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America’s First Mardi Gras: Three Centuries of Pageantry in Mobile

Program Number: 7877RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/10/2013 - 2/15/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Mobile, Alabama
Price starting at: $738.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Festivals, Misc.; History & Culture
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Celebrate Mardi Gras in Mobile, where the fun and frolic began in 1703! Experience the history, customs, pageantry and excitement of Carnival as you learn about mystic societies from their members. Celebrate Mardi Gras family style and practice your new found tricks for catching moon pies, beads and more. Enjoy a full day of festivities featuring colorful parades on Mardi Gras morning, afternoon and evening.




Highlights

• Explore the Mardi Gras Museum showcasing gowns, trains and crowns of Mardi Gras kings and queens, and see the reigning king and royal court arrive during Monday’s beautiful Floral Parade.
• Enjoy marching bands, mounted parade units and floats created by “krewes” such as the Order of Athena, Knights of Revelry, Comic Cowboys and Order of Myths.
• Discover Mobile’s rich cultural history with field trips to the City Museum and beautiful coastal architecture in historic districts.



Activity Particulars

Significant periods of standing and waiting during parades. Participants are expected to be able to navigate large crowds.



A shorter 3-night version of this program is available. Please see program #14269.




Date Specific Information

2-10-2013

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Coordinated by University of South Alabama.




Mobile

Mobile, home of the nation’s oldest Mardi Gras celebration, was founded in 1702 as the original capital of the Louisiana territory. Its rich heritage is evident in the city’s elegant, historic homes. The bay area is renowned for its lush beauty, bountiful azaleas (in season) and fabulous seafood.



Accommodations
One of the South's finest historic hotels in the heart of downtown, right on the parade route.
Meals and Lodgings
   Admiral Semmes Hotel
  Mobile, AL 5 nights
 Admiral Semmes Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Admiral Semmes Hotel has been one of the south's finest historic landmark hotels since it's opening in 1940, when it was acclaimed Mobile's only luxury hotel. Some of the hotel's architectural features include expansive marble floors, stair cases, a unique oval balcony lobby, highlighted by a large central chandelier, and the original Art Deco elevator doors. An entire floor of conference space on the mezzanine level is located on the second floor near some of the rooms.
  Contact info: 251 Government Street
Mobile, AL 36602 USA
phone: 251-432-8000
web: www.admiralsemmeshotel.com
  Room amenities: All accommodations feature a comfortable lounge chair with ottoman, an elegant armoire with separate vanity, a mini-refrigerator, coffee pot, hair dryer, maid service and room service until 10 PM.
  Facility amenities: There is a spacious outdoor pool deck with hot tub, and there is a covered parking garage adjacent to the hotel with a charge of $7 a day. Oliver's restaurant and bar is also located inside the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Ask for the best rate. It is recommended to make reservations if you plan to arrive early or depart late especially around Mardi Gras.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Ask for the best rate. It is recommended to make reservations if you plan to arrive early or depart late especially around Mardi Gras.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel Check-in is at 3:00 PM, Registration is from 4:00 -5:30 PM You will be staying at Admiral Semmes Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Hotel Check-Out is at 11:00 AM You will be staying at Admiral Semmes Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Road Scholar Health Form is required for each participant.
  Parking availability:
Parking available adjacent to the hotel, at $7 a day.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Mobile, AL
  Nearest highway: Interstate 10
  Nearest airport:  Mobile Regional Airport (airport code MOB)
  From End of Program
  Location: Mobile, AL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Mobile Regional Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Yellow Cab/Mobile Bay Transportation
phone: 251-476-7711
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20 per person
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

30 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

7.5 miles

   

You must register at least 24 hours in advance. You must ask for Mobile Transportation. Please mention that you are a Road Scholar participant. You can register on line by emailing dispatch@mobilebaytransportation.com or you can call 251-476-7711. Confirm your reservations before your flight lands to ensure pick up.

