HISTORIC TRAILS & BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS
14 DAYS FROM $2,219 US
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From colonial settlements and Civil War sites to the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains and stunning Great Smoky Mountains, this southern U.S. tour features historic sites, spectacular scenery, and fun experiences all along the way. You’ll overnight in the Washington DC area; Gettysburg; Shenandoah National Park; Beckley; Lexington, Kentucky; Gatlinburg; Asheville; Lexington, Virginia; and Williamsburg.
History buffs will enjoy visits to the Gettysburg Battlefield, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his immortal speech in 1863; Harper’s Ferry, where John Brown made his ill-fated raid on the U.S. Arsenal in 1859; the Lincoln Museum; Sinking Spring Farm, the one-room cabin where Lincoln was born; the Civil War Museum, the fourth-largest Civil War museum in the United States; Biltmore Estate; Stonewall Jackson House, Jackson’s former home; Monticello Estate, Thomas Jefferson’s home; Jamestown Settlement, where you’ll learn about the first permanent English settlement in the New World; Mount Vernon, home of George and Martha Washington; and Colonial Williamsburg, where life in the 18th century is recreated.
Throughout this southern U.S. tour, you’ll witness fascinating landscapes. Beautiful views await you in Shenandoah National Park, with its 200,000 acres of protected lands. Marvel at the green pastures, white-board fences, and columned estates in Kentucky bluegrass country. Spend two nights in Gatlinburg, a popular mountain retreat, and drive through the center of the Smoky Mountains, with the winding roads, striking wildflowers, and animal diversity. In Virginia, stop at tranquil Mabry Mill, an old water-driven grist mill that is one of the country’s most photographed spots, and visit Natural Bridge, a 215-foot-high limestone arch sculpted by nature in a wooded setting.
These are just some of the many highlights of this southern U.S. tour featuring stunning national parks, historic sites, and fun-filled experiences. Grab your camera and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation!
Day 1 Washington DC Area
Enjoy time at leisure to relax or to do some independent exploring. Your Tour Director is on hand this evening to answer any questions.
Day 2 Washington DC Area–Gettysburg
Today begins with a guided sightseeing tour that shows you the graves of American heroes, including those of John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert, in beautiful Arlington Cemetery. Your guided tour of the capital continues, with photo stops at Capitol Hill and the White House, and visits to the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials. Afterward, cross the Mason-Dixon Line into Pennsylvania for a visit to the hallowed GETTYSBURG BATTLEFIELD, site of the decisive Civil War campaign and where Abraham Lincoln delivered his immortal Gettysburg Address in November 1863. Tonight, we offer an optional outing to a local restaurant to enjoy the flavor of the area.
Day 3 Gettysburg–Harpers Ferry–Shenandoah National Park
Head for HARPERS FERRY, where in 1859 John Brown made his ill-fated raid on the U.S. Arsenal. En route to Shenandoah, crest the Blue Ridge Mountains for magnificent vistas of the Shenandoah Valley. Overnight in SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK.
Day 4 Shenandoah National Park–New River Gorge–Beckley
Through lumber and limestone country into wonderfully wild West Virginia. After a lunch break in Lewisburg, a Civil War battlefield, travel to Fayetteville and stop at New River Gorge Bridge, the world’s third-longest steel-span bridge, rising 876 feet above the river. Then, on to Beckley, the heart of West Virginia’s “smokeless” coal industry, for an overnight stay.
Day 5 Beckley–Charleston–Lexington, Kentucky
Before entering Kentucky, we stop in the state capital of Charleston, West Virginia, one-time home of American frontiersman Daniel Boone. As you cross the state border, the scenery changes to green pastures, white-board fences, and the columned estates of Kentucky bluegrass country—backdrop for the movie Seabiscuit. Arrive in Lexington, the “Heart of the Bluegrass.” This afternoon, a fascinating visit to the KENTUCKY HORSE PARK, from where legends like Man o’ War and Secretariat conquered the racing world. (CB)
Day 6 Lexington–Hodgenville–Bardstown–Lexington, KY
Travel on Bluegrass Parkway and stop at SINKING SPRING FARM, a one-room cabin where the nation’s 16th president was born, Abraham Lincoln. A replica of the original log cabin is preserved as a shrine to one of the best-loved American presidents. Visit the LINCOLN MUSEUM, dedicated to Lincoln’s life and times. The museum features 12 historically accurate scenes from Lincoln’s life and Civil War memorabilia. Be sure to walk out to the center of Town Square for a photo op in front of the Lincoln Statue, and the Lincoln Boy Statue. Afterward, we head to Bardstown and visit the fourth-largest CIVIL WAR MUSEUM in the United States. Unlike the other museums, this one focuses mainly on the War of the Western States. Visitors move through a series of exhibits featuring artifacts from both the Union and the Confederacy. End your day by visiting a true working BOURBON DISTILLERY, and learn about the production of the very finest Kentucky Straight Bourbon, for which Kentucky is famous. Return to Lexington, where the evening is free for independent activities.
