Marilyn Foster: The spiritual force of the Mississippi River awaits exploration

Enjoy the river made famous by Mark Twain as you cruise on the American Queen along the lower Mississippi next April.

Enjoy the river made famous by Mark Twain as you cruise on the American Queen along the lower Mississippi next April.

As we now look forward to travel once again, perhaps it is time to learn more about our own incredible history before it is written out of the history books.
We’ve heard about the mighty Mississippi all our lives through songs and books and some of us remember one of our first spelling tests when we learned how to spell Mississippi making it sound like a chant or a song.
The Mighty Mississippi courses through 10 states from Minnesota to Louisiana. This great river is one of the world’s major river systems and the second-longest (Missouri River is number 1 at 2,341 miles) river in our country covering 2,340 miles and is the third largest watershed in the world with the deepest point at 200 feet just outside of New Orleans.
Mark Twain probably introduced most of us to the river with many of his early writings including “Life on the Mississippi,” writing of his adventures as a steamboat pilot in the late 1890s. As most know, Samuel Langhorne Clemens took his more famous name from his days on the river. In school many of us read Huckleberry Finn and in this book, he described the Mississippi River as a “life-sustaining, spiritual force” and it’s towns as “comely, clean, well built, and pleasing to the eye, and cheering to the spirit. The Mississippi Valley is as reposeful as a dreamland, nothing worldly about it… nothing to hang a fret or a worry upon.”
On March 27, 2022, you can journey along the lower Mississippi River navigating through three states with the Chamber’s Travel Club as we learn and see first-hand why this river is so storied as we enjoy cruising on the antebellum style 417 passenger American Queen riverboat, the largest steamboat ever built.
We start our Mayflower Cruise journey in Memphis, ending in New Orleans. Our first night in Memphis will find us licking our fingers after enjoying a famous barbecue meal for which this city is famous. Then on to Graceland – what’s a trip to Memphis without seeing the home of the “King” before we board the American Queen for a 7-night history tour?
Along the way, we will enjoy “hop on and hop off” experiences in the Mississippi Delta enjoying a stop in Clarksdale, home of the “birth of the blues” stopping at Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blues club. In Vicksburg we’ll tour Vicksburg Military Park where the deciding battle for the Union Army was fought. In Natchez, we’ll tour three antebellum homes and visit the Frogmore Plantation to explore cotton fields and learn about the cotton gin.
Then it’s on to the quaint town Francisville, Louisiana, where we’ll enjoy touring a Victorian button museum and Grace Episcopal Church, the second oldest Episcopal Church in Louisiana withstanding the canons of the Civil War. Then on to Baton Rouge, the state’s capital where you will take an airboat through the swamp to see alligators in their natural habitat. Next is a stop at the port of Nottoway to visit the sugar cane estate with the same name, the largest antebellum plantation house in the south.
You disembark in New Orleans where you stay overnight and tour the famous sites of this unique city and then learn how to cook Cajun at the New Orleans School of Cooking where you have your farewell dinner.
Pack up your worries and join us to see why Mark Twain was so enamored by the “life-sustaining, spiritual force” of the Mississippi on a leisurely journey into our past. Included is a 7-night cruise aboard the American Queen, 24 meals, all touring, air from Reno with transfers and free parking at the Chamber.
To learn more, check out the itinerary on the dedicated travel club page at or call 882-1565. This trip is sure to sell out fast.
At 92, Marilyn is still traveling, and her next trip is to NYC in mid-December to enjoy the holiday season.


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