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Spirit of the South


| Style: First Class | Pace: Leisurely

Trace Tennessee's jazz and juke joints and the bourbon and bluegrass plains of Kentucky horse-racing country along this Deep South musical meander to The Big Easy.

Trip Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Atlanta

    Immerse yourself in the elegance and style of the South. Your interlude with Dixieland begins in its capital, Atlanta. This evening, meet your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception.

    Dining: Welcome Reception
    Hotel: Sheraton Atlanta
  • Day 2: Atlanta – Asheville

    Gain a deeper understanding of the inner workings of the world’s first 24-hour news channel during a Behind-the-Scenes tour – a snapshot that will delight your inner news hound. See Atlanta’s most prized highlights afterward.

    Dining: Full Breakfast
    Hotel: Renaissance Asheville
  • Day 3: Asheville – Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Gatlinburg (2 Nights)

    Explore the elegance of yesteryear, starting your day with a self-guided visit to the Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned home in America and former luxurious homestead of George and Edith Vanderbilt. Stroll through acres of landscaped gardens and gain insight into the lives of a great family once considered American Royalty. We continue to the iconic UNESCO-listed Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Stop at the Sugarlands Visitor Center and explore 19th century wilderness settlement life. We’ll also visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, then travel through the center of the park. We overnight in Gatlinburg.

    Dining: Full Breakfast, Dinner
    Hotel: The Park Vista – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
  • Day 4: Gatlinburg

    Enjoy a day at leisure to explore the beautiful natural landscapes of the Smoky Mountains, so named for the "smoky" mist of blue haze that surrounds these peaks. Consider a visit to Dollywood, owned by country music legend Dolly Parton and embark on an evening of invigorating fun, stampeding at Dolly Parton's famous Dinner Attraction.

    Dining: Full Breakfast
  • Day 5: Gatlinburg – Cumberland Gap – Lexington

    Follow in the footsteps of brave pioneers who traveled through the Cumberland Gap into the West and into Kentucky’s wilderness. Delve into the equestrian heritage of this Bluegrass city in Lexington, at the “Horse Capital of the World.” Visit the Kentucky Horse Park or explore the International Museum of the Horse, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

    Dining: Full Breakfast
    Hotel: Hyatt Regency Lexington
  • Day 6: Lexington – Louisville (2 nights)

    Dive into Culture today, saddling up for a soulful encounter with the equine residents of a local horse retirement farm, where you’ll Make a Difference by contributing to the dignified retirement of thoroughbreds whose careers have come to an end. We continue along the Bourbon Trail to Buffalo Trace Distillery, the world's most award-winning distillery, for an insider's look into the behind-the-scenes work that goes into crafting truly great bourbon. You'll witness first-hand the entire process that goes into distilling Kentucky’s golden liquid – from grain delivery to the cooking process, fermentation and, of course and distillation. Enjoy a taste of the final product before journeying through Bluegrass country to Louisville. This evening, we Connect with a Local, and enjoy a hosted Be My Guest dinner at the Muhammad Ali Center with a local guest.

    Dining: Full Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    Hotel: Hyatt Regency Louisville
  • Day 7: Louisville Sightseeing

    Visit the home of the celebrated Kentucky Derby, hosted at Churchill Downs race-trek since 1875. Fell the thrill of the "Greatest Two Minutes in Sports" as you explore the Kentucky Derby Museum, then enjoy an afternoon at leisure. This evening, we tuck into a traditional Kentucky Regional Meal, followed by some foot-stomping festive fun.

    Dining: Full Breakfast, Regional Meal
  • Day 8: Louisville – Bowling Green – Nashville (3 Nights)

    Satisfy the petrol-head in you with a visit to Bowling Green's National Corvette Museum where you can admire the sleek lines and engineering feats of this all-American sports car. Leave your need for speed behind and continue south into Tennessee, arriving in Nashville this afternoon to meet your new travel companions.

    Dining: Full Breakfast
    Hotel: Renaissance Nashville
  • Day 9: Nashville Sightseeing

    Tune into the intoxicating sights and sounds of Music City this morning. Find your rhythm as your Dive into Culture at RCA's Studio B and gain insights into the life and music of Johnny Cash during a private performance of Cash tunes with Johnny and June's granddaughter (or another family member). We'll visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and explore the collection of memorabilia from stars such as Hank Williams and Garth Brooks. Later, embark on a your choice sightseeing experience, exploring the Johnny Cash Museum or enjoy a tour of the Ryman Auditorium.

