Marilyn Foster: Blue grass, horses, whiskey, country music and Dolly Parton

Sometimes we forget all the wonderful travel opportunities we have in our own country, like the spectacular scenery and attractions found in the South and East that are so different from our high desert.

If you like horses, Dolly Parton, Wild Turkey whiskey, the Grand Ole Opry, terrific food, genteel people and so much more, well, here’s a trip for you to consider that will have you flying into Atlanta and out of Nashville and traveling by motorcoach through the Great Smoky Mountains and the very green and scenic horse country of Kentucky. No passport needed!

Mayflowers Tours and Cruises is offering a very special trip not often found in travel brochures. The From Blue Ridges to Blue Grass tour is sure to be a winner showcasing parts of this country a bit off the beaten path but true Americana.

We start this nine-day tour in Atlanta with a tour of the more historical parts of the city. We’ll see the Georgia State Capitol and compare it to our little Capitol. There’s lunch after the tour at the very famous Mary Mac’s Tea Room to enjoy delicious southern cooking. So famous is this iconic restaurant that in March 2011, the Georgia House of Representatives created Resolution 477 in which Mary Mac’s was officially declared to be Atlanta’s Dining Room.

Then, we board our motorcoach to enjoy the scenery of North Carolina as we make our way to overnight in Asheville, North Carolina. But first we’ll have a lunch stop at the Biltmore Estates before we make our way through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Then, it’s two nights in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where we will enjoy a visit to the “world’s largest museum,” the Titanic Museum, showcasing more than 400 artifacts from the doomed ship. We’ll enjoy a dinner and Dolly Parton’s patriotic Stampede Show in Pigeon Forge.

Off to Kentucky we venture for two nights, staying in Lexington, home of the Kentucky Horse Park where we will learn all about horse history and culture. Kentucky is known for its bluegrass and horses.

While in the region, we’ll visit Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, the third largest Shaker community in the nation. A visit to the south is not complete without a paddle wheeler cruise on the Kentucky River followed by some whiskey tasting and touring at the famed Wild Turkey Distillery!

Day 7 finds us on our way to Bardstown, Kentucky to visit My Old Kentucky Home State Park, “where the sun shines bright on my old Kentucky Home.” I remember learning that song as a kid. It’s here you’ll learn the history of Stephen Foster, composer of “My Old Kentucky Home,” in a 200-year-old mansion and even learn how to make biscuits. After filling ourselves with homemade biscuits, off we venture to Opryland Hotel for the final two nights.

The Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel is a major attraction in itself and you’ll be fully aware that you are staying in a true southern-style hotel where the inside looks like an outside. You’ll tour the Country Music Hall of Fame and after a down-home dinner at the Opry Backstage Grill, we’ll enjoy a performance at the “granddaddy of all country music shows,” the Grand Ole Opry, where today’s biggest stars entertain. One never knows who will be performing, and that is part of the fun.

The tour departs on May 4, a beautiful time to be in this region, and includes air from Reno, free parking at the Chamber office, airport transfers, motorcoach sightseeing, eight nights of first-class hotels, 15 meals, a first-class guide, lots of incredible scenery we don’t see in the west and some great traveling companions.

Don’t miss this wonderful tour to round out your Americana journey. Be sure to RSVP by calling 775-882-1565 for the free Chamber Travel Club meeting to learn more about this tour and other great travel offerings on Nov. 13 at the Chamber office beginning at 3 p.m. We look forward to seeing you.


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