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All Things ST PAUL – 29th September

Today’s feature destination was the city of St. Paul, Minnesota.  One half of the ‘twin cities’, along with Minneapolis.  Greg and Gary were not sure that we could find a cruise that would feature St. Paul, but they underestimated the range of cruising there is in the world, and with St. Paul located on the banks of the Mississippi, there is a wonderful option for you to explore this area on foot…and by cruise!

A few years ago we saw the reintroduction of those romantic Paddle Steamers back on to the Mississippi – a long overdue and extremely welcoming sight.  We have a cruise stat starts in St. Louis and finishes in St. Paul.  The cruise is on board the American Duchess, Americas first all-suite paddle steamer ship.  Carrying just 165 lucky passengers through Americas heartland, she was created to become one of the most luxurious river cruising vessels in the country, featuring single-seating main dining (with complimentary beer and wines during meals) and entertainment venues and soaring ceilings.  As you cruise the Mighty Mississippi, American Duchess has a fleet of ‘Steamcoach’ buses that follow alongside, providing complimentary hop-on hop-off style shore excursions in every port.

Beautiful Accommodation and Intimate Dining on board the American Duchess

The American Duchess will set sail from St. Louis on the 5th August, and you can look forward to a wonderful 8 days, stepping back in time to a forgotten era of American history.  The upper reaches of the Mississippi River are rich with frontier tales of fur traders and pioneers set among picturesque geography and abundant wildlife. The region reflects the spirit of the people who worked this land even before steamboats came to the river. As Mark Twain once said, “there are all the enlivening signs of the presence of active, energetic, intelligent, prosperous, practical nth-century populations. The people don’t dream; they work.” Farming, fur-trapping, lumbering and mining were at one time the lifeblood of this region. As hard as the river and the region has been worked by its people, its scenery remains enchanting and largely unspoiled. Twain’s Life on the Mississippi describes this area as a paradise and you will experience it for yourself as hidden gems around each bend of the river fuel your sense of discovery and thevery best of America’s heartland unfolds before you.

Your Mississippi holiday begins on the 4th August with a stay at the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel, and a day at leisure in St. Louis.  The following day you meet the American Duchess, and off you sail!

Your first port is Alton, Illinois.  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.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens – AKA Mark Twain

Hannibal, Missouri, has a rich history, diverse industrial economy and truly remarkable arts. The city was founded in 1819 by Moses D. Bates and became a popular stop along the river for many steamboats traveling up the Mississippi River. Hannibal offers more parks per citizens than most towns in the Midwest and was included in the famous “50 Miles of Art.” Today, the most popular draw of this quirky town is Hannibal’s very own Samuel Langhorne Clemens, recognized world-wide as Mark Twain. Many of the popular characters featured in Twain’s novels were based on people Clemens had known while growing up in Hannibal. Many of the characters and influences of this American icon are weaved into the streets, shops, restaurants, and museums of Hannibal waiting to be uncovered.

Burlington, Iowa was first explored in 1673 by Pere Jaques Marquette and Louis Joliet. This land that is now Des Moines County first changed hands from France to Spain, back to France and finally to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. After Lt. Zebulon Pike’s expedition landed at what is now Crapo Park in 1805, it was part of several territories – Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri, and Michigan. In 1834, residents named the land “Burlington” after trader John Gray’s Vermont hometown. When Iowa was named a territory in 1838, Burlington remained the capital. Today, visitors enjoy the sights and attractions of the town as the hills and valleys, prairies, and the Mississippi River create the perfect scenic backdrop.

With a full day on board American Duchess, sailing down the Mississippi, there is always plenty to do between dawn and dusk on the river.   It will be the perfect day to enjoy the many public spaces and activities that are available to you on board. Gaze at the beautiful landscapes and small river towns as you mingle with fellow guests and discuss the unique aspects of river life. If you fancy a moment for yourself, retreat to The Lincoln Library adorned with ornate bookcases stocked with an imaginative selection. Take hold of a literary classic, curl up on a plush chair in a cozy corner and relish every moment of  serenity. Our fitness facility, business center, movie theater and grand lobby offer a more stimulating day on the river for those who wish to indulge in more energy-infused activity. However you wish to spend your day, make it your own and revel in every moment.

Old Style Breweries in La Crosse, Wisconsin

Named by explorer Zebulon Pike, who saw a group of people playing a game with sticks that looked like a cross, La Crosse, Wisconsin is now a popular tourist stop. Filled with statues, architecture, and an exquisite view of the river, this river city is an artist’s dream. Like much of Wisconsin, La Crosse became heavily involved with the lumber industry in the mid-1800s until the decline of the forests throughout much of Wisconsin took its toll. But in the wake of the vanishing lumber era, La Crosse became a city renowned for its beer making, with around five breweries operating in La Crosse near the turn of the century. Today, make note of lingering pieces of history along the streets of the city, inside local breweries, and within the floorboards of historic homes and businesses.

Red Wing, Minnesota was included on National Geographic Traveler’s list of most historic places in the world. Discovered in the early 1850’s, the lands were used mostly for harvesting wheat that would be transported on the river. Later in Red Wing’s history the economy began to flourish with the pottery industry, which became a main source of income between 1877 and 1967. Today, the city offers endless opportunities to travel back in time and learn about settlers and travelers that occupied the land before today, or to admire the craftsmanship and creativity of local artisans of both the present and the past.

Red Wing, Minnesota

You then sail into the final port, where you wave a fond farewell to the American Duchess, and hello to today’s feature destination of St. Paul.

This is a real bucket-list experience, and is designed to be just part of a greater holiday to this region of the United States.  You could extend your holiday to include Chicago and the Great Lakes, or explore the National Parks in Wyoming and the Dakotas.

And it is offered at an amazing low fare, which includes the cruise on board American Duchess with all meals (beer/wine included), hop on hop off shore excursions, 24 room service, soft drinks and specialty coffees and spectacular entertainment.  It also includes the pre-cruise hotel stay with breakfast and transfers to the ship.  All priced from just $4,199!!!!

Give the crew at Travel Masters a call on 1800 672 988 to grab that cabin!