Guided holidays are no longer one-size-fits-all travel experiences. Groups such as Collette have tapped into the nuances of what makes a destination special in order to immerse their guests in vivid cultural encounters often not discovered by solo adventurers.
Take the United States for example. Its Southern states are a living playlist of history’s greatest musical moments and stars. From the infectious doo-bop of jazz echoing from Bourbon Street to the bayous, and onto the very home of the King himself, Collette’s eight-day America’s Music Cities tour is a non-stop toe-tapping, boot-scootin’ odyssey. Audiophiles, cue the soundtrack.
Loud & proud New Orleans
You’ll be welcomed to town by the dulcet tones of brass brands and saxophones, and the scent of blooming jasmine that fills the heady air. New Orleans is loud, proud and busy arteries such as Frenchman and Bourbon streets heave with modern-day merrymakers listening out for the next Louis Armstrong.
Tackling French Quarter by foot allows you to get lost among recognisable landmarks such as St. Louis Cathedral and neighbourhood haunts like Pirates Alley, while coach tours navigate everything from the elaborate crypts of the city’s cemeteries to gorgeous mansions and lakeside drives. A visit isn’t complete without a swamp cruise spotting bad eagles, turtles and ‘gators either.
The same can be said for New Orleans’ big, bold flavours. Where Cajun roots marry Creole influences and Paris meets the Congo, New Orleans’ fare is sure to fire up your senses too. The delights of New Orleans aren’t subtle by any means – and that’s exactly The Big Easy’s very appeal.
There’s no place like Memphis
Lace up your blue suede shoes and cock your upper lip; the spirit, grit and rhythm of Elvis, BB King and Al Green live on in the birthplace of the blues and rock n’ roll. Memphis, Tennessee stands proud over the muddy Mississippi River, and it’s home to some truly fascinating music markers – and a sacred pilgrimage location for Dr Martin Luther King followers.
Of course, a visit to Graceland is Mecca for Elvis Presley fans. His palatial home is considered the holy grail of music pilgrimages and a tour through his 14-acre estate is sure to resonate with fans of the King of Rock n’ Roll.
When night falls, there’s no place else to be but , an entertainment strip said to the most lively in America featuring lip-smacking soul food joints and even better blues bars and music venues.
Destination: Music City USA
Let the good times roll on through to Nashville via Belle Meade Plantation, an exquisite southern homestead dating back to the early 1800 frontier days. But, the only labour-intensive part of your day will be lifting your wine glass as part of an indulgent culinary and viticultural experience.
Come evening, there’s no better place to be than the Grand Ole Opry. This working radio station and stage has seen the likes of the world’s best country music stars and musical legends like Johnny Cash and Keith Urban.
Speaking of legends, follow the resonances to historic RCA Studio B, where more than 35,000 songs have been recorded in its heyday and to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Still can’t get those tunes out of your head? Head on over to Honky Tonk central in downtown Nashville where a live music scene will have you humming long after you return home.
Discover Collette’s eight-day America’s Music Cities tour for yourself and satisfy your musical cravings.