Day 1 Sunday September 22, 2019 Dallas
Depart Australia on Qantas flight, arriving Dallas, Texas, same day. Visit Sixth Floor Museum, the book depository from which John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Overnight: Hotel Indigo, Dallas.
Day 2 Monday September 23, 2019 Dallas / Fort Worth
Enjoy a sightseeing coach tour of Dallas, with local guide. Then travel to Fort Worth, affectionately known as ‘Cowtown’. Explore the Stockyards National Historic District. See the Old West come alive as you watch a colourful longhorn cattle drive. Return to Dallas. Evening: Commencement of Tour dinner. Craig Giles will sing a few songs! (B,D).
Day 3 Tuesday September 24, 2019 Lafayette
Travel to Lafayette, in the western Louisiana swamp country. Evening: Enjoy dinner & live music at Cajun restaurant/dance hall. Craig Giles will do a few songs with the Cajun band, if possible. Overnight: Springhill Suites, Lafayette. (B,D)
Day 4 Wednesday September 25, 2019 New Orleans
Morning: Travel to town of Breaux Bridge, in the heart of Cajun country. Enjoy a swamp tour, by boat. See amazing wildlife (alligators, turtles, birdlife) and distinctive swamp vegetation. Afternoon: Visit antebellum homestead, Laura Plantation, including original slave quarters. Continue on to New Orleans, birthplace of jazz. Evening: Enjoy a Creole meal in an excellent New Orleans restaurant. Then explore the French Quarter, including Bourbon Street and its many live music venues (optional). Overnight: Wyndham French Quarter Hotel (B,D).
Day 5 Thursday September 26, 2019 New Orleans
Morning: Coach tour of New Orleans with local guide. Visit an above ground cemetery, see the mansions on St Charles Ave, and visit areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. See street performers Hack Bartholomew and Doreen Ketchens (the ‘Clarinet Queen’), if available. Afternoon: Free time. Evening: Enjoy cruise, dinner & jazz music aboard a majestic Mississippi paddlewheeler. (B,D)
Day 6 Friday September 27, 2019 Greenville
Morning: Visit the Mardi Gras and Hurricane Katrina exhibitions, at the Louisiana State Museum. Then depart New Orleans & travel north, to Greenville, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Greenville is famous for its cotton plantations and its blues music heritage. Evening: Explore the historic strip of blues clubs on Greenville’s Nelson Street. Overnight: Hotel TBC (to be confirmed) (B)
Day 7 Saturday September 28, 2019 Memphis
Morning: Travel to Memphis, home of the blues and birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. On the way visit the Delta Blues Museum, in Clarksdale. Afternoon: In Memphis, visit Graceland, Elvis Presley’s famous mansion. Evening: Visit colourful Beale Street, including live music venues, such as B.B. King’s Blues Club & the Rum Boogie Café (all venues optional). Overnight: Holiday Inn Downtown Memphis. (B)
Day 8 Sunday September 29, 2019 Memphis
Morning: Visit Sun Studio (famous recording studio where Elvis, Johnny Cash, & others recorded). Then attend Al Green’s colourful gospel music church service. Craig Giles will do a song or two, if possible. Afternoon: Visit the National Civil Rights Museum (the motel – now museum – where Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr was assassinated). Evening: Dinner at an outstanding Memphis restaurant, then visit Beale Street. (B,D)
Day 9 Monday September 30, 2019 Branson
Travel through Arkansas, and the picturesque Ozark Mountains, to Branson, Missouri. Branson is famous for its many live music ‘theaters’, operated by entertainers like The Duttons, the Sons of the Pioneers, and Mickey Gilley. Evening: Attend a show in one of Branson’s music theaters. Overnight: Dutton Inn. (B)
Day 10 Tuesday October 1, 2019 Branson
A free day for you to take in some of Branson’s many attractions. You may wish to attend morning and afternoon theater shows, or perhaps visit Old Branson Town (Branson’s charming old downtown shopping centre). Evening: Attend a show of your choice. All shows & activities during our stay in Branson, except for tomorrow’s visit to Silver Dollar City, are optional. (B)
Day 11 Wednesday October 2, 2019 Branson
Today we visit Branson’s Silver Dollar City theme park. The theme park showcases traditional crafts & has live music venues featuring outstanding live music. The National Crafts & Cowboy Festival should be happening when we are there. Evening: Visit a Branson show of your choice. (B)
Day 12 Thursday October 3, 2019 Nashville
Travel to Nashville, home of country music. On the way visit Cairo, an intriguing ‘ghost town’, in southern Illinois, near where the Mississippi & Ohio rivers meet. Evening: Attend the outstanding Opry Country Classics show, in Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium. Overnight: Embassy Suites Hotel, Nashville. (B,D)
Day 13 Friday October 4, 2019 Nashville
Morning: Sightseeing coach tour of Nashville, with local guide. Includes visit to exclusive residential area (see homes of the rich & famous). Early afternoon: Free time. Then, visit the excellent Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Evening: Explore Nashville’s outstanding honky tonks (live music bars), in the ‘Broadway’ district’ (e.g., Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge), or perhaps visit The Station Inn (famous bluegrass venue). (B)
Day 14 Saturday October 5, 2019 Nashville
