Bluegrass and Blue Ridges: Louisville to Nashville

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  • Itinerary
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  • Tauck

Celebrate the history, cultural heritage and natural beauty found in three of the most popular states in the Appalachian Mountains... and discover the natural wonders of the Great Smoky Mountains... on an intriguing journey crafted with filmmakers Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan. Tauck Exclusives and highlights include... original film content produced exclusively for Tauck by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns exploring the development of Bluegrass, Country and Appalachian musical forms, as well as the history of westward expansion and American Indian perspectives... exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America's most visited national park... standing at the Cumberland Gap, gateway to the west... a Starting Gate Suites tour of Churchill Downs with a professional jockey... meeting a Nashville songwriter at the Country Music Hall of Fame... private presentation on Appalachian music and instrument craftmanship... a country music performance at the Grand Ole Opry or Ryman Auditorium... and much more, including a special highlight – a "Bluegrass" dinner event at a mansion in Lexington, Kentucky, featuring a live Bluegrass band. Kentucky... enjoy an insider tour of Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby... visit the homestead that inspired Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home”... learn the secrets of bourbon at a visit to a bourbon distillery... North Carolina...explore the Biltmore Estate, a palatial manor house built by George Vanderbilt in 1895... spend two nights in Asheville, one of America's top culinary destinations... trace the roots of Appalachian music at the Folk Art Center... visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee... Tennessee... visit The Hermitage, the plantation home of President Andrew Jackson... tour the Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville... and more. 

Highlights
  • Private national park insider presentation at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
  • TAUCK EXCLUSIVE – Filmed narratives exclusively produced for Tauck by filmmakers Ken Burns & Dayton Duncan feature new insights based on themes from their films, from national parks to country music
  • Tour Louisville’s famous Churchill Downs with a professional jockey who shares insider stories of the Kentucky Derby and the iconic racetrack
  • Attend an exclusive “Bluegrass” event evening featuring dinner with a live band in Lexington, Kentucky – discover the pleasures of Bluegrass music
Destinations
  • Louisville
  • Kentucky
  • USA
  • Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  • Lexington, Kentucky, USA
  • Asheville, North Carolina, USA
  • Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  • North America
Tour Types
  • Luxury
  • Cultural

Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA

<strong>Tour begins: 5:00 PM, The Brown Hotel.</strong> A transfer is included from Louisville International Airport to The Brown Hotel, a landmark in the heart of downtown Louisville near the theatre district. Since 1923, this gracious hotel has entertained celebrities and dignitaries with its opulence, charm, and impeccable Southern hospitality, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Please join us at the hotel this evening for a welcome reception and dinner.

Accommodation Name: The Brown Hotel

Meals: Dinner

Location: Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Your travels through Kentucky continue today with a short drive to Bardstown and another iconic landmark, Federal Hill. The Georgian-style house was built in 1795 by Judge John Rowan and is known as the inspiration for Stephen Foster&rsquo;s <em>My Old Kentucky Home</em>; tour the impeccably preserved mansion and formal gardens.&nbsp;Following lunch, make a visit to a famed distillery for a guided tour that's accompanied by a tasting of their delicious product. Tonight, dinner is at your leisure in Louisville.

Accommodation Name: The Brown Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Location: Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Begin the day with a visit to Churchill Downs, the legendary thoroughbred racetrack that has hosted The Kentucky Derby since 1875. Your visit includes a Tauck Exclusive tour with a professional jockey who&rsquo;ll share insider views of the track&rsquo;s history and daily operation while the horses take their morning exercise. On the racetrack grounds, you&rsquo;ll also visit The Kentucky Derby Museum for insights into the race&rsquo;s celebrated history, and what goes into the breeding and training of a thoroughbred champion.&nbsp;Following lunch, delve deeper into equine culture at The Kentucky Horse Park, a working horse farm and theme park showcasing breeds from around the world. Return to your hotel for a special, private &ldquo;Bluegrass&rdquo; evening, including a banquet dinner and a live band.

