Nestled in the rolling hills on the banks of the Mississippi River seventy miles north of St. Louis, quaint Clarksville struggled with floodwaters last spring.

But the resilient people who call Clarksville home know the river, and they are open for business. The area’s natural beauty is stunning.

In its early years, this Pike County town was a busy river port, then a rail town. Today, life in Clarksville runs at a slower pace, “Unhurried … Unspoiled …Uncommon,” the city’s slogan says. It sits on the Great River Road, also known as Highway 79, and the town is the southern anchor to a beautiful stretch dubbed the Little Dixie Highway, a State Scenic Byway.

Several districts, homes, and churches in Clarksville are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They include the downtown business district, the Clifford-Wyrick House, and the Northern Methodist Episcopal Church of Clarksville, among others.

Because of its location along the river and Lock and Dam 24, Clarksville is an excellent spot for bird-watching. Mid-November through March, bald eagles swoop and dive over the river as they snatch up an easy meal from the churning water at the lock and dam. Spotting scopes on an observation deck bring the birds into clear focus. In late January, the Missouri Department of Conservation hosts Eagle Days. In past years, event activities have included tours of Lock and Dam 24 and children’s activities.

Rackheath House and other lodging options at Overlook Farm offer relaxing getaways.

STAY at Rackheath House ($150 per night). Choose from one of three rooms decorated in elegant historic furnishings but with all the modern conveniences.

Situated on a hill at the southern edge of town, Rackheath House is one of five inns at Overlook Farm. The farm’s fifth-generation owner, Nathalie Pettus, restored the 1860 Greek revival manor in 2006. The grounds surrounding the house feature walking paths that lead to romantic, tucked-away gardens and sweeping views of the town and river.

Another room-with-a-view option to the north of town is The Village of the Blue Rose Bed & Breakfast.

DINE at Avalon Hall at Overlook Farm. The chef creates a three-course meal based around a guest’s choice of steak, chicken, pork, lamb, or trout. The main entree is highlighted with seasonal and fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs, meats, and dairy grown and raised through sustainable, organic practices on the 325-acre farm. Reservations are required.

For breakfast, Rackheath House offers a complimentary option, or you can choose a Bounty of the Farm Breakfast.

Venture into town to check out three new restaurants that opened this fall: Cherry’s Bar and Grill, Riverview Restaurant and Bar, and Steamboat Bistro on 1st.

VISIT the antiques, specialty, and artisans’ shops in the Clarksville business district. In the ever-changing display windows, unique one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork beckon alongside memory-filled items of yesteryear. B. T. Dove Antiques offers a mix of antiques, collectibles, and local art. Check out Bee Naturals, which offers small-batch skin and body care products, and White Field Farm, which has a cafe and espresso bar and offers an all-natural line of soaps, candles, and lotions.

Outdoors, both the Riverfront Park and Lock and Dam 24 offer front row seats to experience the Mississippi. The park has concrete steps that extend below the water’s edge, making it easy to dip your toes in the water in warmer seasons. The view from the observation deck at the lock and dam gives visitors a peek at river barges as they maneuver through the lock.

If you visit in December, see Santa and Mrs. Claus and more than eighty Christmas trees at City Hall.