: Florence, AL
From composed bluffs that overlook the Tennessee River to historic homes within the city’s beating heart, Florence harmonizes the twang of country with the coolness of R&B to create a culture of its own. This former hit recording capital radiates music that has touched the masses, having captured the sounds of Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson and other music legends. Today, its neighborhoods come to life with the scent of azaleas and dogwood trees, and downtown shops and eateries greet each morning with uplifting energy. Within this melting pot, traditional meets contemporary to compose the beauty that is Florence.
Included Shore Excursions:
Pope’s Tavern Museum
It is one of the oldest structures in Florence. Located on the military road that connected Nashville to the Natchez Trace and on to New Orleans, the tavern was an ideal stop for weary travelers in the 1800s. during the Civil War, the wounded were brought here from as far away as Franklin and Shiloh. The building was later home to the Lambeth family and remained a private residence until purchased by the city in 1965.The museum houses beautiful antiques and fascinating artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries. The second floor is filled with artifacts from the Civil War and items of local history.
Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts
Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts is a gallery, educational facility, museum, and a center for the coordination and promotion for cultural activity in the area. It serves as the administrative office for all the museums. It is a home base and meeting place for cultural groups and a showcase and classroom for all arts disciplines. The center features annual exhibits and rotating exhibits by artists from the Southeast, also offering workshops and classes for all ages, concerts, and interesting lectures and programs.
W.C. Handy House Museum
Handy became famous for his blues compositions, such as “The Memphis Blues” and “St. Louis Blues.” He was also a musician, band conductor, and author. The museum houses a collection of memorabilia, musical instruments, personal papers, and original sheet music. Handy’s famous trumpet and his personal piano are just a few of the items on display. His hometown honors the legacy of the “Father of the Blues” with a birthday party at the museum each November 16 and with the week-long W.C. Handy Music Festival during the summer.
Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House
The Rosenbaum House is the only Wright-designed structure in Alabama. It was built for Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum, who were the sole owners and occupants of the house until 1999 when the house was purchased by the city of Florence. The house has all the hallmarks of Wright’s Usonian style, including flat multilevel roofs, cantilevered eaves, and carports, flowing space, use of natural materials and expanses of glass. Wright designed an addition to the house in 1948, adding two wings. The house has been meticulously restored. The city received the 2004 Wright Spirit Award in the Public Domain from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy for the preservation of this important architectural gem. The house holds its original Wright-designed furniture and is open as a city museum.
Florence Indian Mound & Museum
The Florence Indian Mound is the Tennessee Valley area's largest domiciliary mound. It is typical workmanship of the Indians who lived in this area before the Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Creeks. Early settlers found steps on one side of the mound, and discovered that it had been enclosed by an earthen wall. The museum contains Native American artifacts dating back over 10,000 years arranged in chronological order. (Visible as we turn from Chamber Street onto Court Street)
Day 6: Savannah, TN
The most common association with this historic town is its tie to the Battle of Shiloh – a major Civil War battle also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, fought on April 6, 1862. Uncover the stories and history associated with Savannah, and explore the city’s many trails and paths winding down the lush banks of the Tennessee River.
Day 7: Paducah, KY
In the hands of artists, modern Paducah was thrown into form. Fingertips muddied with passion and eased by the vision of river water glided along the surface to pull up the community and create the National Quilt Museum. Residents backstitch past into present, then bind appreciation for culture – ensuring that the seams of history will not soon come undone. The people of Paducah have taken great care to orchestrate every crevice of its community into a symphony of craft and color. Life is a work of art, and the town of Paducah certainly is alive and well. Feast in this foodies’ fantasy. Uncover mastership. Catch a glimpse of Paducah.
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 8: New Madrid, MO
New Madrid is known for being near the military engagement the Battle of Island Number Ten during the Civil War. The city is also famous for being the site of a series of more than 1,000 earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, caused by what is called the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Explore the history of earthquakes, documented with seismographic recordings, in addition to Native American artifacts, Civil War artifacts and family life in New Madrid during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Included Shore Excursions:
New Madrid Historical Museum
Located in the former Kendall Saloon off of Main Street, the New Madrid Historical Museum shares the history of this river town from the Mississippian period through the 20th century. Here, guests can explore the great earthquakes of 1811 and 1812, documented with seismographic recordings, Native American artifacts, Civil War artifacts, early family life in the city of New Madrid during the 19th and 20th centuries and the gift shop!
