Miss Augusta Makes Waves in Missouri Wine Country
By Rachel Huffman
Miss Augusta, a 105-foot Skipperliner yacht, departs from Klondike Park in Augusta, guiding passengers through Missouri wine country in style.
The luxury yacht has three stories, including two enclosed, climate-controlled levels and a sun deck, where you can enjoy the breeze, photograph fall foliage, search for bald eagles or watch the sunset.
“People hesitate to get on a boat in February, but, really, you can!” Molly Dempsey, marketing and customer events manager of Miss Augusta, says. “On nice days, guests head straight to the sun deck, though – they don’t even stop on the other levels.”
Miss Augusta offers daily public cruises, which will give you a new perspective of the Missouri River. On the narrated sightseeing cruises, you’ll be treated to a first-class experience, but if you want to further indulge, look into the lunch or dinner cruises. The plated, three-course meals change with the season, but past highlights include spinach- and artichoke-stuffed chicken breast, beef tenderloin with béarnaise sauce, jumbo lump crab cakes and white Cheddar mashed potatoes.
Miss Augusta also offers a “more than hors d’oeuvres” cruise, which takes place at sunset and features a lighter menu of small plates.
The culinary team prepares all the food onboard, and the two full-service bars are stocked with wine from the Hoffmann Family of Companies wineries: Augusta Winery, Balducci Vineyards, Montelle Winery and Mount Pleasant Estates.
Elegant yet relaxing, the cruises are a unique addition to your trip to Augusta, which became the country’s first American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1980. An AVA recognizes and promotes distinct wine-making regions in the U.S.
Miss Augusta offers private charters, as well. Then, the vibe is what you make it. “We’ve hosted a variety of events, from fun company outings to formal affairs and large family reunions to intimate proposals,” Dempsey says. “We also have specialty cruises with themes for everyone – [think princess cruises for families, brunch cruises for friends and live music cruises for couples]. We have a fashion show cruise featuring apparel from the Augusta Clothing Company in the works, as well. Depending on how the holidays fall, I try to organize specialty cruises once a month.”
On each cruise, the captain decides the course, but don’t worry – he knows where to find the best views on any given day.
“This is a one-of-a-kind experience,” Dempsey says. “There isn’t another luxury yacht in the country that’s doing what we’re doing, and I love seeing passengers’ faces when they step onto the boat. Miss Augusta is a really beautiful venue, and our cruises are just fun.”