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Deep South Music & Heritage Group Tour Oct 2-11, 2017

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Product Description

  • Hotels
  • GuestHouse Inn Music Valley Nashville (2 nights)
  • Comfort Inn Downtown Memphis (2 nights)
  • Holiday Inn Express Cleveland (1 night)
  • The Vue Hotel Natchez (1 night)
  • Comfort Suites Hotel Lafayette (1 night)
  • Staybridge Suites Downtown/French Quarter New Orleans (2 nights)


Pricing

Single Occupancy: $2,825.00 per person
Double Occupancy: $2,065.00 per person
Triple Occupancy: $1,825.00 per person

Included Features:

  • Fully Escorted by experienced & knowledgeable guide
  • Deluxe motorcoach
  • Hotel accommodations and all local taxes
  • Daily continental breakfast
  • Nashville Sightseeing Tour
  • Performance of the Grand Ole Opry
  • Admission to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Studio B Tour
  • Graceland Elvis Experience Tour
  • Admission and tour of Sun Studio
  • Admission to Stax Museum of American Soul Music
  • Memphis Sightseeing Tour
  • Admission to the Delta Blues Museum Clarksdale
  • Admission to the Grammy Museum Mississippi
  • Admission to the B.B. King Museum Indianola
  • Tour of antebellum Stanton Hall home
  • Admission to Angelle’s Whiskey River Landing for Cajun music & dancing
  • A Cajun Man’s Swamp Tour
  • New Orleans Sightseeing Tour
  • New Orleans Farewell dinner & entertainment

The Blues was born in the Mississippi Delta combining traditional African rhythms with the soulful cries of the sharecroppers as they toiled in the scorched fields. If Mississippi was the birthplace of the Blues, Memphis became home to the music as aspiring musicians headed north on Highway 61 to perform their music on Beale Street. One of them traded his first name Riley for “The Beale Street Blues Boy” and today B.B. King still has a club on the lively street, which is now the premier entertainment district of the entire South. And when the Presley family moved to Memphis, Elvis Presley joined forces with Sam Phillips at Sun Studio to revolutionize popular music and Rock ‘n’ Roll was born.

In Lafayette we like to play as hard as we work. So what’s your pleasure? Cajun dancing and all the fried catfish you can eat? Mellow jazz and smooth martinis? Listening to a live Zydeco band? Your options are open and endless. Our world famous Cajun and Creole cuisine is just a tip of the iceberg. Lafayette is also a place with a multitude of historic attractions, majestic plantation homes, vibrant gardens, leisurely swamp tours, and exciting museums.

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz and the place some of the world’s most popular musicians – from Louis Armstrong to Lenny Kravitz – have called home. A melting pot of musical inspirations and innovations, New Orleans has embraced music as an indelible part of its history, an important facet of its identity, and one of the most colorful threads in its cultural tapestry. From street performers to intimate clubs, jazz funerals to festivals, and symphonies to headlining rock concerts, music continues to permeate – and enrich – everyday life in New Orleans.

But there is more than music. The Deep South also means the mellow way of life. The South of mint juleps and magnolia trees, of folklore and fable, and warm hospitality. The South of Civil War, where preserved battle sites and historic homes bear witness to the tragedy of a nation torn apart. The South of Civil Rights strife, where you can trace the African-Americans’ enduring struggle for freedom.

You can elect to begin and end the tour in Memphis. You will need to arrive at least one day early and stay at least one extra day. The coach and the tour escort will originate and end in Memphis; so you can ride with them to Nashville to begin the tour and return with them from New Orleans.

Mon, Oct 02

Nashville

Arrive in Nashville and check-in at the GuestHouse Inn Music Valley Drive Nashville. You will be greeted by your Sweet Magnolia Tours’ escort and motorcoach. Overnight Nashville.


Tue, Oct 03

Nashville

This morning you will embark on a Nashville Sightseeing Tour, an enlightening and interesting narrative, which will include the downtown area with some of its colorful history, famous Music Row, the Bi-Centennial Mall, The Ryman Auditorium, the State Capitol, Nashville’s Parthenon, and a drive through a residential area showing a few homes of the stars.

