Appalachian Christmas in the Valley Renfro Valley, Kentucky
November 29 - December 7, 2020
Your Nine Day "Southern Christmas Ya'll" Holiday Motor Coach Transportation- Boarding in NE & Central MN St Cloud, Rice, Little Falls, Baxter, Iron Range Cities, Duluth & Superior Eight Nights Lodging: One Night in Bloomington, Ill (Doubletree); Two Nights in Memphis, TN (Graceland's Guest House Inn; Three Nights in Gatlinburg, (Bearskin Inn) ; One Night in Renfro Valley, (Country Inn & Suites) One Night in Joliet, Ill, Il (Hampton Inn) While in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee... Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas, Country Tonite's Christmas Show, Optional Drive through the Great Smoky Mountains, Smith Family Christmas Show Great Smoky Mountain Arts & Craft Show 45th Annual Fantasy of Lights Parade in downtown Gatlinburg While in Memphis.... Graceland at Christmas VIP Tickets; Sun Studios and More to Be Announced. While in Renfro Valley, Kentucky Christmas Holiday Production @ Christmas in the Valley 12 Meals (8 Breakfasts, 1 Lunches and 3 Dinners) Taxes, Luggage Handling, Most Tips & Fully Guided With a Happy Trails Manager
Deposit Per Person is $175.00. It is refundable up to 60 days prior to departure. ( September 30th). Final payment is due October 15, 2020. No refunds with cancellations made after October 15th. Travel Insurance is highly recommended.
Day 1 – Sunday, Nov 29 Travel to Bloomington, Illinois (515 miles from Duluth / 530 from Sartell)
You’ll travel in a deluxe Trobec motor coach with boarding beginning in Grand Rapids, Iron Range cities, and Duluth. Our friends from central Minnesota will enjoy a relaxing shuttle this morning as they travel east to join up with the rest of the group in Eau Clair, WI. Together we’ll enjoy a leisure day as we embark on a nine day adventure South on our Holiday Graceland & Dollywood Christmas. We’ll make stops every 2 ½ - 3 hours as the day goes along. So set your seats back, relax & get acquainted with fellow travelers on your Happy Trails Tour. 6:30 pm- We’ll arrive in the early evening to the Doubletree (Hilton), Bloomington, Illinois. We'll be greeted by freshly baked warm chocolate cookies when we arrive! This property has 2 queen beds, an indoor pool, lounge, coffeemakers, irons & boards, and hairdryer in the rooms. It also has a in house lounge/grill for your convenience for dinner tonight, paying on your own.
Day 2– Monday, Nov 30 Travel to Memphis Tennessee - All Decked Out for Christmas! (450 Miles)
6:00 am- Breakfast is served at the hotel. 7:00 am- We'll travel straight south through Illinois, hitting the edge of western Kentucky as we cross into the boarder of Tennessee! We be making stops along the way for comfort breaks and lunch. 4:00 pm- Our estimated arrival time to the lovely Guest House International on Elvis Presley Boulevard. This property is only a few years old. Once we get checked in, we'll all gather in the lobby for an orientation walking tour of the property. Our home away from home is only steps away from the gates of Graceland, this unique, world-class resort hotel is inspired by the same warm hospitality that Elvis always showed his guests.The room offer one or two beds, coffeemaker, safe, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, etc... There's also a lovely pool (if the weather is warm enough), fitness center two restaurants, and a theater. * Tonight is still in the planning stages until we see what is being offered during the time we are here. Stay tuned.
Day 3– Tuesday, Dec 1 A Graceland Christmas and All Things Elvis and Sun Studios
6:00-9:00 am- Breakfast is included! Afterwards, we'll begin to start looking for Elvis!!! 9:30- 2:00 pm- Enjoy our visit to Graceland at Christmas - (VIP Tour) Our VIP tour involves visiting Graceland (The mansion) along with an audio tour and an orientation film. It allows you access to two planes, Presley Motors Car Museum, Elvis Presley's Memphis, Entertainer Career Showcase Museum, and the Elvis Discovery Exhibits. There's no better bling in Memphis than Graceland - the home of Elvis Presley, which decks the halls royally every holiday season. The merriment began with a lighting ceremony in November prior to our arrival. The mansion and grounds are bedecked in the King's holiday bling, including a life sized nativity scene outside, and red velvet curtains and Presley family mementos inside. Dozens of live poinsettias wrap the home's
main staircase (upstairs is off limits to visitors) in holiday splendor, and guests can be a part of the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation's poinsettia campaign, which provides funding for the foundation's many programs that benefit children and students in Memphis.