    Dining: Full Breakfast
  • Day 10: Nashville At Leisure and Sightseeing

    Write your own song of the South on a full day at leisure before heading to the Grand Ole Opry, the home of American music since 1925. Take an optional walk in the footsteps of country music's superstars and get an exclusive look at what happens behind the scenes of the show that made country music famous.

    Dining: Full Breakfast
  • Day 11: Nashville – Memphis (2 Nights)

    From country to blues, we head for the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll on Beale Street, where we'll meet a musician and Local Specialist to learn about the musical heritage of Memphis. Our final stop today is the former Lorraine Motel, where civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down. Perhaps visit the National Civil Rights Museum, home to the former Lorraine Motel, where civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. This evening is free.

    Dining: Full Breakfast
    Hotel: Sheraton Memphis Downtown
  • Day 12: Graceland Excursion

    Our first stop is Sun Studios, which sought to capture the raw energy of Beale Street in the very first Rock 'n' Roll single recorded in 1951. Visit Graceland and worship at the altar of the King of Rock 'n Roll, paying tribute to a man who changed the face of American popular music and culture. Tonight, embark on a your choice dining  experience choosing from a selection of local eateries.

    Dining: Full Breakfast, Your Choice Dinner
  • Day 13: Memphis – Natchez

    Kick off this morning's musical interlude at the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum before heading to Natchez. Connect with Locals at a 1850s private residence of Joe Stone, who performs on his 1903 Steinway grand piano. We head to the 1804 residence of Esther Carpenter, a former Four Seasons chef, with whom we'll enjoy a traditional four-course Deep South dinner.

    Dining: Full Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    Hotel: Natchez Grand
  • Day 14: Natchez – Oak Alley – New Orleans (3 Nights)

    Dive into Culture at Frogmore Plantation and Gins to discover the Mississippi Delta's cotton plantation heritage. We continue through the Louisiana countryside to Oak Alley Plantation where the spicy scents of Creole cuisine will linger long after our visit to the New Orleans School of Cooking comes to an end. Enjoy a fun cooking demonstration before indulging in a Regional Meal of Creole cuisine.

    Dining: Full Breakfast, Regional Meal
    Hotel: Sheraton New Orleans
  • Day 15: New Orleans Sightseeing and At Leisure

    Trace the cosmopolitan history of one of America's oldest cities with a Local Specialist, stopping at City Park and one of the famous above-ground cemeteries. Spend the afternoon at leisure exploring New Orleans. This evening, consider an optional jazz cruise on the Mississippi River.

    Dining: Full Breakfast
  • Day 16: New Orleans At Leisure

    Today is yours to explore the sights and sounds of the Big Easy. Take an optional boat trip into the Louisiana swamps or explore the streets of the French Quarter and sample the city's cuisine, which Mark Twain once described "as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin". This evening, join new friends for a Farewell Dinner at the famed Court of Two Sisters.

    Dining: Full Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
  • Day 17: Depart New Orleans

    Your unforgettable encounter through America's South at its end, we take a transfer to New Orleans International Airport or consider extending your stay in New Orleans at the Sheraton New Orleans.

    Dining: Full Breakfast

Price Includes

Meal Summary

24 meals: 16 full breakfasts, 8 dinners.

Included Highlights

Dive into Culture

  • Visit Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farms which is raising awareness for all equines in need
  • Delve into the life and foot-tapping tunes of Johnny Cash with a member of his family

Connect with Locals

  • Spend the evening at the Muhammad Ali Center and enjoy a hosted dinner
  • Join Joe and Esther for an evening of true southern hospitality and an opportunity to explore the sights and sounds of two beautiful Natchez estates

Local Specialist

  • For sightseeing in Memphis, New Orleans

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Memphis, New Orleans
  • Orientation of Atlanta, Asheville and Nashville
  • Visit CNN Studios, Biltmore Estate, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Kentucky Horse Park or International Museum of the Horse, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby Museum, Corvette Museum, RCA's Studio B, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Graceland, Rock 'n' Soul Museum, Oak Alley Plantation, Frogmore Plantation, Cumberland Gap, Grand Ole Opry, Sun Studios

Dates and Prices

All dates and prices subject to change. Please see for the latest discounts and departure information for this tour.
Thank you for your interest in this tour. If no dates are displaying, please call our reservations line at 1-877-622-9109 for more information

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: $1,895.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $190 per person.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.