Morning: Visit the graves of Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash. Then visit the amazing Gaylord Opryland Hotel, featuring 9 acres of beautiful indoor gardens. Also visit Opry Mills Shopping Mall (excellent shopping & food court). Afternoon: Visit the Johnny Cash Museum (if you would prefer to visit the Patsy Cline Museum or the George Jones Museum instead, please advise John Howie). Mid Afternoon: Free time. Evening: Attend Grand Ole Opry show, featuring country music’s biggest stars. (B)
Day 15 Sunday October 6, 2019 Pigeon Forge
Travel to Pigeon Forge, eastern Tennessee. On the way enjoy a guided tour of Jack Daniel’s Distillery, in Lynchburg. Stop in Chattanooga for lunch. Continue on to Pigeon Forge which, like Branson, has an outstanding musicrelated theme park (Dollywood) and numerous live music theaters. Evening: Enjoy an informal music session with Craig Giles and John Howie. Bring your instruments & voices and join in. Overnight: Best Western Plaza Inn. (B,L)
Day 16 Monday October 7, 2019 Pigeon Forge
Visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trees are a blaze of colour at this time of the year (Autumn in the US). Then visit Dollywood, including Dolly Parton’s excellent Chasing Rainbows Museum and fabulous live music shows. Dollywood’s Southern Gospel & Harvest Festival should be in progress, so we should hear some outstanding gospel quartets. Evening: Attend Dolly Parton’s spectacular live show, Dixie Stampede. Fabulous dinner and show, including great horse riding, buffalo or longhorn cattle, etc. (Note: Dolly Parton doesn’t appear in this show.) (B,D)
Day 17 Tuesday October 8, 2019 Roanoke
Today is the first of two days where we will be travelling through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains / Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. This region has a rich folk music heritage. Afternoon: In the town of Floyd, Virginia, visit the Floyd Country Store… a wonderful general store (over 100 years-old), dedicated to the preservation and promotion of local old-time, bluegrass and gospel music. Evening: Attend an ‘early American’ bluegrass ‘session’ in the city of Roanoke, Virginia (approx. 12 – 15 musicians). Overnight: Holiday Inn Express, Roanoke. (B)
Day 18 Wednesday October 9, 2019 Washington D.C.
Today we drive from Roanoke to Washington D.C. We will stop in the historic town of Lexington. Visit the impressive Virginia Military Institute and the prestigious Washington and Lee University. Late Afternoon: Arrive in Washington D.C. Evening: Tonight we will explore D.C.’s live music venues (optional). Overnight: Holiday Inn Central White House. (B)
Day 19 Thursday October 10, 2019 Washington D.C.
Morning: Sightseeing coach tour of Washington D.C. with local guide. Visit Arlington National Cemetery (see President Kennedy’s grave) and the Lincoln Memorial. See the White House, the Washington Monument, the Capitol and many other famous landmarks. Afternoon: Free time. You may wish to join John Howie on a visit to some of the Smithsonian museums, including the Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History (see the original Star-Spangled Banner). Evening: Visit one of Washington D.C.’s interesting nightlife precincts: e.g. Georgetown. You may like to visit Blues Alley, a supper club in Georgetown, for excellent live jazz (optional). (B)
Day 20 Friday October 11, 2019 Allentown
Today we travel through Pennsylvania, towards New York. Enjoy guided tour of Gettysburg National Military Park (site of Civil War’s Battle of Gettysburg). Continue on to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, home of the Amish people. Many of these people wear plain clothing and travel in horse-drawn buggies. Coach tour of the Amish region with local guide. Have lunch with an Amish family in an Amish farmhouse. Also visit an Amish farmers’ market. Continue on to the city of Allentown, Pennsylvania, about 85 miles from New York. Overnight: Holiday Inn Express Allentown. (B,L)
Day 21 Saturday October 12, 2019 New York
Morning: Sightseeing coach tour of New York with local guide. Visit midtown area, Central Park, Harlem, Wall Street financial district, and Ground Zero (World Trade Center site). Afternoon: Free time. You may like to visit the Empire State Building (optional). Evening: Attend a Broadway musical or theatre production of your choice (optional). Overnight: Hotel Edison, New York. (B)
Day 22 Sunday October 13, 2019 New York
Morning: Attend a colourful New York church service, featuring outstanding live gospel music. Then enjoy a cruise on New York Harbor, aboard the Staten Island Ferry. See the Statue of Liberty. Afternoon: Free time. John Howie will take those interested for a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge (great views of the N.Y. skyline from the bridge). Alternatively, you may like to go shopping. New York is a shoppers’ paradise. Evening: Visit Manhatten’s Greenwich Village area. In the 50s, 60s & 70s musicians like Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary, & Joan Baez used to perform in ‘the Village’. Today Greenwich Village still has lots of good live music venues. We will have our End-of-Tour Dinner in ‘the Village’ before taking in some live music. (B,D)
Day 23 Monday October 14, 2019 Depart New York
Free time for shopping and packing. Mid Afternoon: Transfer to airport, to commence return trip to Australia. (B)
Day 24 Tuesday October 15, 2019 In flight
Day 25 Wednesday October 16, 2019 Arrive Australia
Arrive back in Australia and the tour concludes.