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Graceland Memphis

Music & Mountains self-drive tour Three Star



Visit ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ in 2011 as the State celebrates it’s ‘Year Of Music’. Follow in the footsteps of some of America’s music superstars who blazed a trail through the Deep South during this 14 night tour and sample Alabama’s Great Outdoors in the Appalachian mountains. Your adventure begins in Memphis, Tennessee and winds through Alabama celebrating the musical heritage of this region every step of the way.

Day One/Two

Arrive in Memphis and during your two night stay visit some of it’s famous attractions including Graceland, Sun Studios, Stax and the Rock n’ Soul Museum. Take time to enjoy great live music on Beale Street!

Day Three/Four

Journey on to the ‘The Shoals’, a cluster of towns in the Northwest of Alabama made famous by international superstars like Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd who recorded there during the 60s. Tour FAME Studios and visit the Alabama Music Hall of Fame which both give a fascinating insight into the role that this region played in music history. The ‘Father of the Blues’ W.C.Handy was born here and his home is now a museum. This region also has Native American and Civil War history, Helen Keller’s home and Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.

Day Five/Six

A two night stay in Alabama’s ‘Rocket City’, Huntsville provides an ideal opportunity to sample some of it’s exciting day and night time entertainment.

Located in the heart of Alabama’s Mountain Region, Huntsville Washington Square in the city’s downtown boasts venues like the Jazz Factory, Crossroads Cafe and Humphrey’s showcasing Blues, Jazz, Folk and Rock music. For shopping and dining, the new Bridge Street Town Centre features over 70 upscale shops and restaurants, a 10 acre lake with gondola rides, water craft rentals and park areas.

By day, visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, a huge space museum featuring a full size space shuttle, a Saturn V rocket and the actual Apollo 16 capsule. Families can thrill to interactive rides and flight simulators and children can also attend ‘Space Camps’ here. Another nearby attraction which is well worth a visit is the Huntsville Botanical Gardens where you can enjoy the Alabama sunshine whilst exploring 112 acres of flora and fauna.

For a different perspective, go back in time by visiting Alabama Constitution Hall, part of the Earlyworks Museum complex which shows a historic village circa 1819. Another living history museum, Burritt on the Mountain, has five 19th century farmsteads illustrating daily life in early Alabama and there are some great views and hiking here too.

Day Seven/Eight

A short drive takes you on to Fort Payne in the Appalachian mountains of North East Alabama to experience the state’s great outdoors! Take a hike into into a deep canyon or through the forests along some 12 miles of trails at De Soto State Park. View waterfalls along the Lost Falls Trails and don’t miss teh breathtaking De Soto Falls. Go underground to the ‘Looking Glass Lakes’ at Sequoyah Caverns or kayak the raging Little River at Little River Canyon National Preserve. Enjoy the tranquillity of the area on half or full day horseback rides. Alabama’s Shady Grove Dude Ranch offers guided mountain trail rides and tours.

Day Nine/Ten

Birmingham, your next stop, is Alabama’s largest city and known for it’s diversity. Overlooked by Red Mountain and home to grits, gravy, great culture and gracious folks, it adds it’s own stamp to the music world. The city claims to be the Capital of American Idol due to it’s reputation for producing a string of talented vocalists. Two of the winners, Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks plus runner up, Bo Bice, all hail from here.

Indeed, it’s hard to escape the music in this playful city.Throughout the year, Jazz echoes from downtown nightclubs in places like Ona’s Music Room and the Blue Monkey. The Five Points entertainment district has music of all types as well as great dining. Folks in Birmingham love to eat and those who visit here will get a taste of it’s fabulous variety in cuisine whilst enjoying all the arts that the city offers.

Jazz enthusiasts would do well to visit the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame which pays tribute to great artists with ties to Alabama like Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton.

Aside from the music, Birmingham has museums by the dozen and it’s story of Civil Rights conflict and reconciliation should not be missed. It’s told at the moving and educational Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The Barber Motorsports Park and Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum are a must for motor enthusiasts and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Zoo are just some of the city’s other great attractions.

Day Eleven/Twelve

Moving south to Montgomery, Alabama’s State Capital is the birthplace of both the Civil War and Civil Rights and therefore steeped in history. Walk in the footsteps of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King who shaped U.S. history by visiting the city’s museums and historical sites. This is also where Hank Williams lived from1937 to 1948. The Hank Williams Museum documents the life of this Country Music pioneer famous for such classics as “Hey Good Lookin” and “Cold Cold Heart”. The Old Cloverdale and the Alley entertainment districts are home to some fantastic restaurants and ‘live’ music venues.

Day Thirteen/Fourteen

The historic port city of Mobile which is one of the oldest cities in America is your home for the next two nights. Part of Mobile Bay, an exclusive entertaining, indulgent and relaxing destination, it boasts the original Mardi Gras which started in 1703 and is still celebrated every year two weeks before Lent.

Mobile features delicious seafood and an array of bars, restaurants and live music venues – just what you would expect from Jimmy Buffet’s hometown. The Lo Da Entertainment District has over 20 establishments with live music on different nights of the week. Stop by ‘Veets’ for a late night drink and live bands. Felix’s Fish Camp overlooking Mobile Bay has entertainment most nights and great views over the water. If you’re visiting in the Fall, you’ll be lucky enough to see the city’s 3 day BayFest Music Festival. This has jazz as it’s main ingredient but there is continuous music for every taste.

Spot of Tea on Dauphin Street is a favourite for breakfast and a nice place to stroll around as you admire the buildings on Cathedral Square. A drive through the nearby Oakleigh Garden Historic District allows you to take a look at some of the city’s finest late 19th century residences.

Fly home from Mobile.

14 Night Music Itinerary:

  • 2 nights Memphis
  • 2 nights Muscle Shoals
  • 2 nights Huntsville
  • 2 nights Fort Payne
  • 2 nights Birmingham
  • 2 nights Montgomery
  • 2 nights Mobile

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