Day 1 - To Atlanta and Chattanooga
We fly from London Heathrow to Atlanta and transfer into
Tennessee, where we stay for two nights at the Chattanooga Choo
Choo Hotel, once the town's thriving railway station, a century-old
landmark building and now a railroad-themed hotel.
Day 2 - The Tennessee Valley Railway and Incline Railway
Today we experience a ride on two of Chattanooga's railways,
trundling through the countryside on the restored heritage
Tennessee Valley Railroad before experiencing 'America's
Most Amazing Mile', the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway.
Built in 1895 to service a hotel at the top of the mountain, part
of the track has an incline of 72.7%, giving it the distinction of
being the world's steepest passenger railway.
Day 3 - Lynchburg and Jack Daniel’s Distillery
Our coach takes us through Tennessee to Lynchburg, capital of Moore
County. Moore County has been 'dry' since the days of prohibition,
which makes its main attraction all the more extraordinary - it is
the home of Jack Daniel's Distillery! After a tour of the
distillery we continue to Nashville, staying for two nights at the
Sheraton Nashville Downtown, within easy reach of Broadway's
honky-tonk bars and live Country music scene.
Day 4 - Nashville and the Country Music Hall of Fame
Since the 1940s Nashville has been synonymous with Country Music,
with its collection of recording studios and record labels on
'Music Row' and the landmark Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand
Ole Opry for three decades. A morning guided sightseeing tour
introduces you to the sights before we visit the Country Music Hall
of Fame, the largest music museum in the world, for an amazing
'who's who' in the world of Country music.
Day 5 - Tupelo and Memphis
Our journey through Tennessee continues to Memphis. En route we
stop at Tupelo to visit the birthplace of Elvis Presley. A
fascinating insight into the humble beginnings of Elvis, the
birthplace features a museum, the Presley family's two-room house
and the restored church building where Elvis' love of Gospel music
was formed. On arrival in Memphis we check into the Doubletree
Hotel for a three night stay.
Day 6 - Graceland, Sun Studios and Stax
Today introduces the sights of Memphis' extraordinary musical
history. We visit Sun Studios, which lays claim to being the
birthplace of rock 'n' roll, with a roster featuring Elvis Presley,
Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. By contrast, the Stax Museum of
American Soul Music covers another of the city's musical phenomena.
Founded in the neighbourhood known as Soulsville USA, Stax was
responsible for launching the careers of great soul artists such as
Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. In the afternoon we
visit Graceland, Elvis' 14 acre mansion, and view his preserved
living quarters, private aircraft and car collections.
Day 7 - At leisure in Memphis
Today you are free to explore Memphis independently. Beale Street's
live music is a must as the evening draws in. It is here that Blues
from the delta found a home before moving on to influence the
world's musical tastes.
Day 8 - The City of New Orleans train
This morning we board Amtrak's City of New Orleans
service, heading through Mississippi to Louisiana. It is claimed
that the Blues spread along this route by rail. The pretty, floral
towns of Brookhaven and McComb lead into the exotic Cajun swamps of
the Louisiana Bayou. Following our arrival into the city of New
Orleans, we transfer to our hotel for three nights, the Sheraton
New Orleans Hotel.
Days 9-10 - New Orleans and Jazz Cruise
A morning guided sightseeing tour on Day 9
provides an introduction to this fascinating city. The afternoon
and the following day are spent at leisure. The 'Big Easy' boasts
unique architecture, influenced by Spanish, French, Creole and
American styles, representative of the cultural melting pot that
the city has become. On the evening of Day 10 we
enjoy a dinner jazz cruise on board the paddle-wheeler, SS
Creole Queen, one of just a handful of steamboats still
navigating the mighty Mississippi.
Day 11 - The Crescent train to Atlanta
Departing from New Orleans, we join the Crescent
service to Atlanta. The Crescent crosses part of Lake
Pontchartrain, the largest body of water in Louisiana. Cutting
through the De Soto National Forest, we reach the lumber centre of
Hattiesburg, before passing through swamp country. Towards midday
we reach Meridian, birthplace of Jimmie Rodgers, the father of
country music. Our route passes through Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and
into Georgia for an evening arrival in Atlanta. We stay for two
nights at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta.
Day 12 - Atlanta
A morning guided sightseeing tour takes the American Civil War as
one of its themes. Entrance is included to the Cyclorama &
Civil War Museum, which features the world's largest oil painting
and the historic locomotive, Texas. The tour continues to Margaret
Mitchell House, where the author wrote her Pulitzer Prize-winning
novel, 'Gone with the Wind'. Your afternoon and the following
morning are then free to explore Atlanta.
Days 13-14 - The journey home
In the afternoon of Day 13 we transfer to
Atlanta Airport for our flight home to London Heathrow,
arriving in the morning of Day 14.
Our February departures spend time in New Orleans during its superb
Mardi Gras Festival. The festival runs for two weeks, building up
to its climax on "Fat Tuesday" (celebrated on the same day as
Shrove Tuesday in the UK). Throughout festival season, the streets
are filled with daily parades of brightly dressed dancers and
elaborately decorated floats. Join in the party as New Orleans
celebrates Mardi Gras in style.