This afternoon you will tour the Country Music Hall of Fame: Sing Me Back Home is the title of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s permanent exhibit, an exciting, multi-layered journey through the life of country music. A self-guided tour covering two floors of the Museum, Sing Me Back Home tells the story of country music from its pre-commercial roots in the nineteenth century through its vibrant life in the twenty-first century. Organized chronologically, the story moves through large subjects such as “Country During the War Years,” for example, while each glass artifact case has its own theme as well. You can read about the music and its makers if you like, or you can let the powerful photos, instruments, costumes—and especially the music—tell the story by themselves. Sing Me Back Home is just what the title suggests: an exploration of the power of music to make living history and to connect us to our deepest feelings.

Later you will tour the historic RCA Studio B – once the recording home of popular music titans such as Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, and the Everly Brothers – first became known as one of the cradles of the “Nashville Sound” in the 1960s. A sophisticated style characterized by background vocals and strings, the Nashville Sound both revived the popularity of country music and helped establish Nashville as an international recording center. The storied studio’s exterior has been renovated and the interior has been returned to its 1970s era prime as an analog “temple of sound.”

Tonight you will attend a performance of the Grand Ole Opry, where you’ll catch today’s’ hottest stars, new faces, and Opry legends. Showcasing the best in country, blue grass and more, the Opry is an American experience like no other. Located next to the Roy Cuff Museum and sharing the parking lot of the Opry Mill mall and entertainment center

Overnight Nashville.


Wed, Oct 04

Nashville to Memphis 210 miles / 338 kilometers

Today you depart for Memphis. Upon arrival in Memphis you will tour Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. The audio tour of Graceland Mansion is full of music and interesting stories about how Elvis lived in the home he loved so much. You will see the largest privately owned collection of gold records in the world and Elvis’ elaborate stage costumes and jewelry. The mansion tour ends with a quiet visit to Meditation Garden where Elvis and members of his family are buried. You can also see Elvis’ famous 1955 pink Cadillac in the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum and climb aboard his custom jet the “Lisa Marie.” Graceland plaza also offers fabulous shopping and restaurants.

You will then check-in the Comfort Inn Downtown and have the evening free to explore Beale Street, one of America’s most famous streets where W.C. Handy first penned the Blues music of the Mississippi Delta. Located downtown stretching several blocks east of the river bluffs. Nightclubs and restaurants offer a variety of food and live music including traditional Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, and Rock’n’Roll. Shops and boutiques throughout the district provide visitors with the opportunity to purchase souvenirs, t-shirts, memorabilia, and novelties. The world-famous street also features a statue of W.C. Handy, a musical “Walk of Fame,” and Church Park, built by the South’s first Black millionaire, Robert Church. Visit A. Schwab’s Dry Goods Store at 163 Beale, a mainstay on the street since 1876, Schwab’s stocks everything from voodoo potions to 99-cent neckties. Overnight Memphis.


Thu, Oct 05

Memphis

This morning you will tour the Stax Museum of American Soul Music: Soulsville is a 17,000-square-foot museum on the original site of Stax Records and houses more than 2,000 cultural artifacts, celebrating the music made famous by Otis Redding, Booker T. and the MGs, Isaac Hayes, the Bar-Kays, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Earth, Wind & Fire and more. In addition to Stax music and memorabilia, you’ll also find exhibits dedicated to the artists of Muscle Shoals, Motown, Atlantic and Memphis’ own Hi Records.

Next you will tour Sun Studio, which is the birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Today the studio, where Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, Rufus Thomas, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and many others launched their careers, is open to the public for tours daily while still operating as a studio by night. Sun Studio Cafe is located next door to the studio. Above the cafe is a new museum/gallery featuring hundreds of rare recordings, memorabilia, photographs, and vintage recording equipment.

Next see the famous Peabody Hotel Duck March, which began in the 1930s, when the general manager placed his live hunting decoys in his lobby fountain and started a tradition. Today the Peabody Ducks have become a world-famous symbol for The Peabody and for Memphis hospitality. Every day at precisely 11 a.m., the ducks arrive marching on their own red carpet to John Philip Sousa’s “King Cotton March.” The fanfare repeats at 5 p.m. when they retire to their penthouse pond. Throngs of spectators gather daily in the mornings and evenings to witness this charming tradition in the spectacular Grand Lobby of The Peabody Hotel.

