Friday, December 21, 2012
After our time in St. Louis, we headed North to Iowa and we nearly missed stopping in Hannibal...
...You see, I had to pee (so freakin' bad) and I was "hangry" (you know, when you're so hungry you become angry?) (editor's note: We both get "hangry" a lot... -T). We were in the middle of nowhere and knew our options would be limited, but a Yelp search promised a restaurant ahead, so we took the next exit. All we found at the address was a mobile home with someone fixing their car in the yard. Confused by the whole scene we decided my bladder would (hopefully) make it further up the road.
Hannibal happened to be the next exit and we were very surprised to realize the town was Mark Twain's hometown and the setting for his novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and later, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (the town has named itself "America's Hometown"). After grabbing some quick Mexican food we set out to explore the sleepy (and a bit rundown) town that is situated right on the Mississippi River. The main street has a few antique shops and the requisite ice cream parlor. But of most interest are the Mark Twain attractions: climb the 244 steps up to the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse for panoramic views of the Mississippi; check out the Tom & Huck statue; see where the depicted jail stood in Tom Sawyer; tour through the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, which includes Becky Thatcher's home, and is adjacent to the famous white fence.
It was pretty phenomenal to walk around and experience not just Mark Twain's home, but the town depicted in the fictional Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer stories. Taras and I grew up on separate continents and read children's fiction books in different languages, but we both vividly remember the excitement of reading Mark Twain's writings. And, in high school, I wore overalls to waitress every day at a restaurant named Huckleberry Finn's, so there's that memory. I guess "America's Hometown" does seem quite appropriate for Hannibal, MO.