6-Day Tennessee Circle Tour

Day 1 You'll See:

  • Free time in Nashville
  • Grand Ole Opry
  • Cruise on General Jackson Showboat
  • Tennessee Performing Arts Theater

Day 2 You'll See:

  • Ryman Auditorium
  • Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Historic 2nd Avenue
  • Mansion at Fontanel
  • Parthenon
  • Belle Meade Plantation

Day 3 You’ll See:

  • Free time in Chattanooga  
  • Jack Daniels Distillery
  • Tennessee Aquarium
  • Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal

Day 4 You’ll See:

  • Lookout Mountain
  • Ruby Falls
  • Incline Railway
  • Point Park
  • Rock City Gardens
  • International Towing and Recovery Museum
  • Southern Belle

Day 5 You’ll See:

  • Smoky Mountains
  • Mayfield Dairy

Day 6 You’ll See:

  • Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community
  • Dollywood
  • Dixie Stampede

 

microphone-764865_1280The state of Tennessee has so much to offer your group for an unforgettable graduation getaway like no other, and Adventure Student Travel is here to show you the best of the best on your 6 day circle tour of the state! Start your trip in the musically and historically rich city of Nashville and eventually end up on the natural and also historical oasis that is Chattanooga. Your group will have ample opportunities to let loose, rock out, and enjoy the views of the Smoky Mountains all within this amazing 6 day adventure. The Grand Ole Opry, Dixie Stampede, Rock City, and Tennessee Aquarium all await you, all you have to do is book it and we’ll take care of the rest!

 

Day 1

Free time in Nashville - Nashville is home to some of the South’s best musical, cultural, and historical destinations that will be sure to spark the interest of everyone in your group. Home and birthplace of American country music, as well as Bluegrass and classic Rock and Roll, there are several opportunities for your group to learn more about the origin of some of their favorite musical styles, as well as see the impact the city of Nashville has made culturally on the music and entertainment world throughout history. You will also have the chance to see several Civil War era landmarks, historic districts and homes, as well as more modern architectural and scientific attractions throughout the city. Take a stroll downtown to take in the many local parks, shops, restaurants, and museums and get a true sense of Southern comfort. There is so much to do and so little time in Nashville, so be sure to put on your walking shoes and keep your eyes open so you don’t miss a thing!

Grand Ole Opry - Next stop, your group will marvel at what began as a simple radio broadcast in 1925, and has now grown into Nashville’s number one attraction and a true American icon, the Grand Ole Opry. The Grand Ole Opry is dedicated to honoring country music’s rich history and dynamic present and showcases a mix of country music legends of the past and contemporary chart toppers of the present. This, country’s most famous stage, has launched countless music careers and is the driving force behind the nickname ‘music city’ for Nashville. The first members of the Opry family included Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff, and Minnie Pearl. Today you can see such acts as Trace Adkins, Brad Paisley, and Martina McBride. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take a backstage tour while you are here, either upon arrival or prior to a 2 hour show. During a tour you will walk in the footsteps of country superstars and get an exclusive look at the behind the scenes on the Grand Ole Opry stage. Your group will hear stories of backstage excitement throughout the years, as well as have the varying opportunity to see a star preparing or practicing before a big show! Prepare yourself and your group for a ‘foot-stomping, hand clapping, laughing, crying good ol' time as you visit an absolutely essential country music tour stop, Nashville historic icon, and home of American music!

Cruise on General Jackson Showboat - Set sail southern comfort style with this three hour country inspired dinner cruise. The General Jackson Showboat is one of the largest show boats ever built and was designed to display the grace and grandeur of the Old South. Inside the showboat your group will find a 2-story Victorian style theater, detailed with lacy filigree and stately Victorian design. While on board get ready to experience an award winning country show, nightly ranging from current country popular hits to classic 90’s tracks. These ‘Hot Nashville Nights’ shows feature various artists work from Blake Shelton to Garth Brooks. While enjoying the show your group will also be able to fully enjoy a southern-style dinner, completing your dinner cruise experience! Take in the sights of the stunning evening Nashville skyline as you float down the Cumberland River, a gorgeous local gem. You will have plenty of options to be educated about the area, the boat, and the history and future of country music as you get wined and dined, so sit back, relax, and take in the sounds and smells of true Southern comfort on the General Jackson Showboat.

