Afternoon: Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00 p.m. Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate; program activities and schedules may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will often be available during free time to accompany informal excursions, activities, or meals that have been excluded from the program cost. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own.
Dinner: Dinner will be served buffet style and includes a salad, entrée, two vegetables, bread and dessert. You will have a choice of coffee, tea or water. Dinner will be at 6:30 pm.
Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.
Activity note: Country Music Hall of Fame Museum is a 1-block walk from the hotel. We will travel to the Grand Ole Opry by motor coach.
Breakfast: At the hotel, the extensive breakfast buffet offers selections such as eggs, bacon or sausage, biscuits, cereals, oatmal, fruit, toast, bagels, English muffins, pastries, juices, coffee, tea, water.
Morning: This morning we’ll take a field trip via motorcoach to legendary Studio B, originally RCA Studios, home of hits that helped to define the “Nashville Sound.” Chet Atkins was one of the originators and Elvis mastered more than 200 songs here. Your local expert will share many of the quirks and idiosyncrasies of this unique space where so much history has been created using the pianos, mics, and accessories you will see. Next we'll board our motorcoach with a local expert who has a wealth of knowledge and passion for Nashville music. Music has always been the common thread connecting the life and soul of Nashville and its people. As we drive through in the heart of Nashville's entertainment industry, you will see offices of numerous record labels, publishing houses, music licensing firms, recording studios, video production houses, along with other business who serve the music industry, as well as radio networks, and radio stations. At the conclusion of our field trip, we’ll drop off the group at the Country Music Hall of Fame across the street from your hotel.
Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You might pick up a sandwich at the Country Music Hall of Fame or walk a block over to Broadway Street, an area with a number of choices.
Afternoon: You’ll have a ticket provided for the Country Music Hall of Fame and can stay as long as you like. This state-of-the-art museum has a treasure trove of historic country video clips, recorded music, and a vast collection of memorabilia illustrating the evolution of country music. History comes to life with the museum’s audio guide narrated by WSM radio personality Bill Cody You’ll hear about different eras of country music, behind-the-scenes stories, insider tips, personal memories and more. If you would like to know about special exhibits at the time of our program, you can go to www.countrymusichalloffame.org.
Dinner: Dinner has been excluded from this night so that you may take advantage of the restaurants that surround your hotel. Also, you must be ready to board your motor coach by 6:00 pm to leave for the Grand Ole Opry Performance. You may want to eat an early dinner in order to be ready to leave the hotel by 6 pm.
Evening: Tonight we attend a performance of the Grand Ole Opry, one of America’s great live music shows. Generations of singers, players, and comedians have performed here forging country music's legacy, just as a new generation of performers in country, bluegrass, comedy, gospel and more are moving it on. We have prime seats in the Gold Circle Section of the hall. Information on who will be performing is usually released about two weeks prior to the date. To check, you can go to www.opry.com.
Activity note: Walking and standing for approximately an hour at Ryman Auditorium and at Grand Ole Opry House. Live music and dinner is a 2-block walk from the hotel.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: We’ll hop aboard the motorcoach and ride to Ryman Auditorium. This National Historic Landmark is most famous as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-1974. Its history as Nashville's premiere theater began with its original incarnation as an evangelical tabernacle in 1892. It went on to become the place for important community events, political rallies as well as operas, symphonies, bands, ballets, and theatrical productions, dubbed the Carnegie Hall of the South. The incredibly popular Grand Ole Opry radio show found a home here in 1943, and Ryman Auditorium was inseparably linked to the origins and rise of the modern-day genre of country music, revered as The Mother Church of Country Music. Although the Opry moved to a new location in 1974, the Ryman has remained as a major attraction, undergoing a multi-million dollar restoration that brought back its original splendor, hosting top performers from around the world who praise its fine acoustics. Led by an expert, we’ll explore and hear stories about the Ryman’s history and walk in the footsteps of country music greats and other notables. At the conclusion of the field trip, the motorcoach will deliver us to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel complex.
Lunch: Take time to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. Set on 40 acres adorned with streams, waterfalls, bridges, and greenhouses, this is the largest non-casino hotel in the continental U.S. outside Las Vegas. After lunch on your own or with the group leader, you'll board your motor coach for the Grand Ole Opry House Behind the Scenes.
Afternoon: Next, we take the motorcoach to the Grand Ole Opry House. Learn the fascinating story of the Opry from a knowledgeable guide who will share stories about the Opry and country music greats past and present, take you onstage for a first-hand look at the tiered auditorium as seen through the eyes of the performers. We’ll go backstage for a rare glimpse of what happens behind the scenes including the artists’ entrance. You can also spend some time on your own strolling through the halls filled with Opry memorabilia.
