Bluegrass and Blue Ridge Tour Crafted by Ken Burns
Gibsonia, Pa. — Frontiers International Travel is excited to offer a new tour crafted with filmmakers Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan that celebrates the history, cultural heritage and natural beauty found in Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee. Guests will enjoy an insider tour of Churchill Downs with a professional jockey, visit the homestead that inspired Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home,” explore a 19th-century Shaker village, learn the secrets of bourbon at Buffalo Trace Distillery, discover the 250-room Biltmore Estate, trace the roots of Appalachian music at the Folk Art Center, visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, see the plantation home of President Andrew Jackson, tour the Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame, have lunch with a Nashville songwriter and more. The 9-day tour starts at $4,590 per person double. There are departures August – October 2016. For more information, visit http://www.frontiersej.com/public/elegantJourneys/6/sitenews/526-Bluegrass_and_Blue_Ridges:_Louisville_to_Nashville or call 800-245-1950.
The full itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive Louisville
Tour begins: 5:30 PM, The Brown Hotel. A transfer is included from Louisville International Airport to The Brown Hotel, a landmark in the heart of downtown Louisville near the theatre district. Since 1923, this gracious hotel has entertained celebrities and dignitaries with its opulence, charm, and impeccable Southern hospitality, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Please join us at the hotel this evening for a welcome reception and dinner.
Day 2: Behind-the-scenes at Churchill Downs, Stephen Foster, and the Story of Bourbon
Begin the day with a visit to Churchill Downs, the legendary thoroughbred racetrack that has hosted The Kentucky Derby since 1875. Your visit includes an exclusive tour of the backstretch with a professional jockey who’ll share insider views of the track’s history and daily operation while the horses take their morning exercise. On the racetrack grounds, you’ll also visit The Kentucky Derby Museum for insights into the race’s celebrated history, and what goes into the breeding and training of a thoroughbred champion. A short drive to Bardstown takes you to another iconic landmark, Federal Hill, a Georgian-style plantation house built in 1795 by Judge John Rowan that once entertained dignitaries like Andrew Jackson and Marquis de Lafayette, but is better known as the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home” – tour the impeccably preserved mansion and formal gardens. Then head to Frankfort for a guided tour of the Buffalo Trace Distillery, famous for its fine Kentucky bourbon, which it has produced continuously since 1775. During Prohibition, the distillery was permitted to output whiskey “for medicinal purposes.” Arrive late afternoon at your resort hotel in Lexington where the evening is free.
Day 3: Shakers and a private “Bluegrass & Bourbon” Evening
Drive to Pleasant Hill, site of what was once the largest, most successful Shaker community in America. Founded in England in the 18th century, the sect known as Shakers had a profound effect on 19th century America, as documented in Ken Burns’s film, Hands to Work, Hearts to God. Known locally as “Shakertown,” the village which flourished here from 1805 to 1910, comprises 34 original buildings, wonderfully restored as a living museum with costumed interpreters, where you’ll gain insights into the hearts and minds of the Shakers, and marvel at their engineering achievements; besides their fame for furniture making, the Shakers invented the circular saw, the clothespin, the wheel-driven washing machine, and numerous other labor-saving devices. Following lunch at the village, delve deeper into equine culture at The Kentucky Horse Park, a working horse farm and theme park showcasing breeds from around the world; you’ll also visit the International Museum of the Horse. Return to your hotel for a special, private “Bluegrass & Bourbon” evening, including a banquet dinner, a live band, and bourbon tasting.
Day 4: Currents of the Cumberland Gap
When you stand at the Cumberland Gap you’ll never forget it – you’re standing at the first frontier, the first gateway to the west. It was a break in the Appalachian Mountains that provided a gateway to the west for migrating buffalo herds, American Indian tribes, and restless pioneers – including Daniel Boone, who blazed a trail known as the Wilderness Road here in 1775. Today you will join that long list of “travelers” when you pass through the gap yourself. Explore its rich history and cultural currents at a private presentation at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park visitors’ center. The park also features unique geologic sandstone formations, magnificent underground caverns, and restored log cabins from an early 20th century pioneer settlement. Continue to Asheville, North Carolina, where your accommodation is both historic and gracious, exemplifying the best of Southern hospitality. Asheville has emerged as one of America’s top culinary destinations – a “foodie haven” with many new twists on traditional southern cuisine. In addition to being ranked #12 on the recent “Top 100 Best Places to Live in America,” its restaurants and chefs have won top accolades in numerous polls. Dine at your leisure at The Biltmore.
