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Marietta Landing busy June 15-16, 2007

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Old 06-15-2007, 10:40 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Default Marietta Landing busy June 15-16, 2007

The landing in Marietta will be busy today and tomorrow.

Marietta Times article from Monday June 11.

Two riverboats to dock

By Connie Cartmell,

Prepare for a colorful feast of sight and sound, along with hundreds of visitors, when two mighty riverboats share space at the Ohio River levee this weekend at Marietta.

The world’s largest steamboat, The American Queen, and the River Barge Explorer, the first and only “hotel” barge on the river, plan to vie for attention Saturday.

The Explorer will actually be in Marietta on Friday and remain overnight and through Saturday. The American Queen arrives at 8 a.m. Saturday and pulls out at 5 p.m.

The community is encouraged to come down to the levee to welcome the boats.

This is one of eight visits to Marietta by the American Queen this cruising season, according to Kelly Dyar, executive director of the Marietta/Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“There are some logistics questions of who parks where since both boats can’t be in the same space and the same time,” Dyar said Friday.

It’s going to be fine.

“They are communicating with each other about where each will be and we’re leaving it up to them,” she said.

Ultimately, one boat will find a berth at the levee below the Lafayette Hotel and Front Street; the other, docking perhaps at the end of Fourth Street.

For those who love the romance of the riverboat, the visits promise to be a highlight of the month.

“Oh my, yes. I would go on another cruise in a heartbeat,” said Marilyn Schafer, of Marietta, who has cruised aboard the American Queen multiple times. “I’ll be down to the river to sit and watch. It draws me to it.”

Schafer has taken her grandchildren on the Ohio River cruise from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh aboard the American Queen and holds fond memories.

“They loved it,” she said. “All the people were so good to them. They were the ‘darlings’ of the boat.”

A love of the river has also drawn Schafer to sister riverboats, the Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen.

“The river is gorgeous,” she said. “It’s constantly changing with the seasons. There is more to do on the boat than you can ever do and more food to eat than you can ever eat. The whole package is wonderful.”

The American Queen is the largest steamboat in the world and flagship of the Majestic America Line fleet, which also includes the well-known Delta and the Mississippi Queen.

Neither riverboats will be visiting Marietta this year, Dyar said, although there have been many stops by the two boats in past years.

Only the American Queen will be stopping by — a total of eight visits, she said.

“What’s wonderful is that these boats bring people to Marietta,” Dyar said. “It’s the best one-on-one exposure a community can have. This is a captive audience and Marietta has the group for a whole day.”

Touring, shopping, visiting museums and attractions, talking with community members are all part of why the “Queens” continue to make Marietta a regular stop on river cruises.

Schafer is a former owner, with her husband, Bob, of Schafer Leather Store, 140 Front St. When the boats are in Marietta, there is excitement downtown, she said.

“The American Queen seems to bring more business. The people who are attracted to that boat do more shopping,” she said. “They love Marietta because they dock right downtown and they can come and go as they please.”

At other stops along the river cruise, docking may be far from town and there is a bus to bring them to shopping and attractions.

“There have been questionnaires and we (Marietta) are the favorite stop,” Schafer said.

The proof is in the fact that the boats used to stop here half a day and now schedule a full day for Marietta, said Andy Verhoff, manager of Campus Martius Museum.

Riverboat cruise passengers are valuable to local museums, and shore excursions are normally part of every stop, he said.

“People on the cruises have an interest in history and enjoy the Ohio River Museum and the W.P. Snyder,” Verhoff said. “We have even received some donations for the W.P. Snyder (renovation) from them.”

If you go

> What: American Queen and River Barge River Explorer in Marietta.

> When: Saturday.

> Where: Ohio River levee.

> Who: The community is welcome to come down and see the riverboats and say hello.

> Tours: Public tours for the River Barge Explorer (only) at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Saturday at the levee. No tours of the American Queen will be offered.

> For more information: 373-5178.

Last edited by Bruce MacCullagh; 06-19-2007 at 10:16 AM.
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