Autumn on the North Carolina'sBlue Ridge Mountain Parkway with Charleston and Savannah
October 16-29, 2020
Autumn on the North Carolina'sBlue Ridge Mountain Parkway with Charleston and Savannah October 16-29, 2020
The Blue Ridge is literally the “Backbone” of this spectacular mountain region embracing the Southern Appalachian mountain range. The scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway attracts millions of visitors every year but for many, the preferred season is autumn. The parkway stretches 469 miles from Virginia and through North Carolina and Tennessee. Shenandoah National Park is on its north end with the beautiful Skyline Drive through Virginia and all the way down to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. Your Happy Trails journey begins at the southern point in Cherokee, NC to Water Rock, (mile post 423.2) and follows the parkway for THREE DAYS as far north as Mabry Mills (mile post #176). That’s nearly 250 miles of the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway! This ride-awhile, stop-awhile adventure offers amazing wonders all along the way. Below is a listing of the many places you’ll visit on this Happy Trails 14 day Autumn on the Blue RidgeParkway. BUT wait! We've also added the Deep South with visits to Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. Here you'll find lodging in the historic
districts, beautiful gardens, historic trolley tours, Southern cuisine, Harbor Cruise, Charleston's City Market and the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens! Oh, the places you'll go on a Happy Trails Tour!
Autumn on the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway & the Deep South Inclusions:: Deluxe Motor Coach Transportation from Northeast Minnesota, Central Minnesota and the Twin Cities 13 Nights/14 Days: Bloomington, IL; Mt Vernon, KY; Cherokee, NC; Asheville, NC; Banner Elk, NC; Winston-Salem, NC; Mount Airy, NC; Charleston, SC (2 Nights) ; Savannah, GA (2 Nights); Nashville, TN; Bloomington, IL Renfro Valley Entertainment Complex~ Dinner and Show (To be Announced) Cherohala National Scenic Byway - Tellico Plaines, TN to Robbinsville, NC (Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests) THREE days on the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway - Beginning south at Mile Post # 423 traveling north to Mile Post #176 1st Day on the BR Parkway …. From MP #423 Water Rock VC; Balsam Gap; Mt Pisgh; NC Arboretum to Asheville (MP382) 2nd Day on the BR Parkway....... MP 382-Biltmore Estate; Little Switzerland, NC; Grand Father Mountain, Mile High Bridge Linn Cove Viaduct to Banner Elk (MP 308) 3rd Day on the BR Parkway....... Travel to Moses H Cone VC; Blue Ridge Mountain Music Center; Fancy Gap; Mabry Mill / Meadow of Dan; to (MP169) - Backtrack down the Blue Ridge PW to Mount Airy (Just East of MP 200) Asheville, NC (The Biltmore Estate); Mount Airy, NC (Andy Griffith' Mayberry RFD);Winston-Salem (Old Salem Museum and Gardens); Dinner at Hillbilly Hideaway Charleston, SC~ Two Nights at the Embassy Suites Historic District; Historic Area Tour; City Market and Harbor Cruise and the Magnolia Plantation, Garden and Slave Quarters Savannah, GA~ Two Nights at the Doubletree Historic District; Old Savannah Trolley Area Tour; Lunch at Lady & Sons Nashville, TN~ Dinner at the Santa Fe Cattle Company and Great Seats at the Famous Grand Ol' Opry 19 Meals – 13 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches and 3 Dinners (taxes and tips included at all restaurants when meals are included) Fully guided, Luggage Handling & Tips for Porters and Area City Step On Guides. (Tips are not included for your tour host and driver)
Disclaimer: Happy Trails Tours acts only as an agent for the various independent suppliers that provide hotel accommodations, transportation, theater, or other services connected with this tour. Such services are subject to the terms and conditions of those suppliers. Happy Trails Tours, INC and their respective employees, agents, representatives accept no liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or any other default of any company or person in performing these services. Responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages or expenses of any kind due to sickness, weather, strikes, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature, local laws or other causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws and regulations of country in which they are provided. Happy Trails Tours INC is not responsible for any baggage or personal effects of any individual participating in the tours/trips arranged by Happy Trails Tours. Individual travelers are responsible for purchasing a travel insurance policy, if desired, that will cover some of the expenses associated with the loss of luggage or personal effects.
Autumn on the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway . The Deep South - Oct 16-29, 2020:
$200 per person due with reservation at the time of registration. Reservations are not secured without a financial deposit paid within 7 days of registering. All deposits become non-refundable after July 15, 2020.
Final payments are due August 15, 2020. Personal checks, money orders, credit cards accepted. Monies returned with cancellations made between July 15- August 15, 2020 are contingent upon what Happy Trails Tours receives back from hotels, restaurants, activities, charters and tour companies. There are no refunds with cancellations made after August 15, 2020.
