Spirit of Peoria Riverboat

Two Day Autumn Overnight Illinois River Cruise

September 29 – October 2, 2019

     What do you get when you mix one part history and one part scenery with some great food, music, relaxation and adventure?  You get a wonderful two day autumn overnight getaway on the Spirit of Peoria riverboat.  The Spirit of Peoria’s whistle blows, then water churns as the riverboat backs away from her dock in Peoria, Illinois.  The onboard calliope bursts into song, playing an old-fashioned tune as the boat glides up the river to its overnight destination at Starved Rock Landing in Utica, Illinois. In these times of jet airplanes and super trains, the Spirit of Peoria offers a more classic and somewhat classier alternative.  If you’re ready to put relaxation back in your vacation, consider a trip on this amazing riverboat.  It may be just what you’re looking for!!   This excursion proves the saying that “Getting there is half the fun” and features two days of cruising with an overnight at the historic Starved Rock Lodge, where the past is always present.  You can be part of this excitement when you join Laura and Gary Block for this four day getaway.   Our Andy’s Charter Service motor coach departs Little Falls from the northeast corner of the Wal-Mart parking lot on September 29th and heads south.  We’ll pick up in Royalton, Rice, St. Cloud, the Twin Cities or anywhere else along our route.  We’ll travel through southern Minnesota and across Iowa today, stopping for lunch and dinner on our own. Tonight we stay at Stoney Creek Hotel in East Peoria, Illinois, situated along the scenic banks of the Illinois River.  With its uniquely designed guest rooms, Stoney Creek features a gift shop, pool, fitness center and the Loose Moose Saloon.

    Our second day begins with breakfast, as we step aboard the Spirit of Peoria.  Temperatures typically at this time of year are in the low 70’s for beautiful fall weather.  Step back in time aboard the Midwest’s most unique and historic riverboat as it travels the Illinois River valley between Peoria and Starved Rock State Park.  This is a first time experience for Gary Block Tours.  The Spirit of Peoria is a full-blown replica of the nineteenth century riverboats that inhabited the nation’s waterways.  Decorated in the “wedding cake” style, the Spirit mirrors a Mark Twain era riverboat, complete with an enormous 21-foot diameter paddle wheel, which believe it or not, is the only source of propulsion!  As the Spirit of Peoria gets underway, at the leisurely pace of 7 mph, the whistling notes of the calliope fill the air and drift through the valley.  Using a delightful mix of riverlore and historical facts, the history of the river comes alive through stories and songs from the riverboat’s own riverlorian.  There’s always a chance of seeing those infamous Asian carp on the river.   This is the first of two relaxing days cruising down the river.  All-you-can-eat buffet meals, including the chef’s prime rib dinner, are served throughout the journey.  Entertainment includes live singing, guitar, banjo, and ragtime piano, storytelling, historical information at various spots and wildlife sightings.  Lunch is a “Build your own sandwich” buffet and a wine and cheese reception in the afternoon.   After a scenic day on the Illinois River, arrive at Starved Rock Landing and check into the Starved Rock Lodge.  Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the lodge offers rustic charm with modern conveniences and is the only hotel in the middle of Starved Rock State Park.  There may be an option this evening for those who would like to do an easy hike to the historic site in one of the canyons formed during the glacial age.  Relax and unwind in the indoor pool, hot tub and sauna or stop by The Back Door Lounge.  The evening is on your own.  By the way, the first European settlement in the state of Illinois was the Jesuit mission founded in 1675 across from Starved Rock.

    The third day is the first day of October and begins with breakfast at the lodge.  You have an option of taking a shuttle to the Starved Rock Historic Site or wait an hour and take the shuttle to the riverboat.  Get ready to enjoy the slower pace of life on this unique paddleboat. Today there will be snacks throughout the day, a luncheon buffet and entertainment.  It’s another day of beautiful scenery, commercial fishermen, white pelicans and other abundant wildlife that help make the Illinois River a true national treasure.   Arrival at Peoria will be late afternoon when we head to the Embassy Suites by Hilton in East Peoria on the banks of the Illinois River.  We expect to arrive in time for the nightly Manager’s Reception with complimentary drinks and snacks.  Dinner is on your own at the hotel’s Riverside Café or at the Steak N’Shake adjacent to the Embassy.  Every room at the Embassy is a two-room suite in the hotel’s upscale relaxed environment. So enjoy the hotel this evening or the beautiful pool.

   Our final day begins with breakfast at the hotel that features made-to-order omelets just the way you like it with your favorite fillings.  There’s breakfast potatoes and bacon or lighter choices like fruit, oatmeal and pastries.  Today, we begin our journey home once again.  It’s a captivating four day trip that we’ll find fun and relaxing.    Make sure you sign up today for a well-deserved fabulous fall getaway.                                                                               

Ø  Comfortable Andy’s Charter Service motor coach transportation

Ø  Two day cruise on the Spirit of Peoria Riverboat including:

Ø  Five sumptuous meals, including a prime rib dinner

Ø  Old-fashioned hospitality

Ø  Unlimited complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and snacks

Ø  Historical information and wildlife sightings

Ø  Indoor comfort or outdoor relaxation

Ø  Live entertainment with old-time banjo and ragtime piano

Ø  Tax & gratuity

Ø  Overnight accommodations at Starved Rock Lodge – Utica, IL

Ø  Overnight accommodations at Stoney Creek Hotel - East Peoria, IL

Ø  Overnight accommodations at Embassy Suites by Hilton – East Peoria, IL

Ø  Manager’s Reception and snacks

Ø  A total of 7 meals are included

Ø  Baggage handling

Ø  Fun & games and hosted by Laura & Gary Block

$699 per person double occupancy - $619 per person triple occupancy

$569 per person quad occupancy - $999 single occupancy

$100 deposit per person required within 3 days of signing up.  Remainder due on August 20, 2019

Cancellation & Refund Policy

Transportation and lodging hosted by Gary Block Tours is arranged with independent firms.  Bookings for entertainment are arranged through independent hotels, theatres and other entertainment venues.  We take great pride in our selection of reliable firms.  However, we do not control these independent firms.  Sometimes shows or celebrity appearances are changed or cancelled without notice.  We cannot be responsible for claims or losses arising out of injury, accident, death, loss of enjoyment, frustration or inconvenience that arises from the act or omission of any independent firm supplying services to Gary Block Tours, or for mechanical breakdowns, governmental actions, acts of God, strikes or acts of war beyond our control.  We cannot be responsible for the consequences of your failure to follow instructions, including but not limited to check in, check out and baggage handling.  If events or reservations are cancelled or changed, we will make every effort to provide a comparable substitute tour experience. 

Deposits and payments are non-refundable unless the tour is cancelled.

I have read and understand the Cancellation and Refund Policy notice.  All participants of this trip must sign below.

Mail registration and payment to:

Gary Block Tours, 112 SE 4th Street, Little Falls, MN  56345

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mgaryblock@hotmail.com           www.garyblocktours.com