Self Driven Tours: Bluegrass & Bourbon trail
Discover the art and science of the Master Distiller, savor the distinct flavor, and see how legendary distilleries have crafted the world's finest bourbons using secret recipes and a time-honored process passed down from generation to generation.
Cap off your tour through Bluegrass Country with its namesake music which will overwhelm you with its gentle, honest charm.
Day 1: MEMPHIS ARRIVAL
Start your journey in the musical city of Memphis and explore the birthplace of the blues by taking in a performance in one of the entertaining Beale Street blues bars. Memphis offers a multitude of musical and movie moments, and there are two nights to explore your favorites. Start with a visit to Graceland, home of the late Elvis Presley, then choose between the Rock & Soul Museum, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Gibson Guitar Factory, or Sun Studio where musicians such as B.B. King, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded their rock'n'roll hits (all optional visits).
Day 2: MEMPHIS
Memphis combines the charm of the Old South with the exciting pace of a modern metropolis. During your stay, may we suggest an optional visit to any outdoor concerts at the Mud Island outdoor amphitheater. Located right on the Mississippi River, Mud Island River Park is a historic and scenic outdoor area. Or, dine in B.B. King's restaurant on famous Beale Street
Day 3: MEMPHIS - LYNCHBURG
Continue your exploration to Lynchburg where you will pass out of the country music for the home of Bourbon. You will discover the famous home of the Jack Daniel's whiskey distillery during your stay. While touring the Jack Daniel's Distillery (optional), learn about the great American wonder of the Cave Spring Hollow, and discover more about the history of the distillery. Don't miss Nina's Taste of Tennessee and indulge in the sweet treats and surprises that this quaint shop has to offer. Many of her sweet treats are made with a variety of Jack Daniel's whiskey.
Day 4: LYNCHBURG - CHATTANOOGA
Venture into the 4th largest city in Southeast Tennessee and taste the South's favorite snack food, the Moon Pie, which originated in Chattanooga since the early 1900s. The city has received national recognition for the renaissance of its beautiful downtown and expansion of its riverfront. A must visit is the Chattanooga Choo Choo Train Station. This iconic train station has been turned into a hotel. The station was first built in the historic district in 1908. Summer travelers should check the dates of the annual Chattanooga Riverbend Festival.
Day 5: CHATTANOOGA – GATLINBURG
Make your way north to Gatlinburg and pass through the rich culture and natural beauty of Knoxville, which has the perfect blend of southern hospitality and modern development. Start off your day by taking a scenic hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with plentiful trails and beautiful surroundings. Visit the Sugarlands Distilling Company (optional), where you can enjoy the varieties of samples they offer. Or choose to visit the Smoky Mountain Brewery and have a quick lunch (optional). Afterwards, stroll through the downtown Village Shops and enjoy the beautiful architecture while doing a little shopping with an abundance of restaurants to choose from.
Day 6: GATLINBURG - LEXINGTON
As you leave Gatlinburg and make your way through Kentucky, you will witness the scenic view of the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, with the Ohio River forming a northern boundary. Begin your morning in the Horse Capital of the World, located in the heart of Kentucky's Bluegrass Region. Embrace the rugged terrain of the Daniel Boone National Forest, named after the fearless legendary American pioneer. Also located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Cumberland Falls is the place to see the majestic 120-foot wide, 67-foot tall waterfall.
Day 7: LEXINGTON – LOUISVILLE
While taking the drive to Louisville, you'll pass by small towns and luscious green fields along the way. As you reach Louisville, don't forget to visit the home of the world's most famous thoroughbred horserace, the Kentucky Derby which takes place at Churchill Downs the first Saturday each May. But don't forget to bring a beautiful hat for the occasion! Recently featured in the movie Sea Biscuit, Churchill Downs is the mecca of American horse racing and home of the Kentucky Derby Museum. Take a short side trip to Bardstown and visit My Old Kentucky Home State Park, the inspiration for Stephen Foster's anthem of the same name which is sung by the crowds every year at the Kentucky Derby. Baseball fans should ensure they fit in a visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum (optional), an interactive museum honoring some of baseball's greats.
Day 8: LOUISVILLE – NASHVILLE
Nashville, "Music City USA", is THE music destination today. Make your way over to the Music City Walk of Fame (optional) honoring the top country performers. It's a multimedia music shrine including movie theatres, costumes, instruments and other artifacts detailing country music's colorful history. May we suggest a visit to the Ryman Auditorium and a night at the Grand Ole Opry?
Day 9: NASHVILLE
Today we suggest a visit to the Opy Mills shopping Center or take a stroll through the Music Valley's Wax Museum of the Stars and witness life-size wax figures of many country music stars. The State Capitol in downtown Nashville gives visitors a taste of Tennessee's history and natural wonders and also serves as a lasting monument to Tennessee's Bicentennial celebration. The various large monuments represent Tennessee's unique history that includes a 200-foot map of Tennessee.
Day 10: NASHVILLE - MEMPHIS DEPARTURE
Depart the capital of country and western music to return to the home of the blues. Upon your return to Memphis be sure to end your tour by dining at one of the most popular places to eat in town, Leonard's BBQ.