Tennessee Performing Arts Theater - Located in the James K Polk Cultural Center, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, or TPAC, is a Nashville cultural tradition, providing entertainment and economic stimulation since 1980. The James Polk Center takes up an entire city block between 5th and 6th and also houses the Tennessee State Museum, as well as the 18-story tower. TPAC’s goal is to lead with excellence in the performing arts and art education, and is actually one of the largest and most comprehensive education programs in the United States, serving 1.5 million students annually. The center also features several Broadway shows as well as private events. There are 3 resident performing arts organizations that call TPAC home, including the Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Nashville Repertory Theater. Inside the performing arts center your group will get to tour the 4 different stages it features as well as the behind the scenes stage locations. Oftentimes this venue gets rented out for school events, corporations, or private artist functions. Loretta Lynn, Reba Mcentire, Trisha Yearwood, and Randy Newman have all used TPAC for their own events, making this center a major local economic booster. Enjoy your tour of this popular cultural tradition, or even just enjoy a night of laughs and entertainment.

 

Day 2

Ryman Auditorium - Known tenderly by Southerners and tourists alike as the "Carnegie Hall of the South," Ryman Auditorium is a true country music icon in Nashville that your group is not going to want to miss. The idea for this auditorium began in the 1880’s, when steamboat captain and local business man Thomas G. Ryman vowed to build a tabernacle that would project his favorite speaker, Reverend Jones’ voice perfectly for a large group of people to hear. In 1892 the late Victorian Gothic revival style structure was complete, being the largest building in the area. Being the largest structure attracted community events, political rallies, and turn of the century entertainment such as operas, symphonies, ballets, and bands. Inside the Ryman, your group will have the chance to tour the halls of the historic entertainment mecca and set foot on stage and backstage, getting the full Ryman Auditorium experience. Hear the story of Earl Scruggs and how this very site became the birthplace of Bluegrass, see memorabilia from the 1901 Barber of Seville opening at Ryman, and be immersed in the past as you learn about the earliest performers at this venue, such as John Philip Sousa, Harry Houdini, Charlie Chaplin, Bob Hope, and Theodore Roosevelt. Find out why this stage as been named "the mother church of country music," the birthplace of Bluegrass, and has been voted "Theater of the Year" for 5 years running firsthand as you visit the prestigious and historic Ryman Auditorium.

Country Music Hall of Fame - Established in the musical heart of Nashville in 1967, the Country Music Hall of Fame is an essential and exciting stop for your group while visiting Nashville. Considered the Smithsonian of country music, this hall of fame aims to collect, preserve, and interpret the evolving history and traditions of country music, which it does spectacularly. Inside this 350,000 square foot wonder your group will find exhibits, publications, and various educational programs that highlight the enduring beauty and cultural importance of country music. Your group will delight in the opportunity to look through the history of the most popular and influential country music stars, the very first to be inducted into the hall of fame being Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose, and Hank Williams. Your group will have the opportunity to choose from several exciting country music tours, such as the Star For a Day tour, Legends Lunch and Lyrics tour, Hatch Show Letterpress tour, or fan favorite Cash on Cash tour, a two hour private concert and Q&A with Johnny and June’s son. On any tour you will see the 776 seat CMA Theater, the Taylor Swift Educational Center, and Nashville’s oldest surviving studio. The studio on this premises has seen the likes of Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, and Waylon Jennings. Don’t forget to visit the best country music themed gift shop on your way out to pick up the perfect Nashville souvenir!

Historic 2nd Avenue - Welcome to Nashville’s finest historic district, the Historic 2nd Avenue. This area, previously known as Market Street until 1903, houses the best concentration of Victorian commercial facades in Nashville and is praised throughout the nation as one of the most successful renovation districts. Most of the 2-5 story buildings throughout this neighborhood are from the 1870’s to 1890’s and had previously served as various warehouses and storefronts for merchants sailing along the Cumberland River. In the 1970’s this entire district underwent extreme reuse and renovation, creating a unique neighborhood full of shops, restaurants, galleries, and residences. 2nd Avenue is now a one-of-a-kind street lined with historic architecture, thrilling nightclubs, fine dining, niche shops, and specialty boutiques. Your group may want to stop and check out the Silver Dollar Saloon, now part of the Hard Rock Cafe, for lunch to see one of the most popular and still authentically historic entertainment spots on 2nd. This venue was a popular entertainment stop for riverboat workers in the past, and is a popular eatery today visited by thousands. What better way to enjoy the true Nashville spirit than by strolling along historic 2nd Avenue?