Travel Insurance is available at an additional cost. It can offer peace of mind and financial security. Let us know if you are interested. Happy Trails Tours WILL secure your travel insurance in our office once you confirm you want to include the insurance. Preexisting conditions are waived when insurance is purchased within 13 days or at the time your initial deposit is paid.
Final documents will arrive in mid-September after final payments have been received. These documents will tell you when and where you will board, how to pack and give you hotel address and phone numbers. They will also include luggage tags, medical forms, receipts or invoices, and inform you of any changes if there are any.
Properties: SEVEN HILTONS, THREE Best Westerns, ONE Baymont Inn & the Brookstone Inn (Winston-Salem).
Changes: We reserve the right to adjust this schedule for the benefit of all traveling. If a change of hotel, restaurant or an attraction occur, we'll replace it with one of equal value or better. As always.... we'll make every effort to inform you of any changes. Thank you for your understanding.
This tour is completely casual and comfortable. You may pack one suitcase per person. Carry on bags may be brought on board and handled by your self. Please don't pack them heavier than what you can comfortably carry.
Day 1 – Friday, Oct 16 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 an 14 day adventure southeast through the Appalachian Mountains to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. We’ll make stops every 2 ½ - 3 hours as the day goes along…So just set your seats back, relax and get acquainted with fellow travelers on your Happy Trails Tour. About 3 weeks prior to departure, specifics on boarding site and estimated departure time will be announced. We’ll arrive in the late afternoon 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. No meals included today
Day 2- Saturday, Oct 17 Travel to Mount Vernon, Kentucky (Renfro Valley!) (432 miles)
We’ll travel today through lovely countryside as we travel southeast through the states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. We’ll begin to see the landscape change as we travel south into the foothills of mountains. Coffee breaks, comfort and meal stops will be made as we travel today. We will move into the Eastern Time Zone today. Our late afternoon arrival brings us to the Renfro Valley area where country music and Southern cooking and hospitality abound! Our hotel property in Mount Vernon is the Baymont Inn. They have 2 queen/double beds, an indoor pool, guest laundry, coffeemakers, irons & boards, and hairdryer in the rooms. Renfro Valley is also knows as "Kentucky Country Music Capital" which celebrate not only great country and bluegrass music, but also the scenic landscape in these Ol' Kentucky hills during the autumn season. We have a dinner at the Limestone Grill (Plated Fried Chicken and Ham Dinner) and show planned for you tonight in the Barn Theater. Stay tuned as we wait to hear what shows are to be announced closer to the time of our arrival. Breakfast and Dinner are included today
Day 3 Sunday, Oct 18 Cherokee, NC - Cherohala Scenic Skyway (230 Miles)
Depart Renfro Valley, KY for Cherokee.We’ll travel south from Renfro Valley crossing the state line into Tennessee … We'll make Knoxville, TN our coffee stop. Then from Knoxville, we’ll continue south (another 1 ¼ hours to Tellico Plaines) our lunch stop. Now it’s here where it really starts to get beautiful!!!! We’ll take the “Cherohala Scenic Skyway” (AKA the Mile High Skyway) into North Carolina. This scenic skyway goes from 860’ elevation to 5290 ’ elevation. It’s AMAZING. We’ll continue our journey to Blue Ridge Mile Marker #441 to Cherokee, the south end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. 6:30 PM- Arrive to Cherokee, NC to the lovely Cherokee Grand Hotel. They have 2 double beds, guest laundry, coffeemakers, irons & boards, and hairdryer in the rooms. They also have an outdoor pool and are very close to the Cherokee Casino (They offer shuttles). Breakfast Included
Day 4- Monday, Oct 19 Travel to Asheville, North Carolina (51 miles)
Depart Cherokee and begin our adventure along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Due to high traffic during this time of year we have to allow ample time to travel from point A to point B. Estimated arrival to anywhere along the parkway depends much on the traffic, weather and road construction. Our first stop will be the Water Rock Visitors Center. Many of the visitor centers offer wonderful overlooks for photos as well as restroom breaks. Another place we’ll stop is a (Mile Post 430) Highest Point on the Parkway - Richland Balsam Gap (6,047 Feet). Other stop will be Mount Pisgah - Mile Post 405 and to the lovely North Carolina Arboretum Garden Tour. Time for lunch, paying on own, will also be made as we move along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We’ll arrive around 5 pm to Asheville, North Carolina. Our lodging tonight is the Hampton Inn on Tunnel Road in Asheville. They have 2 queen/double beds, indoor pool, guest laundry, coffeemakers, irons & boards, and hairdryer in the rooms. The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy as per your own agenda. Breakfast is Included.
