Music and Mountains
12-Day Tour Featuring Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama
Visit Music City USA, Graceland, Elvis Presley’s boyhood home, Muscle Shoals-the Hit Capital of the World. Along the way learn about southern jazz and see the largest space museum in the world, America’s largest motorcycle museum and where Civil Rights history was made.
Day 1 & 2
Arrive in Atlanta and overnight. While in the south’s gateway city, visit the home of the world’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium, and the World of Coca-Cola.
Day 3 & 4
Travel to Nashville (4 hours, 250 miles). Visit Nashville, where you can see the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, the Ryman Auditorium and the Musicians Hall of Fame. Amble through the Music City Walk of Fame stars located along Music Mile.
Day 5 & 6
Travel to Memphis (3 ½ hours, 215 miles). Here you can spend the day at Graceland, Elvis’ home, and then the night on Beale Street. The next day, dine on Memphis BBQ and visit B.B. King’s Blues Club.
Day 6 & 7
Travel to Tupelo (2 hours, 110 miles). See Elvis’ hometown and tour his boyhood home before traveling on to the “Hit Capital of the World,” Muscle Shoals, AL. (2 hours, 90 miles). On your way to Muscle Shoals, you will travel on the Natchez Trace Parkway, one of the most scenic highways in America. Plan to overnight in the northwest Alabama towns of Florence, Tuscumbia, Sheffield and Muscles Shoals. The “Father of the Blues,” W.C. Handy, was born in Florence where the annual W.C. Handy Music Festival is held each summer. Another native son, Sam Phillips, discovered Elvis. FAME is just one of the recording studios located in these small Alabama cities where international superstars like Aretha Franklin, Lynyrd
Skynyrd, Otis Redding and the Rolling Stones came to record in the 60s. FAME is an active recording studio, so call ahead to ask for a weekday morning tour before musicians enter to record. Eat at the Rattlesnake Saloon, located in the woods under a bluff or at the 360 revolving restaurant high atop the Renaissance tower overlooking the Tennessee River.
Day 8 & 9
Travel to Birmingham (2 hours, 115 miles) which is Alabama’s largest city and boasts a vibrant arts and cultural scene. Visitors are welcomed to the city by a large statue of the mythical Roman god of the forge, Vulcan, which overlooks downtown Birmingham with its jazz and dance clubs, theater and fine dining. The history
of the modern movement is showcased at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Next-door is the 16th Street Baptist Church, nominated as a World Heritage Site as one of three historic civil rights churches. Birmingham is also home to America’s largest collection of motorcycles, on display at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. If you are in town Saturday night, visit Gip’s Place, one of the last true juke joints in the South. Then Sunday, attend the church service at 16th Street Baptist Church for a spiritual service with a lively southern gospel choir. There are several entertainment districts with food and music in downtown Birmingham including ones near the convention center, at 5 Points South and Lakeview.
Travel to Fort Payne (1 ½ hours, 100 miles) to search for Sand Mountain and Sacred Harp, a cappella singing popular during the American’s Civil War. The tradition continues to echo at Liberty Baptist Church in the small community of Henager during their regular Sunday morning service year round and during special singing events. While in the area visit the mountain top village of Mentone, Little River Canynon and DeSoto State Park for waterfalls and rock formations. On your final day return to Atlanta for your trip home (2:30 hours, 125 miles).
12 Day / 11 Night Itinerary:
Atlanta: 2 nights
Nashville: 2 nights
Memphis: 2 nights
Muscle Shoals: 2 nights
Birmingham: 2 nights
Fort Payne : 2 nights