Join fellow AAA members on this group departure to Bluegrass Country & the Smoky Mountains.
Take a delightful trip through the heart of Appalachia, discovering the equestrian culture of Kentucky, the pioneer spirit of Tennessee, and the mountainous beauty of North Carolina. Get a taste of Bourbon, baseball, and Thoroughbreds in Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky. Travel through Daniel Boone National Forest as you make your way to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. From your home base of Gatlinburg, explore the natural wonders of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After a day of exploring, relax and tap your toes during Dolly Parton’s Stampede and Dinner Show. Travel on to Asheville, North Carolina, and enjoy the city’s historic architecture, engaging neighborhoods and robust arts districts. Tour the Biltmore Estate, George Vanderbilt’s "little mountain escape” in the Blue Ridge Mountains. When you leave, you’ll have the warmth and charm of southern Appalachia still in your heart.
Day 1: Thursday, November 7, 2019 Louisville, Kentucky - Tour Begins
Your tour starts in Louisville, Kentucky, famous for Thoroughbreds, Bourbon and baseball. Tonight, enjoy a welcome reception and settle in for a 2-night stay at your hotel located in Jeffersonville, Indiana, ideally situated just across the river from downtown Louisville.
Day 2: Friday, November 8, 2019 Louisville
Enjoy a visit to Churchill Downs, the Thoroughbred racetrack famous for hosting the pinnacle of all horse races, the annual Kentucky Derby. You’ll tour the Kentucky Derby Museum and learn about the legendary history of the "Sport of Kings." Then, enjoy a walking tour of Old Louisville, a historic neighborhood that boasts the largest concentration of Victorian mansions in the United States. Later, head to "Museum Row" where it’s your choice! Visit the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory for an All-Star baseball experience showing you all there is to know about "America’s Pastime" -OR- explore the Frazier Kentucky History Museum, and its new Spirit of Kentucky exhibit, the official start of the Bourbon Trail. Tonight, join your fellow travelers at a local restaurant for a welcome dinner.
Day 3: Saturday, November 9, 2019 Louisville - Lexington
Today we travel to Lexington. En route, we’ll visit Buffalo Trace, the oldest continuously operating Bourbon distillery in America. Learn about the subtle craft of Bourbon distilling, meet some of the people who make it all happen, and of course, taste some of Kentucky’s home-grown spirit. Stop in Midway, a quaint, historic town and the first one in Kentucky to be founded by a railroad. Learn about this area from a local guide as we explore Kentucky’s horse country. Enjoy the stunning, rolling bluegrass pastureland and the many horse farms that dot the landscape. We’ll visit private horse farms and hear about their time-honored traditions.
Day 4: Sunday, November 10, 2019 Lexington - Berea - Gatlinburg, Tennessee
We travel south, stopping in Berea, the historic college town known as the arts and crafts center of Kentucky. You’ll meet a few artisans while they demonstrate their craft.Enjoy lunch at Boone Tavern,where blue grass country meets the rolling hills of Appalachia. En route to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, travel through Daniel Boone National Forest. Extending across the western plateau region of the Appalachian Mountains, it’s named for the larger-than-life American pioneer who once blazed a trail across these rugged and wild lands. Gatlinburg, a lively mountain resort, is the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and your home for a 3-night stay.
Day 5: Monday, November 11, 2019 Gatlinburg - Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Gatlinburg
This morning, a local guide leads you into the most visited national park in the United States. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park contains one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth and the largest deciduous forest in the eastern United States. Explore the park, stopping at various lookouts on our way to Newfound Gap which boasts views of both sides of the Smoky Mountains – those in Tennessee and North Carolina. Afterwards, enjoy a tour and tasting at the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery. Tonight, be entertained at the lively Dolly Parton’s Stampede & Dinner Show where you’ll see music, dancing, and professional horse riders performing incredible stunts.
Day 6: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 Gatlinburg
Today, spend your time however you see fit during a leisurely day in Gatlinburg. Perhaps you’ll want to venture back to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and see more stunning natural sights. Or, for a bit of campy fun, you could head to Pigeon Forge and experience Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountains theme park.
Day 7: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 Gatlinburg - Asheville, North Carolina
Depart for Asheville, North Carolina, our Blue Ridge Mountains home for two nights. En route, we’ll stop at the stunning East Coast home of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Upon arrival in Asheville, a local guide takes you on an orientation walking tour of the neighborhood around your downtown hotel.
Day 8: Thursday, November 14, 2019 Asheville
Back in 1895, George Vanderbilt II decided to build himself "a little mountain escape" in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The result was the impressive and decadent grandeur of the Biltmore Estate. Today, tour the sprawling mansion and the manicured grounds, enjoy a wine-tasting at the historic Biltmore Winery and experience what it was like to be a wealthy tycoon in the Gilded Age of America. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 9: Friday, November 15, 2019 Asheville - Charlotte - Tour Ends
Today your tour comes to an end. As you venture home, take the spirit and the warmth of America’s Southeast with you.
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