Day 5: The Biltmore Estate & Appalachian Music
Back in 1895 George Vanderbilt II, grandson of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, decided to build himself “a little mountain escape” in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The result was the Biltmore Estate, a fabulous 250-room French château for which he employed architect Richard Morris Hunt for the castle design and Frederick Law Olmsted (the designer of Central Park) to lay out the woodlands and formal gardens. You’ll have an opportunity to learn more about this magnificent estate on tours of both the estate grounds and through the mansion itself. See Antler Hill Village, a town built to house the employees who worked on the estate and tended its crops and livestock. After lunch on the estate, take a short drive to the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a museum of Appalachian arts and crafts, for a private presentation on Appalachian music. Return to Asheville for an evening spent as you please.
Day 6: Great Smoky Mountains National Park & Museum of the Cherokee
Today you’ll experience one of the most beautiful, and one of the oldest, places on Earth – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the US. Historically, it is known as a place of refuge; the fascinating story of its creation includes the heroic efforts of Horace Kephart, George Masa and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Ecologically, it is one of the world’s best examples of a deciduous hardwood forest – a UNESCO World Heritage Site with one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, it is dedicated as an international biosphere reserve. Scenically, the grandeur and beauty of the Southern Appalachians is at its very core – from mist-shrouded “smoky” mountains with their wide range of elevations to fresh streams and miles of forests; it is the very definition of the word “vista.” In Cherokee, North Carolina, explore 19th century wilderness settlement life with period interpreters at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitors’ center. You’ll also visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian for a guided tour and exclusive private viewing of its archival collection of artifacts. A catered private lunch at the museum includes samples of traditional Cherokee flavors and is accompanied by a Cherokee flute musician. Arrive in Knoxville late afternoon.
Day 7: Nashville Rhythms
Travel today to what has emerged as the music capital of America, Nashville. First up is a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame, where you’ll truly get a behind-the-scenes look at the industry during lunch with a Nashville songwriter. Enjoy time on your own to explore the museum, then head to the Ryman Auditorium for a private front-of-house and backstage tour. The venerable hall is best known as the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, from 1943 to 1974, having hosted the biggest country stars of its day. Your downtown hotel is a palatial Beaux-Arts landmark built in 1910; dine from a selection of Nashville restaurants.
Day 8: The Hermitage, General Jackson Showboat & the Grand Ole Opry
Visit The Hermitage, the plantation home of Andrew Jackson, military hero, populist, and 7th President of the United States. Dayton Duncan notes that you can understand Andrew Jackson by his own words – “I was born for a storm. And a calm does not suit me.” Jackson lived here until his death in 1845 and his brick mansion is considered the most accurately preserved presidential home in the US, with restored décor and original furnishings. Your next stop is the General Jackson Showboat, a paddle wheeler on the Cumberland River, where lunch includes live entertainment. Drive along Music Row to your hotel for an early farewell reception and dinner, then join us this evening for a performance of country music at the inimitable Grand Ole Opry or the Ryman Auditorium.
Day 9: Journey Home
Tour ends: Nashville. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from The Hermitage Hotel to Nashville International Airport. Allow a minimum of two hours for flight check-in. (B)
About Frontiers International Travel:
Founded in 1969, Frontiers caters to discriminating travelers and specializes in the finest worldwide fly fishing and shooting destinations, photographic safaris, as well as customized Elegant Journeys. The combined staff of 54 travel experts in our Gibsonia, Pennsylvania headquarters and the United Kingdom branch office is considered the source for sound, unbiased advice in outdoor and luxury travel realms based on our well-seasoned, firsthand perspective. www.frontierstravel.com
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