Mansion at Fontanel - This gorgeous 27,000 square foot luxury mansion was once the home of the famous Barbara Mandrell and is Nashville’s only ‘home of the star tour’ that you can actually go inside of. Sitting on 136 acres, this property was built in 1988 and features several lush gardens and spacious green lawns. The building itself is a huge log cabin, complete with an indoor pool and indoor shooting range. You may have previously seen the fabulous interior of this home on CMT’s hit show Gone Country. During a tour your group will delight in the talented tour guides, who all take pride in their work and are also singers, songwriters, or musicians who will be sure to keep you entertained while teaching you about the history and cultural importance of the mansion. A unique part of this tour is that guests are encouraged to touch EVERYTHING, from strumming on the expensive guitars on the wall to laying in the beds throughout the home. You will find personal mementos galore from the Mandrell family, as well as personal items from the current owners’ clients, including Kenny Chesney and Gretchen Wilson. Outside of the historic Fontanel Mansion there is still so much to see and do, from the miles of gorgeous trails to the Wood’s outdoor amphitheater. There is also local lodging and fine dining, The Cafe Fontanel serving the most exquisite Italian cuisine. You can also stop by the winery for a tasting or head over to the Prichards Distillery to see how some of the best legal moonshine in the south is made!

Parthenon - Welcome to the centerpiece of Centennial Park in downtown Nashville, the Parthenon. Located in Nashville’s premier urban park, this art museum/architectural wonder is the world’s only full-size replica of the Parthenon and houses the tallest indoor sculpture in the nation, of Athena. The recreation of the 42 foot Athena is an authentic Ancient Greece full-scale replica that was originally created in 1897 as a featured piece of the Centennial Exposition. The monument is a pinnacle of classic architecture and is an impressive twin of that in Greece. The building itself features the classic columns all around, sticking to true Grecian architecture with no exact measurements or similar distances between any of them.  One of the most impressive parts of this statue is the plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles (from Naos) which were directly casted from the originals now housed in the British Museum in London. These original marbles date back to 438 BC! Inside, Nashville’s Art Museum holds a permanent collection of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century artists, as well as 2 temporary galleries featuring travelling exhibits of interest. Make sure you stop by the gift shop and visitors center and feel the full experience of the ‘Athens of the South’.parthenon-405009_1280

Belle Meade Plantation - Literally translating to mean ‘beautiful meadow,’ this gorgeous brick mansion was built in 1820 as John Harding’s family plantation and home. The land itself has seen countless uses, from hunting to farming, to trade routes and eventually a plantation. Sitting on 200 acres of land, Harding used the plantation for successful cotton cultivation, as well as a highly popular bout in Civil War era racehorse breeding. Many thoroughbreds were raised and raced through John Harding’s legacy, which is a legacy you can still see coursing through the race tracks today.Belle Meade is also known for housing the history of the Harding-Jackson innovative approach to farming, as well as preserving the area’s historic economic status during wartimes, the mansion itself eventually falling victim to post war economic depression.A tour of  Belle Meade, an architecturally defined Greek Revival style mansion, includes a look at the dairy, horse stable, carriage house, mausoleum, gardens, and original log cabin. There are also opportunities to do some shopping at the gift shop, fine dining at the on-site restaurant, or perhaps some adult drinking with free wine tasting at the area’s winery on your way out!

