Great River Tours

Travel on Great Rivers and Great Riverboats

wlwttv asked:


The Delta Queen is will no longer cruise unless Congress takes action. …

Cary Ordway asked:


Sacramento is not just any old state capital — it’s also a virtual theme park for historians, art lovers and just about anyone else who wants to learn more about the state of California.

It’s tempting to say it’s a theme park for adults – but it’s really not just for adults. In fact, a visit to Sacramento probably will be one of the most beneficial field trips your youngsters will ever take. They’ll learn about government, the Old West, railroads, Native Americans, the Gold Rush and several other subjects featured in dozens of Sacramento exhibits and museums.

We stopped by the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, where we obtained maps and a long list of attractions in the city. The CVB is just around the corner from highlights like the Governor’s Mansion and the many beautifully maintained Victorian homes and architecture found throughout the downtown area.

We then drove over to take the obligatory pictures of the State Capitol Building, keeping an eye out for California’s movie-star governor. But, alas, no Arnold at either the Capitol or the Governor’s Mansion — although we’re told the governor is frequently spotted having lunch at the Esquire Grill or dining at Lucca and Biba restaurants. In any event, the State Capitol Museum makes the stop more than worthwhile with its exhibits and artifacts from the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and a newly unveiled 3-D movie on the disaster.

Nearby we found several other museums to explore. For example, the Crocker Art Museum is located in one of the city’s most beautiful Victorian homes and is, in fact, the oldest art museum in the West. Founded in 1873, the museum today displays original European and master drawings as well as 19th-Century California paintings, sculptures and Asian art.

We stopped in the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts, which offers colorful and descriptive displays about many of the women who have been instrumental in helping California grow to its present stature. As with most museums we visited, visitors could spend several hours in just this museum soaking up fascinating facts about the Golden State.

For history buffs, maybe the best place in town to go is Old Sacramento, which has a number of museums including the California Military Museum, Discovery Museum History Center, the Old Sacramento Interpretive Center, the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum and the Wells Fargo History Museum.

Topping the historical list is the California State Railroad Museum which is said to be one of the country’s best railroad museums. The 100,000-square-foot museum features many actual railcars as well as various real locomotives. You can see what a 19th Century train station was really like with a very authentic replica right on the premises.

We were amazed by the Railroad Museum because so many different types of rail cars and locomotives were on display indoors all in one place. The trains are in tip-top condition and you can always find one of the museum’s volunteers to explain how this or that worked or why this particular steam engine was important. There is an elaborate model railroad upstairs as well as exhibits explaining the history of model railroading. We’ve got to say this museum was a favorite for both the adults and kids in our crowd.

Old Sacramento, as one local visitor official told us, was once the skid row of Sacramento until, in the 1960’s, a major re-development project was initiated to restore many of the historic buildings and attract new business into the area. The history of Old Sacramento dates back to 1839 when this became the first commercial settlement in the area. When gold was discovered in nearby Coloma in 1849, the business community along the Sacramento River began to boom. Local miners had to have such services as hotels, saloons, outfitting stores and bathhouses.

Nowadays, Old Sacramento is bringing back that early atmosphere and everyone seems to love it – it now attracts more than 5 million visitors each year. Although we noticed several commercial vacancies in the area, that might just be because Old Sacramento is now considered one of the most expensive places in Sacramento to do business.

The area has been restored with cobblestone streets, gaslamps and wooden sidewalks, and you do get the feeling of walking through a town from the Old West. Of course there are a few tip-offs that this particular Wild West town has been somewhat tamed: T-shirt shops seem to abound and there are plenty of candy and chocolate stores, not to mention pizza and just about anything else today’s explorers may want to eat.

The shops in Old Sacramento – no matter how tacky some of them may be – are almost all housed in historic buildings. Among those 53 buildings still standing is a firehouse built in 1853, California’s first threater, and the B.J. Hastings Building which was the western terminus for the Pony Express.

For a unique overnight adventure in Sacramento, try staying on board the Delta King, an early 20th Century paddle-wheeler riverboat. The boat once offered prohibition-era drinking, jazz bands and gambling for its fun-loving passengers and, just like passengers back in the 1920s, today’s guests enjoy enchanting river views, great food and drink and a cozy stateroom unlike any other accommodation you may have experienced. But unlike those early passengers, you will have to be content with scenery that remains pretty constant. The Delta King isn’t going anyplace anytime soon.