Spread throughout your Memphis stay you will be treated to a Memphis City Sightseeing Tour. Memphis is the Gateway to the Old South. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the Southern United States. Filled with Southern charm, beautifully restored mansions, sculptured tree-lined parkways, on a setting high on the Fourth Chickasaw Bluff, this river city boasts of glowing sunsets over the Mississippi, the world’s finest BBQ restaurants, and the “Red, Hot & Blue” sounds of the Beale Street Historic Entertainment District. Come with us on this inclusive tour to explore the city that is called, “The City of Good Abode.” This tour will take you to the Mississippi Riverfront and through downtown Memphis where tradition and modern progress collide to form an exciting modern city filled with historic sites, fun & adventure. Sites include the Mighty Mississippi River Front, Harbor Town, the first residential community built on the Mississippi in the last 100 years, Mud Island, the Pyramid, Historic Cotton Row, Beale Street & South Main Historic District, the National Civil Rights Museum / Lorraine Motel, Sun Studio and Victorian Village. Overnight Memphis.


Fri, Oct 06

Memphis – Cleveland, MS 115 miles / 185 kilometers

As you leave Memphis and drive down legendary Highway 61, you will realize that you are in the true “Birthplace of the Blues”. Out of these fields came the original blues singers who performed in local honky tonks and juke joints. The best of these brought their talents to Beale Street in Memphis. Highway 61 takes you through the heart of the Mississippi River Delta, which is the world’s richest farmland. Our first stop will be in Clarksdale. From the 30’s on through the 50’s Clarksdale was a major blues town. John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner, Little Junior Parker and Sam Cooke were born here. Robert Nighthawk, Bukka White, “Gatemouth” Moore, Eddie Boyd, Son House, and Charley Patton all once lived in the area. Clarksdale became the center of the blues world by virtue of its location smack in the middle of the Delta and Delta blues still come from this source.

You will get the opportunity of touring the Delta Blues Museum, which is dedicated to creating a welcoming place where visitors find meaning, value, and perspective by exploring the history and heritage of the unique American musical art form of the blues. Across the street from the museum is Ground Zero Restaurant, a replica of a juke joint owned by the actor, Morgan Freeman. The intersection of Hwy 61 & Hwy 49 is a famous location for blues music fans. This is where the most famous bluesman of all time, Robert Johnson, is said to have sold his soul to the devil.

Next you will continue on to Cleveland and tour the new Grammy Museum, the only other Grammy Museum outside of Los Angeles.  GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is dedicated to exploring the past, present and future of music, and the cultural context from which it emerges, while casting a focused spotlight on the deep musical roots of Mississippi. The Museum features a dynamic combination of public events, educational programming, engaging multimedia presentations, and interactive permanent and traveling exhibits, including a Mississippi-centric display that introduces visitors to the impact of Mississippi’s songwriters, producers and musicians on the traditional and modern music landscape. Then check-in the Holiday Inn Express.  Overnight Cleveland.


Sat, Oct 07

Cleveland to Natchez 205 miles / 330 kilometers

Today we continue through the rich Delta farmland to the famous river city of Natchez.  First you will drive to B.B. King’s hometown of Indianola, where you will tour the outstanding new B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center, which is dedicated to creating a welcoming place where visitors find meaning, value, and perspective by exploring the history and heritage of the unique American musical art form of the blues.  It also tells the story of B.B. King’s life from a kid without anything but the dream in his heart and a destiny that would take him around the world.  Against all odds the kid became the King of the Blues.

Continue on to Natchez.  En route you will ride on the famous Natchez Trace Parkway, which stretches from the Mississippi River in Natchez through the Shoals area in Alabama and across the Tennessee Valley to Nashville.  The Old Trace was first trod by buffalo, then American Indians. In the early 1800’s it was the main return route for Ohio Valley traders who, rather than fight the Mississippi currents, sold their flatboats for the value of their timber in Natchez and walked home via the Old Trace. By the mid-1820’s, steamboats made the dangerous trek unnecessary, and the Old Trace disappeared into the trees.  Today, the 444-mile National Scenic Byway and All-American Road has emerged as one of America’s most important examples of our nation’s natural and cultural heritage. Administered by the National Park Service, the road’s non-commercial environment coupled with a wide variety of historic sites, wayside exhibits and beautiful venues make it a memorable destination for an unhurried trip that both reveals and explains a unique time in our country’s history.

You will stay at the Vue Hotel in Natchez.  You will have some free time this afternoon to walk around downtown Natchez and enjoy its many quaint shops.  Tonight you can walk to Natchez Under-the-Hill, which was the most dangerous landing on the entire Mississippi River. In its day, 165 years ago, Natchez-under-the-Hill was the most notorious river landing on the entire Mississippi.  From 1785 until about 1820 Under-the-Hill was the departure point for frontiersmen and their last chance to “whoop it up” before their long trek home on the Natchez trace.  Overnight Natchez.