Day 7 Lexington–Gatlinburg
Travel to Tennessee, with a stop at Corbin for a short visit to COLONEL SANDERS’ original fried chicken restaurant, which is now a museum. This afternoon, visit the fascinating MUSEUM OF APPALACHIA, with 65 acres of farmland and a number of historic cabins, barns, and other buildings—even a frontier privy! The next two nights are in Gatlinburg at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Day 8 Gatlinburg
As one of America’s most popular mountain retreats, Gatlinburg offers something for everyone. You might want to spend a day at world-famous Dollywood, an 88-acre landscaped theme park inspired by Dolly Parton and her love for the mountains, family, and country music.
Day 9 Gatlinburg–Great Smoky Mountains National Park–Asheville
Drive right through the center of the Smokies along the spectacular Newfound Gap Road, peaking at 5,046 feet. Into North Carolina and a stop at the 7,500-acre grounds of the BILTMORE ESTATE, built by George Vanderbilt, grandson of railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. Overnight in the Asheville area, hometown of American author Thomas Wolfe.
Day 10 Asheville–Blue Ridge Parkway–Lexington, Virginia
Blue Ridge Parkway runs from the Great Smokies to Shenandoah National Park without a single traffic light along its 470-mile route. Take in a portion of the parkway today, from Fancy Gap to Roanoke. Stop at the tranquil setting of Mabry Mill, one of the most photographed spots in the country. Next up: a visit to NATURAL BRIDGE, a 215-foot-high arch in a wooded setting, once owned by Thomas Jefferson. George Washington’s initials are still visible on the cliffside, from his work here as a young surveyor. (CB)
Day 11 Lexington, Virginia–Richmond–Williamsburg
The day begins with a guided tour of the STONEWALL JACKSON HOUSE, where you experience the pre-war life of Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, and are introduced to the man who became a legend. This afternoon’s highlight is the graceful home of the third U.S. president, Thomas Jefferson. The MONTICELLO ESTATE reflects Jefferson’s skills as an artist, architect, and designer. It is the only house in the U.S. that is on the UNESCO World Heritage list of international treasures. We follow with a short orientation tour of Richmond, capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War. The day ends in Williamsburg, between the James and York Rivers, where the very earliest European settlers established their first colonies. (CB)
Day 12 Williamsburg. Excursion to Jamestown Settlement & Colonial Williamsburg
A morning visit to nearby JAMESTOWN SETTLEMENT for a guided tour to learn about the first permanent English settlement in the New World. The rest of the day is dedicated to COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG, where American heritage is proudly preserved in the reconstructed buildings and historical displays. Stroll down quaint streets and browse through homes, gardens, taverns, shops, and exhibits. In the Hall of Burgesses, listen as costumed interpreters debate the controversial steps that led to the Declaration of Independence. (CB)
Day 13 Williamsburg–Mount Vernon–Washington DC Area
This morning, visit MOUNT VERNON, the beloved home of George and Martha Washington, overlooking the banks of the Potomac River. Time to explore the most popular historic estate in America. The final leg of your journey takes you back to the Washington DC area.
Day 14 Washington DC Area
The trip ends today with guests departing on individual schedules. Transfers to Dulles or Reagan International Airports are included. You can extend your vacation with extra nights and explore the nation’s capital further with a variety of exciting optional activities.
In Washington DC; orientation tour in Richmond, Gettysburg Battlefield, Harpers Ferry, Kentucky Horse Park, Sinking Spring Farm, Lincoln Museum, Civil War Museum, Bourbon Distillery, Colonel Sanders Museum, Museum of Appalachia, Biltmore Estate, Natural Bridge, Stonewall Jackson House, Monticello Estate, Jamestown Settlement, Colonial Williamsburg, and Mount Vernon. Inside visits as shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Local Guides for sightseeing in Washington DC, Gettysburg National Military Park and Battlefield, Monticello Estate, and Jamestown Settlement, services of a professional Tour Director.
Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, Kentucky Bluegrass Country, Shenandoah National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Natural Bridge.
Enjoy the spectacular colors of the Appalachian Mountains on our special fall foliage departures: September 9 to October 7 (if Mother Nature permits).
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on this vacation:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Private, deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach while touring.
HOTELS: (F) First Class (SF) Superior First Class (NP) National Park (ST) Superior Tourist
WASHINGTON DC AREA - Crowne Plaza Old Town Alexandria (F)
GETTYSBURG - Wyndham Gettysburg (SF)
SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK - Skyland Resort (NP)
BECKLEY - Country Inn & Suites (ST)
LEXINGTON, KY - Hilton Lexington Downtown (SF)
GATLINBURG - Glenstone Lodge (F)
ASHEVILLE - Hampton Inn - Biltmore (ST)
LEXINGTON, VA - Best Western Lexington Inn (ST)
WILLIAMSBURG - Country Inn & Suites (ST)
5 continental breakfasts
May - October
From approx $2,219 US
person double occupancy
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