 

Day 3

Free time in Chattanooga -Start your day out in one of New York Times “Top 45 Places to Go in the World”, Chattanooga Tennessee! This top southern destination is a widely popular and immensely beautiful classic Tennessee town nestled between the Tennessee River and Southern mountain ranges. It is considered one of the most breathtaking cities, home to Lookout Mountain and several exquisite rock formations.You can even travel by train to the top of the mountain to spend some time looking at the most spectacular vistas of the area. Chattanooga offers exciting outdoor adventure, fine dining restaurants, live events, local art, and many other world-class attractions. Visit the world’s largest freshwater aquarium, Tennessee Aquarium, or spend some time exploring the many Civil War, Native American, and 20th Century history museums. Downtown your group will have the chance to stroll along Main Street for some amazing shopping, explore 1st Street outdoor art, or spend the day at Coolidge or Renaissance park. The culinary cuisine from all over the world rivals any other Southeastern town as well, so be sure to stop at the Mountain City Club, Steamboat Super Sandwiches, or Sticky Fingers Smokehouse!

Jack Daniels Distillery - Spend some time in Lynchburg getting to know Mr. Jack and his very successful business at the Jack Daniels Distillery! This distillery was established in 1866, making it the oldest U.S registered distillery on record. Ironically enough, Lynchburg is located in a dry county and it has remained that way since the Prohibition. If you are wanting to go on an ‘enhanced’ sampling tour you must agree to pay for the bottles only, the whiskey being ‘free’. A tour of the distillery will give your group the complete story of their whiskey, as well as several personal stories about Mr. Jack himself. The tour is mostly outdoors, so wear comfortable shoes as you explore the grounds and the ‘hollow’, the source of the cave spring water that is mixed with corn, rye, barley, and yeast to make this 7 time Amsterdam Monde Selection Award winning whiskey. You will also get to see up close and personal the mellowing process in which 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal is used to make the whiskey. Be sure to stop by the visitor center on your way in or out to learn more about Jack’s personal life, including the story of his anger driven death (gangrene after kicking a safe out of frustration) and 7 mourning mistresses (no.7 origin). For the full experience your group must stop by Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House Restaurant in town as well, the local source of southern style food that Mr. Jack frequented quite often for dinner.

Tennessee Aquarium -  Get ready for quite the adventure at the world’s largest freshwater aquarium, the Tennessee Aquarium. Built in 1992, this nationally acclaimed attraction is located on the downtown riverfront and features two different buildings, featuring two very different types of water species. Visit the River Journey building to learn about freshwater species, and the Ocean Journey building to learn about saltwater species.. Start your visit in the River Journey building, where you will see otters, trout, alligators, catfish, and turtles. You’ll actually learn here that 25% of the continents freshwater species live here, in this area! Some of the exhibits here include the Mississippi Delta, Rivers of the World, and Appalachian Cove Forest. Next head over to the Ocean Journey building and see the saltier side of things, complete with penguins, stingrays, butterflies, and a full coral reef featuring tons of fish and sharks. You can also check out the IMAX for an out of this world entertainment experience, take a 2 hour cruise on the River Gorge Explorer, or take a behind-the-scenes tour in which you will get to feed the animals with the staff! Protip for this location: download the free Tennessee Aquarium App on your smartphone to get complete showtimes, event schedules, maps, and tickets!

Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal - Built in 1908, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal was previously known as the Southern Railway railroad station. It is now listed on the national register of historic places and serves as a hotel and resort primarily. This 24 acre complex is a Beaux- Arts style station designed by Donn Barber. One of the most impressive architectural features is the 82 foot centerpiece dome paired with the brick arch at the entrance that is considered to be the largest unsupported arch in the world. Today this complex is used as a convention center, hotel, resort, restaurant, and shop. Your group can view the ‘rooms’ of the hotel in which guests can sleep in restored passenger railway cars. You can also choose from 3 unique eateries, from the Station House at the old baggage storage area, to the Dinner in the Diner, a fine dining experience within a restored 1938 dining car. Take in the historical importance of this heavily trafficked station as you look at the original Chattanooga Choo Choo, a very small wood burning steam engine that was the first to perform non-stop service. A visit here with your group will have you undoubtedly leaving with that catchy 1941 Glenn Miller song stuck in your head!

