1Hotel Stay in Louisville, KY
Enjoy your complimentary stay at the pre-cruise hotel. The evening is yours to become acquainted with the city. Our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel, and our friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving premium experiences. Both American Queen Steamboat Company and local representatives will be readily available to provide you with dining, entertainment and sightseeing options to maximize your time here.
2Embark in Louisville, KY
This authentically quirky port is a muse to artisans of mixed mediums – from sidewalk chalk to street fare – and home to cultural diversity that quickly captivates the heart of its visitors. The local tradition that lives within images of Derby hats, Old-Fashioned cocktails and the 120-foot Louisville Slugger that towers over the friendly city is better lived than seen. Explore the red penguin-peppered Main Street. Embrace oddity. Experience Louisville.
Brandenburg highlights everything that’s great about rural living, but with all the benefits and amenities offered by larger urban settings. Here you can find history, entertainment, scenery and culture. From Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area’s walking trails, fly fishing for trout and to scenic views of the Ohio River, from hiking a woodland trail to a bluegrass concert at Riverfront Park, from a morning of antique shopping to an afternoon on a perfectly groomed golf course, from an old-fashioned country fair to a classic car show. The essence of Kentucky radiates, from its bourbon traditions to a tableau of rolling farmland. Mysteries of the Civil War enlist lifelong learners on the battlefield while sprawling parks and trails make way for recreation. For over ten thousand years, Native Americans were drawn to Brandenburg and Meade County because of the river, abundant game, fish nuts, berries, and ground for planting corn, and especially, a high-quality flint. The fact that they lived here at different periods is evidenced by the artifacts, burial grounds, and shell mounds found along the riverfront. Although many artifacts have been sold to domestic and international collectors, a movement has begun to honor this heritage with a museum. It is a subject of debate as to who the early settlers were, however, it is recognized that the Native Americans here were closely related to the Cherokee and Shawnee tribes. Given the large number of years (10,000 to 12,000), it is likely that the tribes were mixed across the centuries.
The exuberance that pervades the sounds of folk music flows through the community of Owensboro in Daviess County, Kentucky. Each of its spaces is a lovely ballad that tugs at the heartstrings of visitors – from the notes of bourbon distilleries to bumbling butterflies in the botanical garden. The tawny banks of this river jewel extend a warm welcome and invite you to experience the beauty in bluegrass. Owensboro’s first settler was William Smeathers, popularly known as Bill Smothers, who in 1797 built a cabin on the south bank of the Ohio River. Original settlers arrived in flatboats coming from the northeast, the flatboats naturally drifting to the south side of the riverbank with the swift river currents. The original site was called “Yellow Banks” in reference to the color of the soil along the banks. In 1817 the Kentucky General Assembly provided for the planned town and specified that it should be called Owensborough in memory of Col. Abraham Owen (changed to Owensboro in 1893). In 1860, county agricultural records show 11,000 sheep compared to 6,750 beef cattle. Consequently, barbecued mutton (sheep) and burgoo (stew made from mutton, other meats and vegetables) are the two foods that distinguish Daviess County barbecue from other areas. Although pork, chicken, and beef are prepared, the preference of locals is mutton and burgoo. The region has developed a unique style of pit barbecue featuring vinegar-based sauces mopped over the meat during its lengthy smoking process. The result of this process is a delicious, tangy, and very tender meat.
Greetings from Henderson, Kentucky – a walkable community wrapped in warmth. Since 1797, this port on the banks of the beautiful Ohio River has inspired commerce and influenced two world-renowned artists who turned life into beauty, art, commerce, and success. Ornithologist John James Audubon and famous blues musician W.C. Handy both once called Henderson home. Audubon spent time here in the 1800s studying and painting the birds that travel through this area on their migratory routes. His namesake museum offers a permanent collection of artwork and exhibits, as well as a downstairs gallery of rotating exhibits, including wildlife photography and paintings by local and regional artists. At the end of the 19th century, Henderson held a unique place in history due to the export of dark tobacco. Worldwide shipping from Henderson’s port resulted in Henderson becoming the richest community per capita in the United States during tobacco’s heyday. This led to the construction of many of the stately homes and buildings still standing in the vibrant downtown district. Wide streets welcome American Queen Voyages guests and showcase historic preservation that inspires storefronts and homes. Discover nature fingerprinted with humanity in the many parks and trails that showcase artistry throughout the town. With a great selection of galleries and annual art events, there are many types of art to view. Enjoy the many public sculptures located throughout downtown created by Louisville sculptor Raymond Graf or step in the OVAL Gallery at Bank Trust to see the rotating art exhibits on display.
Paducah’s significant American heritage can be traced to the city’s strategic location at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers. Paducah, originally known as Pekin, was settled around 1815 in McCracken County. The community was inhabited by a mix of Native Americans and Europeans who lived harmoniously, trading goods and services. In 1827, William Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame, arrived in Pekin with a title deed to the land he now owned. The town was platted out and named in honor of the largest nation of Native Americans that ever roamed North America, the Padouca Indians. Lewis and Clark had made acquaintance with many of them on their trek west. Discover how Paducah played a pivotal role in American history from rivers to railroad transportation, the Civil War to civil rights. Museums and riverfront “Wall to Wall” murals by the Dafford Murals Team weave the story of Paducah’s past and guide viewers to experiences and landmarks throughout the town, where historical markers detail the significance and cultural heritage. In the hands of artists, modern Paducah was thrown into form. Fingertips muddied with passion and eased by the vision of river water glided along the surface to pull up the community and create the National Quilt Museum. Residents backstitch past into present, then bind appreciation for culture – ensuring that the seams of history will not soon come undone. The people of Paducah have taken great care to orchestrate every crevice of its community into a symphony of craft and color.
In 1805 a state-appointed commission purchased a 30-acre plot on the Cumberland River from Robert Nelson and established the county seat of Dover. By 1850 the Tennessee frontier town had blossomed into a large river trade center and the second largest steamboat port on the Cumberland. A resting dock meets American Queen Voyages guests in Dover, a town that reveals the value of serenity in river living, where peace and quiet are interrupted only by birdsong and cricket chirps. Adventure through Fort Donelson – Dover’s touchpoint during the Civil War – which has been resurrected into Fort Donelson National Battlefield Park, a nexus of history and natural riches. Fort Donelson was the site of a major Union victory. Here, hilltops harbor somber stories, country roads lose themselves in golden horizons and historic treasures are kept secret behind the tree lines. Union troops, who had occupied the town since the fall of Fort Donelson in 1862, set fire to Dover to prevent the town from falling into the hands of General Nathan Bedford Forrest; only four buildings survived the conflagration. Capture the romance of this little river town’s past and experience the everyday phenomenon of its future at Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge, an 8,862-acre habitat for waterfowl and aquatic plant life. Or venture to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, one of the largest blocks of undeveloped forest in the eastern U.S. with over 170,000 acres of forests, wetlands, and open lands on a peninsula between Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Western Kentucky and Tennessee.
Clarksville distills small-batch handcrafted notes into big-city living. Its range of breweries, wineries and distilleries have visitors both shaken and stirred, while the city’s historic sites preserve the ingenuity of the human spirit. Let the Cumberland River guide you to the triumph of commerce as it wriggles through this blooming city.
9Disembark in Clarksville, TN
As the journey concludes, there are other opportunities for you to take in the town. Enjoy the city at your leisure, or consider an airport transfer.