Deep South USA Plus Texas
Experience the unique culture, history, music of America’s Deep South, home of the blues, plus the charms and classic images of Texas, the 'Lone Star State'.
Take one of America’s classic ‘road trips’ exploring the Deep South, renowned for its gracious hospitality, its charming southern drawl, its unique Creole and Cajun cuisine and, of course, the most popular music genres of the 20th century – jazz, rock n’ roll, the blues and country.
Flying into Atlanta, Georgia, site of the 1996 Olympic Games, which really put the city on the map. Home to CNN, one of the US’s most iconic ‘institutions’ and the Center for Civil and Human rights, a new museum dedicated to the history of the civil rights movement. Atlanta has a lovely laid-back southern charm and is the perfect start to a fascinating tour. We then travel through the rolling rich farmland of Tennessee, past the cotton fields of Mississippi to Louisiana’s moss covered bayous and the vast South Texas plains. You’ll stay in some of America’s most fascinating cities: Chattanooga, Nashville, Memphis, the amazing New Orleans, as well as Houston, San Antonio and Dallas.
We stay two nights in Nashville, known as Music City USA, the centre of the huge country music industry - where aspiring artists come to start their careers, songwriters try out their new songs and where anyone can walk into one of the myriad of live music venues and hear some of the best music-making in North America.
Not too far down the road lies another of America’s great musical cities - Memphis. Home of the remarkable Sun Studios that launched Elvis’ stratospheric rise to fame and the site of his sprawling home, Graceland; Memphis also played a pivotal and tragic role in the civil rights movement as the place where Martin Luther King was assassinated.
We stay three nights in New Orleans, ‘The Big Easy’ with its motto ‘Laissez les bons temps rouler’ – let the good times roll, depicts exactly what makes this city such a rewarding place to visit. Its famously progressive spirit and liberal attitudes date back to its French roots, when convicts were freed on condition that they settled there. Then it became an unruly smuggling enclave ensuring its rebellious streak continued to thrive. Always pushing the boundaries, it was inevitable the exceptional French, Spanish, American and African cultures fused so harmoniously producing a unique city which has given birth to jazz and its most famous son, the remarkable Louis Armstrong. It was also home to some of the greats of American literature such as Mark Twain and Tennessee Williams, who famously said that ‘America only has three cities, New York, San Francisco and New Orleans. All the rest are Cleveland!’
Our extension into the ‘Lone Star State’ of Texas includes a visit to the very soul of Texas – the Alamo, where in 1836 an estimated 183 men were killed by Mexican troops trying to prevent Texas from gaining its independence. As the second largest US state, Texas is unbelievably almost three times the size of the UK, and has a proud cowboy tradition dating from the 19th century. We discover this almost legendary western heritage during our visit to a working cattle ranch learning how the life and back-breaking work of cowboys evolved into the sport of rodeo, next we see the Fort Worth stockyards, in their heyday the world’s largest.
Who can ever forget the excitement, hope and sheer exhilaration the US gave the world during the 1960s and ‘70s at the height of its space program, the moonshots and those immortal phrases ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ and of course probably the world’s most famous understatement, ‘Houston, we have a problem!’ We’ll tour the Johnson Space Centre and NASA’s ‘Mission Control’ from where the ill-fated Apollo 13 crew was saved from almost certain disaster by the innovative thinking of some of the best scientists and engineers in the world. It does not seem so long ago, but would you believe the return trajectory through the earth’s atmosphere was calculated using a ‘slide rule’ – how the world has changed! The space centre is still used today to train astronauts and develop the new technologies for future manned missions to Mars.
Finally it’s Dallas, which during the 1980s was the setting of the world’s most watched TV programme! However probably more famously, in 1963 the ’Big D’ was propelled to world attention when (allegedly!), Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy, for whatever reason we shall ultimately never know and after which it seemed the entire planet went into mourning - especially so when his son poignantly saluted his father’s coffin. We see the ‘grassy knoll’ and learn all about the events of that famous day.
- Stay in New Orleans’ iconic French Quarter and enjoy a walking tour with a local guide
- Tour of Graceland to explore the incredible life and times of Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll, through the places where he recorded his greatest hits and his unique homeStay in Nashville, ‘Music City USA’, and visit the Country Music Hall of Fame
- Tour Studio B in Nashville and Sun Studios in Memphis, where some of the world’s best loved songs of the last 50 years were recorded
- Stay in Atlanta and visit the Centre for Civil and Human Rights, an engaging cultural attraction
- Guided tour of Houston’s NASA Johnson Space Centre, from where the Apollo Moon landings were controlled
- Experience a ride on Amtrak’s renowned train service from Memphis to New Orleans
- Visit the Alamo in San Antonio, where the settlers fought for Texas’ independence from Mexico
- See where President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, and tour the fascinating museum dedicated to that fateful day
- Services of our experienced tour manager
- Stay in hand-picked three and four-star accommodation with daily breakfast, including all local taxes
- Return travel from the UK with transfers to and from the hotel included
- Selected departures from April to October 2019
- The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room with single rooms available at the relevant supplement. Price includes scheduled return flights to Atlanta, all transfers and journey on Amtrak ‘City of New Orleans’ rail service from Memphis to New Orleans, domestic flight from Dallas Fort Worth to Atlanta, twelve nights’ accommodation on room only basis in three-star superior or four-star hotels, all tours as mentioned, all flight and accommodation taxes, hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
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