Day 1: Hotel Stay - Chattanooga, TN
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, TN
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.
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS
Enjoy a day in the Tennessee sunshine in this 44 acre park overlooking the Tennessee River. Relax in front of the water at any of the pavilions or benches, take a brisk walk on the paved walking trails wrapping around the banks of the river.
Tennessee River Museum
This museum, founded in 1992 is located in an old post office building in downtown Savannah that was constructed in 1939. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Inside, exhibits and collections are dedicated to preserving the history of the Tennessee River Valley so that future generations have an accurate depiction of their heritage and history. The museum features seven permanent exhibits such as “Paleontology,” filled with more than 200 fossils, “Archeology,” comprised of antique pottery and tools, “Pioneers,” exploring the Chickasaw Treaties, “Trail of Tears,” portraying the historical Native American travels to Oregon, “War on the River,” explaining the battles of Union invasions, “The Golden Age of Steamboats,” highlighting the historic Tennessee Riverboat trade, and “Musseling,” featuring the story of the historic pearl button industry.
The Williams-Shutt House (White Pillars)
Constructed in 1874 and remolded about 1910, this colonial revival has a two story frame with an Ionic portico, wrap around porches, Palladian pediment windows, headlights, and sidelights. The exterior has remained unaltered since about 1910. While still retaining the earlier floor plan, White Pillars was altered early in the 20th century when an outsized portico and matching wrap around porch were added. The home was remolded and transformed into a colonial revival mansion during this time. It is now home to Savannah Mayor Bob and wife Janie Shutt, and hosts annual out door venues including a songwriter’s gala during the Tennessee River Run festival hosted by hometown country artist Darryl Worley.
Savannah Historic District
This two mile stretch passes 42 historic homes which accurately portraying the architectural styles across Savannah’s history. Many of the homes are privately owned so are not open to tour, but are just as beautiful on the outside as they are on the interior. Featured homes include U.S. Grant’s Headquarters, the Churchwell-MicGinley-Taylor House, a former women’s college from the 19th century, and Irwinwood which was named after the owner who was credited for acquiring the land for Shiloh National Military Park in the 1890’s.
The Cherry Mansion
This beautiful mansion was the headquarters for U.S. Grant during the Battle of Shiloh. Hear the stories of Grant during his time within the property and hear about some of the Battle of Shiloh history. Admire the unique fireplaces, desks where Grant would sit to construct plans of battle, hand-made stone fences surrounding the property, and views of the Tennessee River off of the back porch.
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: Ashport Landing, TN
The cornstalks that stretch to wave guests into port are certainly not the highlight of Ashport Landing; strategically placed above our docking area on the Chickasaw Bluffs is Fort Pillow, where rest the silenced voices of the Civil War. The smoke has cleared to shed light on the pogrom that transpired at this decisive point. It is there that the Fort Pillow Massacre took the lives of 221 Confederate mercenaries. Experienced historians resurrect stories misplaced in the tumult of war. Let our troop of deluxe motorcoaches escort you through the agricultural South to experience this history buffs’ hideaway.
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS
Included Fort Pillow Tour
Located on the western edge of Tennessee, approximately 40 miles north of Memphis, Fort Pillow State Historic Park is rich in historic and archaeological significance. Steep bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River made this area a strategic location during the Civil War. The fort was originally built by Confederate troops in 1861 and named after General Gideon J. Pillow of Maury County. It was abandoned in 1862 due to the Union Navy’s advancement along the Mississippi River. The area became a state park in 1971.
Join us today as we explore the 1,642-acre fort, known for its well-preserved breastworks and reconstructed inner fort. We will begin with a narrated driving tour as we make our way to the Interpretive Center and Museum, where Civil War artifacts, including a cannon and interpretive displays relating to the history of Fort Pillow are displayed.
After a short film about the 1864 battle, explore the gift shop and choose a souvenir to remember your visit to the historic fort. The day will conclude with a reenactment of the battle, so you can watch the events unfold before your very eyes.
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.