Day 4

morning-after-276010_1280Lookout Mountain - One of Southeast’s most popular destinations for locals and tourists alike is very easily Lookout Mountain, a 2,389 foot mountain only minutes from downtown Chattanooga. The unique and spectacular thing about this mountain is it’s views, on a clear day boasting a view of seven states. The mountain itself is located on the Northwest corner of Georgia, the Northeast corner of Alabama, and the Southern border of Tennessee in Chattanooga. Geographically, Lookout Mountain overlooks the Cumberland Plateau, an ancient sea area that has molded to millions of years of erosion. Historically, Lookout Mountain has seen many important events take place, such as ‘The Last Battle of the Cherokees’ during the Nickajack Expedition in the 18th century. It has also seen the biggest union loss around the area during the Battle of Lookout Mountain in the Civil War, 1863. During this 3-day conflict, also called ‘battle above the clouds,’ a rebel siege became so bad that President Grant was called in for backup. Whether you are taking in the rich history or taking in the even more rich panoramic views, Lookout Mountain is a spectacular Tennessee stop that will leave you breathless as you take it all in.

Ruby Falls - Within Lookout Mountain your group will have the chance to visit Ruby Falls, America’s deepest commercial cave and largest underground waterfall all in one. This immense cavern featuring a 145 foot enclosed waterfall is considered to be one of the ten most incredible cave waterfalls on Earth! The cave in which you will be walking is over 1,120 feet below the surface and stays a comfortable 59 degrees year round. The cave was discovered in 1928 and opened for the public’s amazement in 1930. For over 85 years thousands of visitors have annually visited to see the hundreds of gallons of water rush through here per minute, as well as the full color LED light show put on the fall itself. Ruby Falls takes pride in its environmental sustainability methods of showmanship, from their solar paneled LED supports to their onsite recycling program, this is the 1st US attraction to receive the Green Globe Certificate. A tour of this geological wonder will show your group the many unique rock formations, view from Mountain Tower, and chance to take part in the ZIPstream Aerial Adventure zip line tour. There’s something for every adventure lover here at Ruby Falls, and the sight of the underground waterfall is a one-of-a-kind view you won’t find anywhere else.

Incline Railway -  “America’s Most Amazing Mile” is also located within Lookout Mountain, experienced fully with the Incline Railway. In 1895 visitors from far and wide would pay $2 for a 4 hour buggy ride up the mountain, but in 1911 a broader gauge pass railway was built and the Incline Railway was born. Originally a coal burning steam engine, this railway is now powered by two 100 horsepower motors. Considered to be the world’s steepest passenger railway, this ride in a trolley style car takes you up a 72.7% grade, giving you the best mountain and valley views from the observation windows along the way. At the top your group will have the chance to see the most amazing panoramic views from the Observation Tower. The Incline Railway is registered as a National Historic Site as well as a Mechanical Engineering Landmark, with millions of riders being impressed throughout its history. At the top your group can explore the civil war points and museum, and at the bottom you can take advantage of all the small town shops and restaurants. Be sure to check out the machine room on the ride to have a unique view of the giant gears in motion!

Point Park - Your next stop will be at the top of Lookout Mountain, at the Point Park Battle Site. This historic area is technically located within the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and is the official site of the Civil War Battle known as the “Battle Above the Clouds.” During the height of the war control of the "gateway to the deep south" was a very high priority, and in 1863 confederate and union soldiers partook in a 3-day battle for control. The fog on the mountains provided a great cover for takeover, and the full battle took place on November 24th, the union soldiers coming out victorious.  Your group will have a chance to walk around the site and also explore the Visitor Center. Within the center you will see a 33’ by 13’ mural painted by James Walker, an eyewitness to the infamous battle. You will also have the chance to see several different short audio visual presentations about the mural and the battle in general. This stop is a fantastic combination of historic and geographic wonders all in one!

Rock City Gardens -  Your last stop within the Lookout Mountain Range is 1,700 feet above sea level, at Rock City Gardens. This geological wonderland is technically located in Georgia, but is still only 6 miles away from downtown Chattanooga. Rock City is a unique geological and botanical wonder featuring 4,100 feet of walking trails, a 100 ft waterfall, and the famous 200 foot swing along bridge. The park was developed sensitively over time, a combination of strange and unusual rock formations, lush gardens, and caves. The park features over 400 different species of wildflowers, shrubs, and trees and works under the motto "created by God, enhanced by men." On a tour of Rock City, your group will undergo a self guided hike around the brow of the mountain, providing a bird's eye view of the location. Make sure you stop at the climbing wall at Lover's Leap, featuring the 7 State Flag Court, where on a clear day you will be able to see 7 states in the foggy distance. Your group can also catch a birds of prey show, have a bite to eat at the Cafe 7 on the terrace, or visit the first mini golf course in the nation at Fairyland Caverns. Take a walk through Fat Man’s Squeeze and shimmy through the Tightrope Walk as you experience what half a million people from around the world do annually at the amazing Rock City Gardens.

