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This tour is not currently offered. A variety of other spectacular autumn rail tours are currently available for travel.
In America's heartland, in the lush Iowa River Valley, are the hamlets of the famed Amana Colonies, settled by German immigrants in the 19th Century and filled with quaint villages, historic buildings, fabulous handicrafts and woolens and wonderful food, including homemade bread, sauerbraten, over baked ham and steins of ice cold beer. It is doubtful that any part of the midwest surpasses the Amana Colonies for sheer charm, rustic beauty and appeal. However, a short ride away sits stunning Galena, Illinois, a small-town jewel of 19th Century America with hundreds of restored Victorian homes, 85% of which are on the National Register of Historic Places, antique stores and rich history, Galena is a showcase, in a setting of remarkable natural beauty. This pair of magical places are just two of the highlights on this exclusive Fall Holiday to America's Heartland by train and riverboat.
Your journey begins in Chicago aboard the California Zephyr for a speedy ride west over the Burlington Northern Railroad to Iowa, bound for the Amana Colonies and Galena where excellent hotels, fine dining and superb comprehensive sightseeing are featured. Best of all, in addition to the intelligently planned sightseeing that is included, plenty of free time has been left for you to enjoy things at your own pace, as you like, when you like, whether it be shopping for handmade woolens in the Amana Colonies or touring the home of US Grant in Galena.
Saving the best for last, after your visits to the Amana Colonies and Galena you board an authentic Mississippi riverboat for a scenic and fascinating voyage south on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers to St. Louis. By day, tasty meals, glorious sightseeing (including multiple locks!) and a historian/naturalist to point out passing sights and Dixieland Jazz are served up and at night, you enjoy nice hotel stays ashore for a good night's sleep. In fact, the second night of your voyage is spent at the wonderful and historic Pere Marquette Lodge in Grafton, at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. This is a rare chance to sail down the Mississippi in the wake of Mark Twain when Fall Colors are at their peak, a visual and historic feast. Upon arrival in St. Louis, a two-night First Class hotel stay awaits at the Drury Plaza Hotel, just a five-minute walk from the famed Arch, in the heart of downtown. You will enjoy a comprehensive city tour by noted historian Nini Harris that includes such sights as Forest Park, the amazing Cathedral of St. Louis and much more. Naturally, a special farewell dinner is included before guests return to Chicago or other Midwest points by train.
- Train travel from Chicago to Iowa aboard the famed 'California Zephyr' train
- Fully hosted by professional tour manager to handle all of the details with special parties & events for our guests
- Superb hotel stays throughout the tour including breakfast daily and luggage handling in Bettendorf, Galena and Peoria
- Complete sightseeing is included in all locations from start to finish including indepth touring of the Amana Colonies with professional local guide
- Two-night Riverboat cruise from Peoria to St. Louis by authentic sternwheeler paddleboat with all meals and entertainment while aboard and hotel accommodations during our overnight stays en route including the famous Pere Marquette Lodge
- Two-night St. Louis hotel stay with reception each evening, full breakfast daily, indepth St. Louis Sightseeing tour by noted historian Nini Harris and special farewell dinner hosted by Train Holidays
- Train travel back to Chicago or any other midwestern city
Day One - Chicago, Illinois
Depart Chicago at 2 pm on the California Zephyr for Burlington, IA. Overnight at the Castle Lodge in Bettendorf, a grand hotel overlooking the Mississippi richly furnished with antiques and fine art.
Day Two - Amana Colonies, Iowa
After breakfast a scenic drive to the Amana Colonies, storybook villages set amidst the lush Iowa River Valley with plenty of time to enjoy shopping for homemade handicrafts, fine woolens or homemade food, followed by lunch at the renowned Ox Yoke Inn. After lunch, a drive to lovely Galena where superb accommodations await at the elegant Irish Cottage Hotel with a special welcome dinner in this jewel of a 19th century town. B L D
Day Three - Galena, Illinois
All morning at leisure to explore Galena with its hundreds of beautifully restored victorian homes, quaint downtown area and rich history, including the home of General Grant. After lunch, you drive to Peoria with overnight stay at the historic Hotel Pere Marquette in this cute town alongside the Illinois River. B L
Day Four - Steamboatin'
Depart at 8am aboard the Spirit of Peoria, bound for St. Louis with breakfast and lunch as you steam south on the Illinois River, with ragtime music on deck today. Later tonight, after LaGrange Lock, a prime rib dinner before your arrival at your overnight hotel stay in Jacksonville. B L D
Day Five - Steamboatin'
Steaming and Locking your way down river on the mighty Mississippi today with wonderful fall Colors on the riverbank. Today features a magical overnight at the historic Pere Marquette Lodge at the confluence of the Illinois & Mississippi Rivers. B L D
Day Six - Steamboatin'
You set sail this morning for St. Louis by riverboat with a final luncheon and ragtime music concert on deck before passing through Lock and Dam #27 before your 2 pm arrival in St Louis docking under the famous Arch with overnight stay in St. Louis at the Drury Plaza Hotel. Tonight there is a welcome reception at the Drury Plaza Hotel with the evening at leisure to enjoy one of the many restaurants in downtown St. Louis or perhaps a visit to the nearby new casino at Lacledes Landing. B L RD
Day Seven - St. Louis, Missouri
Late morning city sightseeing tour by acclaimed local historian Nini Harris. Many travelers rate her in-depth tour of St. Louis the highlight of their holiday and you will soon see why. All afternoon is at leisure with time for you to visit the Arch, historic Union Station or the chic Euclid area and later tonight, your Farewell dinner. Overnight at the Drury Plaza Hotel. B D
Day Eight - Chicago, Illinois
Guests return to Chicago or other midwest cities aboard the Texas Eagle train with 1 pm arrival in Chicago. Guests may also depart St. Louis this morning for Kansas City. Welcome home. B