Apr 8 – 16, 2016
Southern Charm #2
The enchanted South radiates charm, beauty, hospitality and history enough to captivate your very mind and soul. Charleston is America’s most beautifully preserved colonial city. Savannah was considered by Sherman as a city too beautiful to burn. The Golden Isles include the magnificent winter homes of turn-of-the-century millionaires and Memphis’ bustling Beale Street. And just think! All the flowers of springtime will be lined up in full bloom just for you to enhance your visions of the South. Talk about Making Memories!
This morning, we board our coach to leave the cold winter behind and head for the warm breezes of the Deep South. It isn’t just the warm weather we will enjoy but the warm hospitality that has been passed down from the Cotton Barons and Southern Belles of the “Old South.” Our travels today will take us to West Memphis, Arkansas
Today finds us doing a sentimental tour of the legendary Graceland Mansion, home of the still idolized Entertainer Elvis Presley. We will then visit the Hall of Gold, an 80-foot hallway lined with gold and platinum albums and singles. This collection represents the sale of over one billion records worldwide, more than any other entertainer or group in the history of recorded voice. You may also wish to view the gravesites and museums plus two enormous gift shops, featuring every souvenir imaginable. After this nostalgic tour, we will depart for Beale Street, the Home of the Blues. You will have free time to explore this famous street with its shops, museums and have lunch on your own at one of the many fabulous restaurants before we depart Memphis for Birmingham, Alabama.
After a lovely breakfast at our hotel, we begin our day traveling deeper into the South. Our destination for today takes us across the Marshes of Glynn onto the Golden Isles. Our lodging tonight will be at the Jekyll Island.
After a restful night, we will do a narrated tram tour of the historic district of Jekyll Island. The prominent Gilded Age families, such as the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and J.P. Morgan, chose Jekyll Island as their winter retreat. Their grand “cottages” still stand. Jekyll is a Historic Landmark District and one of the nation’s largest restoration projects. Afterward, we leave Jekyll Island and arrive at St. Simons’ Pier Village. Enjoy leisure time to explore the quaint shops and restaurants in the Village. Have lunch on your own at the Pier Village, and then, you may wish to check out the 106 feet lighthouse. We will pick up our Step-On-Guide for a tour of St. Simons’ Island with a stop at Christ Church and the cemetery in Frederica, Georgia. That night, we return to Jekyll Island.
We depart the lovely Golden Isles this morning and travel to Savannah, Georgia. Our Step-On-Guide will meet us at the Visitor Center for a tour of the Historic District of Savannah, home of the largest National Historic Landmark district in the United States. Then we will visit the Juliette Gordon Low House Museum. The Juliette Gordon Low House, also known as the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, is the First Girl Scout Headquarters and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1965. Juliette Gordon Low was the founder of Girl Scouts of the USA, and the “Birthplace” is now owned by the Girl Scouts. Our tour ends, and lunch is on your own. The remainder of the afternoon is free for you to stroll along the quaint cobblestone paved Factors Walk and River Street, where old cotton warehouses have been converted into trendy shops, taverns and restaurants. This evening, Making Memories Tours will treat you to a real Southern dinner at The River House. Lodging will be in Savannah.
Today we pick up our Step-On-Guide to tour yet another beautiful city. Charleston has survived the Civil War, major fires, an earthquake and hurricanes, but still exudes elegance, charm and grace. Enjoy your tour of the city, highlighting the cobblestone streets, historic homes and restored buildings, some with origins prior to the Revolution. When the tour ends, you will have free time to have lunch and maybe do some shopping before we depart for a Cruise around Charleston Harbor and Ft. Sumter, where the first shot of the Civil War were fired. Upon return from this Cruise, we will board our coach to travel to North Charleston, South Carolina for our overnight.
We turn back north and west today across South Carolina and through the corner of North Carolina into Gatlinburg, Tennessee. After a break in Cherokee, North Carolina, we begin our ascent over the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, one of America’s great national treasures. The area was called Shaconage by the Cherokee Indians, which means the “Place of the Blue Smoke,” because the mountains are perpetually shrouded in shades of misty blue. We will have a picture stop at the North Carolina-Tennessee State Line for a magnificent view of the Smoky Mountains. We will arrive in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and check into our hotel, and then, you will have free time to explore Gatlinburg with its many shops and restaurants as well as shows and other attractions.
This morning, we travel into Knoxville, Tennessee to the Observation Deck of the Sunsphere Tower. Constructed for the 1982 World’s Fair, the Tower was closed to the public, but on May 5, 2014, the 4th level Observation Deck was re-opened. From the deck of the Sunsphere, you have a 360 degree view of the 1982 World’s Fair site (now World’s Fair Park), downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee River, the University of Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains. We continue west to Nashville, Tennessee to tour the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The Museum, called the “Smithsonian of Country Music,” showcases an unrivaled collection of the Best of the Best. In the museum’s core exhibition, Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music, visitors are immersed in the history and sounds of country music, its origins and traditions and the stories and voices of many of its honored architects. After this fascinating and nostalgic tour, we continue on to Grand Rivers, Kentucky and Patti’s Inn for our last night out of this most beautiful tour of the South. After we arrive and get checked in, Making Memories Tours will treat you to a Farewell Dinner at Patti’s 1880’s Settlement.
Today, we journey homeward. You may wish to sleep the day away or just reinforce the friendships that you have made on this tour as you recall all the Memories you have made.