The Sumptuous Soul of America - Insight Vacations

The Sumptuous Soul of America (Luxury Gold - Summer 2017)

Duration: 14 days Visiting: United States

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  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
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Tow of life's greatest pleasures – music and food – are at the forefront on this sensual journey through the American heartland. Start in Chicago, a great food city, also known for its jazz and blues. Move south to the musical meccas of Nashville and Memphis. Then head down through the Mississippi Delta and on to zesty New Orleans. Meet Elvis' close friend for a private tour of Graceland with personal insights into the 'King', before sitting down to a private dinner in the grounds.

Join a private New Orleans cooking class to discover Louisiana's distinctive creole cuisine and culinary heritage. The luxury Brown Hotel in Louisville is beloved by generations of guests for its Georgian-Revival elegance and timeless Southern charm. With mainly two-night stops, kick back, relax and enjoy this fascinating journey through the heart of a nation's musical and culinary heritage.

  1. Day 1

    Chicago, the Jewel of the Midwest

    Welcome to Chicago. Upon arrival at Chicago International Airport, you will be met and taken to your exclusive retreat high above the Magnificent Mile. At 18:00, join your Travelling Concierge for a Welcome Reception with drinks and a light meal.

  2. Day 2 - Relaxed Start

    Scaling Chicago

    (Relaxed Start) Start your discovery with one of the Windy City's greatest highs, the 360 Chicago Observation Deck where you get to see what many call Chicago's best view. Complete with interactive telescopes, this 1,000 foot (300 metre) high vantage point is an experience you'll never forget. Continue your exploration during a 90-minute architectural river cruise and discover how the Great Fire of 1871 paved the way for the birth of the skyscraper. Enjoy a Highlight Dinner at Gibson's Bar and Steakhouse, a classic Chicago style chophouse.

  3. Day 3

    St. Louis, the Gateway to the West

    Continue along to St. Louis. This vibrant city played host to the 1904 World's Fair and the Olympics in the same year and were both held at St. Louis' prestigious Washington University. Check into your luxurious downtown hotel.

  4. Day 4

    St Louis Arch to Louisville

    Get a bird's-eye view of the city with a visit to the top of the famed St. Louis Gateway Arch standing 630 feet (190 metres) tall. Then, head east through the Hoosier National Forest to Louisville. In the evening, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

  5. Day 5

    Spirited Residents and Resident Spirits of Louisville

    Continue your immersion into Louisville culture with an up-close look at some of Kentucky's most spirited residents during a visit to a thoroughbred farm. Enjoy a guided tour of the grounds where you will learn the science of breeding champion racers and meet some of the prize horses. Visit a bourbon distillery and discover the secrets and details involved in the making of the South's signature spirit before indulging in a sampling. The evening is yours to enjoy.

  6. Day 6

    A Corvette on the Honky-Tonk Highway to Nashville

    The fun continues with a guided historic walking tour of Churchill Downs to learn about the history of the Kentucky Derby, followed by a visit to the Kentucky Derby Museum. Browse through over 20,000 collectible items and artefacts. Get a closer look during a private 'Inside the Vault' tour and spend some time gaining an insider perspective during a private visit with Charles Woods Jr., a retired Kentucky Derby jockey. Then, discover the history behind one of America's favourite sports cars at the National Corvette Museum. Explore the rows of display vehicles including vintage models and contemporary styles before having lunch at the Corvette Cafe. Arrive in Nashville and settle into your hotel.

  7. Day 7

    Enjoy Nashville’s Musical History

    Enjoy a tour of historic Studio B and work with a professional sound engineer in a 30-minute, choir-style recording session. Take home your own copy of the recording as a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Then visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, full of memorabilia from stars such as Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn and Garth Brooks. Your Local Expert, a songwriter and singer will tell you the stories behind the biggest hits sung by well-known country music starts. No trip to Nashville would be complete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry. Attend a live taping of America's longest-running live radio program.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Memphis and the Birthplace of the Blues

    (Relaxed Start) Travel from the home of country music to the birthplace of blues and rock 'n' roll. Your day is at leisure to explore museums, shops or try some Memphis barbecue.

  9. Day 9 - Relaxed Start

    Graceland, Home of 'The King'

    (Relaxed Start) Spend your morning at leisure. Then travel to Sun Studios, where artists like Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash recorded revolutionary albums. The evening is devoted to Graceland, as much an object of pilgrimage as a museum dedicated to the late, great, Elvis Presley. From the flowers and painted signs outside the gates, to the tear-streaked cheeks of fans inside, see the effect that Elvis and his music had on popular American culture. Spend your evening with George Klein, Elvis' close friend. Then enjoy a private Highlight Dinner on Graceland's grounds.

  10. Day 10

    Mississippi Mystique in Natchez

    Depart for Natchez, founded by the French in 1716 when it became home to a flowering colonial culture. Check into your charming, luxury country mansion hotel. Whet your palate before dinner during a mixology class to learn the 'science' behind the signature drink of the South, the mint julep. Then enjoy a delectable four-course Highlight Dinner in the stunning main house.