2:30 pm-6:00 pm- We'll join our group for an Area City Tour of Memphis. We will learn about its history, people, music and what drew people to this area. 3:30 pm- Part of our area city tour will include a visit to Sun Studios. This is legendary and a Memphis ICON! You can't come to Memphis and NOT stop here. We'll be here about an hour, hear the inside stories of Elvis Presley, BB King, Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, Ike Turner, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison. You will actually hear some of those first original recordings. It’s soooo cool! 6:00 pm- e'll return to Graceland - with more plans for the evening - Yet to be announced. Stay tuned.
Day 4– Wednesday, Dec 2 Travel to Gatlinburg, Tennessee - Country Tonight Show (430 Miles)
6:00-7:00 am-Breakfast is included! 7:15 am-We're on our way to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for more holiday spirit! We'll travel northeast along I-40 to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to begin our Smoky Mountain Christmas portion of this tour! We are 6 1/2 hours away. Lunch and comfort stops will be made as we travel to Gatlinburg. (We'll move into Eastern Time Zone and lose an hour!) 4:00 pm-Estimated arrival to our hotel in Gatlinburg - The Bearskin Lodge. The Bear Skin Lodge is located just a block off the Main Street where all the restaurants and shops are located. Gatlinburg is beautifully lit at Christmas time! You are in for a real treat. It's set along side a mountain stream at just a few minute walk to the historic downtown. Nestled at the base of the entrance of Great Smoky Mountains, this property is quaint with one or two beds, fireplace, showers, coffee makers, and more. Relax and enjoy your time here snuggled up close to the Great Smoky Mountains!
5:30 pm- Dinner, included tonight at Johnny Carino's Italian Restaurant. 8:00 pm- Take your seats for the Country Tonite's Christmas Show! The magic of Christmas abounds as the talented renditions of Christmas favorites combined with beautiful choreography, brightly decorated holiday sets and colorful costumes bring the enchantment of Christmas to the Country Tonite stage. The popular cast covers a number of holiday classics for a nostalgic, spirited holiday celebration that will be enjoyed by all ages. You’ll also find a few special guest performers during the Christmas production that you certainly won’t see any other time of the year, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus, and everyone’s favorite ballerina in the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Toys will also come alive in the magical song “Where are you Christmas”. This heartwarming Christmas presentation will fill your whole family with the cheer and spirit of the Christmas season.
Day 5– Thursday, Dec 3 The Smith Family Christmas & Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas!
6:00 - 9:00 am- Enjoy a leisure Breakfast before setting out to explore your surroundings in Gatlinburg. This morning we'll settle in for the delightful Smith Family Christmas Show. The Smith Family Show is located in the Grand Majestic Theater. It features Charlie Bob and Jill Smith in a variety show of country, oldies, gospel, comedy and outstanding impersonations! The Smith's have been entertaining crowds for many years and are much loved, fan favorites. They have a wonderful Christmas show!
12:30 pm- Enjoy lunch, included at Applewood's Farm House and General Store. 3:00 pm- We'll hop on board the coach and travel to Dollywood Theme Park. What sets Dollywood apart is its sweet Smoky Mountain charm.Namesake and part- owner Dolly Parton is originally from the Great Smoky Mountains Area and she has incorporated all kinds of East Tennessee elements into her park. Set in the regions’ foothills near Pigeon Forge, Dollywood spans more than 150 acres of land and welcomes nearly 2.5 million visitors each year. Part of the park’s draw is its picturesque setting
We are there during the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival! One of the shows that really show cases Dollywood is the "Christmas in the SmokiesShow". One of Dollywood's greatest traditions! Celebrate the joy of the season while a cast of 14 singer/dancers delightfully perform hometown holiday favorites while accompanied by a band of eight live musicians! Be sure to check that show out while you are visiting Dollywood. 8:00 pm-Board the coach and return to the hotel.
