Smoky Mountains in the Fall
October 23-30, 2021
Explore the beautiful Smoky Mountains during their full Autumn splendor! Visit the Biltmore Estate, Cataloochee Valley, the Great Smoky Railroad, Gatlinburg, and more.
Day 1: Enjoy getting acquainted with your fellow travelers today. Relax as we make our way across Kansas and Missouri and stay near Mt Vernon, IL.
Day 2: This morning, we continue east and south across Illinois, enjoying the beautiful terrain and possibly some fall colors as we make our way into Kentucky and Tennessee. Lunch is included along the route as we reach Knoxville TN for the night. (B, L)
Day 3: This morning we continue to make our way over the mountains in hopes of seeing hardwood trees full of fall brilliance. Our first stop is at the beautiful Biltmore Estate. Beginning in 1890, it took an army of stonecutters and artisans five years to construct the Biltmore House. When finished, it was the largest private home in America. This 255 room mansion still stands in the remote majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This afternoon we take a relaxing drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway with stunning vistas of the fall foliage and close-up views of the rugged mountains. Our hotel this evening is in Maggie Valley, NC. (B, D)
Day 4: This morning our adventure begins on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. After boarding our 1st class coach, enjoy a relaxing brunch during our Tuckasegee River Excursion ride through the quiet countryside on our way to the historic town of Dillsboro. There is time to shop, snack, and visit the many unique shops before returning to Bryson City. After a short drive, we arrive in Cherokee, visiting the Oconaluftee Indian Village living history center. Be taken back to the 1750s and learn more about the Cherokee ways. After checking into our Gatlinburg hotel for 2 nights, we are in for a treat. Local musical storytellers will join our private group for a lively evening of fun. (B, Brunch, D)
Day 5: Today is our morning to tour Smoky Mountain National Park! Our first stop is at Sugarland’s Visitor Center to watch a film about how this park came to be. Then we travel, with our local step-on guide through majestic Appalachian Highlands with unspoiled forests, similar to those the early pioneers found. We see beautiful mountain overlooks and stop at Newfound Gap where Roosevelt dedicated the National Park. Next, we head back to Gatlinburg to enjoy free time to dine, shop, and explore the beautiful downtown area. Later we are in for some Feudin’ Feastin’ Fun at The Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show! Become part of the longest-running feud in history and help the Hatfields and McCoys try to settle their differences mountain-style. (B, D)
Day 6: Today we drive to Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain. We meet our local step-on guide for our first adventure. The Incline’s trolley-style cars climb the historic Lookout Mountain at a breathtaking 72.7% grade – straight up! At the top, enjoy panoramic views of the tree-top foliage overlooking Chattanooga Valley. Next, Rock City is a true marvel of nature featuring massive ancient rock formations, gardens with over 400 native plant species, and breathtaking "See 7 States" panoramic views. Take an unforgettable journey along the Enchanted Trail where each step reveals natural beauty and wonders along the woodland path. Lunch is included at Rock City. Our guide takes us to Point Park, a memorial park overlooking the battlefield with several historic tablets, monuments, Confederate artillery positions, and views of the city of Chattanooga. Next, we journey down an elevator and through the mountain to find Ruby Falls, a breathtaking waterfall, located over 1,120 feet below the surface. Tonight, the Southern Belle Riverboat shows us the beauty of the Tennessee River and gives us a different perspective of the city of Chattanooga with views of Lookout Mountain. After a full day, we check into our hotel in Chattanooga. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Today we make our way north and west through Tennessee. After lunch, we stop to see the beautiful Flood Wall Murals in Paducah, KY. What was built as a functional floodwall has become a well-known attraction depicting the history of Paducah. We continue to the west side of St. Louis for our last overnight. (B, L)
Day 8: Today it’s homeward bound, with wonderful memories of the Great Smoky Mountains with all its culture and colors. (B)