On this particular visit, we stayed overnight in a great choice for landlubbers, the Hilton Sacramento Arden West. About five miles from Old Town, the hotel is located in the Point West part of Sacramento and is a particular favorite with business travelers because of its endless amenities and typical Hilton upscale, polished look and feel. We found the spacious rooms to be tastefully decorated and well insulated from any street noise. With its marble counters, pillow-top mattresses and 250-threadcount linens, this hotel proved to be a luxurious respite after a long day of museum-hopping in Sacramento.

AT A GLANCE

WHERE: Sacramento is about 85 miles northeast of San Francisco and 385 miles north of Los Angeles in the San Joaquin Valley.

WHAT: Sacramento is the state capital of California and the home of the state’s governmental offices. Numerous museums, exhibits, historical buildings and other attractions make the city a popular travel destination.

WHEN: The climate is moderate in Sacramento so visits can be planned anytime of year. Check ahead to see when the Legislature’s in session if you would like to see government in action.

WHY: You’ll find many attractions located in a close area, most of them quite illustrative of early Californian history.

HOW: For more information on Sacramento, contact the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-292-2334 or visit www.discovergold.org.



Kris Koonar asked:


Sacramento, the capital city of California is located in a peaceful valley blessed with leafy canopies, and year round pleasant weather. It has a Mediterranean climate characterized by mild winters and dry summers. The region has low humidity and it rains there between the months of November and March. Sacramento has evolved as a cosmopolitan junction with wonderful sights, monuments, and restaurants, and an entertaining nightlife. With a plethora of luxurious villas, it has become the center of attraction for a large number of tourists.

Also known as a sleepy little town, Sacramento has a lot to offer its visitors as it has an extensive range of historic and educational attractions that can interest people from all walks of life. Once famous for its historic gold rush, Sacramento now has a number of museums and historic sites. You can also experience the magic of the place by taking riverboat cruises and other tours. Some of the tours are mentioned below:

Riverboat Cruises: If you wish to experience the real essence of Sacramento, you need to go on a riverboat cruise. You can board a Victorian paddle-wheel steamer and enjoy the special dining, dancing and sightseeing. These cruises are very famous and the boats used are reproductions of two historically renowned paddle wheelers, namely, the Spirit of Sacramento and the Matthew McKinley. Apart from sightseeing tours, they also offer brunch and dinner cruises. But you need to book your trip in advance so that you can enjoy the riverboat cruises when you plan a holiday.

Southern Railroad Excursion: The Southern Railroad Excursion is also a popular attraction in Sacramento. It takes visitors on a 40-minute train ride along the Sacramento River. You can enjoy cruising along in open-air gondolas and vintage coaches pulled by real steam locomotives and admire the scenic beauty. There are a number of special theme trains and events that are meant mostly for kids. Moreover, Sacramento is a prime location for students to acquaint them with the history of California, as well as to give them an introduction to the government in the capital city.

Limousine Tours: The limousine services in Sacramento are a classy combination of style and comfort. Though the general impression is that these luxurious limousine tours are very expensive, in reality they are available at reasonable rates, and can fit to any budget. These limousine tours are not stuffy, executive affairs, but are full of fun and frolic. Apart from being the most popular choice for business and corporate clients, it is also popular for social occasions such as weddings.

They are committed to providing excellent services for a wide range of events aimed at both the corporate client as well as private customers. They offer safe and smooth transportation to and from the place of event at the best possible rates. Limousine tours offer its customers a wide selection of vehicles such as Lincoln or Mercedes sedans, luxury SUVs, and the new Hummer limousines. If you wish to accommodate larger groups, you can opt for luxurious coaches offered by the limo services in Sacramento.

Delta River Cruise: The Delta River Cruise is very famous in Sacramento. You can enjoy the commentary about the points of interest as you journey along the route narrated by the historian on board, along with a fully stocked bar and lunch services.



Cary Ordway asked:


There’s no need to go to Mississippi to stay on an authentic and historic riverboat. The Delta King is boarding right now in Sacramento.

Guests on the Delta King enjoy great river views, excellent food and drink and a stateroom that is quite unique. But unlike those early passengers, you will have to be content with scenery that remains pretty constant. The Delta King isn’t going anyplace anytime soon.

But then it doesn’t need to. This historic 285-foot boat is docked along the Old Sacramento riverfront which, today, has been turned into a hip collection of good restaurants, eclectic shops and trendy night spots that draw millions of tourists and local residents alike.

The Delta King and her identical twin, the Delta Queen, were christened in 1927, the same year that the vessels began voyages between San Francisco and Sacramento. The trip took more than 10 hours and staterooms were available for $3.50. But for a dollar, you could bring your own blanket and find a spot to sleep on the cargo deck. This river service continued for about 13 years until the boats were moved to San Francisco Bay and used by the U.S. Navy as net tenders, floating barracks, troop transports and hospital ships.

