AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 46

PILOT BRIEFING
POSTCARDS |

Hannibal, Missouri
Flying into Mark Twain country
B Y L E R OY C O O K

MOST DEVOTEES of celebrated
American author Samuel Langhorne
Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, have visited his stately home in Hartford,
Connecticut, where he spent the most
productive years of his life. However, his
boyhood beginnings on the banks of the
Mississippi River in Hannibal, Missouri,
are equally celebrated, and well worth a
fly-in visit to Twain's hometown.
Hannibal is a hillside city in northeast Missouri, boasting a population of
17,000. However, its downtown still has
its historic foot at a levee by the riverboat landing, accompanied by the
railroad tracks that supplanted steamboat commerce. Fortunately for us,
Hannibal Regional Airport (HAE) has
a fine single runway suitable for most
general aviation aircraft at 4,400 feet
by 100 feet.

46 | AOPA PILOT February 2021

MARK TWAIN'S TOWN

Hannibal, where young Clemens grew
up, provided much of the inspiration
for his famous works, The Adventures
of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn. Accordingly, there is
a restored " Huckleberry Finn House "
where the Huck Finn inspiration,
Tom Blankenship, lived-along with
the Clemens' family home; a " Becky
Thatcher " museum and home across
the street where Clemens' first sweetheart, Laura Hawkins, resided; the
Justice of the Peace building where
Clemens' father, J.M. Clemens, held
court; and the Grant's Drug Store pharmacy, above which the widow Clemens
moved with her children after her husband passed away.
All these well-kept attractions are
grouped closely, requiring only a single

passport-style admission that also
gains entry to the Mark Twain Museum
two blocks downriver.
ROLLING ON THE RIVER

The riverfront, now as then, provides
a backdrop for the downtown area,
although it's no longer the town's front
door through which visitors arrive. To
provide a tourist feel for the river-centered past, a replica riverboat provides
hour-long cruises up and down the
mighty rolling Mississippi, and it's available for party cruises by arrangement.
Gift shops, restaurants, galleries, and entertainment venues line the
downtown streets. We ate at the Ole
Planter's Restaurant and Becky's Ice
Cream Parlor and found them excellent choices, with typical reasonable
Midwestern prices. For exercise, you



AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Contents
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