Accommodation Name: Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Location: Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Travel off the beaten pathway to the Cumberland Gap, a break in the Appalachian Mountains that provided a gateway to the west for migrating buffalo herds, American Indian tribes, and restless pioneers &ndash; including Daniel Boone, who blazed a trail known as the Wilderness Road here in 1775. And today you will join that long list of &ldquo;travelers&rdquo; when you behold the naturally formed gateway. Explore its rich history and cultural currents at a private presentation at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park visitors&rsquo; center. Continue to Asheville, North Carolina, where your accommodation is both historic and gracious, exemplifying the best of Southern hospitality at The Inn at Biltmore Estate. Dine at your leisure tonight at the Inn.

Accommodation Name: Inn on Biltmore Estate

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Location: Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Back in 1895 George Vanderbilt II, grandson of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, decided to build himself &ldquo;a little mountain escape&rdquo; in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The result was the Biltmore Estate, a fabulous 250-room French ch&acirc;teau for which he employed architect Richard Morris Hunt for the castle design and Frederick Law Olmsted (the designer of Central Park) to lay out the woodlands and formal gardens. You&rsquo;ll have an opportunity to learn more about this magnificent estate on tours of both the estate grounds and through the mansion itself. See Antler Hill Village, a town built to house the employees who worked on the estate and tended its crops and livestock. After lunch on the estate, you'll visit the Folk Art Center for a private presentation on Appalachian music. Return to Asheville where the remainder of the day is free to spend as you please.&nbsp;Asheville has emerged as one of America&rsquo;s top culinary destinations &ndash; a &ldquo;foodie haven&rdquo; with many new twists on traditional southern cuisine. In addition to being ranked #12 on the recent &ldquo;Top 100 Best Places to Live in America,&rdquo; its restaurants and chefs have won top accolades in numerous polls.

Accommodation Name: Inn on Biltmore Estate

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning, you'll have an opportunity to visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian for a private talk before exploring the comprehensive archival collections of artifacts at your leisure. Following Today you&rsquo;ll experience one of the most beautiful, and one of the oldest, places on Earth &ndash; Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the US. Historically, it is known as a place of refuge; the fascinating story of its creation includes the heroic efforts of Horace Kephart, George Masa and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Ecologically, it is one of the world&rsquo;s best examples of a deciduous hardwood forest &ndash; a UNESCO World Heritage Site with one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, it is dedicated as an international biosphere reserve. Scenically, the grandeur and beauty of the Southern Appalachians is at its very core &ndash; from mist-shrouded &ldquo;smoky&rdquo; mountains with their wide range of elevations to fresh streams and miles of forests; it is the very definition of the word &ldquo;vista.&rdquo; In Cherokee, North Carolina, explore 19th-century wilderness settlement life at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitors&rsquo; center. Arrive in Knoxville late afternoon.

Accommodation Name: Hilton Knoxville Downtown

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Travel today to what has emerged as the music capital of America... Nashville, Tennessee. First up is a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame, where you&rsquo;ll truly get a behind-the-scenes look at the industry during a private Nashville songwriter session.&nbsp;Enjoy time on your own to explore the museum, then head to the Ryman Auditorium for a private front-of-house and backstage tour. The venerable hall is best known as the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, from 1943 to 1974, having hosted the biggest country stars of its day. Your downtown hotel is a palatial Beaux-Arts landmark built in 1910; dine as you wish this evening.

Accommodation Name: The Hermitage Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Visit The Hermitage, the plantation home of Andrew Jackson, military hero, populist, and 7th President of the United States. Dayton Duncan notes that you can understand Andrew Jackson by his own words &ndash; &ldquo;I was born for a storm. And a calm does not suit me.&rdquo; Jackson (&ldquo;Old Hickory&rdquo;) lived here until his death in 1845 and his brick mansion is considered the most accurately preserved presidential home in the US, with restored d&eacute;cor and original furnishings. <span style="font-size: 1rem; font-family: reader-regular;">Drive along Music Row to your hotel; enjoy some free time to explore Nashville as you please before an early farewell reception and dinner. Join us this evening for a performance of country music at the inimitable Grand Ole Opry (schedule permitting; if an Opry performance is not available on day 8, we may attend a performance on day 7, or a performance at the Opry's original home, the Ryman Auditorium).</span>

Accommodation Name: The Hermitage Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA

<strong>Tour ends: Nashville.</strong> Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from The Hermitage Hotel to Nashville International Airport. Allow a minimum of two hours for flight check-in.

