Living like Twain
American writer and humorist Mark Twain (the pen name of Samuel Clemens) is synonymous with the Mighty Mississippi River. Head to Arkansas’ Upper Delta and spend some time alongside the majestic river, just like Tom and Huck.
A great place to start is Sans Souci Landing near Osceola. The park, located on the former Plum Point plantation, has great views of the Mississippi River. Twain actually referred to Plum Point (the town’s name before being officially changed to Osceola in 1853) in “Life on the Mississippi.” You’ll find a historic marker dedicated to Twain at the park, alongside the mighty river that played such a part in so many of his books and stories. (Other Arkansas towns mentioned in the writings of Twain include historic Helena, Arkansas City, and the now-extinct Napoleon.)
You can travel the Great River Road National Scenic Byway from Osceola to West Memphis, which features two great attractions on the “Twain Tour.” (On a side note, this takes you through Wilson, an historic Arkansas Delta town. Plan to have lunch at the Wilson Café, do some shopping at White’s Mercantile, and learn about Native American history in the Arkansas Delta at Hampson Archeological Museum State Park.)
The Big River Crossing, which connects West Memphis with downtown Memphis, has the distinction of not only being the longest public pedestrian bridge across the “Father of Waters,” it is also the country’s longest active rail/bicycle/pedestrian bridge. The unparalleled views of the mighty Mississippi from the walkway are unlike most that visitors have seen before. A major focus of the Big River Crossing is the “big river” itself, which visitors view from the nearly one-mile walkway built alongside the historic Harahan Bridge, one of the river’s former roadways.
Not far from the Big River Crossing, you’ll find Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi River RV Park, the perfect place to get up close and personal with the “Father of Rivers.” It’s also the perfect place to plan an RV getaway. The park offers a lake and two ponds for some great fishing, or you can just relax and watch the Mississippi River.
So come explore your inner Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn in the Upper Delta of Arkansas!