New Madrid County Courthouse
In 1812 New Madrid was a vast county extending south through much of Arkansas. The area was cut roughly in half during the following year, and even further reductions came by 1816. New Madrid County, located by the Mississippi, was one of Missouri’s earliest counties. The town of New Madrid was founded in 1783, and the county was organized in 1812. First courts met in New Madrid, but county records previous to 1816 are missing. After the devastating earthquake of 1811 and repeated flooding of the Mississippi, the court chose an inland site for the county seat. For the 20th century courthouse, New Madrid County purchased a new site north of the original town in March 1915. From architects who presented plans, the court selected those from H. G. Clymer of St. Louis. Clymer's plan was for a brick building 107 by 75 feet with stone trim. Additional funds for finishing the courthouse and jail were authorized early in 1917, but no bids were received. World War I was beginning, and the labor force was reduced. Finally, W. W. Taylor, a master builder from Cape Girardeau, superintended final interior work, which was completed in January 1919. Final costs exceeded $100,000. This courthouse continues in use as New Madrid's seat of justice.
Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site
Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site preserves a now-vanished part of Missouri: The stately Bootheel Mansion. Filled with original pieces and furnished in the style similar to its heydays of the 1860s-1880s, this ornate mansion provides a history lesson in every corner. Most of the original furniture, purchased by the house’s first owners, Amanda and William Hunter, are still in the house today.
Restored to the one-room school that operated at Higgerson Landing in 1948, the Higgerson School is a window to the educational practices that shaped and served rural America from the early 19th century. Experience the typical school day of children attending all eight grades in one room with one teacher. Relive the days of playing “Wolf Over and River” and “Caterpillars,” a trip to the outdoor facility and crossing the fence on the stile. Visit Higgerson Landing Gift Shop before heading to your next stop.
River Walk Gallery
The oldest home in New Madrid, the Hart-Stepp House was built by Abraham Augustine in 1840 and moved to its present location in order to escape the encroaching waters of the Mississippi River. It is now home to the River Walk Gallery and the New Madrid Chamber of Commerce. The Gallery features the works of local photographers and artists.
Day 9: Memphis, TN
Memphis has a plethora of places to visit and things to do for all guests. Embrace the city that has been coined not only the home of the blues but also the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. Boogie on down to Beale Street – alive with quirky places to indulge in some Southern barbeque, purchase souvenirs for friends and family (or a little something for yourself) and sip on a Blue Suede Tini. As one of the most famous music destinations in the world, Memphis is a melodious port for our guests to experience.
Included Shore Excursions:
Memphis Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum
See the complete story of Memphis music history, as researched by the Smithsonian Institution. This museum tells of the musical pioneers and legends of all racial and socio-economic backgrounds who, for the love of music, overcame obstacles to create the musical sound that changed the world.
Is a significant location in the city’s history as well as in the history of the blues. Step into the center for Southern Folklore, a non-profit organization that show cases and celebrates the culture- the foods, the music, the arts, the traditions, and the stories of the South.
Auto Zone Park & Peabody Hotel
AutoZone Park is home of the minor league baseball team, the Memphis Redbirds. The Peabody Hotel is a luxury hotel in Downtown Memphis; it is well known for the famous “Peabody Ducks” that live on the hotel rooftop, but make a daily trek at 11:00 AM to the hotel’s lobby in a “March of Ducks” celebration.
Memphis Music Hall of Fame
More than a century ago, music began pouring into Memphis, Tennessee. Musicians of all races and backgrounds came together and, for the love of music, created a sound that changed the cultural complexion of the world forever. America’s music exploded out of Memphis. Today, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame honors many of the greatest musicians of all time, who created this city’s musical legacy, and who shook our planet to the core!