Sightseeing: In Memphis; orientation tours in Tupelo and Nashville, Stax Museum, Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Sun Studio, Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum, Graceland with traditional lighting ceremony, Johnny Cash Museum, private performance with John Carter Cash, Country Music Hall of Fame, Studio B, reserved premier seating at the Grand Ole Opry, and ICE! Inside visits as shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Local Guide for sightseeing in Memphis; services of a professional Tour Director.
NOTE:This special departure includes all activities on our regular departures plus an included visit to ICE!, a wondrous real winter wonderland. Accommodations in Memphis will be at the Crowne Plaza Memphis Downtown for the first nights and the Elvis Presley Heartbreak Hotel or the Guest House at Graceland for the last night in Memphis.
Welcome to Memphis! Your Tour Director is on hand late this afternoon to answer any questions.
Today you will feel like a part of Memphis as you experience this amazing city on your guided city sightseeing tour. Your expert Local Guide knows Memphis history like no one else—including the inside, “backstage” stories from the folks who were there, as well as those hard-to-find, hidden Elvis sites (his Lauderdale Courts apartment, Humes High School, the Overton Park Shell Theatre where Elvis gave his first paid concert, places where he worked and played, and many others). You’ll hear your favorite Elvis songs, along with entertaining stories about Elvis, his family, and the city he called home. For music lovers, a visit to the STAX MUSEUM of American Soul Music is next. Stax celebrates great Memphis soul music made famous by Otis Redding, Booker T. and the MGs, Aretha Franklin, and others. Then, on to the ROCK ‘N’ SOUL MUSEUM, which traces Memphis’ cultural and musical past. End the day with a visit to SUN STUDIO, probably the most famous recording studio in the world, where rock ‘n’ roll was first recorded. Hear outtakes from sessions, touch Elvis’ first microphone, see memorabilia, and relive the history of the studio that launched the careers of Johnny Cash, BB King, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many other music legends.
Day 3Memphis. Excursion to Tupelo
Today we journey to Tupelo, Mississippi, to visit the ELVIS’ BIRTHPLACE & MUSEUM, a small, 2-room house built by the singer’s father, Vernon Presley. You will also visit the Elvis Presley Museum, featuring “Remembrance of Things Past,” an exhibit displaying memorabilia from Elvis’ childhood. It’s here that you can see, feel, and touch where the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” began his musical journey. Return to Memphis, “Home of the Blues,” where the evening is free for independent activities. You may choose to visit one of the famous clubs on Beale Street, immortalized in WC Handy’s famous songs, or sample some famous Memphis barbecue.
Day 4Memphis. Excursion to Graceland
Today is all about GRACELAND, the beloved home of Elvis Presley. The arrival of winter at Graceland was always a special time of year. On your guided audio tour, see traditional lights and decorations including hundreds of blue lights along the driveway, a life-size Nativity scene, Santa and his sleigh and much more originally displayed by Elvis. The interiors of Graceland mansion will also be decked in Elvis' Christmas décor for the holiday season and will include his traditional red velvet drapes and Presley family Christmas artifacts. This evening, be a part of the annual lighting ceremony at Graceland, stand in awe and join in the count-down as millions of lights are turned on, signaling the start of the Christmas season at Graceland. Past lighting ceremonies have included celebrities, special exhibits and shopping opportunities, an Elvis-Santa, and more. Tonight’s accommodations are at Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel (for early 2016 departures) or the Guest House at Graceland (for late 2016 departures).
Today we head to Nashville—“Music City USA.” Visit the JOHNNY CASH MUSEUM, where you will see never-before seen historical documents, awards, costumes, and instruments. Then settle in for a PRIVATE PERFORMANCE & DISCUSSION with Johnny and June’s only son, John Carter Cash. John Carter will entertain you with his own original music, as well as a few numbers made famous by his legendary family, and he’ll even be available for photographs and autographs afterward. Tonight, see an unforgettable show at the world-famous GRAND OLE OPRY, the world’s premier country music venue since 1925 and the setting for the nation’s longest-running music show.NOTE:In the event that the performance with John Carter Cash is not available, a private performance with John Carter’s son, brother, or granddaughter will be substituted. The Cash family will share their memories and perform the songs of Johnny Cash. All performances are subject to availability.
Nashville is the ideal destination for music fans, history buffs, and lovers of the South. Start your day with a visit to STUDIO B, Nashville’s oldest surviving recording studio and one of the country’s most important. Between 1957 and 1977, more than 35,000 songs were recorded here, including 262 Elvis Presley recordings. Studio B is a “must-see” for any music fan, but especially for those who love Elvis. Afterward, enjoy an orientation tour of the city, passing by famous Music Row recording studios, the center of the recording industry, which first developed in the 1950s. Get behind the scenes of the music industry by visiting the COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME with its glittering costumes, rare instruments, and Elvis Presley’s “solid-gold” Cadillac. Afterwards we experience the spectacular ICE exhibition. Held in the Gaslight Theatre located at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, ICE is enclosed in a 20,000 square-foot refrigerated theatre. This fabulous winter wonderland is carved out of 1.5 million pounds of ice by Chinese artisans from Harbin, and features interactive displays and three-dimensional, larger than life sculptures in a rainbow of colors, some weighing more than two tons!
Today is at leisure to explore more of this vibrant city. You may choose to visit the historic Ryman Auditorium, restored home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-1974. Perhaps visit the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, where you’ll have an opportunity to view the fully restored mansion, walk through the gardens, and see the tomb of the late president.
The trip ends today with guests departing on individual schedules. Transfers to Nashville International Airport are included. You can extend your vacation with extra nights and explore “Music City USA” further with a variety of exciting optional activities.
Transportation:Private, deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach while touring.
This Cosmos travel package does not include meals. Most of our hotels offer anything from coffee to a full breakfast, so you can start the day the way you like best. At most lunch stops, your Tour Director will have information on local restaurants. Dinnertime is your chance to sample local cuisine. Sometimes your Tour Director will offer an optional dinner outing.