Day 18: Mark Twain

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I think we have managed to find the most touristy place on our trip, Hannibal, MO. It is all that you would expect it to be for a town that revolves around its claim to fame. This town is the home of Mark Twain and the setting of his stories about Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. If you are a Sam Clemens/Mark Twain fan, then it is definitely a must see. We started the day at the Mark Twain museum and boyhood home. The museum outlines the history of his family. His boyhood home is preserved, each room behind glass, so you look in to see the recreated stage. There is also a recreation of Tom Blankenship (Huck Finn’s) family house, the original Laura Hawkins (Becky Thatcher) house and Twain’s father’s office building.

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From there we took a trolley ride around the town of Hannibal which was actually very informative.

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The driver provides a thorough review of the whole history of Hannibal from the 1830s to the present, of course, stopping to point out each tourist attraction. We then had lunch at the Becky Thatcher Diner.

Next we went to a second Mark Twain museum which had displays based on 5 of his books, quite creative, a series of the Norman Rockwell prints based on Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and more Twain memorabilia. We finished the day with a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi. I don’t think the boat went more than 3-4 miles in either direction of the dock, but we did learn some interesting information about the area and the river. As I mentioned the town is as touristy as it gets.

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We had a mediocre dinner at one of the local restaurants and then stopped by the summer outdoor music concert (last one of the season) so it was fun to see all of the locals who were out for their weekly gathering.

I recommend a visit to Hannibal for Mark Twain history if you happen to be nearby, but recommend planning it in conjunction with one of the weekend festivals that happen throughout the summer/fall – it would definitely add some additional fun. This weekend is the 4th annual Steampunk festival. About Steampunk. It was all anyone was talking about. Not what you would expect of what is perceived as a much more traditional/conservative area, but it does demonstrate the diversity coming to this town.

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