Bluegrass and Blue Ridges: Louisville to Nashville

8 night tour - starting in Louisville, Kentucky - ending in Nashville, Tennessee

A Tauck World Discovery Tour.

Celebrating 90 years in the travel touring business, Tauck offer the ultimate in luxury touring. Throughout the years, ingenuity and innovation, plus a focus on customer servce and authentic experiences, have grown Tauck into one of the world's leading travel touring companies. On your tour you can expect an itinerary carefully designed to create an unforgetable experience, ensuring the finest hotels, luxury motorcoaches and highly experienced tour directors.

Crafted with filmmakers Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, celebrates the history, cultural heritage and natural beauty found in the Great Smoky Mountains and three of the most popular states in the Appalachia Mountains – Kentucky (the Blue Grass State), North Carolina and Tennessee. Kentucky – enjoy an insider tour of Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby... visit the homestead that inspired Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home”... explore a 19th-century Shaker village... learn the secrets of bourbon at a visit to a bourbon distillery... North Carolina – explore the Biltmore Estate, a palatial manor house built by George Vanderbilt in 1895... spend two nights in Asheville, one of America's top culinary destinations... trace the roots of Appalachian music at the Folk Art Center... visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee... Tennessee – visit the Hermitage, the plantation home of President Andrew Jackson... tour the Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville... and more. Tauck exclusives and highlights include... original film content produced exclusively for Tauck by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns exploring the development of Bluegrass, Country and Appalachian musical forms, as well as the history of westward expansion and American Indian perspectives... exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America's most visited national park... standing at the Cumberland Gap, gateway to the west... lunch and entertainment aboard a Cumberland River paddle wheeler showboat, General Jackson... “backstretch” tour of Churchill Downs with a professional jockey... lunch with a Nashville songwriter at the Country Music Hall of Fame... private presentation on Appalachian music and instrument craftmanship... a country music performance at the Grand Ole Opry or Ryman Auditorium... and much more, including a special highlight – a "Bluegrass & Bourbon" dinner event at a mansion in Lexington, Kentucky, featuring a live Bluegrass band. 

2016 Guaranteed departure dates:
May 17th
June 07th
August 30th
September 07th & 20th
View Itinerary Details

Day 1: Arrive Louisville

Tour begins: 5:30 PM, The Brown Hotel. A transfer is included from Louisville International Airport to The Brown Hotel, a landmark in the heart of downtown Louisville near the theatre district. Since 1923, this gracious hotel has entertained celebrities and dignitaries with its opulence, charm, and impeccable Southern hospitality, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Please join us at the hotel this evening for a welcome reception and dinner.

Lodging The Brown Hotel


Day 2: Behind-the-scenes at Churchill Downs, Stephen Foster, and the story of bourbon

Begin the day with a visit to Churchill Downs, the legendary thoroughbred racetrack that has hosted The Kentucky Derby since 1875. Your visit includes a Tauck Exclusive tour of the backstretch with a professional jockey who’ll share insider views of the track’s history and daily operation while the horses take their morning exercise. On the racetrack grounds, you’ll also visit The Kentucky Derby Museum for insights into the race’s celebrated history, and what goes into the breeding and training of a thoroughbred champion.  A short drive to Bardstown takes you to another iconic landmark, Federal Hill, a Georgian-style plantation house built in 1795 by Judge John Rowan that once entertained dignitaries like Andrew Jackson and Marquis de Lafayette, but is better known as the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home” – tour the impeccably preserved mansion and formal gardens. Then head to Frankfort for a guided tour of the Buffalo Trace Distillery, famous for its fine Kentucky bourbon, which it has produced continuously since 1775. During Prohibition, the distillery was permitted to output whiskey “for medicinal purposes...” Arrive late afternoon at your resort hotel in Lexington where the evening is free.

Lodging Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Shakers and a private "Bluegrass & Bourbon" evening

Drive to Pleasant Hill, site of what was once the largest, most successful Shaker community in America. Founded in England in the 18th century, the sect known as Shakers had a profound effect on 19th century America, as documented in Ken Burns’s film, Hands to Work, Hearts to God. Known locally as “Shakertown,” the village, which flourished here from 1805 to 1910, comprises 34 original buildings, wonderfully restored as a living museum with costumed interpreters, where you’ll gain insights into the hearts and minds of the Shakers, and marvel at their engineering achievements; besides their fame for furniture making, the Shakers invented the circular saw, the clothespin, the wheel-driven washing machine, and numerous other labor-saving devices. Following lunch at the village, delve deeper into equine culture at The Kentucky Horse Park, a working horse farm and theme park showcasing breeds from around the world; you’ll also visit the International Museum of the Horse. Return to your hotel for a special, private “Bluegrass & Bourbon” evening, including a banquet dinner, a live band, and bourbon tasting.