International Towing and Recovery Museum - Welcome to the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum, located in downtown Chattanooga. This museum was created to recognize outstanding individuals in the towing and recovery industry worldwide, as well as record, collect, and display those artifacts and information. The first way of paying homage to these heroes of towing was created in 1986, when the group would drive to tow shows around the nation in their tractor-trailer. Today there are 285 inductees, growing from the original 27 when the permanent museum opened in 1995. They chose to put this hall of fame and museum here in Chattanooga because the industry’s 1st towing wrecker was created here, a mere three miles away at Ernest Holmes Company. Inside the museum your group will be able to check out the Wall of the Fallen memorial, paying homage to the 94 men who lost their lives in the line of service, as well as tow trucks and towing equipment ranging back from 1916. You will also see the earliest equipment from the industry and hundreds of photos, toy tow trucks, and other various memorabilia and exhibits.

Southern Belle -  End your day in Chattanooga the right way, with a gorgeous late night cruise down the Tennessee River on the floating restaurant, the Southern Belle. This Deluxe Excursion Vessel brings out the nostalgic Old South with an evening of relaxing entertainment and dining. The Southern Belle dinner cruise is considered the best and most unique family dining experience in Chattanooga and features live music, drinks, and fine food that changes daily, depending on the tour your group chooses to take. The boat itself is a 450 passenger ship created in 1985 with features of Easter River and Bay Boats, with Tennessee River specifications such as the large landing stage enabling easy docking anywhere. Nestled between the Olgiati and Market Street Bridges, this cruise line offers daily sightseeing, lunch, dinner, pilot house, and sunset tours to allow visitors from far and wide to take in the sights of the Tennessee River in a unique way. Your group can choose from the Admiral's Dinner, Deluxe Deli Dinner, 1st Mates Dinner, and many many more as you take in the smooth sounds of the South on Chattanooga's only Southern Belle. Don’t forget to check check out the behind-the-scenes captain’s cabin in between dancing and eating the night away, the engineering behind this boat is incredible!

 

Day 5

Smoky Mountains - Your 5th day of Tennessee adventures will bring you to the Smoky Mountains, a prehistoric breeding ground for natural beauty and adventure. The mountain range encompasses the towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville and offers so much for you and your group to do, from historic hikes that provide the most gorgeous views of the Smoky Mountains to small town arts and crafts, to exciting theme parks. Everybody in your group will find something they like within the Smoky Mountains, and the views are unbeatable once you’re on top of the mountain. The reason the mountain range is so "smoky" is due to the average 85 inches of rain, technically making it a temperate rainforest, causing heavy fog from all of the rain and evaporation high in the mountains. This area has seen the likes of many different groups of people living here, from prehistoric Paleo Indians to early European settlers, to loggers and civilian conservation corporations in the 20th century. Take in the Southern Appalachian culture as you explore the area, which boasts over 7000 total cabins, chalets, condos, campgrounds, and bed and breakfast inns. The options are seemingly endless here, so be sure to save plenty of time to explore the national park, trails, various offered cruises, zipline adventures, live entertainment, go kart tracks, and even close by indoor skydiving opportunities!

Mayfield Dairy - T.B. Mayfield Jr. had no idea that his small 45-cow business of delivering milk around his hometown of Athens, Tennessee, in 1910 would grow into one of the nation’s favorite dairy brands and most successful dairy production companies. This four generation family owned milk and ice cream business is a nation leader in advanced technology and innovative packaging today, and all began technically in 1950 when the family created their permanent modern milk plant. Today this industry employs 2,000 workers and proudly serves 9 states in the production of the best tasting milk, ice cream, cottage cheese, sour cream, and yogurt. On a tour your group will learn how exactly they make their milk and ice cream in a 30 minute, hair net necessary, tour of the manufacturing plant. It starts with a 10 minute video regarding the company’s history and line of products and ends in the packaging and testing room with the story behind their famous yellow jugs. After the tour your group is in for a serious treat at the ice cream parlor as you get to choose a scoop of your favorite Mayfield flavor! You can also stop at the gift shop, or even stop on your way out to see the innovative Aro-Vac system that helps milk the over 28,000 Jersey cows!

