This isn’t just a trip, it’s a pilgrimage to a great mecca of music. The birthplace of the gods & goddesses of rock & roll, the blues, jazz and country music. You get to see where they lived, how they honed their craft and who they were, behind all that glamour, glitz and fame. For deep lovers of music this is a sacred journey, or as Elvis would’ve said, a ‘now or never’ kind of holiday.
10 Nights / 11 Days
Memphis, Nashville, Tupelo, Clarksdale, Natchez, Lafayette & New Orleans
When you step out of the Memphis International Airport, look around and take a deep breath. You are at the ‘Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll’ and the ‘Home of the Blues’, it’s a special day. Today, our local representative welcomes you and helps you get checked-in to your hotel. Once you’ve settled in, get yourself to the legendary Beale Street, where W.C. Handy’s statue reminds you that this is where he first penned the Blues music of the Mississippi Delta. Located downtown, it’s a hip neighbourhood with nightclubs and restaurants offering a variety of cuisines and live music including traditional Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, and of course, Rock'n'Roll. Walk around, flit in and out of arty boutiques and shops to pick up souvenirs, memorabilia and other novelties. This popular street also features a musical "Walk of Fame," and Church Park, built by the South's first Black millionaire, Robert Church. Visit A. Schwab's Dry Goods Store at 163 Beale, a mainstay on the street since 1876, Schwab's stocks everything from voodoo potions to 99-cent neckties. Walk down Beale Street to Tom Lee Park and along the banks of the Mississippi River, where you can stroll alongside the riverboats and river barges and catch an awesome sunset. Overnight stay at your hotel in Memphis.
Begin your day by paying homage to Elvis, the King of Rock & Roll, by touring his beloved mansion at Graceland. Imagine being in the same place where the most famous musician in the world hung his hat and made music that mesmerized the world. In addition to Elvis' home, the mansion tour includes the Hall of Gold, Elvis' private office, the Meditation Garden and the Racquetball Court with the dedicated wall of gold and platinum records and the monument gifted by RCA Records proclaiming Elvis as the greatest entertainer and recording artist of all times. After the mansion, tour the ‘The Elvis Presley Car Museum’, Elvis' Airplanes - The Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II, and The Sincerely Elvis Museum filled with personal items and memorabilia. Gift shops abound with Elvis souvenirs, cassettes, videos and special keepsakes. Yes, for Elvis fans, this is what heaven must look like. Next up is the Smithsonian's Rock 'n' Soul Museum. In the quest to identify the roots of American music, all roads lead to Memphis. Learn why Memphis was the epicenter of Rock 'n' Roll and Blues 'n' Soul music. The sounds that came from the fields, alleys, juke joints and choir lofts all collided in Memphis and something new was created: a kind of musical magic that would eventually transform the hearts, attitudes and ways of the world. Next, tour the renowned Sun Studio where Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, Rufus Thomas, Howlin' Wolf, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and many others launched their careers. The studio is open to the public during the day, while still operating as a studio by night. Above the Sun Studio’s Cafe is a new museum/gallery featuring hundreds of rare recordings, memorabilia, photographs, and vintage recording equipment. If you feel like saying a prayer of gratitude, go ahead – for music lovers, this is as sacred as it gets. Overnight stay at your hotel in Memphis.
Depart Memphis this morning for Nashville. You’ll drive through Nutbush, the birthplace of the Queen of Rock, Tina Turner, to Brownsville, Tennessee. Here you can visit the Delta Heritage Center where you can soak in a little bit of Tennessee’s music, culture and beauty. Also located here is the Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove school. This once one-room schoolhouse attended by a young Anna Mae Bullock (aka Tina Turner) is now home to a collection of the great entertainer’s personal memorabilia including costumes and gold records. Explore the museum at your own pace before heading to the home of blues singer Sleepy John Estes for a quick tour. Down the road in Jackson you can also tour the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and visit the Casey Jones Village and Old Country Store. When it comes to music, the South is a treasure trove. Continue on the interstate to Nashville. After checking-in to your hotel quickstep over to the 2nd Ave or Broadway Ave for some outstanding country music. Practice yelling "Yee HA!" and learn how to do some real country dancing' at the Wildhorse Saloon. Overnight stay at your hotel in Nashville.
