Friday, August 23, 2019

The Last of Hannibal

Hannibal, Missouri, turned out to be one of those destinations with endless things to do. Although I’m sure we didn’t hit it all, we did squeeze a lot more into the last day.

After a delicious complimentary breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, I was still feeling pretty fatigued, so I sent Brittany and Amanda to check out a few places that required walking through.

They were mesmerized by Big River Train Town and Karlocks Kars and Pop Culture. Both places had families having fun and plenty of picture moments.

There were also lots more photographs for them to take at Rockcliffe Mansion, an American castle that overlooks the Mississippi River.

At the turn of the 20th century, Mark Twain himself spoke from the staircase that covers the three floors of this perfectly decorated historic building.

They told me the pictures only showed some of its beauty.

We checked out of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites and stopped at Rustic Oak for a bite to eat. I enjoyed the “All you can eat” soup, salad, and baked potato bar.

Brittany drove us to the last of our stops. Lover’s Leap is a must-see site that reminded me of a smaller version of Pictured Rocks in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The views are fantastic from there and we were lucky to get a clear day to see them from.

From there, we went to the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse. Although it was built nearly a century ago, it looks brand new.

The lighthouse was dedicated on Mark Twain’s 100th birthday, to honor the man who made this town famous.

Although I couldn’t climb the lighthouse, the handicap parking allowed me for a great view, while Brittany and Amanda went up the stairs to get more pictures.

Hannibal will remain one of the most interesting places I’ve visited in the Midwest and I look forward to going back someday soon.

Thanks to the tourism board for arranging our visit quickly, with so many great activities and restaurants.



Friday, August 16, 2019

Literature and History in Hannibal, Missouri

After a big, complimentary breakfast at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Hannibal, Missouri, Brittany, Amanda, and I got ready for a jam-packed day.

There was quite a bit to do in the city made famous by Mark Twain, who was known in his hometown under his real name, Samuel Clemens.

We had seen some of Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home & Museum the previous day and went back to visit some of the buildings we missed.

It was interesting to see Becky Thatcher’s House, the Huckleberry Finn House, and J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office. 

Becky and Huck Finn were popular characters in the Mark Twain series, but J.M. Clemens was the actual name of Samuel Clemens father.

One of my favorite exhibits within the Boyhood Home buildings was something I’d love for every child to see. It was called “Growing Up to Fast.”

Using the examples of Becky, Tom, Huck, and Jim, all growing up in different levels of income, it examples how their life would be at that time. It explained their ability to go to school, and if (and when) they might have to leave to go to work. 

Many children during this time in Hannibal would have to forego finishing school to help support their family.

Within the block with the recreated houses is also the Haunted House and Wax Museum. 


It’s worth a visit to look through the museum, especially the life-like replicas of the characters Mark Twain wrote about.

The Hannibal History Museum shows the industry passing through this Missouri City, as well as other famous people who lived here. Among them were “Unsinkable Molly Brown” who survived the Titanic, and performer Cliff Edwards, who is best known as the voice of Disney’s Jiminy Cricket.

We walked down to the dock to take a scenic cruise on the Mark Twain Riverboat. The trip, which runs along the Mississippi River, straddling Missouri and Illinois, was very relaxing. There is narration throughout, telling you all about the area and Mark Twain.

Mark Twain Riverboat’s sightseeing cruise is an hour and they have a snack bar with some food, soft drinks, and alcoholic drinks. There is also a dinner cruise. You do not need to worry about the weather as the boats are completely enclosed. It’s also very accessible and I had no trouble taking my scooter on and off.

When we left the boat, we headed over to Mark Twain Caves and Cave Hollow West Winery. While Brittany and Amanda explored the caves, I tasted the offerings at the winery.

I was pleasantly surprised at just how good Cave Hollow West wine is. There were two wines that were so good I went home with bottles: An Innocent Broad, a slightly sweet blend of Vidal and Vignoles, and Lighthouse White, a sweeter white with citrus notes.

When they returned from the Cave, which is celebrating its 200th birthday this year, we sipped some more wine and enjoyed some snacks on the patio.

I needed some rest, so we went back to the hotel for a bit, deciding to have dinner after the show.

I was very impressed with Mark Twain Himself, a one man show in which actor Richard Garey, dressed as Mark Twain, presents an impromptu look at the author’s life through his writings. The show changes with each performance so you never know what part of his life you will be learning about.

We were more than ready for dinner at Mark Twain Brewing Company.  I nibbled on giant pretzel with beer cheese sauce while Brittany and Amanda sampled the beer.

In addition to their brews, this eatery is known for its barbecue. 

We sampled the brisket and the ribs, with smoked in house and topped with their own BBQ sauce. They were all good.
Mark Twain Ramblers Red Ale, Scotch Ale, King Arthur IPA, Chocolate Coffee Stout

For dessert, they had one of my favorites, pecan pie.  

I went back to the Holiday Inn & Suites to turn in for the night. 

Brittany and Amanda headed downtown to take the Haunted Hannibal Tour. They had fun with the combination of ghost tours and history, which ended at Hannibal’s Old Baptist Cemetery.