Day 1& 2
Famous for its links with Margaret Mitchell’s classic Gone With the Wind, Atlanta rose from the ashes of the Civil War to become a commercial and financial giant of the Southeast. Host to the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games the city is also the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr and his birthplace along with the Ebenezer Baptist Church can be seen in the Sweet Auburn Historic District.
Jimi Hendrix, Bobby Brown and Elton John have all called this sophisticated and contemporary city home, and highlights include the Carter Presidential Centre, the World of Coca Cola Pavilion and the CNN Centre, home of the largest TV network where a behind the scenes tour gives insight into the complexity of production required to put on a good show.
Have a great evening in the city known as ‘The Big Peach’ as you choose from the abundance of superb restaurants and take in some of the many jazz bars. If you are in need for some retail therapy, you will be spoilt for choice with two Simon Shopping Destinations in Atlanta: Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza, both located in Atlanta’s affluent uptown district Buckhead.
Underground Atlanta sizzles at night or a short cab ride can get you to Blind Willies Bar for the best in blues, booze and Cajun food! Your hotel, the Hilton Downtown, is perfectly located within walking distance of the best attractions of the downtown area.
Overnight – Atlanta
Atlanta to Montgomery
When you reach Montgomery, Alabama’s Capital, you’ll find a bustling city of the New South which also celebrates its history and music culture. In 1861 Southern politicians gathered at the State Capitol Building to form the Confederate States of America. Stand where Jefferson Davis was inaugurated President and tour the first White House of the Confederacy.
Almost 100 years later Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus and the modern civil rights struggle in America was born. The Rosa Parks Museum and the Civil Rights Memorial, with Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “I have a dream”, are a ‘must see’ whilst visiting the city. Dr Martin Luther King Jr helped organise the Montgomery Bus Boycott from the basement of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church which is also located downtown.
Perhaps visit Old Alabama Town, one of the South’s premier history villages, a collection of authentically restored 19th and 20 century buildings stretching along six blocks in the heart of historic Montgomery. Over 40 restored structures include an original 1850s townhouse, schoolhouses, a cotton gin, blacksmith shop, grist mill, tavern, log cabin, pole barn, southern mansion, and more. Here you can experience life in Montgomery during the infancy of the state’s history. Take refreshment and rest your legs at the new ‘Alley’ entertainment area.
Why not try ribs at Dreamland BBQ, Jalapeno truffle chocolate soufflé at Garrett’s or Hot dog with Chris’ sauce at Chris’ Hotdogs? Lemon catfish and Johnnie Mae’s peach cobbler at Isaiah’s are always sure to lure you in! The quaint Old Cloverdale historic area has been transformed into clubs, bars and restaurants. Relax and listen to hot jazz at the 1048 Jazz and Blues club or enjoy a drink and a meal at the nearby Montgomery Brew Pub which has live music most Thursday – Saturdays.
Stay at Red Bluff Cottage, an Alabama bed and breakfast located high above the Alabama River in Montgomery’s Cottage Hill District. Here you’ll experience award-winning hospitality in Alabama’s only B&B built specifically to be a bed & breakfast inn. It replicates a late 19th century Victorian raised cottage featuring clean, comfortable and cosy rooms with a light and airy interior that takes you back to a quieter time in the Old South. This distinctive and friendly inn features antiques among its beautiful décor and from the veranda and gazebo you can observe a scenic view of Alabama’s State Capitol and a panoramic view of the downtown skyline and Alabama River plain.
Overnight – Montgomery
Day 4 & 5
Montgomery to New Orleans
On your way to Louisiana and New Orleans why not stop for a few hours in Mobile, located on Alabama’s Gulf Coast? It’s a city rich in culture and history where elegant antebellum architecture, moss-draped live oaks and vibrant fuchsia azaleas proliferate.
Here in Alabama’s only seaport you’ll find “Southern Hospitality” at its best, for the city has welcomed visitors from around the world for more than three centuries earning it the reputation of being one of the most gracious cities in the South.
The next two nights are in New Orleans, the city known as ‘The Big Easy’, the birthplace of jazz and an engaging amalgam of cultures and contradictions. Explore the French Quarter, where old brick and beautiful iron balconied buildings reflect both French and Spanish influence dating back to the 1700’s. Stroll along famed Bourbon Street and the other narrow streets of this walking historic district, visit the antique shops and jazz clubs and experience Cajun and Creole cooking at its best. Travel on the famed “Streetcar Named Desire”, walk through the historic Garden District or take a steamboat evening cruise on the Mississippi River.