Located on the west bank of the Cumberland River just a few steps from the historic Ryman Auditorium and the authentic honky-tonks of Lower Broadway, is the sparkling new Country Music Hall of Fame. The history of country music comes alive here, through authentic stage costumes, musical instruments, artworks and fabulous films and photography. In a soundproof 75-seat Songwriter's Theater, songwriters regularly entertain and enlighten museum guests with in-the-round guitar pulls and song swaps, a uniquely Nashville tradition. The Country Music Hall of Fame is a tribute to the country music stars that have gone before and the many yet to come. Next, you'll tour the Ryman Auditorium, the mother church of country music and the 1940's home of the Grand Ole Opry. Spend the remainder of the day, browsing through Opry Mills – with a whooping 200 places to shop, eat and play, this is shoppertainment at its finest. Overnight stay at your hotel in Nashville.
Departing Nashville, you will travel to Tupelo on the historic and scenic Natchez Trace Parkway, an 800-year-old path taken by Indians, outlaws and settlers. In Tupelo, visit Elvis Presley's place of birth. This modest two-room house, where the King of Rock 'n' Roll was born, has been restored and is part of the Elvis Presley Center that also includes the Elvis Presley Museum, Memorial Chapel and Elvis Presley Park. The museum has one of the most unique private collections of Elvis memorabilia in the world. Overnight stay at your hotel in Tupelo.
Today, start the day off with a tour of the great Tupelo Automobile Museum. Witness the progress of automobile design and engineering, as you walk past more than 100 antique, classic and collectible automobiles, chronologically displayed. The collection, valued at over $6 million, includes a rare Tucker, a Duesenberg, a Lincoln previously owned by Elvis Presley and many other celebrity vehicles. Depart Tupelo & en route to Clarksdale stop by the beautiful town of Oxford, home of writers William Faulkner, John Grisham and the University of Mississippi. Continue on west to Clarksdale. From the 1930's through the 1950's Clarksdale was a major blues town. John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner, Little Junior Parker and Sam Cooke were born here. Robert Nighthawk, Bukka White, "Gatemouth" Moore, Eddie Boyd, Son House, and Charley Patton all once lived in the area. Clarksdale became the center of the blues world by virtue of its location, smack in the middle of the Delta, and Delta blues still come from this source. In Clarksdale, don't miss the Delta Blues Museum. Here you can enjoy unique displays, slide/sound programs, videotapes, photographs and recordings about the blues. Nearby on Delta Avenue is the Sunflower River Trading Company store with many unique and unusual items for sale. Stop for lunch or evening drinks at Ground Zero Blues Club, an authentically reproduced blues "juke joint" owned by the famous actor, Morgan Freeman. Stop by Stackhouse Records, a record shop and recording studio for Rooster Blues Records. Visit "The Crossroads", the intersection of Highways 61 and 49, where legend has it that the most famous bluesman of all, Robert Johnson, made a pact with the devil. Bluesmen who knew Johnson were all astounded at how quickly he learned the guitar, and Johnson himself often claimed his extraordinary prowess as a "gift" from the devil. Overnight stay at your hotel in Clarksdale.
From Clarksdale, head south to Vicksburg and visit the hallowed Biedenharn Candy Company, the restored 1890 building where Coca-Cola® was bottled for the very first time. This museum contains a reproduction of the bottling works, Coca-Cola® memorabilia, a 1900 soda fountain, and a restored 1890 candy store. Built by slave labor in 1858, the Old Courthouse Museum is the most historic building in Vicksburg. Standing on one of the highest hills in the city, it dominates the Vicksburg skyline and Vicksburg history. The exhibits have an irresistible "grandma's attic" quality that no history book or movie can match. Continue southward to Port Gibson, which was saved during the Civil War because it was proclaimed too beautiful to burn. Next, head off to the famous river town of Natchez. Tonight, explore Natchez-Under-The-Hill - an historic district of shops, restaurants and riverboat casinos. Overnight stay at Hotel in Natchez.
