On this 8-day tour through The South, spend your days your way. More turn-of-the-century architecture or another sweet tea? March in the footsteps of Civil Rights heroes or boogie through rhythm and blues? Harper Lee mysteries or Helen Keller histories? A Kayak on the tributaries or a schooner along the coast? No matter what floats your boat, with complimentary YourChoice excursions, y’all are in for a toe-tapping, lip-smacking, memory-packing ride from New Orleans to Nashville. Why This Tour has all the Fixins: An immersive, cultural experience through the soul of the Old South, from the Magnolia State to Music City. A trip through time with sultry nights, soul-food bites, and historic sites of the legends, leaders, and lesser-known heroes of the South. Included YourChoice Excursions in Biloxi, Montgomery, and Florence.Heavens to Betsy!
Location: Arrive In New Orleans
Welcome to New Orleans! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome drink.
Location: New Orleans–Waveland–Bay St. Louis–Biloxi
NEW ORLEANS City sightseeing with Local Guide this morning, followed by free time for lunch.WAVELAND Visit the Ground Zero Hurricane Museum.BAY ST. LOUIS Free time. BILOXI Free time this afternoon before a regional dinner at a local restaurant.
BILOXI YourChoice Excursions include one of the following activities of your choice:DELVE: Maritime Mississippi QueensExperience an ocean of exhibits at the Maritime & Seafood Museum. Dive deep into the history of shrimping, oystering, recreational fishing, wetlands, marine resource management, charter boats, marine blacksmithing, wooden-boat building, net making, catboats/Biloxi skiff, shrimp-peeling machine and an in-depth collection of historic photographs and artifacts. Relive the traditions of the Mississippi Gulf Coast as you step on board an authentic replica of a Biloxi Schooner for a 2½-hour sailing. These "White Winged Queens" sailed the Coast from the late 1800's to the early 1900's.FLOAT: For the BirdsFollow us into the wild at the gateway to the Pascagoula River -the largest free-flowing river in continental U.S.--with a visit to the Pascagoula River Audubon Center. Through the efforts of The Nature Conservancy, this 70,000-acre wildlife sanctuary is home to a wealth of protected wildlife, including animals and plant life unique to the region, and more than 300 species of migrating birds. Watch for bald eagles, blue herons, pelicans, and the swallow-tailed kite, to name just a few in this beautiful bayou paradise. Your visit includes a 2-hour kayak float trip to spot the magnificent birds that call these waters home.GAZE: Artistic VisionA guided tour of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art celebrates the innovative and creative spirit of its namesake, Mississippi master ceramist George Ohr, aka "The Mad Potter of Biloxi." Predicting the ultimate recognition of his artistic genius, Ohr created innovative ceramic designs from 1883 to 1910, which became central to the artistic heritage of the Gulf South and American Art at large. More than 100 years later, Ohr is considered an early pioneer in the American modernist movement. In a tribute to Ohr's contributions, famed artist/architect Frank Gehry designed an award-winning museum campus of bold, intriguing, and self-contained buildings to offer visitors separate exhibits that together create a unified vision through an expansive brick plaza and majestic Southern live oaks on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Afternoon sightseeing includes a guided tour of Jefferson Davis’ home and presidential library, Beauvoir. Free time this evening.
MONROEVILLE Sightseeing in the hometown of authors Truman Capote and Harper Lee includes the Old Courthouse Museum in the “Literary Capital of Alabama.” Learn how Monroeville served as the inspiration for Lee’s 1961 Pulitzer-Prize-winning “To Kill a Mockingbird,” examining the historical prejudice of the deep South and loosely based on the life of the author’s father—a state legislator and county lawyer who defended two black men accused of murdering a white storekeeper. Free time this afternoon. MONTGOMERY Free time this evening.