 


Sun, Oct 08

Natchez to Lafayette 147 miles / 237 kilometers

This morning you will depart for Lafayette, but first you will tour the beautiful antebellum home, Stanton Hall.  In 1857, Irish immigrant and cotton merchant Frederick Stanton began construction on the home of his dreams: a palatial Greek Revival style residence in the heart of Natchez.  Officially designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974, the building is now furnished much as Frederick originally intended and offers a glimpse into the domestic life of a wealthy Natchez family.

.  Then continue on to Lafayette and tour Vermilion Historic Village. Vermilion is a living history museum & folklife park that preserves & represents the cultural resources of the Acadian Native American and Creole cultures – from the time period 1765 to 1890. The park sits on 23 acres on the banks of the Bayou Vermilion with 19 attractions, including seven restored original homes with more than 13 local artisans that provide demonstrations on a variety of essential crafts performed by the early settlers. Vermilionville invites visitors to step back in time with a tour or self-guided leisure walk through its historic village. Walkways connect each of the buildings and travel through picturesque moss draped oak & cypress trees along the Bayou Vermilion. The artisans who work daily in the park provide a glimpse back to a time gone by where Acadians & Creoles provided for themselves and their families. Then check-in the Comfort Suites Hotel.

Next you will visit Angelle’s Whiskey River Landing for some authentic Zydeco/Cajun music and dancing. Located on the levee overlooking the Atchafalaya Basin swamp, it has been named one of America’s top 50 bars. Very few tourists ever find this spot where you can learn the beer drinking, food stomping Cajun dance from the locals. This is real Americana. Overnight Lafayette.


Mon, Oct 09

Lafayette to New Orleans 137 miles / 220 kilometers

En route to New Orleans we are going to drive through Cajun back country and make a stop at Avery Island and tour the one and only original, Tabasco Factory. Your next stop will be near Houma for a Cajun Man’s Swamp Cruise tour.

We will continue on to New Orleans and check-in the Staybridge Suites Downtown/French Quarter. Tonight is free to explore the famous French Quarter. At the heart of New Orleans’ enduring allure are the hundred-odd squares of the French Quarter. Alive with history, myth, music and a joie de vivre, the Vieux Carre attracts visitors from around the world to its time worn streets. For jazz, for food, for history or for frivolity the French Quarter is a legendary destination. Overnight New Orleans.


Tue, Oct 10

New Orleans

This morning you will enjoy a New Orleans City Sightseeing tour, where you will visit one of its historic cemeteries, referred to as “Cities of the Dead,” and learn about this unique above ground burial system. Marvel at stories of voodoo and piracy on Bayou St. John, the waterway used by Jean Lafitte and his band of pirates, as we make our way to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. View the longest bridge over water in the world, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. Follow the path of the St. Charles Avenue streetcar, the oldest continuously operating passenger railway system in the world (until service was disrupted by Hurricane Katrina). See the homes of former Kings & Queens of Mardi Gras, stately mansions and the world-famous, exclusive Garden District.

Your final night in New Orleans promises to be really special. Enjoy an evening as a native New Orleanian and meet people from around the world on this intimate tour of dining and music in the French Quarter! The evening begins with a three course dinner at Tujague’s Restaurant, a New Orleans tradition since 1856 and the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans. Your tour guide will then lead you on a stroll along world famous Bourbon Street on your way to a local nightclub to enjoy native jazz music. Enjoy a complimentary cocktail as you listen to the sounds of New Orleans music. The evening winds down with another local tradition – Café Au Lait & Beignets (chicory coffee and French doughnuts). You’ll feel like a true native New Orleanian as your tour guide escorts you through a “Crescent City Night”. This tour includes dinner & gratuity, admission to nightclub, cocktail, coffee & beignets, and souvenir Mardi Gras beads. Overnight New Orleans.


Wed, Oct 11

Depart for Home or add one or two extra nights in New Orleans

It is time to bid a sad farewell to your many new friends made along the way and head back home.

All prices are the total costs for the number of adults occupying the room in existing bedding. Rolloways are not included & may be at an extra charge if available. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover & American Express. A $250.00 per person deposit is required to hold your space. Deposits are fully refundable until August 1 after which they are non-refundable. Full payment is due September 1 and is non-refundable after that.