Lodging Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Currents of the Cumberland Gap

When you stand at the Cumberland Gap you’ll never forget it – you’re standing at the first frontier, the first gateway to the west. Off the beaten pathwa, It was a break in the Appalachian Mountains that provided a gateway to the west for migrating buffalo herds, American Indian tribes, and restless pioneers – including Daniel Boone, who blazed a trail known as the Wilderness Road here in 1775. And today you will join that long list of “travelers” when you pass through the gap yourself. Explore its rich history and cultural currents at a private presentation at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park visitors’ center. The park also features unique geologic sandstone formations, magnificent underground caverns, and restored log cabins from an early 20th century pioneer settlement. Continue to Asheville, North Carolina, where your accommodation is both historic and gracious, exemplifying the best of Southern hospitality. Asheville has emerged as one of America’s top culinary destinations – a “foodie haven” with many new twists on traditional southern cuisine. In addition to being ranked #12 on the recent “Top 100 Best Places to Live in America,” its restaurants and chefs have won top accolades in numerous polls. Dine at your leisure at “The Biltmore.”

Lodging Inn on Biltmore Estate

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: The Biltmore Estate & Appalachian music

Back in 1895 George Vanderbilt II, grandson of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, decided to build himself “a little mountain escape” in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The result was the Biltmore Estate, a fabulous 250-room French château for which he employed architect Richard Morris Hunt for the castle design and Frederick Law Olmsted (the designer of Central Park) to lay out the woodlands and formal gardens. You’ll have an opportunity to learn more about this magnificent estate on tours of both the estate grounds and through the mansion itself. See Antler Hill Village, a town built to house the employees who worked on the estate and tended its crops and livestock. After lunch on the estate, take a short drive to the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a museum of Appalachian arts and crafts, for a private presentation on Appalachian music. Return to Asheville for an evening spent as you please.

Lodging Inn on Biltmore Estate

Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Great Smoky Mountains National Park & Museum of the Cherokee

Today you’ll experience one of the most beautiful, and one of the oldest, places on Earth – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the US. Historically, it is known as a place of refuge; the fascinating story of its creation includes the heroic efforts of Horace Kephart, George Masa and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Ecologically, it is one of the world’s best examples of a deciduous hardwood forest – a UNESCO World Heritage Site with one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, it is dedicated as an international biosphere reserve. Scenically, the grandeur and beauty of the Southern Appalachians is at its very core – from mist-shrouded “smoky” mountains with their wide range of elevations to fresh streams and miles of forests; it is the very definition of the word “vista.” In Cherokee, North Carolina, explore 19th century wilderness settlement life with period interpreters at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitors’ center. You’ll also visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian for a guided tour and exclusive private viewing of its archival collection of artifacts. A catered private lunch at the museum includes samples of traditional Cherokee flavors and is accompanied by a Cherokee flute musician. Arrive in Knoxville late afternoon.

Lodging Hilton Knoxville Downtown

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Nashville Rhythms

Travel today to what has emerged as the music capital of America, Nashville. First up is a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame, where you’ll truly get a behind-the-scenes look at the industry during lunch with a Nashville songwriter. Enjoy time on your own to explore the museum, then head to the Ryman Auditorium for a private front-of-house and backstage tour. The venerable hall is best known as the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, from 1943 to 1974, having hosted the biggest country stars of its day. Your downtown hotel is a palatial Beaux-Arts landmark built in 1910; dine from a selection of Nashville restaurants.

Lodging The Hermitage Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: The Hermitage, General Jackson Showboat & the Grand Ole Opry

Visit The Hermitage, the plantation home of Andrew Jackson, military hero, populist, and 7th President of the United States. Dayton Duncan notes that you can understand Andrew Jackson by his own words – “I was born for a storm. And a calm does not suit me.” Jackson (“Old Hickory”) lived here until his death in 1845 and his brick mansion is considered the most accurately preserved presidential home in the US, with restored décor and original furnishings. Your next stop is the General Jackson Showboat, a paddle wheeler on the Cumberland River, where lunch includes live entertainment. Drive along Music Row to your hotel for an early farewell reception and dinner, then join us this evening for a performance of country music at the inimitable Grand Ole Opry or the Ryman Auditorium.

Lodging The Hermitage Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Journey home or extend your stay

Tour ends: Fly home anytime,  A transfer is included from The Hermitage Hotel to Nashville International Airport. Allow a minimum of two hours for flight check-in.