 
Driving Directions
  From Mobile Regional Airport to Admiral Semmes When leaving the airport, travel east on Airport Blvd for 10 miles. Airport Blvd will end at Old Government St where you will yield to the right onto Old Governement St. You will then turn left onto Government St still traveling east. Travel for 2.5 miles and the hotel will be on your right. To get to the parking garage, take a right on Joachim St. After one block, take a right on Church St (the back of the hotel) then the next right on S Jackson St, where the parking garage is on the west side of the hotel to your right.
  I-10 east to Admiral Semmes Traveling east on I-10 take exit 26B Water St. to your right toward downtown Mobile. Merge to the far left lane to turn left at the first light to Government St. The hotel will be on your left on the corner of Joachim and Government. To get to the parking garage, take a left on Joachim St. After one block, take a right on Church St (the back of the hotel) then the next right on S Jackson St, where the parking garage is on the west side of the hotel to your right.
  I-10 west to Admiral Semmes Hotel Traveling west on I-10, take exit 27 onto US-90/US-98 to merge onto Government Blvd. You will go through the Wallace Bankhead tunnel and the hotel will be on your right. To get to the parking garage, take a left on Joachim St. After one block, take a right on Church St (the back of the hotel) then the next right on S Jackson St, where the parking garage is on the west side of the hotel to your right.
  I-65 to Admiral Semmes Hotel Heading south on I-65, merge to the left toward Florida where I-65 forks to travel I-10 East. Travel for 6 miles on I-10 then take exit 26B Water St. to your right toward downtown Mobile. Merge to the far left lane to turn left at the first light to Government St. The hotel will be on your left on the corner of Joachim and Government. To get to the parking garage, take a left on Joachim St. After one block, take a right on Church St (the back of the hotel) then the next right on S Jackson St, where the parking garage is on the west side of the hotel to your right.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-in and Orientation/Dinner served in the hotel/Introductions
(Sunday, February 10)
   
 Afternoon: Check in begins at 3 PM and registration is 4-5:30 PM. at the Admiral Semmes Hotel. Orientation for the program week will be in the conference room of the hotel. University history and all handout materials (schedule, bios, menus, field trips, etc.) will be discussed. Any questions about the schedule or the program will be answered at this time. **Please note that schedule is subject to change due to instructor availability.
 Dinner: Dinner served in the dining area of the hotel.
 Evening: Each person will introduce themselves and tell something that might connect them to someone else in the group. There will also be time at the end to answer any new questions that may arise.
   
Accommodations: Admiral Semmes Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Breakfast in the hotel/Morning class includes what to expect during a parade and history of Mardi Gras/lunch in the hotel/Field trip to Carnival Museum/Dinner in hotel/evening Mardi Gras Parade.
(Monday, February 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in the hotel dining area.
 Morning: Get your first taste of Mardi Gras during today’s morning classes: Mardi Gras in Mobile. You will learn about the history and traditions of this extravagant carnival celebration, an annual event highlighted by lavish balls, ornate floats, and brightly colored costumes.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Enjoy the sights and sounds of King Felix and Knights and the Floral Parade. This parade debuted in 1928 and features themes of storybook and comic strip scenes chosen to appeal to children. This charming procession, with beautiful floats, is a must-see Mobile tradition.Take a field trip to Mobile's newest attraction, the Mobile Carnival Museum. Celebrate the city's Mardi Gras history and learn how this frivolous celebration began. The gallery houses the largest Mobile carnival collection under one roof, including rare Mardi Gras memorabilia, gowns, trains and crowns of coronation royalty dating from 1921. Explore a Mardi Gras float barn. You will get upclose with the floats and learn about how the organization works.
 Dinner: Dinner served in the hotel dining area.
 Evening: Following dinner get ready for an evening parade. The Infant Mystic Society will be parading this evening. Be ready for moon pies and beads galore.
   
Accommodations: Admiral Semmes Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Continental breakfast in the hotel/Mardi Gras fun/Lunch in hotel ballroom/More Mardi Gras fun/Dinner in the hotel ballroom/Evening Mardi Gras Parade
(Tuesday, February 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in the hotel dining area.
 Morning: Enjoy Mobile’s largest Mardi Gras celebration – Fat Tuesday! Revel in the excitement as you watch two morning parades: Order of Athena and Knights of Revelry. The group’s central location in a historic downtown hotel. During the parades, walk out to the street or watch from a balcony as moon pies fly and beads scatter through the air. Take a break from the festivities in the air-conditioned banquet room or relax in the hotel lounge.
 Lunch: Buffet lunch served in the ballroom of the hotel.
 Afternoon: Add some laughter to your afternoon as the Comic Cowboys parade rolls through the streets. This fun group is known for theme floats that poke fun of trends and gossip in today’s society. Next, make way for the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association Parade. This organization will delight you with up-tempo bands and great music as they shower you with treats and trinkets.
 Dinner: Buffet dinner served in the ballroom of the hotel.
 Evening: After dinner enjoy the final parade of the Mardi Gras season, the Order of Myths. This men’s organization, formed in 1867, is Mobile’s oldest carnival society. This organization is known for its mule-drawn theme float that is lighted by lanterns. Throw your hands up and yell, “Throw Me Something Mister!” These experienced maskers will make sure no one goes home empty handed.
   
