“Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good,
God would permit us to be pirates.”
Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi
Walking through the town of Hannibal, Missouri, there’s no doubt as to why Mark Twain found such inspiration for his stories from his boyhood home. You almost expect to see two naughty little boys-Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn-peeking out behind every corner, waiting to pull off some shenanigan on an unsuspecting citizen. The downtown is old and quaint with many of the shop’s names coming from Twain’s books. The Mississippi River is of course beautiful and is different from the many areas of the river we’ve seen in Wisconsin.
There are several things to do in Hannibal but because most of them are quite expensive. We chose to tour the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum as this seems foundational to the area. I think my oldest daughter and I enjoyed this the most because we’ve both read Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Life on the Mississippi. There is A LOT of reading in the various buildings on the self-guided tour. The time-line is very helpful and made personal with the added quotes from Twain’s autobiography and books. The Museum is also very well done and boasts original Norman Rockwell paintings.
We had the pleasure and advantage of being with friends who live in Hannibal. They took us to Lover’s Leap, Riverview Park, and through some really neat neighborhoods. With them we visited Clarence Cannon Dam and Powerhouse which is the biggest dam any of us had ever seen. Near the dam is M. W. Boudreaux Memorial Visitor Center. Unfortunately, the best part of the center was closed for repairs but we were told that it’s definitely worth a stop. We had hoped to see a bald eagle while we were there but it was very foggy. As we were leaving the area the next day, we did see one soaring over Mark Twain Lake!
We stayed at Mark Twain Landing. It is a really nice place. Barry and I enjoyed sharing a cup of coffee with a nice couple from Florida. They are retired teachers and had lots of ideas for me as I’m now teaching history not only from a book but from real life experiences.
- Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum: http://www.marktwainmuseum.org/
- Mark Twain Landing: http://www.marktwainlanding.com/Default.aspx
- Clarence Cannon Dam and Powerhouse/M.W. Boudreaux Memorial Visitor Center http://www.cannondam.com/lake/public/boudreaxvisitorcenter.shtml
- Ayers Pottery and Java Jive http://www.ayerspottery.com/javajive.php
Places without a website:
- Pudd’n Heads (antiques and primitives)
- Badger Cheese Haus