Meals: Breakfast

  • TAUCK EXCLUSIVE – Filmed narratives exclusively produced for Tauck by filmmakers Ken Burns & Dayton Duncan feature new insights based on themes from their films, from national parks to country music
  • Tour Louisville’s famous Churchill Downs with a professional jockey who shares insider stories of the Kentucky Derby and the iconic racetrack
  • Attend an exclusive “Bluegrass” event evening featuring dinner with a live band in Lexington, Kentucky – discover the pleasures of Bluegrass music
  • Private national park insider presentation at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
5* Bluegrass & Blue Ridges
We had a wonderful trip. Our tour director was so knowledgeable, interesting, and entertaining which made our experience with Tauck even more enjoyable. From our airport pickup to our last night in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry to were "happy campers"!! And our bus driver was excellent too. We had many memorable moments. We liked our visit to Churchill Downs and the talk by a retired jockey was very interesting. The Buffalo Trace Distillery was amazing and educational too. And everyone seemed to enjoy the tasting. Nashville was fun. We loved the country-western singer that performed for us. The Grand Ole Opry was one of our faves.
Added By:
Date: 09-Oct-2017

4* Great Bluegrass & Blue Ridges
Loved this trip but could have used another day in Louisville, another day in Ashland, North Carolina and another day in Nashville, Tennessee. Liked Bluegrass entertainment in Ashland and loved going to the Grand Ole' Opry! Dinner & lunch was fantastic. Attending the Gran Ole' Opry concert.
Added By:
Date: 12-Oct-2017

5* Excellent Tour
Good hotels, good food, good tour guide and good driver. Itinerary was excellent. Country Music events. Private performance by Richard Leigh. Biltmore Mansion was excellent as were the Country Music museum/Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry. Buffalo trace bourbon tour was weak. The local guide talked about a premium brand we didn't taste and talked too much about silly commemorative horse bottle caps. Pick a better distillery.
Added By:
Date: 09-Oct-2018

2* Bluegrass and Blue Ridges: Louisville to Nashville
Excited to be going on this new tour.Traveled with Tauck before & they have always exceeded expectations! Issues primarily regarding meals & hotels.Blue Grass Dinner,forgot our table. Marriott claimed no entree ordered for us.Hermitage-Bft. 70 min wait, Hilton dinner 60 min wait burnt +15 min for potato.Suggested Solution "put it in your review". Grand Ole Oprey, Blue Grass Musicians, Kentucky Derby Museum,Country Music Hall of Fame and Lunch with Song Writer. Biltmore Inn and Estate.
Added By:
Date: 28-Jun-2016

4* Almost there!
Rushed in places but a great experience. Would like more time in Louisville disappointed in the Cumberland Gap- expected to see something more than visitors center. The Cherokee Museum also disappointing. The guide waste time on minutiae and didn't touch on Trail of Tears. What happened to the backstage tour of Ryman? Only saw front of house Blue Grass performance at Griffin Gate Mansion, Churchill Downs visit and jockey presentation, enjoyed Buffalo Trace visit, Biltmore tours, Ryman, Grand Ole Opry Performance, everything about Nashville. Excellent Meals Brown, Biltmore, Hermitage were excellent accommodations. Meals were also excellent. Great group of fellow travelers.
Added By:
Date: 31-May-2018

5* Much more to see than expected
As always, Tauck delivers. I got a really good idea of what this part of the country is like. We met with a song writer, had live music just for our group, saw historic sites and homes, had time to walk around on our own, and we had great accommodations and meals. Live Blue Grass music for our group and the lunch meeting with song writer Richard Leigh.
Added By:
Date: 09-Oct-2018

5* Our Southern Adventure
This was our first trip with Tauck. Some friends of ours had previously taken this trip and raved about it. We therefore decided to give it a try. It was such a phenomenal trip. All we had to do was show up at the bus at the specified time. Everything was arranged for us. We saw so many things that we as individuals would not have seen. There were so many things we loved and felt were memorable. But, what really stood out for us was visiting the Biltmore Estate and staying at the Biltmore Inn. We saw so much of the house and were in awe of the beauty that prevailed throughout. The furnishing were magnificent, as well as the architecure of the structure, and landscaping.
Added By:
Date: 22-Sep-2017

