Good Times Travel
17132 Magnolia St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Featuring the Biltmore Estate, Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg
Activity Level 3
Pace Level 3
Embark on a comprehensive 7-day discovery of North Carolina and Tennessee – where historic treasures, breathtaking beauty and true southern hospitality are around every corner. Your senses will come alive as you walk through the majestic Biltmore Estate, as you soak in the fall colors in Smoky Mountains National Park and as you taste the southern cooking and hand-crafted moonshine. Combined with a ride aboard the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad and two dazzling live dinner shows in Pigeon Forge, this new itinerary is true Americana and the best of Appalachia.
Optional transfers from our departure points will have us at LAX for our scheduled non-stop afternoon flight arriving in Charlotte, North Carolina this evening. Those guests making their own flight arrangements can request the group’s flight schedule (subject to change) to coordinate a flight arrival time that would allow them to be included on the complimentary transfer to the hotel. In Charlotte, we’ll board a deluxe motorcoach and travel to our hotel with the balance of the evening at leisure.
Following an included breakfast, we’ll join a local guide for a driving tour of Charlotte- North Carolina’s largest city. See the vibrant Victorian homes in the Historic Fourth Ward, the warehouses, breweries and art galleries of the First Ward, the artsy South End and the up-and-coming areas of NoDa and Plaza Midwood as our guide provides insight into the “Queen City.” This afternoon we’ll visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame, where the excitement, passion and history of NASCAR comes to life through ever-evolving exhibits and interactive experiences. This evening we begin a three-night stay in Asheville, North Carolina with an included dinner at a locals’ favorite. (Breakfast, Dinner)
After an included breakfast we’ll join a local guide for a full day of touring the Blue Ridge Mountains at the time of year when the fall foliage in this region is usually at its peak. Autumn here is extra special as the mountains and forests are normally awash in reds, oranges and yellows – we’ll certainly keep our fingers crossed! We’ll travel south along the famed Blue Ridge Parkway, known as “America’s Favorite Drive.” This slow-paced and relaxing drive (with photo stops at several of the overlooks) reveals stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands. This afternoon it’s all aboard the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad for a memorable journey along the Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers and through the beautiful countryside to Nantahala Gorge. Onboard the adults-only, first-class train car, The Carolina Shine, we’ll enjoy an included southern-style lunch along with hand-crafted, triple-distilled moonshine – some of the smoothest tasting moonshine in the Carolinas! On this fun “shine and dine” experience you’ll sample multiple flavors of moonshine from North Carolina-based distilleries while learning about the proud tradition that the Appalachians established when bootlegging was an acceptable way of life and local home brews were the best in town. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Following an included breakfast we’ll join a local guide and continue our exploration of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this time traveling just north of Asheville to the popular Craggy Gardens region and making a stop at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center. Visit the Southern Highland Folk Art Center, showcasing the finest in traditional and contemporary craft of the Southern Appalachians. At the 127-year-old Allanstand Craft Shop – nationally recognized as the oldest craft shop in America – you can browse artisan-made jewelry, textiles, pottery, glass, and much more. Browse exhibitions in three galleries and watch and interact with Southern Highland Craft Guild artisans demonstrating their craft. This afternoon we’ll visit the Biltmore Estate where in 1895 George Vanderbilt II – grandson of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt – built himself a “little mountain escape.” He purchased 125,000 acres and 15 years later had constructed a magnificent, French chateau with 250 rooms including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces. More than 110 years later, it remains America’s largest home. Tour the interior of the Biltmore House, featuring priceless paintings and antiques (including Napoleon’s chess table), along with the formal gardens. Enjoy time at leisure in Antler Hill Village, featuring a variety of unique shops and restaurants, The Biltmore Barn & Farmyard and the Biltmore Legacy museum. (Breakfast)
After an included breakfast, we’ll join a local guide and visit Great Smoky Mountain National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. As we travel along Newfound Gap Road we’ll climb approximately 3,000 feet in elevation, ascending through a cove hardwood, pine-oak and northern hardwood forest to an evergreen spruce-fir forest at Newfound Gap. This time of year is ideal for fall foliage and as we stand on the Appalachian Trail with one foot in North Carolina and other in Tennessee, we’ll take in sweeping views of the Park’s 100-plus tree species. We’ll visit Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (elevation 6,643 feet). This afternoon we arrive in the quaint but bustling mountain town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee with time at leisure in downtown which is filled with a variety of shops, restaurants and moonshine distilleries. We continue to Pigeon Forge, tucked into the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. This evening we’ll experience a high-spirited adventure at Dolly Parton’s Stampede, featuring an entertainment spectacle and delicious four-course feast. Top-notch riders performing daring feats of trick riding combined with spectacular special effects, stirring musical productions and an emotional patriotic finale make this the show of shows! (Breakfast, Dinner)
Following an included breakfast we’ll visit the Titanic Museum, a replica of the historic vessel. As you walk through elegant hallways and along decks sloped as they were the night the ship sank, you’ll see more than 400 artifacts from Titanic. Stand in a spacious first-class suite and a cramped third-class cabin, both replicas of the originals. Experience what 28-degree water feels like, try to steer the ship and pay tribute to the 2,208 Titanic passengers. Enjoy time at leisure at The Island, a family-oriented shopping and entertainment complex that is filled with more than 60 retail and specialty shops, multiple restaurants, dancing fountains, live music, and a 200-foot-tall observation wheel! This evening we’ll become part of the longest running feud in history at the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud. You’ll love the singin’ and dancin’, mighty feats of strength, jaw-dropping stunts and side-splitting comedy. And the country cookin’ – whooee it’s good! (Breakfast, Dinner)
Following an included breakfast, we’ll travel east, stopping for lunch on your own along the way. This afternoon we’ll arrive in Charlotte and board a scheduled, non-stop flight arriving in Los Angeles this evening. Those guests making their own flight arrangements can request the group’s flight schedule (subject to change) to coordinate a similar flight departure time. Back in Los Angeles, those guests with pre-arranged transfers will be returned to their respective drop-offs. (Breakfast)
While we make every effort to operate our tours as outlined in the itinerary, we ask for your understanding, flexibility and to retain a sense of adventure while traveling with us. While these have always been necessary traits for travelers, they are needed now more than ever! Situations may arise that necessitate changes to the itinerary. Should we need to adjust the itinerary either prior to or while on tour, these changes will be communicated to you and only done when absolutely necessary. Now more than ever, our 30 years of knowledge and tour planning experience helps us navigate a unique travel environment on your behalf. You can put your trust in us knowing we are experts in travel planning and will do everything possible to provide wonderful new experiences and create amazing new memories for our guests while on the road with us.
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