Dinner: Dinner is at a specially selected restaurant off Broadway. Broadway is a major thoroughfare in Nashville, Tennessee, where all the night life you ever wanted takes place. We have selected one where you can get lost —IN the music, ON the dance floor, or IN the taste. Enjoy your meal that also includes line dancing.
Activity note: Walking approximately the distance of a city block at Belle Meade; some uneven terrain. Drive to Memphis is a little over 200 miles, approximately 4 hours. BB Kings Band plays music at a high volume. Ear plugs will be available for use upon request and provided by the group leader.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: After checking out of the hotel and loading our luggage onto the motorcoach, we’ll take an expert-led field trip to a living vestige of a bygone era: Belle Meade Plantation. The original Harding family farm began in the early 1800s and developed over the next several decades. The mansion we see today, built in Greek Revival style, was commissioned in 1845. During the Civil War, Union and Confederate forces skirmished in the front yard, and the mansion's massive stone columns were riddled with bullets. Evidence of the violence is still visible today.
Lunch: In the Belle Meade restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal.
Afternoon: En route to Memphis, You’ll see a specially selected movie. Upon arrival in Memphis, we’ll check in to our hotel with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.
Dinner: At world-renowned B.B. King’s Blues Club and Restaurant on Beale Street, the buffet offers a variety of the South's most delicious comfort food including authentic Memphis-style BBQ ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and many other Southern favorites.
Evening: B.B. King's Blues Club! The house band is B.B. King’s All Stars. Guest musicians include some of the best in the business for one of the most diverse, sophisticated lineups of modern blues and R&B in Memphis. You can jump up and dance or sit back and tap your toes. Stay on or go out and hear all the music you like up and down Beale Street.
Activity note: Travel by motor coach to Beethoven Club. Short walk from hotel to Rock n Soul.
Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers selections such as eggs, bacon or sausage, biscuits, cereals, oatmal, fruit, toast, bagels, English muffins, pastries, juices, coffee, tea, water.
Morning: Enjoy a special presentation with a professional historian who literally “wrote the book” on Beale Street and the blues — an illustrated and entertaining project on the rich variety of music in Memphis through the years. As a special highlight, the professional historian/musician will perform a private session for our group. He will be playing the piano and talking about types of music and how music is written and played.
Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like. You might choose one of the many restaurants on Beale Street or venture a block from the hotel to Main Street for more options.
Afternoon: We will meet at The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, the first ever jointly developed by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of American History (NMAH). It came out of a traveling exhibition on the roots of uniquely American music in the South from “field hollers” to work songs, blues, country, and gospel. These more countrified forms gradually met and mingled with their urban cousins: blues, jazz, and what became rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, rhythm and blues, and soul music. The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum debuted in August 2004. It charts the story of a field of music that has had a tremendous impact on popular culture and lifestyles from the mid-20th Century through today. It also documents the story of musical pioneers who overcame racial and socio-economic barriers to create music that changed our world. The museum’s digital audio guide lets you move at your own pace through seven galleries of audio-visual programs, instruments, costumes, other musical treasures, and more than 300 minutes of information including more than 100 songs. After spending time at the Rock n Soul, you will have a free afternoon. We recommend going to the Civil Rights Museum and viewing the Peabody Ducks later that afternoon.
Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.
Evening: At leisure. There is music all around you!
Activity note: Travel by motor coach to Sun Studio and Graceland. Walking around the grounds at Graceland.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: Learn about the Mighty Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is the chief river of the largest drainage system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, it rises in northern Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for 2,530 miles to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 31 US states and 2 Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth longest and tenth largest river in the world. Afterwards, we’ll head over to Sun Studio. Rock-and-roll, country music, and rockabilly artists, including Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Charlie Feathers, Ray Harris, Warren Smith, Charlie Rich, and Jerry Lee Lewis, recorded there throughout the mid to late 1950s. See where they made musical history.
Lunch: Lunch will be at a restaurant near Graceland.
Afternoon: Field trip to the 14-acre estate that was the home of Elvis Presley, now a virtual shrine with museums, films, and exhibits for a unique glimpse into the life and times of The King. Explore Graceland Mansion, see his personal mementos and gold and platinum awards. Your ticket includes: Graceland Mansion Audio-Guided Tour with New Orientation Film NEW - Full Access to all-new Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex, which includes: Self-guided tour of Presley Motors Automobile Museum Self-guided tour of Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum Self-guided tours of Elvis Discovery Exhibits ** Does not include Presley's airplanes, which are no longer owned by Graceland. $5 fee if you decide to go on your own to see the airplanes.
