Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Mini Epic Road Trip 2016: Hannibal

I was gonna apologize for the overload of pictures in today's post, but it's my blog, I can post as many pictures as I want. :)

Day 4- Hannibal, MO: After spending day three in Illinois, we drove back to Missouri so we could check out Hannibal, the hometown of Mark Twain.

It's well-established that I'm a history nerd and a book nerd, so being in Mark Twain's hometown was double the nerdiness for me. I highly recommend stopping by if you are near there, it's well worth the trip. Even if you aren't the biggest Mark Twain fan out there, it's still very interesting and fun!

You can buy a ticket that allows you to tour Mark Twain's boyhood home, the "Huck Finn" house, the "Becky Thatcher" house, Clemens Justice of the Peace office (where Mark Twain's father worked), Grant's Drug store, and the Mark Twain museum. The drug store was closed for renovations when we were there, but that was okay. Oh, double check Groupon if you go- we bought a Groupon on the spot and saved well over 50% on our ticket. A sweet lady named Barbara was working at the ticket office at the museum and was super helpful.

We started our journey outside Twain's boyhood home and ran into Mark Twain himself! Okay, not really, but evidently they have a few Mark Twain characters that walk around the downtown area. He was nice and posed for pictures with all of us. The boyhood home is part museum and part of his actual home. We got to see the bedroom that he had a child as well as Clemens family heirlooms and artifacts (I assume that everyone knows Mark Twain was born Samuel Clemens, but just in case you didn't know, now you do). 

That sneaky Tom Sawyer got me to whitewash his fence for him!

Twain's bedroom
Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher were based on real-life childhood friends of Twain's, Tom Blankennship and Laura Hawkins. Their homes are also on the tour. The Huck Finn house was relocated from it's original location to be close to the Twain boyhood home and the Becky Thatcher house.

The siding on the outside of the Huck Finn house had obviously been replaced, but the inside had original beams and flooring. Poor Aaron had to duck due to the low ceiling (guess people were shorter back then). I would easily touch the ceiling with my hand.
Becky Thatcher (Laura Hawkins) really did live across the street from Twain and his family.

It started raining while we were touring the home but I had my trusty Hard Rock Cafe umbrella from our visit to St. Louis to keep me dry!
The Twain museum is located a few blocks from the homes, but it's not a bad walk at all. I recommend parking and just walking around this part of Hannibal. There are a lot of great shops along the way. 

Mark Twain's desk
There was a section in the museum that showed a clip from a Huck Finn movie. It was on this "raft" located in the "muddy water". It looked neat!
Of course we had to take pictures with any props they had standing or lying around! This museum was fascinating. It had a lot of Twain's personal belongings, including some first editions of his books. And you were able to take pictures throughout the whole museum (this is a big plus for me). :)

Waving to all the people who are passing by
Aaron and I were sad the dress up clothes weren't for the big kids. That didn't stop us though. Lol
Testing to see if I could steer a riverboat
It had rained so much the parking lot was looking a little bit like a river!
I obviously loved this quote
This is the white jacket Twain is wearing in a lot of the photographs of him later in life
We rubbed Abe Lincoln's nose for good luck. We didn't want to risk missing out on more good luck, so we rubbed Twain's nose too. It was obvious that other people had done it over the years
First editions of Twain's books

I bought two books while we were there (shocker). They have this seal stamp to show that it was purchased in Hannibal. I've never read this book, I've only seen the movie. It's now in the very large pile of books I need to read.
After the museum we decided to venture down to the banks of the Mississippi River to check out the times for a riverboat cruise. We lucked out because we got there about 45 minutes before the last afternoon cruise of the day (they have a dinner cruise in the evening). Despite the rain, we were still able to go. Thankfully it wasn't a heavy rain, just a steady light rain. It was a chilly 64 degrees (THAT IS CHILLY TO THIS TEXAN WHO WAS WEARING CAPRIS AND A SHORT SLEEVED SHIRT), so between that and the rain, we decided not to sit in the chairs outside on the upper two decks. We stayed inside or under the awning on the lower outer deck. 

This is the island that Mark Twain writes about in Tom Sawyer. I could picture Tom and Huck sitting on the banks of it
Enjoying a Dr Pepper in my riverboat souvenir mug
It's not very often my GPS locates me in the middle of water
When Mel and I were in college we took a steamboat tour down the Mississippi River in New Orleans. Sixteen years later we took a riverboat tour down the Mississippi River in Hannibal
Our souvenir picture
After the cruise we walked around Hannibal, stopping to eat at the Mark Twain Diner and then swinging by the Tom and Huck statue. I did finally have to buy a sweatshirt because I was cold (stop laughing), so I'm now the proud owner of a sweatshirt with a picture of Mark Twain. Also we were going to take a tour of the Mark Twain Cave and we were told it was 52 degrees in there year round, and I knew I would definitely need it then. We stopped in a few of the antique shops. That is where I first saw the Dick Van Dyke Mary Poppins doll. I didn't buy it then (because I didn't have the money), but since then, a friend found one on eBay and sent it to me. :)

Our last stop (well, second to last stop) in Hannibal was at the Mark Twain Cave. This is the cave that inspired Twain to write about MacDougal's Cave in Tom Sawyer because he explored this cave as a young boy. Again, the nerd in me was kind of excited to think that once Mark Twain walked in that very cave (without the artificial lighting that has been installed for safety purposes). There was one part of the tour where they turned off all the lights, just so you could see (well, not see) how dark it really was in there. Our tour guide was named Katie and she was amazing and full of information. There is a lot of history in that cave. Jesse James once hid out there and even signed his name on the wall (we couldn't go see his actual signature because of the location of it- they are trying to preserve it), but there was a picture of it at the end of the tour. If you go on this tour just know that there are some places that are very tight and you do a lot of walking. And like I said before, it's 52 degrees year round (regardless of the temperature outside). If you get cold easily, bring a sweater or jacket. If you want to know more about the cave, check out their website here.

This tree is located outside the cave's welcome center. Yes, I took a picture of me touching a tree. Hey- it's been around since the 1700s, that's history right there!

Jesse James' signature

Walking where Mark Twain once walked

As we were leaving Hannibal we made a quick stop at Lovers Leap (mainly so Aaron could say he was Lovers Leap with two women). ;)

To continue on with our capitol tour of the road trip, we made our way to Jefferson City, MO to see the capitol building there. It was dark by the time we arrived, but we were able to get a few pictures. There was a concert going on nearby because we could hear Travis Tritt singing (I looked it up and sure enough he was in town that night). We ended up spending the night in Springfield, MO and got up the next day to head back home. I will HOPEFULLY get the last day of my road trip recap up soon. It's only taken me a little over a month to post everything, that's not too bad, right? :)

Mel and I seem to follow Lewis and Clark's adventures wherever we go. We were on the Lewis and Clark Trail a lot last year on our road trip 

1 comment:

  1. Again, looks like you had a fabulous time. I love the picture of you & Aaron in the dress-up clothes. Cracks me right up! :)

    Have a good weekend!