Smoky Mountains in the Fall

Oct 24-Nov 1, 2020
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smoky mountains


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 get past Knoxville TN for the night. (B, L)


Day 3:  This morning we continue to make our way over the mountains in the hopes of seeing some hardwoods with the fall brilliance on the hillsides. 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. After lunch, take a relaxing drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway with stunning vistas of the fall foliage and close-up views of the rugged mountains. We have a short rest at our hotel in Maggie Valley, NC before boarding vans to take us into Cataloochee Valley in search of elk (unfortunately, we cannot control elk sightings). Our tour guide will give a short history lesson on Cataloochee Valley and find a lovely spot to enjoy a boxed picnic dinner. (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 a rest at the hotel, we head back into the mountains to Cataloochee Ranch which borders Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s the ideal location for extraordinary mountain views of fall colors at 5,000-foot elevation. The Ranch serves us dinner and provides live entertainment. (B, Brunch, D)


Day 5: Today is our morning to tour Smoky Mountain National Park! 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. Before leaving the park, we make a stop at Sugarland’s Visitor Center. Next, we head to Gatlinburg, enjoy free time to dine, shop, and explore the beautiful downtown Gatlinburg. We check into our hotel in downtown Gatlinburg which is home for two nights. 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: This morning a local step-on guide takes us on a Back Roads Tour of the area. Sprinkled along the way we hear amusing stories about the "hollers" and traditions of the mountains and its people of a time long gone but not forgotten. After a late lunch, we return to the hotel to relax before the evening entertainment. Tonight our dinner and show is the Pirate’s Voyage & Dinner Show. The pirate Blackbeard, leads his crew in a battle on land, on deck, in water, and high above full-sized pirate ships in an indoor hideaway lagoon. (B, L, D)


Day 7: Today we drive to Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain. We meet our local step-on guide on 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, there are panoramic views of the tree-top foliage overlooking Chattanooga Valley. Our guide takes us to Point Park, a memorial park overlooking Lookout Mountain Battlefield with several historic tablets, monuments, Confederate artillery positions, and views of the city of Chattanooga. 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. We take a journey down an elevator and through the mountain to find Ruby Falls, a breathtaking waterfall, located over 1,120 feet below the surface of Lookout Mountain. 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, TN. (B, L, D)


Day 8: 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 9: Today it’s homeward bound, with wonderful memories of the Great Smoky Mountains with all its culture and colors.  (B)


Oct 24-Nov 1, 2020

Highlights include: Biltmore Estate, Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Railroad, Smoky Mountain National Park, Lookout Mountain, and more!

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