Hannibal Full of Family Activities!!

May 9th, 2013

mothersdayfiddlestiksAs we all know, Sunday, May 12 is Mother’s Day!  How do you celebrate YOUR mom on Mother’s Day?  My mom is the heart and soul of most of our family celebrations and she certainly deserves her day!  Her favorite place to eat for Mother’s Day is Fiddlestiks Food & Spirits Co. in Hannibal, Missouri.  For several years now, we have gathered the family – children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren included – at this family friendly restaurant to celebrate MY mom and all she is to our family.  So Hannibal is exactly where we are headed again this year for our annual Mother’s Day lunch!

Even though we make Mother’s Day in Hannibal our day together as a family, there are family activities throughout the year in one of the most family friendly cities you’ll ever find!  Of course, we all know that Hannibal is best known for being the childhood home of Mark Twain (born Samuel Clemens.The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, written by Mark Twain, is obviously a recurring theme in many of Hannibal’s activities for families.  In a tourism meeting that I attended in late March, the Hannibal Convention & Visitor’s Bureau confirmed that a large percentage of their tourists visit Hannibal because of Mark Twain and the history behind this famed author.

mainstreethannibalSo let’s back up for just a minute.  We’re already in the month of May – where HAS the year gone?  May brings high school proms and the kickoff to graduation season with commencement ceremonies at high schools and colleges throughout the area.  After celebrating Mother’s Day with your mom, Memorial Day is a definite sign that summer and the vacation season are here!  In fact, Twain on Main, a FREE arts and crafts festival takes place on Memorial Day weekend.  With the street through Historic Downtown Hannibal closed off except for foot traffic, you’ll be able to enjoy vendors, family friendly activities, and live entertainment.  This event is on Saturday and Sunday, which still leaves Memorial Day for a great BBQ!

With that being said, start planning your vacation today!  Think about a vacation at Harpole’s Heartland Lodge in Nebo, IL.  Nestled in the rolling hills of the Mississippi River bluffs in West Central Illinois, the lodge will put you within a short drive of Hannibal, Missouri and when you’re not enjoying all the amenities the lodge has to offer, you can head to Hannibal – home of Tom Sawyer, his childhood sweetheart Becky Thatcher, and his sidekick Huckleberry Finn.  In addition to the Twain on Main event, other scheduled events include the Loafers Car Show (to be held this Saturday, May 11, 2013), the Downtown Hannibal Art Fair on June 15 & 16, 2013, and the National Tom Sawyer Days July 3-7, 2013.  All the information on these and other scheduled events can be found amuseumsignt http://www.visithannibal.com/.

Obviously, most events are scheduled on weekends but if you are on vacation and visiting Hannibal during the week, there are still many things to do, places to go and people to see.  Once such event actually takes place on Monday, June 24, 2013.  The 2013 Hemmings Motor News Great Race is a road rally race that will be traveling from St. Paul, MN to Mobile, AL June 22 – 30, 2013.  The cars and support teams will be stopping overnight in Hannibal on Monday, June 24 and the public is invited to attend this event!  I certainly have it on my calendar and will be there with camera in hand!  Just think – a 3-day weekend (or longer) at the lodge and you, too, will be able to witness this race spectacle!  I’m hoping to have more information in the future on this much-anticipated event so stay tuned!tomandbeckycave

But if scheduled events aren’t your thing – and you prefer to see Hannibal at your own pace – the options are endless for you and your family!  We all know that no trip to Hannibal can be complete without exploring Mark Twain Cave the way that Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher did as young kids.  The cave even holds special tours in October (Ghosts, Heroes & Villains) and December (Holiday Cave Tour).  How fun would those tours be?

When you finish up at the cave, you can hop across the road and sawyerscreekcheck out Sawyer’s Creek – a great place with several activities to do with the kids including miniature golf, bumper boats and a great view of the Mississippi!  Once you are finished playing, a little history never hurt anyone so head back to town.  As much as we associate Mark Twain and Tom Sawyer with Hannibal, Hannibal was the home of Molly Brown, one of the Titanic survivors.  Be sure to visit the birthplace and museum of the unsinkable Molly Brown and learn how her story started right here in Hannibal.

marktwaincutoutIf you enjoy the theater, consider checking out one of the live performances that are available in town.  You can check out Richard Garey at the Planters Barn Theater in Mark Twain HIMSELF.  You can even learn about The Civil War in two live performances at the Mark Twain MuseumMark Twain’s Retreat and A True Story should definitely be on your list of stops in this historic town.  At the end of the day, once you’ve played a little and learned a little, now it’s time to relax a little.  Consider taking a sightseeing cruise on the Mark Twain Riverboat.  The cruises last one hour and you will enjoy hearing about the river history and legends while enjoying the sights along the way.

As you can see, Hannibal isn’t just for Mother’s Day but it’s a great place to start.  We visit Hannibal a couple of times a year – and will definitely be there in June for The Great Race but consider it as a summer vacation destination.  Add to that the great accommodations at Heartland Lodge and you and your family will have a vacation to remember!butterflygarden

And a shout out to all the mom’s out there!  Enjoy your day – you deserve it!  And don’t forget those who are just like moms to us – those special women in our lives – our sisters, daughters, nieces, aunts, grandmothers and friends.  I can assure you that somewhere along the way, they have been touched by a wonderful mother!  Happy Mother’s Day!

Lori Biehl


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