The Sumptuous Soul of America

Cooking Demonstration
14 Days from $5,175 per person

Life's two great pleasures – music and food – are at the forefront on this sensual journey through the American heartland. Start in Chicago, a great food city, also known for its jazz and blues. Move south to the musical meccas of Nashville and Memphis. Then head down through the Mississippi Delta and on to zesty New Orleans.


Meet Elvis' close friend for a private tour of Graceland with personal insights into the 'King', before sitting down to a private dinner in the grounds. Join a private New Orleans cooking class to discover Louisiana's distinctive creole cuisine and culinary heritage. The luxury Brown Hotel in Louisville is beloved by generations of guests for its Georgian-Revival elegance and timeless Southern charm.

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  1. Welcome to Chicago. Upon arrival at Chicago International Airport, you will be met and taken to your exclusive retreat high above the Magnificent Mile. At 18:00, join your Travelling Concierge for a Welcome Reception with drinks and a light meal.
    hotel:The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel (2 nights).
  2. Start your discovery with one of the Windy City's greatest highs, the 360 Chicago Observation Deck where you get to see what many call Chicago's best view. Complete with interactive telescopes, this 1,000 foot (300 metre) high vantage point is an experience you'll never forget. Continue your exploration during a 90-minute architectural river cruise and discover how the Great Fire of 1871 paved the way for the birth of the skyscraper. Enjoy a Highlight Dinner at Gibson's Bar and Steakhouse, a classic Chicago style chophouse.
    meal(s):FB, HD
    hotel:The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel.
  3. Continue along to St. Louis. This vibrant city played host to the 1904 World's Fair and the Olympics in the same year and were both held at St. Louis' prestigious Washington University. Check into your luxurious downtown hotel.
    hotel:Four Seasons St Louis.
  4. Get a bird's-eye view of the city with a visit to the top of the famed St. Louis Gateway Arch standing 630 feet (190 metres) tall. Then, head east through the Hoosier National Forest to Louisville. In the evening, enjoy dinner at your hotel.
    meal(s):FB, D
    hotel:The Brown Hotel, Louisville (2 nights).
  5. Continue your immersion into Louisville culture with an up-close look at some of Kentucky's most spirited residents during a visit to a thoroughbred farm. Enjoy a guided tour of the grounds where you will learn the science of breeding champion racers and meet some of the prize horses. Visit a bourbon distillery and discover the secrets and details involved in the making of the South's signature spirit before indulging in a sampling. The evening is yours to enjoy.
    hotel:The Brown Hotel, Louisville.
  6. The fun continues with a guided historic walking tour of Churchill Downs to learn about the history of the Kentucky Derby, followed by a visit to the Kentucky Derby Museum. Browse through over 20,000 collectible items and artefacts. Get a closer look during a private 'Inside the Vault' tour and spend some time gaining an insider perspective during a private visit with Charles Woods Jr., a retired Kentucky Derby jockey. Then, discover the history behind one of America's favourite sports cars at the National Corvette Museum. Explore the rows of display vehicles including vintage models and contemporary styles before having lunch at the Corvette Cafe. Arrive in Nashville and settle into your hotel.
    meal(s):FB, L, D
    hotel:Gaylord Opryland Resort (2 nights).
  7. Enjoy a tour of historic Studio B and work with a professional sound engineer in a 30-minute, choir-style recording session. Take home your own copy of the recording as a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Then visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, full of memorabilia from stars such as Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn and Garth Brooks. Your Local Expert, a songwriter and singer will tell you the stories behind the biggest hits sung by well-known country music starts. No trip to Nashville would be complete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry. Attend a live taping of America's longest-running live radio program.
    hotel:Gaylord Opryland Resort.
  8. Travel from the home of country music to the birthplace of blues and rock 'n' roll. Your day is at leisure to explore museums, shops or try some Memphis barbecue.
    hotel:The Westin Memphis Beale Street (2 nights).
  9. Spend your morning at leisure. Then travel to Sun Studios, where artists like Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash recorded revolutionary albums. The evening is devoted to Graceland, as much an object of pilgrimage as a museum dedicated to the late, great, Elvis Presley. From the flowers and painted signs outside the gates, to the tear-streaked cheeks of fans inside, see the effect that Elvis and his music had on popular American culture. Spend your evening with George Klein, Elvis' close friend. Then enjoy a private Highlight Dinner on Graceland's grounds.
    meal(s):FB, HD
    hotel:The Westin Memphis Beale Street.
  10. Depart for Natchez, founded by the French in 1716 when it became home to a flowering colonial culture. Check into your charming, luxury country mansion hotel. Whet your palate before dinner during a mixology class to learn the 'science' behind the signature drink of the South, the mint julep. Then enjoy a delectable four-course Highlight Dinner in the stunning main house.
    meal(s):FB, HD
    hotel:Monmouth Plantation, Natchez.
  11. Stop at Frogmore Plantation and journey back to a time when cotton was king. With your costumed hosts, tour a reconstructed 19th century plantation and compare it to the modern day operation that produces more than 900 bales of cotton each day. Get a glimpse into the sweet side of the South with a visit to Houmas House Plantation. Once the largest producer of sugar in the country, the mansion was often referred to as 'The Sugar Palace' during its antebellum heyday. In the evening, visit the New Orleans School of Cooking. Discover the flair of Creole cuisine during a lively cooking demonstration and enjoy the culinary creations with a special Highlight Dinner.
    meal(s):FB, HD
    hotel:Hotel Monteleone New Orleans (3 nights).
  12. Join a Local Expert for an atmospheric tour of the city. Wind your way through one of the above-ground final resting place of pirates, politicians and voodoo queens. Explore the French Quarter, Louis Armstrong Park and Jackson Square where you see the city's colonial heritage and cultured history.
    hotel:Hotel Monteleone New Orleans.
  13. Start the day up-close and personal with the rural side of the Cresent City, as you board a boat for a tour to meet the resident alligators and other flora and fauna. Enjoy some free time before gathering with your new friends and toasting to lifelong memories during a Celebration Dinner at the famous New Orleans restaurant Arnaud's.
    meal(s):FB, CD
    hotel:Hotel Monteleone New Orleans.
  14. Bid 'Au Revoir' to the Big Easy in the morning. A complimentary transfer is provided to New Orleans International Airport or choose to extend your stay in New Orleans.