After World War II, the Delta Queen was sold and moved to the Mississippi where she still operates. And therein lies the reason the Delta King doesn’t travel too much these days: the Delta Queen took the Delta King’s engines. The Delta King has been towed ever since.

As if that weren’t enough indignity for the King, the boat sank in San Francisco Bay in 1982 and remained underwater for 18 months. It took a five-year renovation to bring the Delta King to its present tip-top condition.

The elegance and craftsmanship are apparent the moment one enters the lobby area where the rich red oak paneling and fixtures create an impression of opulence. If you remember the grand stairway of the Titanic, the dining room has a similar feel with its oak banisters and elegant decor. It’s easy to imagine how special this river voyage must have been for 1920’s revelers anxious to slip away from a hard week’s work to enjoy a taste of the forbidden fruit (i.e. alcoholic beverages).

The staterooms on the Delta King are actually twice the size of the rooms back in boat’s river-going days. There are 44 rooms located on a couple of decks and offering either a view of the river, or a view of the ongoing activities along the dock front in Old Sacramento. The river views are slightly more expensive.

We found even the larger rooms to be small, but no smaller than expected for a stateroom on board an authentic riverboat. Our room had a queen bed on one side, a single bed on the other, and a tiny bathroom – with an unusual six-foot high toilet tank — in the middle. Color TV with cable was available on the queen bed side. The stateroom was a cozy place to kick off your shoes and read the paper or relax – but there was much to experience just footsteps from the Delta King dock.

Old Sacramento, as one local visitor official told us, was once the skid row of Sacramento until, in the 1960’s, a major re-development project was initiated to restore many of the historic buildings and attract new business into the area. As it was explained to us, somebody made a huge mistake putting Interstate 5 within just three blocks of Sacramento’s prime riverfront and, until the re-development, that had the effect of cutting off this very historic and picturesque location from the rest of downtown.

The history of Old Sacramento dates back to 1839 when this became the first commercial settlement in the area. When gold was discovered in nearby Coloma in 1849, the business community along the Sacramento River began to boom. Hotels, saloons, bathhouses and outfitting stores were all set up to take care of the local miners.

Today, Old Sacramento attempts to re-create much of that early atmosphere and it seems to be working – it now attracts more than 5 million visitors each year. Although we noticed several commercial vacancies in the area, that might just be because Old Sacramento is now considered one of the most expensive places in Sacramento to do business.

The area has been restored with cobblestone streets, gaslamps and wooden sidewalks, and you do get the feeling of walking through a town from the Old West. Of course there are a few tip-offs that this particular Wild West town has been somewhat tamed: T-shirt shops seem to abound and there are plenty of candy and chocolate stores, not to mention pizza and just about anything else today’s explorers may want to eat.

Dinner for us was a quick walk down to Joe’s Crab Shack, a place that seems to be THE choice of the city’s 20-somethings. We also read someplace that Old Sacramento – with some very nice restaurants including the Delta King’s own Pilothouse — had been voted in a magazine poll as the best place in Sacramento to take a first date. That gives you some idea of how the area has become to Sacramento what the Gaslamp is to San Diego, or Pioneer Square is to Seattle.

For history buffs, Old Sacramento also has a number of museums including the California Military Museum, Discovery Museum History Center, the Old Sacramento Interpretive Center, the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum and the Wells Fargo History Museum.

Maybe topping the historical list is the California State Railroad Museum which is said to be one of the country’s best railroad museums. The 100,000-square-foot museum features many actual railcars as well as a million-pound steam locomotive. A train station replica allows you to see what a 19th Century station was like and, in spring and summer months, the museum offers steam train rides.

Shops in Old Sacramento sometimes run to the tacky side, but one thing’s for certain — they’re all located in historic buildings. Among those 53 buildings still standing is a firehouse built in 1853, California’s first theater, and the B.J. Hastings Building which was the western terminus for the Pony Express.

Whether it’s boats, trains, history or eclectic shopping, Old Sacramento and the Delta King are an “excursion” into history worth taking any time of year.

AT A GLANCE

WHERE: The Delta King is located in Old Sacramento, just off Interstate 5 in Sacramento and just a few blocks from the State Capitol and other government offices and attractions.

WHAT: The Delta King is an authentic sternwheeler that has been refurbished to provide cozy accommodations in a colorful location.