We strongly recommend a city tour which takes a couple of hours to give you a good overview of New Orleans, its neighbourhoods and the exotic, interesting history & culture of this city and state. Just as the French Quarter is perfectly situated in the heart of New Orleans, the Monteleone hotel where you stay for two nights is perfectly located in the midst of the historic French Quarter. This renowned New Orleans landmark is a member of Historic Hotels of America and it’s been said that the French Quarter actually begins in the lobby of the hotel.You need only step outside to discover quaint restaurants and specialty shops which line the cobblestone French Quarter streets that lead to Jackson Square, the Old French Market and the River Walk where tourists and native New Orleanais stroll the levee and watch the steamboats and barges along the Mississippi River.
Overnight – New Orleans
New Orleans to Natchez
Leave this morning to spend the afternoon and night in Natchez, the oldest town on the Mississippi at the end of the Natchez Trace, a traditional Native American trade route that is now a scenic byway.
This beautiful town is home to the largest number of original Plantation homes in the United States, it really is quite spectacular and you will stay at one of them – the beautiful antebellum mansion, Monmouth Plantation. The painstaking restoration of Monmouth from Southern plantation to luxury inn represents the majesty of an age that has passed. A registered National Landmark once owned by General John Quitman, the antebellum mansion and grounds “create a quiet, genteel atmosphere” sought after by John and Eliza Quitman to the tiniest detail. From the colour palettes chosen for each suite to the garden flowers growing in colourful abundance—all reflect the once-upon-a-time splendour of Monmouth’s still-unfolding history. Dinner at Monmouth would be a special way to finish your stay (especially if you are fortunate enough to be served by local legend Roosevelt Owens!).
Overnight – Natchez
Natchez to Clarksdale
On your way north perhaps stop off at Vicksburg, a town of tremendous significance during the Civil War. Known as the “Gibraltar of the Confederacy” it withstood a siege of 47 days before falling to Ulysses Grant’s Union forces and the Vicksburg National Military Park recalls this tremendous event. Later join the blues lovers who make the pilgrimage to the cradle of the blues, the Mississippi Delta, and although the US Congress declared Memphis as the “Home of the Blues” many say Clarksdale is the very birthplace of the blues. It would be hard to argue against it.
Site of countless blues festivals and home to famous blues musicians like Muddy Waters and Son House, Clarksdale city will definitely teach you everything you need to know about the health of the blues in the Delta today. The vibe of the blues starts in the Historic Blues District, otherwise known as Blues Alley. Within the city, you’ll find the Delta Blues Museum, a literal blues shrine of artefacts and memorabilia and actor Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blues Club, where famous blues musicians sling lyrics on a juke joint stage almost every night of the week.
Spend an evening enjoying live music here or at Red’s Lounge on the corner of Sunflower and MLK Street. You’ll stay the night at the Shack Up Inn on the Hopson Plantation, located only three miles from the legendary Crossroads, Highways 49 and 61 where Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil. Immerse yourself in the living history you will find at Hopson. Virtually unchanged from when it was a working plantation, you will find authentic sharecropper shacks, the original cotton gin and seed houses and other outbuildings. You will glimpse plantation life, as it existed only a few short years ago. Restored only enough to meet 21st century expectations your accommodation in the shacks provides comfort as well as authenticity with indoor bathrooms, heat, air conditioning, coffee maker, refrigerators and microwave.
Shack Up Inn has played host to such blues performers and movie stars as Tom Waits, Pinetop Perkins, the North Mississippi All stars, Dwayne, Gary and Cedric Burnside, Kenny Brown, Elvis Costello, Robert Plant, Johnny Neel, Morgan Freeman, Patty Griffin, Big Jack Johnson, Samuel J. Jackson, Sam Carr, Charlie Musselwhite, Robert Plant, Mary Louise Parker, John Mayall, Ike Turner, just to name a few. The Shacks will add a new dimension to your stay in the Delta. As you sit in the rocker on the porch, tipping a cold drink while the sun sinks slowly to the horizon, you just might hear Pinetop Perkins radiatin’ the 88’s over at his shack. Perhaps, if you close your eyes even Muddy or Robert or Charlie might stop to strum a few chords in the night!