 

Day 6

Great Smoky Mountain National Park - Wake up to America’s most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This massive and amazing natural wonder is found on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, technically in the city of Gatlinburg. The ridges of forest within the mountain are world renowned for diversity of plant and animal life, as well as for the beauty of the ancient mountains and quality of remnants of the Southern Appalachian culture. This park is between 850 and 6,643 feet above sea level and sits on over 800 square miles. The mountain itself is around 200-300 million years old, making it among the oldest ranges in the world. While you are here you will have the opportunity to camp, fish, picnic, auto tour, or perhaps the most popular activity, view the wildlife. The biodiversity in this temperate forest area is incredible, housing over 17,000 documented species. The mountains, glaciers, and weather together throughout history have created this wildlife wonderland, and while you are here you are very likely to see a famous Smoky Mountain bear, deer, elk, or many, many other animals. Not to mention this park's biggest claim to fame, the hiking! Enjoy over 800 miles of trails, ranging from short leg stretchers to overnight backcountry camping treks. Whatever your group decides to do here, you aren’t going to regret your stop!

Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community - The perfect opportunity to see the largest group of independent artisans in North America is here, on this historic 8 mile loop known as the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. Established in 1937, this location is dedicated to Tennessee heritage of arts and crafts, and even has a National Heritage Trail registered officially. This community highlights cultural heritage and the natural talents of the local people by displaying their art and teaching others through constant demos the art of their handicrafts. While here your group can check out the galleries containing oils, watercolors, sculptures, and lithographs. You can also watch the artisans at work as they whittle, paint, sew, cast, weave, and carve to make some of the best and most unique crafts. Take a look at all of the original collectables made here, such as candles, willow baskets, quilts, pottery, brooms, jewelry, ceramics, scrimshaw, leather, stained glass, silver-smithing, clothing, and fine photography. Any arts and crafts lovers in your group will flip for this opportunity, and the cultural and historical information your group will receive along the way will make it worth the stop for anybody!

Dollywood -  Not only was Dolly Parton one of the most amazing performers and entertainers of her time, she also has quite the knack for building theme parks, as is seen very clearly at your next stop in Pigeon Forge, Dollywood. This world-class theme park located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains is famous for its down-home Southern charm and live entertainment, as well as its thrilling roller coasters and refreshing water rides. At this 150 acre park your group will have the chance to see award-winning shows, educational craft demonstrations, or ride ground-breaking rides and attractions. Some of the most thrilling rides include the Thunderhead roller coaster, the Barnstormer, the wet and wild Smoky Mountain River Rampage, as well as the SkyZip aerial adventure and children’s carousel. Enjoy the finest southern cuisine in any of the many on site restaurants, as well as over 30 daily performances featuring country, bluegrass, rock and roll, and southern gospel. The live entertainment here is amazing, currently featuring The Band Perry. There are also 5 seasonal festivals throughout the year that attract thousands of guests from around the world, so don’t miss out on a second of this exciting Tennessee stop!

Dixie Stampede -Dolly isn’t quite done with you yet, as your group ends your Tennessee trip at this Southern classic attraction, the Dixie Stampede. This extraordinary dinner show features a cast of 32 beautiful horses and top notch riders who will amaze you with daring feats of trick riding and competition. This friendly competition pits the North and South against each other for a fun rivalry featuring music, dancing, special effects, and plenty of comedy. Your group will see the North and South finally together in a patriotic salute featuring Dolly’s own "Color Me America" song, as well as a grand finale full of costumes, fireworks, and the spirit of America. At her location in Pigeon Forge you will see the comedy and musical talent of the Bluegrass and Country band Mountain Rukus. This location is also only minutes from Dollywood, Gatlinburg, and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, so your group will be close by anything you need as you enjoy a delicious southern dinner mixed with the best live entertainment around. As Dolly Parton herself said, “I guarantee that my Dixie Stampede dinner attraction is the most fun place to eat!”trisha-yearwood-81885_1280