WHEN: Any time of year. The Delta King offers dinner theater for several multi-week periods throughout the year. Old Sacramento crowds are much bigger in summer.

WHY: An excellent combination of unique lodgings, fine restaurants, shopping and many historical museums. The Old Sacramento area is just 28 acres altogether which means that everything is within walking distance, including nearby state attractions.

HOW: For more information on the Delta King, phone 1-800-825-5464 or go to www.deltaking.com. For more information on Old Sacramento, go to www.oldsacramento.com.



Ann Coveney asked:


Visit Cambridge and Be Inspired

Cambridge is a vibrant city that fuses together history and modern day life. It is a living city that is still continuing to influence history today. If you go to Cambridge you will be inspired by its historical buildings and surprised by the bustling cafe culture and nightlife. It is a city of contrast.

You can imagine medieval monks writing illuminated texts by the light of a flickering candle. Draughty corridors and high vaulted ceilings depicting stories from the Old Testament where echoes of Gregorian chants can still be heard. Cambridge is steeped in scholastic history dating back to the thirteenth century. Today, the unspoiled beauty offers a refreshing change from traffic chocked cities. The gentle whirr of bicycles passing by or the splashes of oars on the river depict a slice of historic England. Many famous names have passed through these colleges from Oliver Cromwell and Isaac Newton to Prince Charles and Stephen Hawking. The course of history was laid down in this most inspirational of places – a must-see in anybody’s books.

A walk into history…

Kings College

Established by Henry V1 boasts fine examples of fan vaulted ceilings and Renaissance windows showing pictures of the New Testament. The highlight being awe inspiring painting by Rubens – Adoration of the Magi.

Queens College

So called because it was founded by two Queens; that of HenryV1 and Edward1V. Look out for the ‘Mathematical Bridge’. This bridge was originally constructed entirely without nails using geometric principles. The story goes that it was deconstructed by an inquisitive person during the Victorian period who was unable to reconstruct it without the use of bolts.

Trinity College

Sir Christopher Wren built the magnificent library housed within the college. This is home to a collection of many rare books including Isaac Newton’s first edition of Principia Mathematica and an eighth

Century copy of the Epistles of St Paul. The majestic fountain dates to 1602.

St Mary’s church

Climb to the top of this tower to experience fantastic views of the colleges and market. This is the official university church of St Mary the Great. The chimes mirror those of Big Ben composed in 1793.

The Round Church

Dating from 1130 this is one example of only four round churches found in Britain. Churches were traditionally built in a cruciform and some believe that round churches were the work of the ‘Templars’. As the church’s name suggests ‘The Church of the Holy Sepulchre’ was probably modelled on the church in Palestine.

The Fitzwilliam Museum

This is the largest museum in Cambridge and is owned by the university. It houses a spectacular range of Roman, Greek and Egyptian antiquities as well as collections of paintings and objects of art covering key periods in history.

Cambridge and Country Folk Museum

This museum will appeal to all ages and interests showing how family life has developed over the last six hundred years.

The Scott Polar Institute

Founded to commemorate the explorer Captain Scott the institute houses relics of the South Pole Expedition through to today’s modern exploration and research.

The River Cam

Walk along the tow paths or go for a ride in a punt. The river is intrinsically linked with life in Cambridge now and in the past. ‘The Backs’ passes behind the colleges and proves popular for rowing and canoeing.

Step Back To Today…

Bars, Cafes and Nightlife

Cambridge has some of the best bars and pubs to unwind kick back and leave the day behind. There are cosy historic pubs, chic bars and sultry clubs. Try the Anchor for a traditional setting and views over the river. If you’re looking entertainment The Boat Race offers live music everyday of the week. If you’re looking for a few cocktails and a dance head down to the very chic HaHa and Coco nightclub. For something a little bit more up tempo try Po Na Na a trendy basement bar that plays club, salsa and house music. If you are looking for something a little bit more quirky you can hire out the Riverboat Georgina for parties and functions. You’ll be sailing down the historic river Cam with drink in hand taking in the sights and sounds of this vibrant city.

Shopping

Cambridge boasts some of the best shopping in the UK. High street shops stand alongside designer shops, independent boutiques and second hand shops. But what makes shopping special in Cambridge has to be the markets. The market place has been here for centuries. From Monday to Saturday the stall holders sell fresh produce, cut flowers, second-hand books, clothing, soap and souvenirs.

…Be Inspired

If you are at all interested in history then you will not be disappointed in the awe inspiring city of Cambridge. Walk in the footsteps of some of the greatest thinkers of the modern world.



©2015. All Rights Reserved. Great River Tours