Hannibal’s  historic downtown has that warm  hometown feeling  you do not want to miss.  Plenty of places to eat, shop, stroll and explore. Keep an eye out for the many colorful murals displayed on the buildings  through out the town. With Hannibal dating back to 1819, I loved the old,  brick buildings , impeccably  maintained,  inviting and repurposed for today’s time.     Continue another block or two from the historic downtown to the banks of Mississippi River.    Walk the  wonderful paved path  along the river front  or sit a spell on a bench and enjoy the river’s ambiance and the nature that surrounds it.  Weather permitting, take a ride on a Riverboat.  See the larger than life  bronze sculpture of Samuel Clemens as a young riverboat pilot, a career path Clemens tried before becoming a writer.  Relax and  soak in all of the  intoxicating  surrounding beauty.

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Samuel Clemens ( 1835-1910), lived in Hannibal, Missouri for most of his boyhood years. It was from these years and the town of Hannibal that gave Twain ideas and models for his writings, such as the Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn adventures. Clemens took the pen name ” Mark Twain” when he began to write in 1869 and quickly grew into a famous author, a humorist and a wise man. Besides his 28 books, and numerous short stories, Twain is also known for his “words of wisdom” such as:
A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots.”
I am a huge fan of Mark Twain’s sayings! I tried to find a total count of Twain’s “words of wisdom” sayings , and the closest I could figure was over 230.
Hannibal has set up a wonderful tribute and tour to Samuel Clemens’ boyhood years in Hannibal, and the future life of Mark Twain. I took a self guided walking tour of Clemens boyhood home, Becky Thatcher’s home (which in reality is the home of Clemens’ lifelong friend from childhood, Laura Hawkins), Clemens father’s Justice of the Peace Office, Grants Drug store and the apartment above the drug store where Clemens lived with his family for a brief time. There are also statues, a cave, a lighthouse, museums and riverboats to visit that have a Mark Twain (lovingly) twist to them. All are interesting, enjoyable and well done. I only had 2 days in Hannibal and I missed a lot, so plan your time accordingly. Top it off with the charming town of Hannibal and it all creates a wonderful get away!

Remember – you can click on any individual photo to enlarge it. : )
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Hannibal, Missouri was my destination for a weekend get away in November, 2021. Hannibal is best known for being the boyhood home of author Mark Twain ( born Samuel Clemens).
First on my agenda was a guided tour of the fascinating history and incredibly built Rockcliffe Mansion. Rockcliffe was built from 1898- 1900 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mansion sits, overlooking the Mississippi River and the town of Hannibal, on a limestone bluff. This mansion was built for a lumber baron, John J. Cruikshank, Jr. It was built with double brick interior construction, had a total of 13,500 square feet, 30 rooms (of which 9 are bedrooms and 7 bathrooms). There are 10 marble and tiled fireplaces, 125 windows, hand carved and ornate woodwork, custom-made gas/electric-combination lighting fixtures, and the finest plumbing fixtures and hardware. It was decorated in Late Victoria and Art Nouveau and full of Tiffany chandeliers, lamps and stained glass windows. Most of the original furnishings and fixtures were still in the house when it was bought for restoration. . The Cruikshank family lived there for 24 years. In 1902 during Mark Twain’s last trip to Hannibal, Twain entertained hundreds of people from the grand staircase at Rockcliffe. When John died in 1924, John’s wife moved in with one of her daughters and the house was locked up, as is, and sat unoccupied for 43 years. Under threat of the house being demolished, 3 local families bought the house and the restoration process began. Restoration is on-going based on original photos found in the home and also operates as a Bed and Breakfast where you can sleep in an original bedroom/bathroom and it’s furnishings.
I have toured many mansions, castles and old homes in my years, but this tour was definitely the most interesting, entertaining and thorough of them all. We toured all 3 floors, from the Music Room to the kitchen and butler pantries on the 1st floor, to the 2nd floor, where all of the bedrooms formed a circle , each room with 3 entrances/exists in case of fire, and the 3th floor with its ballroom, servants and nanny ‘s quarters and a classroom as the children were taught at home. If you are a fan of old buildings, I highly recommend making the trip to Hannibal to tour Rockcliffe Mansion . The lighting in the house was kept dim to preserve the interior so many of my photos do not do Rockcliffe justice. But you can look up :
to see more photos of Rockcliffe. More posts to follow about Hannibal’s sights.
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Dallas Museum of Art is a beautiful building with a huge, varied collection. My favorites were from the “American Art” gallery. The “Untitled” statue of a man was probably 15 feet tall – truly a statue that could not be ignored due to its sheer size. Sometimes, the story behind the paintings, made me love the it even more. Such as “The Prodigal Son” painting depicts a headstrong son who goes out in the world, then returns home broken and battered. Yet his father welcomed him home even though the homestead has fallen in disrepair without the son home to help. Truly a valuable lesson in the limitless possibilities of forgiveness. In the painting,” June Night” the painting depicts the chaos of postwar America and the artist sought to memorialize his family who were victims of the holocaust. This museum was a wonderful way to wrap up my visit to Dallas. Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed!