Dinner: At another iconic, old-time Beale Street favorite, King’s Palace Café. The atmosphere is laid back, the live music is Jazz, blues, and standards, and the mouth-watering menu is a reflection of cultural interchange up and down the Mississippi with Cajun specialties, Memphis-style BBQ, and more. Your meal includes beverage choices of coffee, tea, water.
Evening: At leisure. You can stay on to enjoy live blues music at King’s Palace Café. Or, you might like to walk over to the nearby Rum Boogie Café for more music to delight your senses. If you want still more music, continue exploring Beale Street on your own. This is the heart and soul of old Memphis, home to pioneering musicians such as W.C. Handy, who wrote the first blues song here in 1909. No other landmark has held such mystique, intrigue, fame and infamy over the years. Beale Street was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, and by the early 1980's a full tilt renovation was taking place. Today, not only the Blues is heard on Beale Street, but Soul, Gospel, Jazz, Rock, Fusion, and Reggae.
Activity note: Travel time from Memphis to New Orleans is approximately 5-1/2 hours, depending on traffic and circumstances.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we board our motorcoach for the transfer to New Orleans with commentary en route.
Lunch: We’ll stop along the way for lunch at a characteristic local restaurant.
Afternoon: Transfer continues. After arrival and check-in at the hotel, you will have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.
Dinner: At the hotel, your meal includes a choice of entrée with beverage choices of iced tea, coffee, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. Music abounds right inside the hotel at Irwin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse.
Activity note: French Quarter streets are too narrow for motorcoaches, so most of our exploration will be on foot. This morning’s walking field trip is up to 6 blocks. The afternoon excursion to other parts of the city is by motor coach.
Breakfast: Full American breakfast.
Morning: Get an introduction to New Orleans traditions, celebrations, and people from a humorist who has lived here all her life and who represents the "joie de vivre" that makes New Orleanians so distinctively memorable. Learn what it means when we say “It's a New Orleans thing.”
Lunch: At the renowned New Orleans School of Cooking, a local chef will discuss Cajun cooking and Creole cuisine, and demonstrate a delicious traditional dish we’ll then have for lunch. For dessert, see how the tastiest pralines in town are made.
Afternoon: To get an overview of key parts of the city, we’ll board a motorcoach for a trip to learn about the people, traditions, and unique culture of New Orleans. One of the most fascinating features for many people is the “cities of the dead” — cemeteries of above-ground tombs, and we’ll stop at one of these. Time and weather permitting, you’ll also have an opportunity to see the Lakefront and Garden District.
Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.
Evening: At leisure. We will provide vouchers to enjoy more New Orleans night life, music and culture. There are numerous options near the hotel. One of the most popular is Fritzel’s, a “European” jazz club.
Activity note: Walking up to 6 blocks.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: Enjoy a special performance at the hotel by a local musician just for our Road Scholar group.
Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like. Vouchers will be provided for Café du Monde where you can enjoy coffee and beignets after lunch or at your leisure.
Afternoon: We have provided you with two vouchers for self-guided exploration of the History Museum in the Cabildo, former seat of Colonial government, and the Mardi Gras Museum in the adjoining Presbytere, that houses an elaborate collection of Mardi Gras artifacts.
Dinner: For two decades, Palace Cafe has been serving award-winning, contemporary Creole cuisine in the historic Werlein Music building. Located downtown at the entrance to the French Quarter, this Dickie Brennan restaurant is popular with visitors and locals alike. We’ll order from a select menu.
Evening: Enjoy some authentic New Orleans entertainment.
Activity note: Hotel check-out is by 12:00 Noon.
Brunch: Enjoy a leisurely Jazz Brunch in the French Quarter courtyard of the renowned Court of Two Sisters restaurant. The brunch buffet is one of the most sumptuous and extensive in town. Some dishes are perpetual favorites, some change with the seasons. Some are only in the morning and some only in the afternoon. Some of the hot dishes typically available for morning brunch are Eggs Benedict and made-to-order omelettes, grillades (medallions of meat in gravy), pancakes, sausage, bacon, and hash browns. There’s also a selection of salads, a carving station, a variety of bakery goods, delicious desserts including the famed Courtyard Bread Pudding with whiskey sauce, and fruit, plus beverage choices including juice, coffee, tea, water. The town house at 613 Rue Royale has a fascinating story. It was built in 1732, barely more than a decade after the city was founded. At different times, it was the home of five governors, two state Supreme Court justices, a future justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and a future President of the United States. The restaurant takes its name from two sisters of an aristocratic Creole family, Emma and Bertha Camors, who lived here and ran a “notions” shop for elegant ladies beginning in 1886. Thanks to its charming ambience, their “court” became a focal point of Creole society. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy all your Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!