Your Tauck Tour Highlights

Filmed narratives exclusively produced for Tauck by filmmakers Ken Burns & Dayton Duncan feature new insights based on themes from their films, from national parks to country music
TAUCK EXCLUSIVE lunch with a Nashville songwriter at the Country Music Hall of Fame
TAUCK EXCLUSIVE backstretch tour of Churchill Downs – meet a professional jockey
TAUCK EXCLUSIVE private “Bluegrass and Bourbon” event dinner at a Lexington mansion
Country music performance at the Grand Ole Opry or Ryman Auditorium
Private presentation on Appalachian music and instrument craftsmanship
Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
22 meals, service charges, gratuities to local guides, admission fees, taxes and porterage

Your Hotels....

Night 1 : The Brown Hotel - Louisville, Kentucky - Tauck Guests enjoy complimentary Internet access in guest rooms!

Since 1923, the Brown Hotel has entertained celebrities and dignitaries with its opulence, charm, and impeccable Southern hospitality in the heart of downtown Louisville, close to the theatre district.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel has been recently renovated, and its list of amenities include European goose-down duvets, granite bathrooms, complimentary wi-fi access, two restaurants, a fitness center, and a lobby bar with hand-painted plaster relief ceilings and sumptuous furnishings.

Nights 2 - 3 : Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa - Lexington, Kentucky

Set in the rolling meadows of the Bluegrass Country, the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa extends a warm Kentucky welcome to guests in the true spirit of Southern hospitality. Guest rooms encourage guests to make themselves right at home with a coffee / tea maker, iron and ironing board, access to high-speed Internet, and remote-control TV with cable, satellite and premium movie channels. During your stay, take advantage of tennis courts, the indoor or outdoor swimming pools, play a few holes on the Rees Jones-designed golf course at the Griffin Gate Golf Club or find your inner harmony in the tranquil ambiance of The Spa at Griffin Gate with a soothing or rejuvenating treatment. Sample some of Kentucky’s finest bourbons at JW’s Lounge or indulge your love of great coffee at the on-site Starbucks.

Nights 4 - 5 : Inn on Biltmore Estate - Asheville, North Carolina - Tauck Guests enjoy complimentary Internet access in guest rooms!

Set on the picturesque grounds of George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, the Inn on Biltmore Estate frequently appears on Condé Nast’s Travelers’ Gold List for its outstanding accommodations and amenities, including a gourmet restaurant, a spa, a bar, a library lounge, complimentary wi-fi access, complimentary estate shuttle service, 24-hour room service, outdoor pool, and fitness room. All guest rooms feature fine furnishings and elegant fabrics. The inn is in walking distance of the Winery and Antler Hill Village, and bikes are available for hire.

Night 6 : Hilton Knoxville Downtown - Knoxville, Tennessee - Tauck Guests enjoy complimentary Internet access in guest rooms!

Hilton Knoxville Downtown is a contemporary oasis in the heart of the downtown business district, within walking distance of historic Market Square. Exuding the warm, inviting charm of East Tennessee hospitality, all rooms feature upscale décor; amenities include a fitness center, outdoor pool, a cocktail bar, and a café.

Nights 7 - 8 : The Hermitage Hotel - Nashville, Tennessee - Tauck Guests enjoy complimentary Internet access in guest rooms!

The Hermitage in downtown Nashville is a cherished landmark hotel, built in 1910 in palatial Beaux-Arts style, that has entertained presidents, celebrities, and country music stars for over one hundred years. The spacious, ornate lobby with its grand staircase echoes timeless elegance, while the hotel’s modern amenities include a spa and exercise room, an oak bar, and a restaurant featuring sophisticated Southern cuisine.

Tour Only Cost: All prices quoted below are per adult person, per tour in British Pounds (GBP)

Departure Dates

Single Twin/Double Triple Quad
All departures in 2016 £3567 £2865 £2644 Please call
Special Solo Traveller Savings – save up to £130 off the single room price on select departure dates – Please call us for more details. 
Children - may qualify for a discount when sharing a room with 2 adults - Please call us for details. 
Not included in your tour cost:
Flights – we can package your tour with flights at very competitive airfares using our airline partners. Please call us to discuss the best airline for your itinerary.
Pre or post accommodation - If you want to extend your stay at the start or the end of your escorted tour or add another destination to your booking please call us and we will be happy to provide a quote.
Meals, other than those listed in the itinerary.
The customary gratuities for the Tour Director and local drivers are not included.
There are many questions and considerations you might have when planning an escorted tour with Tauck Tours. For more information please click here.


Please call us on FREEPHONE 0800 0336 335 or EMAIL us we are open 7 days a week.

We will be happy to answer any questions, check the availability of your tour, offer a quote for flights and any pre or post nights you would like to add.

When you are ready to go ahead with the booking, a non-refundable deposit of 10% will be due at time of booking or the full balance if you are due to travel within 8 weeks.