4* Blue Grass and Blue Ridge
Loved the trip. Planning next year's trip already with Tauck. Fabulous tour guide and bus driver. Excellent music. Many memorable dinners and two GREAT hotels. Tauck needs to build into the tour some independent time as this trip is tightly structured. And the hotel in Knoxville needs to be changed. A very interesting part of our country. The music we heard was excellent. A blue grass group entertained us pre-and post dinner, the General Jackson showboat revue, Richard Lee at the Country Music Hall of Fame and, finally, The Grand Ole Opry. I'm not a country music fan, but every show was terrific. And, now I know I like Bourbon and Ginger Ale!
Added By:
Date: 01-Jul-2017

4* Bluegrass & Blue Ridges Enjoyable
Great way to view the region; KY, NC & TN. Tour director was professional & knowledgeable. Driver competent & personable. Enjoyed the other guests on the tour, and seeing the various sites along the way. It’s a good tour. Various highlights that would include Churchill Downs, Biltmore, & Nashville. The beauty of the region’s landscape itself was memorable.
Added By:
Date: 11-Jun-2018

4* An interesting and enjoyable tour
Itinerary was well constructed with interesting stops and excellent local guides - the exception was the Cherokee Museum where the agenda needs to be reviewed - including lunch arrangements. Hotels were quite good but not exceptional and the meals, generally, were satisfactory. Entertainment programmes and musical events were very good. Performance by Bluegrass Group and the Songwriter lunch.
Added By:
Date: 14-Jun-2017

5* Bluegrass & Blue Ridges
I just returned from my trip of the Bluegrass & Blue Ridges. I am in awe of all I experienced. I like guided tours...I realize this isn't for everyone but for me Tauck is the only way to travel in this fashion. I experienced, viewed and learned more than I thought I would. I highly recommend Tauck and this particular trip. I can't pick just one. I was overwhelmed by the beauty and grander of the entire areas we visited.
Added By:
Date: 18-Oct-2016

4* A Great Choice
After 3 trips to western national parks, we wanted to learn about this area of the country. Came home with our hearts full of music and memories of the beautiful mountains. The scenery was not as jaw-dropping as that of the west, but we were immersed in all that is special about these states. Luncheon entertainment by country song writer, Richard Leigh. Blue grass performance by No Tools Loaned. Meeting retired jockey at Churchill Downs. Attending the Grand Ole Opry.
Added By:
Date: 21-Sep-2018

5* Bluegrass & Blue Ridges
The best part of this trip was the variety of experiences and places to visit. In Kentucky we learned about horses and bourbon. In North Carolina the highlight was the Biltmore Estate. In Tennessee it was all the Nashville music. And in between there were many other awesome sights. We received the royal treatment at the hotels! Seeing the Biltmore Estate
Added By:
Date: 01-Jul-2017

4* Loved that bourbon.
We were fascinated with the lovely countryside of Kentucky and the many horse rearing farms. We enjoyed the Blue Grass music, the Grand Ole Opry and the beautiful Biltmore Estate. The Smoky Mountains really are smoky and I've never seen so many trees. Having lunch on a Cherokee reservation was interesting. Listening to a retired jockey tell us about his career and visiting Churchill Downs.
Added By:
Date: 07-Jul-2016

4* Loving the South
This tour is for anyone who loves history, horses, music, gracious hotels and beautiful scenery. The poet Christine Lassiter said it best: "I go home to North Carolina, wet with mist of trees breathing life, each mountain singing into the next, green ridges rolling into blue, softer, then softer then silent." Add a fun group - that's Tauck! Most memorable are the Tauck specialties - unique offerings like discussions with a jockey at Churchill Downs and conversations and music with a songwriter/singer in Nashville.
Added By:
Date: 09-Oct-2016