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF PUMPKINS as presented by the Dallas Arboretum’s Bugtopia

The Dallas Arboretum also had a huge display of different varieties of pumpkins. There are 45 different varieties. A single pumpkin plant can produce between two – five pumpkins. Miniature pumpkin varieties can produce up to twelve pumpkins. The most popular pumpkins are the classic orange, miniature, warty, white, blue and pie pumpkins. The roundish and ribbed skinned mammoth gold are most commonly used for jack-o-lanterns. For cooking, you want to use sugar pumpkins (also called pie or sweet pumpkins), which are small and round. Sugar pumpkins, especially, are perfect for pies because they are not as stringy and contain less water than other pumpkins . Long island cheese pumpkins are also good to eat. Pumpkins have about 50 calories, 1.8 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.7 grams of dietary fiber per cup. But beware : although pumpkins, squashes, and gourds (including zucchinis or cucumbers) are edible they can sometimes cause a condition called cucurbit poisoning. All the cucurbits contain Cucurbitacin E that protects them from insects but it can be toxic at high concentration. Plants with a high concentration of cucurbitacin are extremely and unpleasantly bitter. So if take a bite of one of these foods, and it tastes bad – spit it out. Even just a couple bites can make you very sick. This can happen especially with volunteer plants of these kinds. Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed!!


Along with pumpkins galore and oversized bugs, Autumn at the Arboretum, continues to spread joy with beautiful blooming gardens everywhere! I was further delighted to see so many varieties of flowering plants three and four feet tall, where as, in my home state of Missouri, I was accustomed to seeing these same plants one foot tall at the most! Another aspect about what I loved about the Arboretum was that I could curiously venture down paved paths with no clue of what was to come, yet to see surprising and tranquil settings unfold in front of me. While exploring the 66 acres, time and time again I would happen upon koi ponds, fountains, statues, rippling creeks beds and waterfalls. Most offered shaded benches just for the sitting and absorbing the beauty and nature that surrounds me. Quiet places that mends the soul. Gentle reminders to be grateful. Never underestimate what is ahead of you. Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed!


FANTASIC 2021 PUMPKIN VILLAGE at the Dallas, Texas Arboretum !!

My favorite time of year is pumpkins!!
So naturally I had to attend the Autumn at the Arboretum celebration in Dallas, Texas. It is a nationally acclaimed popular seasonal attraction, now in its 16th year. Bugtopia is this year’s theme. 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash were used to create the scenes in the Pumpkin Village and also to compliment the blooming flowers throughout the 66 acre gardens. It was absolutely incredible and I have never seen anything else like it before!! Hoped you enjoyed!! Thanks for reading!!


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