Overnight – Clarksdale
Day 8 & 9
Clarksdale to Memphis
Continue north to Memphis, home of the Blues, Beale Street, W.C. Handy and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Visit Graceland, Elvis Presley’s beloved mansion, see his two private jets and his many cars at the Automobile Museum, simply a ‘Not to be missed visit’ and you should allow half a day for this.
Don’t miss the tour at Sun Studio, opened by Sam Phillips in 1950 and dubbed the “birthplace of rock’n’roll. Here Elvis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash first recorded; you can actually stand on the spot and hold the very same microphone that Elvis held back in the 50’s. A trip out to Mud Island, the 52-acre park showcasing the mighty Mississippi River is well worth a visit. Enjoy afternoon tea in the Peabody Hotel and witness the hilarious March of the Peabody Ducks.
The ducks are the honorary residents at the Peabody Hotel and each morning they come down to the Fountain in the lobby where they remain until 5pm each day when they return with their keep to their Penthouse home on top of the hotel. The Peabody Hotel is your home for the next two nights and legendary, charming, elegant and grand are all adjectives that describe this historic Memphis hotel. Finish your day with a meal at one of the many superb restaurants before soaking up the atmosphere in one of the live music clubs on famous Beale Street. Dining at BB King’s bar and enjoying some fabulous live music at the same time is well recommended.
Overnight – Memphis
Day 10 & 11
Memphis to Nashville
Drive to “Music City USA”. Nashville, home of Country Music and the legendary Grand Ole Opry, Visit the museums of music giants; the Country Music Hall of Fame and Studio ‘B’ where the “Nashville Sound” was created by Chet Atkins, Dolly Parton, the Everly Brothers, Elvis and many others. And don’t miss Opry Mills, with more than 200 popular stores, Tennessee’s largest outlet and value retail shopping, dining and entertainment destination- located right in the heart of the Music City.
Be sure to hear some live music at a classic honky-tonk like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. Kick up your heels to the country sounds at the famous Wildhorse Saloon or take a cabaret dinner cruise aboard the General Jackson Showboat on the Cumberland River. Overnight at the Sheraton Downtown, right in the heart of the city so you can safely walk to the evening’s entertainment venues.
Make your Nashville extra special and take one of our Private Tours with a genuine local singer songwriter
Private sedan/SUV tours with a singer/songwriter. These are musicians actually working in the business and “living the Life” in Nashville. This is a 3 hour experience which includes a traditional city tour, a 20 minute private performance by the singer/songwriter, and finally the guide will escort them to a Honky Tonk and give them the lay of the land downtown and insight about the HonkyTonk Culture. This program is a flat £350.00 for 1-3 people.
Overnight – Nashville
Day 12 & 13
Nashville to Sevierville
Drive along the Appalachian Mountains to Gatlinburg, nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Walk, hike, cycle or ride a horse in the Smokies, America’s most visited national park. Visit Dolly Parton’s celebrated country music and entertainment theme park, Dollywood and literally shop ’til you drop at the 200+ factory outlet shops in Pigeon Forge and Sevierville.
Overnight – Sevierville
Sevierville to Chattanooga
Travel to Chattanooga, once an outpost on the border of the Cherokee Nation, a city that saw action in two Civil War battles and where the nation’s oldest and largest National Military Park is located. By the time of the Civil War Chattanooga had become an important railroad center, delivering Southern raw materials to Northern factories and it was because of its strategic importance that it became a key area in the conflict. The city has many attractions and if you want to visit America’s highest and most visited underground waterfall you’ll find it at Ruby Falls 1,120 feet below the surface of nearby Lookout Mountain. You can also experience the thrill of a ride on the world’s steepest passenger railway up the mountain for spectacular views from Rock City Gardens Tonight your overnight accommodation is a little different – stay in an authentic Victorian Train Car aboard the Chattanooga Choo Choo!
Travelling across the nation by private railroad car was the height of luxury in the early 1900’s. and the city’s railroad heritage was immortalised in Glen Miller’s famous song. The railroading excitement of a bygone era is still present on board one of the 48 Victorian train cars at the Chattanooga Choo Choo complex. Where else can you overnight in a beautifully restored Victorian train car? The only thing missing from your night in a Victorian Train Car is the “clickety-clack” of the rails!
Overnight – Chattanooga
If shopping is one of your pastimes why not call into Calhoun Premium Outlets for all your designer clothes, jewellery, sports goods, shoes etc. located en-route to Atlanta and your flight home.