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HEART’S DELIGHT: Mississippi River Country comes calling

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Lyn Pilch is sending “virtual hugs” to Canada – after all, the managing director of the Mississippi River Country (MRC) marketing collective is calling from “The Heart of America.”

Comprised of 10 states connected by the “thread of the Mississippi River” – from Minnesota in the north to Louisiana in the south – the organization has been around since 1988, but is just now making forays into Canada, with Pilch smiling, “It’s about time you got to know us.”

Of course, the time is not optimal in the face of the pandemic, prompting the virtual well-wishing and Pilch’s acknowledgement that “We absolutely understand that everything we talk about (today) is for the future. When travel is safe and vaccines are prevalent, and we are ready to move across borders, we are so excited to welcome you here.”

And when Canadians do visit, Pilch says they will find a “quilt of experiences,” including history, culture, and natural beauty, all astride “the world’s most famous and culturally rich riverway.”

But Pilch is quick to point out that the river is merely the backbone of the region that holds MRC’s 10 states – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana – together.

“It’s not just on the river we promote,” she says. “Mississippi River Country includes everything from Minnesota’s boundary waters to the city of Chicago to Tennessee’s great Smokey Mountain to the Gulf of Mexico.”

But MRC self identifies not just geographically, but thematically, including:

• Culture: Stunning art museums, the iconic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, and more

• Food & Agriculture: Mouth-watering barbeque and other regional delicacies, farmers’ markets, and food festivals

• Iconic America: From Route 66 to minor league baseball parks and historic small towns

• Music: See (and hear!) where blues, jazz, country music and other quintessential forms of American music were born and celebrate the artists carrying on this legacy

• Outdoors & Recreation: Home to two Great Lakes, national parks, scenic overlooks, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a Great River Road that runs adjacent to the river, as well as an “endless” list of activities like hiking, fishing, boating, paddling, and kayaking

• Science & History: Learn about the lives of American presidents, see animals from around the world at zoos & aquariums, and explore Civil War history

In short, says the organization, “Mississippi River Country is home to everything that epitomizes America.”


To mark its introduction to Canada, Mississippi River Country is hosting a Canadian-exclusive contest that includes a $100 gas card and special gifts from throughout the region. To enter the contest and to discover more on the region on a new Canadian-specific web site, click HERE.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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