Breakfast daily, 1 lunch, 3 three-course dinners including a special farewell dinner in Asheville
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Day 1 Arrive in Memphis
Welcome to Memphis, the “Home of the Blues.” This evening, mix and mingle with your traveling companions at 6 pm for a welcome drink. Your Tour Director will prepare you for your upcoming adventure.SPECIAL FEATURE: Spend the next two nights at the Guest House at Graceland, located just a few steps from Graceland. The hotel is designed with classic elegance, modern luxury, and is uniquely Elvis.
Day 2 Memphis. Excursion to Graceland
This morning, enjoy city sightseeing including a tour of the ROCK ‘N’ SOUL MUSEUM, which traces Memphis’ cultural and musical past and features the Smithsonian’s Social Crossroads exhibition. Continue to the gardens and mansions of Elvis Presley’s GRACELAND, named a National Historic Landmark in 2006. Tonight, enjoy dinner on world-famous Beale Street. Tonight, join us for a visit back to Graceland for the official CANDLELIGHT VIGIL. For those that wish, you may walk through the gates and up the drive to Elvis’ gravesite and pay your respects to the King and his legacy. NOTE: Due to the large anticipated crowds expected at Graceland, you can expect to wait in line for several hours during the candlelight vigil. Since it is August, you may also experience warm temperatures and humidity. Please consider all these factors when deciding if you wish to participate.
Day 3 Memphis
A full day in Memphis to explore on your own. You may wish to participate in one of the special events being planned throughout the city. You may also want to see more of Memphis with a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum, housed at the historic Lorraine Motel, watch the march of the famous Peabody Ducks, or check out the blues clubs on Beale Street.
Day 4 Memphis–Nashville
Depart for Nashville. This afternoon, visit the Grand Ole Opry and take a BACKSTAGE TOUR. Walk in the footsteps of country music’s superstars and get an exclusive look at what happens on the other side of the curtain at the show that made country music famous. This evening, you may opt to join an excursion to Nashville Nightlife, combining dinner and the best of Music City’s country entertainment. SPECIAL FEATURE: Your hotel is the world-famous Opryland, where you’ll experience all the grandeur of the South with hospitality at its finest. Explore nine acres of lush indoor gardens, winding pathways, and sparkling waterfalls, as well as 30 specialty shops, a spa, and a variety of restaurants.NOTE: The May 20 departure will overnight at the Hampton Inn Downtown Nashville instead of at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.
Day 5 Nashville
Today, visit historic RCA STUDIO B – once a recording home of Elvis Presley. You’ll even make a recording and take it home with you. Next, experience Nashville up close and personal on a guided sightseeing tour of the landmarks including Centennial Parks full-size replica of Athens’ Parthenon and the recording studios of Music Row. Later, visit the COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME to see its rich collection of costumes, memorabilia, instruments, photographs, and of course, Elvis Presley’s “solid gold” Cadillac. Tonight you have reserved seats for an unforgettable show at the world-famous GRAND OLE OPRY, the mecca for country musicians.
Day 6 Nashville–Hodgenville–Bardstown–Louisville
Head into the heart of Kentucky bluegrass country. At Sinking Spring Farm in Hodgenville, ABRAHAM LINCOLN BIRTHPLACE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK, see a replica of the original log cabin preserved as a shrine to the best-loved of American presidents. In Bardstown, stop for lunch at a local restaurant serving up Southern cuisine, then visit MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME STATE PARK, where Stephen Foster composed Kentucky’s anthem. Continue to HEAVEN HILL WHISKEY DISTILLERY, showcasing some of the world’s finest bourbon, and learn about its production process and history.
Day 7 Louisville–Lexington
This morning, go behind the scenes at CHURCHILL DOWNS, home of the “Greatest 2 Minutes in Sports.” Visit the Backstretch area, normally not open to the public. See the Receiving Barn, the Pony Barn, spend time at the rail watching the horses work out, with the chance to talk to the trainers and other staff. Next, experience Derby Day—from the starting gate to the finish line—at the KENTUCKY DERBY MUSEUM. This afternoon, travel the Bluegrass Parkway to Lexington for a fascinating behind-the-scenes visit to a local HORSE FARM. Travel through rolling countryside and learn about the majestic horses that make Lexington the “Horse Capital of the World.” Journey behind the fences to a thoroughbred farm and hear about the breeding process, rearing, horseracing, and even meet some of these beautiful champions up close.
Day 8 Lexington–Gatlinburg
This morning, journey south through the rugged wilderness of Daniel Boone National Forest, where you will stop to see the thundering, 125-foot-wide Cumberland Falls. Continue across the border into Tennessee and on to Gatlinburg at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains, America’s most visited national park. Before arriving at your hotel, visit “The Holler” to learn how moonshine is made and then be treated to a MOONSHINE TASTING. Spend the next two nights in one of the country’s most popular mountain retreats.
Day 9 Gatlinburg
This morning, take a trip on the Ober Gatlinburg AERIAL TRAMWAY for breathtaking views of the Smokies. During your free time today, why not explore some of the areas many attractions. This evening enjoy Dolly Parton’s DIXIE STAMPEDE, showcasing a hearty country dinner and an action-packed show. You will enjoy thrilling horse riding stunts, phenomenal musical productions, dazzling special effects, and a mouth-watering four-course feast. (B, D)
Day 10 Gatlinburg–Great Smoky Mountain National Park–Asheville
Depart Gatlinburg and drive right through the center of GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK along spectacular Newfound Gap Road to Clingman’s Dome, peaking at 6,643 feet. As you travel through the park, witness the mist of blue haze that surrounds the mountains for which the park is named. Arrive in Asheville and head to George Vanderbilt’s 8,000-acre BILTMORE ESTATE, the largest privately owned home in America. Tour the French Renaissance-style, 250-room chateau to view the priceless paintings and antiques, including Napoleon’s chess table. Be sure to spend time exploring the spectacular gardens. This evening, gather for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant, hosted by your Tour Director.
Day 11 Asheville–Atlanta
This morning, depart Asheville for Atlanta. After a transfer to the airport for guests with homebound flights (please schedule flights after 3:30 pm), the motorcoach continues to the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, where the tour ends.