Day 5- Tuesday, Oct 20 Travel to Banner Elk, NC (Biltmore Estate) (148 Miles)
Depart Asheville this morning and travel to Banner Elk, NC - about 148 miles up the parkway. Before getting to far up the parkway, we'll make our first stop at the Biltmore Estates. We’ll enjoy a self-guided tour of the home (with audio head sets). NOTE: At this time, they are not confirming any reservations for groups for the Biltmore until sometime in the late Spring. If for some reason, we do not get to visit the Biltmore Estate, we'll find something or someplace wonderful to visit along the Parkway. Stay tuned for further updates on the Biltmore.
Just a couple hours down the road is Little Switzerland (Mile Post 334). We’ll spend a little time in this quaint mountain village before traveling further up the parkway to where you will begin to see the magnificent Grand Father Mountain. At 5,946 feet, It is the tallest mountain in the Blue Ridge. Also more than a billion years old and home to dozens of rare and endangered species, Grandfather Mountain has been honored and recognized by the United Nations as an International Biosphere Reserve. Grand Father Mountain is also considered one of the best fall color destinations in the Southern Appalachians because of its amazing diversity of plant life. We'll make a stop further up the Parkway to the Linn Cove Viaduct Visitors Center. The Visitors Center offers a film telling about the viaduct and also offers indoor restrooms and info. For those interested, you can also walk down “underneath” the viaduct which many folks enjoy. Continue to Banner Elk, NC. (Mile Post 308) Our lodging tonight is at the Best Western Mountain Lodge. They have 2 queen beds, outdoor pool, guest laundry, coffeemakers, irons & boards, and hairdryer in the rooms. They do NOT have an elevator but will put the bulk of our room block on the first floor. Be sure to let us know if you CANNOT climb stairs. The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy as per your own agenda. Breakfast Included
Day 6 – Wednesday, Oct 21 Travel to Mount Airy, North Carolina (150 miles)
After breakfast, we'll continue north along the Blue Ridge Parkway with our first stop to the Moses H Cone Visitors Center (Mile Post 294) (He's the Levi Straus Guy!) We'll stay here about 1/2 hour then wind our way about 3 hours to (Mile Post 213) to the Blue Ridge Mountain Music Center Visitor's Center. We'll try to arrive early enough to enjoy some music and time to explore their gift shop. Today, we'll include a bag lunch since there are no restaurants to meet our schedule. We'll continue NORTH beyond Mount Airy to the east so that you will have an opportunity to travel through the Meadow’s of Dan (MP 178) on up to (Mile Post #176) Mabry Mills, the most photographed historic site on the parkway. Mabry Mills is a working mill and we’ll be sure to give you time to purchase some of their products before we leave this area. We will journey back south on the parkway to Fancy Gap (MP 199) then east to Mount Airy, about an hour plus up the road. We'll arrive to the hotel in the early evening with amazing memories of the lovely Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway! Our lodging is the Hampton Inn (Hilton Property) Breakfast and Sack Lunch Included
Day 7 – Thursday, Oct 22nd Travel to Winston-Salem, No Carolina (140 miles)
We're in Andy Griffith's hometown! Home of Mayberry! As time permits, we’ll stroll along the streets checking out some of the cute little shops and maybe even go for a ride in Barney’s cop car! We’ll visit the Andy GriffithMuseum and learn more about this mountain village nestled up in the Appalachian hills. Our lodging is at the Historic BW Brookstone Inn. It’s located right in the heart of the historic district within walking distance of the Moravian Village in the Old Salem Historic District. This property does not have an indoor pool, but there are coffeemakers, irons & ironing boards, hairdryers, guest laundry and a full service restaurant on site. The rooms have 2 queen/double beds in them. We have one more fun event before the day’s end….dinner at the Hillbilly Hideaway. all-you-can-eat meals is served family style. It’s a hot spot even for the locals! (Note the fine china at your place setting!) Breakfast and Dinner are included today.
Day 8- Friday, Oct 23rd Old Salem Historic District - Museum & Gardens- Charleston (300 miles)
Enjoy a leisure breakfast before beginning your day’s activities. We’ve slowed the pace down by adding an extra night here in Winston-Salem. Because of the location, I think you’ll enjoy the attractions within walking distance. In Old Salem Historic District, you’ll experience early American history in the unique Moravian settlement of Salem. This German community is home to original structures, gardens, artifacts, hands-on workshops, events and shopping. View history through objects and tour a wide range of early southern artistry, craftsmanship and stories found in the world class collection of decorative arts from the early American South, 1660 – 1860. Stroll through award-winning restorations that create a landscape reminiscent of early Salem where utility, practicality and beauty united.