  11. Day 11

    Frogmore, Houmas House and New Orleans

    Stop at Frogmore Plantation and journey back to a time when cotton was king. With your costumed hosts, tour a reconstructed 19th century plantation and compare it to the modern day operation that produces more than 900 bales of cotton each day. Get a glimpse into the sweet side of the South with a visit to Houmas House Plantation. Once the largest producer of sugar in the country, the mansion was often referred to as 'The Sugar Palace' during its antebellum heyday. In the evening, visit the New Orleans School of Cooking. Discover the flair of Creole cuisine during a lively cooking demonstration and enjoy the culinary creations with a special Highlight Dinner.

  12. Day 12

    New Orleans Sightseeing

    Join a Local Expert for an atmospheric tour of the city. Wind your way through one of the above-ground final resting place of pirates, politicians and voodoo queens. Explore the French Quarter, Louis Armstrong Park and Jackson Square where you see the city's colonial heritage and cultured history.

  13. Day 13 - Relaxed Start

    Exploring New Orleans, the Big Easy

    (Relaxed Start) Start the day up-close and personal with the rural side of the Cresent City, as you board a boat for a tour to meet the resident alligators and other flora and fauna. Enjoy some free time before gathering with your new friends and toasting to lifelong memories during a Celebration Dinner at the famous New Orleans restaurant Arnaud's.

  14. Day 14

    Depart New Orleans

    Bid 'Au Revoir' to the Big Easy in the morning. A complimentary transfer is provided to New Orleans International Airport or choose to extend your stay in New Orleans.

Highlights

 

EXCLUSIVE INSIGHTS

  • Chicago: Experience the greatest highs and the best views of the city from the observatory atop 360 Chicago.
  • Chicago: Its love affair with state-of-the-art high-rise means its history is written across the sky and there is no better vantage point than from the deck of an architectural cruise.
  • St. Louis: Get a bird's-eye view of the city from atop the famed St. Louis Gateway Arch.

  • Louisville: Visit a premier thoroughbred farms and enjoy a private guided tour of the stables.
  • Louisville: Visit Churchill Downs, home of the 'Kentucky Derby', explore the Museum and take a private 'Inside the Vault' tour. Meet Charles Woods Jr., a retired Kentucky Derby jockey.
  • Bowling Green: The Corvette is America on wheels. The National Corvette Museum pays homage to this most famous sports car.
  • Nashville: Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and get a behind the scenes look at the songwriting process.
  • Nashville: Join the ranks of superstar musicians like Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson and record a song at legendary Studio B, take home the recording as a truly unique souvenir.
  • Nashville: Attend a live taping of the Grand Ole Opry, America's longest-running live radio program.
  • Memphis: Visit Sun Studios, where famous music icons like Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis and Johnny Cash recorded revolutionary albums.
  • Natchez: At Frogmore Plantation, contrast early 19th century cotton plantation life with the modern processes of today.
  • New Orleans: Join a Local Expert through the French Quarter, Louis Armstrong Park and Jackson Square.
  • New Orleans: Journey through beautiful marshlands and swamps in search of alligators, turtles, snakes and herons.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

  • New Orleans: Join a Local Expert to tour one of the city's mysterious above ground cemeteries. See the Southern mansions of the Garden District.

EPICUREAN DINING

  • Louisville: Enjoy a tour of a local distillery, concluding with a complimentary shot of bourbon.
  • Chicago: Experience a Highlight Dinner at a classic Chicago chophouse at Gibson's Bar and Steakhouse.
  • Memphis: Enjoy a private after-hours tour of Graceland with Elvis' close friend, George Klein, before a private Highlight Dinner inside Elvis' car museum.
  • Natchez: Learn to make the signature drink of the South, the Mint Julep. Before dining on an elegant, four-course Southern dinner served in the beautifully appointed dining room at Monmouth Plantation.
  • New Orleans: Discover the flair of Creole cuisine during a cooking class and special Highlight Dinner.
  • New Orleans: Join your Travelling Concierge for a grand finalé Celebration Dinner with a lively jazz trio at 'Arnaud's', one of the Big Easy's prized restaurants.
  • 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 13 Full Breakfasts (FB), 1 Lunch (L), 2 Dinners (D), 4 Highlight Dinners (HD) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD).

OUTSTANDING HOTELS

  • Natchez: The Monmouth Historic Inn & Gardens offers and unparalleled combination of hospitality, world-class service and luxurious surroundings.
  • Memphis: The Westin Memphis Beale Street Hotel connects you to the unmistakable sound, culture and history of the blues, whilst offering you a soothing and relaxing retreat.
  • New Orleans: The iconic Hotel Monteleone offers an unparalleled combination of Southern hospitality, world-class service and historic surroundings inside the French Quarter.