Dollywood Special Features: Character Experiences – Children will have the opportunity to meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and his friends Parade of Lights– Everyone will enjoy the Christmas parade complete with floats, lights, and Christmas characters Carol of the Trees – After the sun goes down, Dollywood lights thousands of twinkling Christmas lights and synchronizes the Christmas trees to music. Dollywood’s A Christmas Carol – A cast of 15 puts a unique twist on this Charles Dickens classic. The 45-minute musical features seven new songs written especially by Dolly Parton and uses holographic technology to bring Dolly to stage in the role of the Ghost of Christmas past.
Day 6– Friday, Dec 4 The Great Smoky Mountains & Gatlinburg's Fantasy of Lights Festival
6:00-9:00 am- Breakfast is included! Today enjoy your morning and early afternoon in downtown Gatlinburg where shops and crafts abound! The Village, which is located in downtown Gatlinburg near Light #6, is the perfect spot to get in the Christmas spirit. The Village has 27 shops, eateries, and boutiques centered around a beautiful fountain in a quaint Old World Setting. The shops are beautifully decorated with Christmas lights, Christmas trees, garland, Santa’s sleigh and much more! This is the perfect spot to grab a cup of coffee and some fresh homemade fudge while you enjoy the season Optional Activity: 9:00 - 12:00 pm- If you've never taken a ride through the Smoky Mountains (and if the weather is agreeable) you are welcome to hop aboard the motor coach for a ride up into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most popular National Park in the country and hosts well over ten- million annual visitors. This beautiful mountain range reaches towering heights of nearly seven-thousand feet, but is famous for its magical, smoky haze. Settle back in your seats and get ready for a delightful drive through the Smoky Mountain Nat'l Park.
7:00 pm- 45th Annual"Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade". It's the kick off to their holiday season where floats, marching bands, large balloons, dance and holiday characters abound throughout the historic downtown. It's just a couple of blocks from our hotel. No need to ride.
Day 7– Sunday, Dec 5 Renfro, Kentucky's "Christmas in the Valley" (161 Miles)
6:00-9:00 am- Breakfast is included prior to boarding the coach! Then we're off to Mount Vernon, Kentucky, home of great country music and the Renfro Valley Entertainment Complex. Again... we'll travel through wonderful mountain scenery as we journey into the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains to Renfro Valley, Kentucky. Our lodging is the Country Inn & Suites in London, KY. We'll get settled in and relax a bit before taking in the evening's Christmas production, yet to be announced. AFamily Style Southern Fried Chicken Dinner, included, tonight.
Day 8– Monday, Dec 6 Homeward Bound through Beautiful Kentucky Bluegrass Country (430 Miles)
6:00-8:00 am- Breakfast is included prior to boarding the coach! We'll depart early morning (after breakfast) from Renfro Valley and begin our journey homeward. Again, just set your seats back and enjoy the scenery out your window. We'll make stops every 2 1/2-3 hours as we go along. Our travel day ends in Joliet, Illinois with lodging, Holiday Inn. The Inn has 2 beds in the rooms, coffeemaker, hairdryer and iron & boards. They also have an indoor pool & hot tub, lounge and full service restaurant. Tonight's dinner and evening plans are at your leisure.
Day 9– Tuesday, Dec 7 Home Sweet Home (330 Miles to Eau Clair, WI - Where buses transfer to Central & NE MN)
6:00 - 7:00 -Breakfast is served at the inn before we continue our last day of travel together. We hope you've left a little extra room for all the wonderful Graceland and Dollywood memories you've made! Below is an estimated arrival home hours. To Central Minnesota: 6 pm to St Cloud, 6:15 to Rice, 6:45 to Little Falls, 7:15 pm to Baxter For Northeast MN - 7:00 - Duluth; 8:30 pm-Eveleth; 9:00 pm- Virginia; 9:30 pm-Hibbing; 10:15 pm Grand Rapids.