After spending a few hours in Winston Salem this morning, we'll board the coach and travel to Charleston, South Carolina. We'll make a comfort stop about mid-way with an expected arrival around 6:30 pm. Our property in Charleston will be the lovely Embassy Suites in the historic district of Charleston. They offer complimentary cocktails and light snacks in the evening. They have a bar/grill restaurant on site or you can step just outside your door where restaurants are also within walking distance. The evening is yours to enjoy as per your own agenda. Rooms have two beds or one king depending on your needs or the hotels availability at the time you book. You can expect to be pleased with another lovely Hilton property when staying at an Embassy Suites. We are staying here two nights. Breakfast is included today.
Day 10 – Sunday, Oct 25 The Magnolia Plantation / Travel to Savannah, GA (100 miles)
Magnolia has been selected as one of "America's Most Beautiful Gardens" (Travel + Leisure Magazine), and is the only garden honored with this distinction in the State of South Carolina! Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, Magnolia Plantation has survived the centuries and witnessed the history of our nation unfold before it from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond. It is the oldest public tourist site in the Low country, and the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1870 to view the thousands of beautiful flowers and plants in its famous gardens. After lunch, we'll wind our way to the beautiful city of Savannah, GA! Our lodging is another wonderful Hilton property.... a Doubletree Hotel in the Historic District. We'll be welcomed with their traditional hot chocolate chip cookie before settling in for the night. The rest of this day is at your leisure. Breakfast is included today
Day 11- Monday, Oct 26 Beautiful Savannah, GA & Paula Deens Restaurant
After breakfast, we'll take a morning tour on an open air trolley so that we can get into the narrow historic streets. The Historic District of Savannah is the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with cobblestone streets, manicured gardens, and oak-shaded parks drizzling with silvery Spanish Moss. It’s a buzz with art, culture, festivals, concerts, live theaters, outdoor café gourmet restaurants, and true Southern hospitality. The largest National Historic Landmark District in the United States, Savannah, contains more than twenty city squares filled with museums churches, mansions, monuments and famous forts of the Revolutionary & Civil War eras. Of course, we’ll only make a small dent in our time here, but you’ll get a good feel for this place! We've included lunch at Paula Deen's Restaurant (Lady and Sons) with the remainder of the day to explore at your leisure. Breakfast and lunch are included today
Day 12- Tuesday, Oct 27 Travel to Nashville, TN (Grand Ol' Opry) (495 miles)
We’ll start our day early this morning and travel through the lovely states of Georgia before crossing the border into Tennessee. We’ll relax and enjoy the lovely scenery out our windows. Again, stops are made as the day goes along. We'll transition back into the central time zone gaining an hour today. This allows us time to have a nice dinner at the Santa Fe Cattle Company before seeing the 7 pm show of the Grand Ol' Opry after we get checked into the BW Inn near the Opryland Hotel. About 7-10 days prior to our arrival, we should be able to see who's going to be on Opry the night we are there. Our hotel offers two beds in the rooms, coffeemakers, free Wi-Fi and more. Breakfast and Dinner are included today Day 13- Wednesday, Oct 28 Travel to Bloomington, IL (425 miles)
We’ll start our day early this morning and travel through the lovely state of Kentucky before crossing into Illinois. We’ll relax as we enjoy the lovely scenery out our windows. Again, stops are made as the day goes along. We’ll check into the lovely Doubletree Hotel 4 pm with the rest of the evening to enjoy as we wish. The Doubletree offers a nice restaurant in house(Sorry, Wi-Fi is not included). This property offers coffeemakers, irons & ironing boards, hairdryers, guest laundry. The rooms have 2 queen/double beds in them. Breakfast is included today.
Day 14 - Thursday, Oct 29 Travel Home~Fond Memories (515 miles from Duluth / 530 from Sartell)
We’ll board the coach early this morning and travel one last day together as a Happy Trails family….stops are made as we go along. We sure hope that you’ve saved a little room in your suitcase to pack all the memories you’ll have made while traveling on your Blue Ridge Mountain tour. We appreciate your business and look forward to seeing you on future Happy Trails Tours! Breakfast is included today.
These are estimated time of arrivals to your home destinations: In Eau Clair, WI (Meet the Trobec Shuttle Bus around 1 pm ) At Eau Clair, our friends from Central MN will transfer to their shuttle and continue home. Estimated arrivals: Baxter- 6:30 pm; Little Falls-7:00 pm; Rice-7:30 pm and St Cloud @ 8:30 PM; Estimated Arrival home for Northeast MN: Duluth @ 5:00 PM; Eveleth @ 6:15 PM; Virginia @ 6:30 PM; Hibbing @ 7:00 PM; Gr Rapids @ 8:00 PM