Discovering La Crosse from the America Queen

Lynn and I woke up to another beautiful day on the Mississippi River. We had lucked out with this late summer weather in the Midwest.

We were ready to explore La Crosse, Wisconsin, after having breakfast and lattes at the Front Porch Café on the American Queen. I loved being on a small boat. There was never a wait for the elevator and we never saw a crowd anywhere. It made traveling in a scooter so much easier.

This was the first time in La Crosse for both of us. We didn’t know much about it, but were ready to learn.

The pier was welcoming, with beautiful sculptures and manicured grass and flowers. We got onto the hop on, hop off tour bus, complimentary to all American Queen guests. The bus guides, including Tour Director Lucy from our ship, told us about La Crosse.

When settlers came over to the U.S., this land was already occupied by Native Americans, specifically the Sioux, Ojibwa, and Ho-Chunk tribes. It became one of Wisconsin’s largest cities by the second half of the 19th century.

La Crosse is a popular tourist and day trip destination these days. It’s actually the owner of a Guiness Book of Records accolade for the most bars on one street, 3rd Street. The town has also had over 20 breweries through the years.

We decided to get off at the International Friendship Garden and it was a good choice. It was made up of many different gardens, each designated to a different country, with plants, flowers, and distinct touches about that country.

The International Garden also leads to the entrance of the Marsh Trails, an extensive development of walking and hiking routes.

I was pretty tired from the sun when we got back on the bus and we decided to stay on and do the tour around La Crosse from there. We passed the La Crosse Heritage Center, which has artifacts and detailed information about the town’s history.  

Another stop was the Dahl Automotive Museum, which houses Ford vehicles from five generations. The passengers who got back on the bus said they really enjoyed it. We also learned that La Crosse has a Children’s Museum and the 4-star Charmant Hotel, which was built in a former candy factory.

We were back on the ship in time for lunch. The food once again didn’t disappoint as I had an unforgettable Mushroom Walnut Veggie burger.

After a nap, shower, and change of clothing, we were back in the dining room again, this time for dinner. Our tablemates enjoyed lobster again (it is available every night on the American Queen).

Lynn and I, who are both allergic, tried not to show our disappointment, but we did have wonderful pasta, with a creative potato pancake appetizer. For dessert, it was a Blueberry Bundt Cake for her and Bananas Foster for me.

After dinner, I took a walk out to the open veranda and watched the sunset on the Mississippi before the evening’s show. We made a brief stop after to the Engine Room bar for Rock Music with Jay and Will.

We got back to our room and decided to put in a room service order for the morning’s breakfast. We had an early start for our day in Dubuque, Iowa. At least that’s what we thought at the time.

I was hosted by American Queen on this voyage, but opinions are my own. 


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