Accommodations: Admiral Semmes Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: All meals served in the hotel/Morning class on the history of Mobile/Free Afternoon to explore the area on your own/Evening class
(Wednesday, February 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in the hotel dining area.
 Morning: Sleep in a little later this morning. Then, dive into Mobile history! During a class with a local expert, discover the influence and contributions of Native Americans, Africans, Spanish, French, and British on our city. Learn about Mobile’s role in the Civil War, Reconstruction, and World War II.
 Lunch: Lunch served in the hotel dining area.
 Afternoon: Take this free afternoon to explore the local hot spots as you explore Mobile on your own. Discover downtown Mobile as you can walk around the historic district or venture out into the city. Make a trip to the causeway to sample the area’s finest cuisine – fresh gulf seafood. While you’re there, don’t miss the USS Alabama Battleship.
 Dinner: Dinner served in the hotel dining area.
 Evening: Evening class on Storytelling. You will delight in the stories that will bring strong emotions from laughter to tears as you think about stories you could tell about your life.
   
Accommodations: Admiral Semmes Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Breakfast served in the hotel/ Morning class with an architectural historian also a field trip to History Museum/Lunch on your own/Field Trip to Historic Districts/Dinner at the hotel/Evening session
(Thursday, February 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in the hotel dining area.
 Morning: Enjoy a class with an architectural historian. Learn about Mobile’s architecture in discussions surrounding 18th and 19th century styles including bungalow, Creole, Antebellum, Victorian, and Italianate. Topics may include churches, homes, and commercial buildings. Discover how details followed individual tastes and trends of the time. Field trip to the City Museum, home to 21st century innovative exhibits that come alive. Explore Mobile as the first Americans saw it. Relive the journey of African-American, and see their influence in art, sports and leadership. Listen to stories of Civil War soldiers. Sense the devastation of powerful natural disasters.
 Lunch: From seafood to sandwiches and salads, you can find many wonderful restaurants to enjoy. Don't miss "Three Georges" candy store for your home made candy dessert.
 Afternoon: Next, enjoy a guided tour of one of Mobile's Historic Districts, with an architectural historian. Discover architectural details discussed in class as you walk along the streets of some of Mobiles most beautiful historic buildings. Explore the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the first Catholic Parish on the Gulf coast. Relocated to its present location in 1711, this beautiful structure is rich with history and intricate detail. From twelve towering stained glass windows to the stunning gold leafing around the columns and ceilings, you will marvel at this edifice of structural integrity.
 Dinner: Dinner served in the hotel dining area.
 Evening: Enjoy the Azalea Trail Maids this evening. These high school senior girls are ambassadors for our city. You may have seen them in the Macy's Day parade or Disney World's Easter Parade. Bring your camera this evening!
   
Accommodations: Admiral Semmes Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Breakfast in the hotel/Check-out and class on the history of Mobile/Box lunch
(Friday, February 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in the hotel dining area.
 Morning: Check-out of hotel. Dive into Mobile history! During a class with a local expert, discover the influence and contributions of Native Americans, Africans, Spanish, French, and British on our city. Learn about Mobile’s role in the Civil War, Reconstruction, and World War II.
 Lunch: Farewell lunch served in the hotel dining area.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Mobile, AL Battleship USS Alabama and the US Drum
History meets heroism... from World War II to Iraqi Freedom, at one of America's finest military parks. Here at the Battleship Memorial Park you will walk the decks of a mighty battleship. Go below in a World War II submarine. View cockpits of combat aircraft. You will also see tanks, a Vietnam River Patrol Boat, and a plane like the one flown by the Tuskegee Airmen. It is all here, all waiting to be discovered by you. For additional information, visit www.ussalabama.com
  Bellingrath Gardens and Home
Readers of "Southern Living" recently chose Bellingrath Gardens as one of the top three gardens in its annual Readers Choice Survey. In bloom every day of the year, Bellingrath Gardens offers visitors 65 acres of landscaped beauty among towering live-oaks draped in Spanish moss. The Bellingrath Home has been chosen as the first in Alabama to appear on A&E's popular "America's Castles" series. Enjoy a relaxing sight-seeing cruise aboard the Southern Bell River Cruiser on the Fowl River. View surrounding estates and wildlife from climate controlled comfort. For additional information, visit www.bellingrath.org/gardens/
  Bragg-Mitchell Mansion
Canopied by century-old live oak trees, "The Bragg" is a grand antebellum mansion. This beautiful example of southern elegance is furnished with fine antiques and exquisite draperies. The circular staircase, double parlors and lavish rooms with crystal chandeliers remind one of a time when hospitality was a way of life. Free parking. For additional information, visit www.braggmitchellmansion.com
  Conde Charlotte Museum House
Mobile's first official jail, this circa 1822 Federal-style home has period rooms containing French, British, Spanish, Confederate, and American furnishings and decor. For additional information, visit www.condecharlottemuseum.com
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Historic Photos of Mobile


Author: Carol Ellis and Scotty Kirkland


Mobile: The History of Alabama's First City


Author: Michael Thomason,ed.




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