30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

Add air to your reservation

Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals

Meal Summary

1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 13 Full Breakfasts (FB), 1 Lunch (L), 2 Dinners (D), 4 Highlight Dinners (HD) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD).

Included Highlights

Signature Experiences

  • Memphis: Enjoy a private after-hours tour of Graceland with Elvis' close friend, George Klein, before a private Highlight Dinner inside Elvis' car museum.
  • Natchez: Learn to make the signature drink of the South, the Mint Julep. Before dining on an elegant, four-course Southern dinner served in the beautifully appointed dining room at Monmouth Plantation.
  • New Orleans: Discover the flair of Creole cuisine during a cooking class and special Highlight Dinner.
  • New Orleans: Join your Traveling Concierge for a grand finalé Celebration Dinner with a lively jazz trio at
  • 'Arnaud's', one of the Big Easy's prized restaurants.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Louisville: Visit Churchill Downs, home of the 'Kentucky Derby', explore the Museum and take a private 'Inside the Vault' tour. Meet Charles Woods Jr., a retired Kentucky Derby jockey.
  • Nashville: Join the ranks of superstar musicians like Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson and record a song at legendary Studio B, take home the recording as a truly unique souvenir.
  • Natchez: At Frogmore Plantation, contrast early 19th century cotton plantation life with the modern processes of today.
  • New Orleans: Cruise through beautiful marshlands and swamps in search of alligators, turtles, snakes and herons.
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount AvailabilityPrice
2 Apr 17 15 Apr 17 $5,750$5,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$5,750 $5,175 pp
14 May 17 27 May 17 checkmark $5,750$5,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$5,750 $5,175 pp
28 May 17 10 Jun 17 checkmark $5,750$5,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$5,750 $5,175 pp
11 Jun 17 24 Jun 17 checkmark $5,750$5,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$5,750 $5,175 pp
27 Aug 17 9 Sep 17 $5,750pp
$5,750 pp
3 Sep 17 16 Sep 17 $5,750$5,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$5,750 $5,175 pp
10 Sep 17 23 Sep 17 checkmark $5,750$5,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$5,750 $5,175 pp
17 Sep 17 30 Sep 17 checkmark $5,750$5,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$5,750 $5,175 pp
22 Oct 17 4 Nov 17 $5,750$5,175pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 12
$5,750 $5,175 pp

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: from $2,150.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $162 per person.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here.

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.

Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation..

  • We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity.  We recommend $4-5 per person/per day for your driver and $6-7 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.


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