5* Great Trip
It was a total experience. Each event was well coordinated. This was a first-time visit for me to this part of the country. I appreciated learning about the history, its people and culture. The choice of hotels was outstanding. Many thanks to Ken Burns and to Tauck. Cherokee Museum, Vanderbuilt Estate, Churchill Downs, Horse Farm, Nashville country music and the beautiful Smokies.
Added By:
Date: 21-Jun-2017

4* BlueGrass/BlueRidges: Louisville to Nashville June 2017
We went with another couple and none of us were sure at the time we booked this tour we were going to enjoy it as much as we did! So much to see and do. Would never see any of these sites or do any of these events if we had gone on this trip ourselves. Not having to drive and having a knowledgeable Tauck director adds the final touch. Churchill Downs! - Biltmore Estate - Richard Leigh - Country Music Grammy Award Winner! Great Smoky Mountains & Cherokee Indian Museum - Fantastic Scenery! President (General) Andrew Jackson's Home - General Jackson's Showboat - Entertainment! Grand Ole Opry! Accommodations at The Heritage Hotel! Downtown Nashville! Loved it all!!!
Added By:
Date: 07-Jul-2017

5* Tauck Does It Again
My friend and I have taken 18 Tauck trips and were a little dubious about the Bluegrass and Blue Ridge tour since it seemed we would be doing a lot in a short period of time. However, as usual, Tauck did not disappoint. We had a wonderful tour guide and a spectacular bus driver. Every place we visited was perfect. Recommend it!!!! It is hard to pinpoint one venue. Churchill Downs, The Shaker visit, Museum of the Cherokees, naturally the Biltmore Estate and, last, but not least, wonderful Nashville. All the activities in Nashville were the best. Opryland fantastic. All hotels on the trip were great. However, the Hermitage was the winner.
Added By:
Date: 11-Sep-2017

4* Spirited Trip
I gave this trip four stars only because it is not a visually WOW! trip. We learned a lot about horse racing (and I loved seeing Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Horse Park), bourbon (at the Buffalo Trace distillery), country music, and the beautiful area covered by this tour. It was great fun to be in this part of the US. Great Experience! Each day had memorable moments: Eating at the Brown Hotel, Churchill Downs, Kentucky Horse Park, Great Smokey Mountains, Grand Old Opry, the fabulous Biltmore Estate, the after dinner entertainment at the Gateway Marriott (Bluegrass Band). Great guide: She knew so much about the area and she made us all feel welcome to her "home" area.
Added By:
Date: 18-Jun-2018

4* Bluegrass and Blue Ridges
This was an excellent tour.Very ambitious - but very interesting and informative. We stayed an extra day in Nashville which allowed us to visit the Johnny Cash Museum. You may want to include this in future tours. Overall we would highly recommend this tour. The evening at the Grand Ole Opry was the highlight of the tour.
Added By:
Date: 13-Sep-2016

4* bluegrass and Blue Ridges
All aspects of the trip, housing, luggage handling, transportation well handled. Some very capable docents in most historic sites. Not as much about the Civil War as I expected. Bus got a bit tedious a couple of days. Visit to Andrew Jackon's Hermitage.
Added By:
Date: 31-May-2018

5* Horse Country
Traveling by motor coach through Kentucky, Tennessee and a corner of North Carolina excited my imagination about race horses, Shakers, composers, musicians, builders and all those pioneers who passed through Cumberland Gap and helped develop and tame our country. This trip was a history lesson learned at the source. Listening to Phil Jamison talk about southern Appalachian dance music and play its tunes on his fiddle was a priceless moment at the Folklife Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Ashville, North Carolina.
Added By:
Date: 12-May-2017

4* Louisville to Nashville
The trip was well set up. Our thoughts were that we could have spent more time at Churchill Downs and seen the paddock or grandstands if possible . Also at the Cumberland Gap it would have been nice to go to Pinacle Pt to see some landforms. The Biltmore and Nashville were great. It is a great part of the country to see We just love the Grand Ole Opry.
Added By:
Date: 29-May-2017

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

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24-Sep-2021
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05-Oct-2021
8 Nights
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08-Oct-2021
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tour details

This tour is operated by Tauck

8 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Start: Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Finish: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Suitable for: 0-99
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