INCLUSIVE LUXURY GOLD SERVICES

  • Be escorted by the crème de la crème of Insight Travelling Concierges - handpicked for every departure. This skilled guide will act as consummate organiser and be your 'friend in a foreign land'.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 guest coach, with extended leg room and an on-board restroom. It's Business Class comfort, complete with complimentary bottled water for you to enjoy during your luxury coaching tour.
  • A personal radio headset gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
  • At every hotel, you'll be treated to seamless baggage handling with prompt delivery right to your door. Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus, we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi.
  • With Insight Flourishes, from time to time, your Travelling Concierge will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Included airport transfers on first and last itinerary day.

Accommodation

 

The Gwen a Luxury Collection Hotel Chicago

Chicago (Central) - USA

Complimentary Wifi

The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Four Seasons St Louis

St. Louis (Central) - USA

Complimentary Wifi

Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis brings this city its first AAA Five Diamond hotel, with 200 generously-sized guest rooms and suites. Bright interiors – seemingly inspired by the 500,000 LED lights that enclose the tower – offer clean lines, an urban-chic ambience and modern furnishings. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide a wide-open vista of the city’s distinctive red-brick architecture and the Gateway Arch.

The Brown Hotel Louisville

Louisville (Central) - USA

Complimentary Wifi

Gaylord Opryland Resort Nashville

Nashville (Central) - USA

Complimentary Wifi

The Gaylord Opryland Resort is a premier hotel offering guests all the excitement and energy of Music City under one spectacular roof. Guest rooms feature comfortable beds with thick mattresses and fluffy down pillows, mini-refrigerators and 32" LCD cable televisions with CNN, ESPN and HBO. Room service is available 24 hours a day. During downtime, enjoy our Opryland hotel's 9 acres of lush indoor gardens and cascading waterfalls, or unwind in Relache Spa & Salon, our on-site spa offering massages, facials and more.

The Westin Memphis Beale Street Memphis

Memphis (Central) - USA

Complimentary Wifi

Located on Beale Street, this hotel connects you to the unmistakable sound of Memphis and immerses you into the culture and history of the blues. Along with numerous barbecue restaurants, there are countless things to do in Memphis. You’re steps away from FedEx Forum, Gibson Museum, Beale Street, and so much more! 203 beautiful guest rooms and suites, featuring Westin's plush Heavenly Bed®, promise restoration and relaxation. Thoughtful amenities such as radio alarm clocks with i-Pod docking stations, coffeemakers with Starbucks Coffee®, and signature bath amenities help make your stay enjoyable.

Monmouth Historic Inn and Gardens Natchez

Natchez (Scenic) - USA

Complimentary Wifi

An early 19th-century antebellum mansion set in 26 acres of manicured gardens. Monmouth Historic Inn is a National Historic Landmark. With an ambiance reminiscent of a bygone age, the rooms and suites are as perfect as a picture. Available either in the main house or in any of the seven outbuildings, rooms have period furnishings and/or antebellum-era reproductions. Some include a spa tub and a fireplace. Wander around the meticulously nurtured gardens amidst blooming magnolias, roses, azaleas and Monmouth’s signature collection of angel statuary, accompanied by the gentle humming of cicadas. Then enjoy mint juleps or a cocktail of your choice in the Quitman Study/Lounge, with complimentary hors d’oeuvres, followed by dinner in the award winning Restaurant 1818 inside the antebellum home.

Hotel Monteleone New Orleans

New Orleans (Central) - USA

Complimentary Wifi

Hotel Monteleone New Orleans

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  • 5 out of 5

    Rhythms and Flavours USA Great Trip

    5/31/2015 Jill Archer, Padstow, Australia

    We had a great trip with a Insight - the tour from Chicago all the way to New Orleans was fantastic. We vistted lots of great places that I am sure we would not have vistied or known of it we had been doing the trip on our own. No extra additional excursion costs, lots of included dinners, lovely hotels and a great bunch of people. Our tour guide Ann and driver Josh really looked after us well and nothing was left to chance - thank you. We have done a lot of touring in the past and this has been exceptional value for money, Lots of great memories and friendships made

    8 out of 8 people found this comment useful

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  • 5 out of 5

    USA at it's best.

    6/15/2014 Laurence Whelan, Hope Island, Australia

    We recently travelled the above tour. We were blessed with a great Tour Director, Anne Harness, & a great driver, Josh. The tour gave us a great insight into the central areas of the USA, from Chicago, a great place to visit, through the centre of the country, taking in many cities you just dream to visit; St Louis, etc down to Nashville & onto New Orleans. A extremely varied and pleasant trip. I would recommend it to all. Laurie Whelan, Gold Coast.

    11 out of 11 people found this comment useful

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  • 5 out of 5

    Rhythms and Flavours of America

    10/26/2013 Elizabeth Maclean, Cronulla, Australia

    This was a wonderful tour from Chicago to New Orleans and I can highly recommend it to anyone wanting to see that part of the USA. All the places along the way were so interesting, a different highlight every day and our Tour Guide, Gordon, was excellent. Liz.

    40 out of 42 people found this comment useful

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