MONTGOMERY The capital of Alabama, Montgomery is historic as an important place in the fight for voting rights, with the Alabama State Capitol Building having served as the ending point of the third march for voting rights from Selma. See the sights with a Local Guide this morning, including the State Capitol Building, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, the Civil Rights Memorial, and the Rosa Parks Museum. Take a docent-led tour of the courthouse where Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr. first legalized the desegregation of buses in 1956 and ruled the march from Selma was a legal protest to be allowed in 1965 (based on availability). Next, enjoy true Southern comfort food with lunch at Martha’s Place—born of one woman’s dream to overcome personal adversity and give back to others in her native Montgomery. Feed your soul with authentic, made-from-scratch Southern specialties—from fried chicken to fried green tomatoes, to black-eyed peas and pecan pie. Free time this evening. YourChoice Excursions include one of the following activities of your choice:DELVE: Moving MemorialsGo deeper into the history of the U.S. Civil Rights movement with a visit to two important sites. Visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the first memorial of its kind, which recognizes the thousands of enslaved black Americans who suffered lynching -many of which went unreported or unprosecuted. Gain a deeper historical perspective with a visit to the Legacy Museum, highlighting injustices from slavery to mass incarcerations, located near one of the most notorious slave-auction sites 19th-century America. Be moved by the exhibits reflecting the effects of racial injustice of the past and its impact today. STROLL: Everything Old is New AgainWalk through Old Alabama Town on a guided tour to see history preserved in more than 50 authentically restored and refurnished 19th- and 20th-century homes and structures spanning six blocks in downtown Montgomery. Stroll the nostalgic neighborhood and be transported in time, with interpreters available along your route to shed light on the historic preservation here. Take an inside tour of the block's 1850s centerpiece, the Ordeman-Mitchell-Shaw House, and follow your complimentary map and guide to see the 1895 Adams Chapel School; the 1892 Corner Grocery Store; and the stunning, circa 1850 Ware-Farley-Hood House.CLAP: Lovesick BluesHome to country music legend, Hank Williams, Montgomery is also the home of The Hank Williams Museum. Visit the museum on a guided tour for a glimpse into this country-music legend's life and legacy through the most complete collection of Hank Williams memorabilia. Hear how Williams' classics like "Your Cheatin' Heart," "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and "Hey, Good Lookin" continue to influence musical artists today.
Location: Montgomery–Selma–Birmingham–Florence (Muscle Shoals)
MONTGOMERY Travel the National Historic Trail of 1966 between Montgomery and Selma, which served as the route of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1965 Voting Rights March. SELMA Join your Local Guide to visit the National Voting Rights Museum and the Slavery and Civil War Museums. Also visit the historic Brown Chapel A.M.E Church and walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge—a National Historic Landmark and site of the infamous “Bloody Sunday”—where over 600 non-violent marchers, led by the late Freedom Rider and Congressional Representative John Lewis, were brutally attacked by police while attempting to cross the bridge. BIRMINGHAM Free time this afternoon before continuing to Muscle Shoals. FLORENCE (MUSCLE SHOALS) Free time this evening.
Location: Florence (Muscle Shoals)
FLORENCE (MUSCLE SHOALS) Join in a guided sightseeing tour of Florence—“the gem of the South”—and learn about the “Muscle Shoals Sound” produced here since the 1960s with state-of-the-art recording studios for iconic artists and producers. See the old town and the home of W.C. Handy—the “Father of the Blues.” See the original Muscle Shoals Sound Studios building, and tour the Alabama Music Hall of Fame with a docent. Enjoy free time this afternoon. YourChoice Excursions include one of the following activities of your choice:DELVE: A Miracle in the MakingTake a guided tour of Ivy Green, birthplace of Helen Keller. Where she lived and learned in what would become an incredible story of tenacity and triumph with teacher Anne Sullivan. Born without sight or hearing, Keller overcame her disabilities to become one of the world's most inspirational women. See her living quarters and the well where her first breakthrough began a life of achievement as a baccalaureate, activist, and author. Now a museum, Keller's home at Ivy Green was the setting for her autobiography, "The Story of My Life" -adapted for stage and screen as "The Miracle Worker." CLAP: Laying Down Tracks Tour the Florence Alabama Music Enterprise (FAME) with a guide. See where Rick Hall created a blend of Southern soul music, which became the hailed as The Muscle Shoals Sound." A who's who of musical greats have recorded here -from Etta James to Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, and the Rolling Stones, to name a few. The studio - home to more than 80, "Top 10" records - continues to be in demand by countless musicians today. GAZE: Symmetry in Motion Visit the Rosenbaum House on a guided tour of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The only Wright structure in Alabama, the house offers rare access to the prolific architect's design with free time to explore the grounds and shop for mementos. Farewell dinner this evening featuring live music.
This morning, travel to Nashville International Airport or the Westin Hotel Downtown. Please schedule departing flights after 1pm.
Prices for sole occupancy are available on request
A forward-thinking young Italian named Antonio Mantegazza started it all back in 1928, when he purchased a rowboat to transport visitors across Lake Lugano in Switzerland. Big things come from small beginnings and as Antonio grew his business their sister company Globus was born, and from that came Cosmos in 1961.
Across the decades there were some questionable brochure covers as well as fashion choices, but most of all it was fantastic holidays at great prices. And while they’ve ditched the flares and polo necks, they’re still determined to give you superb holidays at the best prices.
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Cosmos offer a huge selection of tours, from classic, platinum or small group escorted tours, to private groups and single centre tours. Travel with like-minded people and get the best access to the must-see sights, and the local favourites you might have missed. Touring is a great way to see the world: they'll take away the admin and organisation headaches of your holiday, and all you have to do is soak up all the history, culture and experiences.