Before leaving Natchez, tour one of its beautiful antebellum homes, Monmouth Plantation. Then, cross the river & stop by the small town of Ferriday and visit the Delta Music Museum which showcases the lives and works of entertainers Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley, evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, blues trombonist Pee Wee Whittaker, General Claire Chennault and newscaster Howard K. Smith. Overnight stay at your hotel in Lafayette.
This morning you will tour Vermilionville, Louisiana’s Cajun/Creole Heritage & Folklife Park. Vermilionville authentically portrays a way of life preserved with a distinctly French accent. Situated on the banks of the Bayou Vermilion, this Cajun/Creole heritage and folk life park recreates life in the Acadiana area between 1765 and 1890. The beautiful grounds which are laid out as an historic village, contain eighteen structures, including six restored original homes. In most of the structures, costumed interpreters demonstrate traditional crafts or musical styles. After departing Lafayette you’ll pass through the capital city of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, then point your car towards the Big Easy: the wonderful city of New Orleans! Overnight stay at your hotel in New Orleans.
This morning you take a guided walking tour of Vieux Carre, New Orleans’ historic French Quarter. One of the oldest and most extraordinary neighborhoods in the U.S. it is a glorious jumble of shops, hotels, clubs restaurants and residences. Within the French Quarter is the exciting Bourbon Street, referred to as the playground of the South, and Royal Street best known for its upscale art galleries and world-class antique shops. Many of the restaurants in the French Quarter have become global attractions and serve incredibly varied food. Enjoy the special sounds of Jazz, Cajun, and Zydeco in addition to Rock 'n' Roll, Rhythm 'n' Blues and Gospel. This is your last night in the South, live it up. Overnight stay at your hotel in New Orleans.
If you’re feeling blue today, we’ll understand – its time to go home and it can be hard to say goodbye to the South. But take heart, if you have your music with you, Elvis is just a click away. Head to the New Orleans International airport to board your flight back.
Memphis to Nashville (210 miles / 338 kilometers)
Nashville to Tupelo (195 miles / 314 kilometers)
Tupelo to Clarksdale (110 miles / 118 Kilometers)
Clarksdale to Vicksburg to Natchez (216 miles / 348 kilometers)
Natchez to Lafayette (150 miles / 241kilometers)
Lafayette to New Orleans (135 miles / 217 kilometers)
Depart New Orleans
A preview of the wonder that awaits you.
Head – Products, Contracting & Operations
Hello there, I am Sunita. I have over 23 years of experience in Travel and Tourism, spanning across Marketing, Tour Planning and Operations, having worked at major travel brands like SOTC, Kesari Tours, Cox & Kings and Thomas Cook. I also happen to be a multi-country expert personally having traveled to almost every continent on the map. With rich know-how on travel and tourism, I am the best-placed expert you could possibly find in this part of the country. I love traveling and talking about it, making me a good friend, guide and the go-to person if you want to design an outstanding experience. At Awakeful we operate on a philosophy that travel today is not just about covering every possible place on the map or keeping your Instagram popping with images, but about going to places that enthrall you, give you an experience that will touch every sense of yours, engaging with the locals, dining with them, seeing what they love and how they celebrate, to fill you up with an Awakeful experience. This, I promise will bring you back as an enlightened person and not just a tired, home-longing tourist. It’s an honest promise that we want to make and live by. One, that will want you to see places from the lens of an Awakeful Experience. I bring honesty, delight and country expertise to the Awakeful table and it will surely brighten your day. Cheers, Sunita.
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