Midwest Living Review
Mark Twain shows up everywhere in Hannibal, Missouri: At Reagan's Queen Anne Bed and Breakfast a Twain reenactor entertains guests during breakfast, and the visitors bureau welcome sign instantly gets folks smiling with clever Twain quotations like "Climate is what we expect; weather is what we get." Born Samuel Clemens, Twain grew up in Hannibal during the 1840s. When he created two of literature's most beloved characters in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Twain used Hannibal for the novels' setting. He drew on his memories of fishing in the Mississippi River and playing in the cave where Tom and Becky would get lost. Twain was internationally acclaimed during his lifetime, and his enduring popularity makes Hannibal special today. The world of Twain's boyhood still exists in his hometown, where an old-fashioned riverboat and a whitewashed fence beside the Mark Twain Boyhood Home bring his classic books to life. People come from around the world to put their feet in the Mississippi, tour the mazelike Mark Twain Cave, and have their pictures taken with Tom and Becky, local seventh graders who stroll Hannibal in vintage costumes. "Walking around town in the same places that Mark Twain walked is pretty amazing," says Alex Addison, the current Tom. Chat with downtown shopkeepers and artists working in the Victorian buildings Twain knew. Take in a performance of "Mark Twain Himself," or view one of the author's famous white jackets at the Mark Twain Museum Gallery. And do visit Riverview Park, where a larger-than-life Twain statue stands on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi, the timeless river from which his inspiration flowed.