Where do you go when it is time to get away? What if you knew of a place where the scenery isn’t all that changes? A place
where centuries old architecture is the backdrop for a culture so invigorating, it’ll rouse your spirit. Join us as we visit the most fun and authentic city in America— New Orleans, Louisiana!
We travel today through Missouri, Tennessee, a little bit of Arkansas—into Mississippi, stopping for the night at the Ridgeland Drury Inn. The hotel serves a light dinner or there is a steakhouse within walking distance for dinner on your own tonight.
We depart following breakfast, arriving at Oak Alley Plantation, in Vacherie, Louisiana, in time for lunch and tour. It’s more than a house.
It’s a majestic place by the Mighty Mississippi River where 300-year-old oak trees have held root through times of prosperity and through times of suffering. Wander twenty-five acres of history & romance, regret & rebirth, tragedy & triumph. Explore the historic grounds and see the legacies left by the Romans, the Stewarts and others who made an impact on this iconic landscape. No-where in the South is there a more spectacular setting!
Later this afternoon, we arrive in New Orleans, where we will check into our deluxe accommodations, the Bienville House Hotel, located in the historic French Quarter. Just as the French Quarter is perfectly situated in the heart of New Orleans, the Bienville House Hotel in New Orleans is perfectly situated in the midst of the historic French Quarter. With a recent multi-million-dollar renovation, the 83-room hotel is a truly distinctive French Quarter hotel. It offers premium accommodations with a boutique ho-tel feel with many amenities. Surrounding the beautiful Bienville House are New Orleans’ most popular attractions, including the antique shops of Royal Street. Tonight, we will board Royal Carriages for a tour of the French Quarter to Mulate’s Cajun Restaurant. Old world ambiance, history, architecture and jazz. Experience the sights and sounds of the colorful French Quarter as the quaint mule-drawn carriages take you back in time to another era. Courteous and informative guides will escort you past many landmarks of New Orleans’ heritage, including courtyards and iron-laced balconies, as well as famous restaurants and galleries. Dinner is included at Mulate’s, recognized throughout the world as the King of Cajun Dine and Dance halls, featuring live Cajun music and dancing along with great authentic Cajun food seven days a week. Mulate’s is a place where Cajuns come to celebrate their heritage and the world comes to join them in their celebration! (B, L, D)
Following a delicious continental breakfast this morning, we depart for Mardi Gras World, the only place where Mardi Gras happens all year round! Since 1947, Blaine Kern Studios has built breathtaking parade floats not only for Mardi Gras but for parades all over the world. We will take a tour to see what it takes to bring Mardi Gras to life year after year. You’ll learn about the history of this unique and festive tradition and go beyond its reputation for revelry to get a deeper understanding of the real Mardi Gras.
Lunch is included before we are joined by a licensed guide for a city tour, beginning with Explanade Avenue, with a stop at St. Louis Cemetery, often called the “city of the dead” because of its above-ground tombs. After a refreshment stop in City Park, we will proceed alongside Lake Pontchartrain and the city’s finest yacht harbor.
We’ll follow the St. Charles Avenue streetcar route, seeing Tulane and Loyola Universities, Audubon Park and beautifully restored mansions. Our guide will also highlight the French Quarter, where you’ll see Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, The Cabildo, seat of the old Spanish government and the Architecture that makes New Orleans unique among American cities.
This evening we depart for the New Orleans School of Cooking, where you’ll learn the basics of Louisiana cooking in a way you’ll never forget! Fun is a primary ingredient in this kitchen! It’s a “ga-ron-teed” good time for all! (CB, L, D)
Following breakfast at the hotel, we depart for the National World War II Museum, which opened June 6, 2000, as the National D-Day Museum. The Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Since its opening day, nearly two-million visitors have toured the World War II Museum. A must-see for history lovers and all patriots, it has been designated by the U.S. Congress as the country’s official World War II Museum. Powerful images and extraordinary artifacts bring to life the American Spirit, the courage, teamwork and sacrifice of the young men and women who won the war and changed the world. From the 1930s prelude to war, to the Normandy Invasion and the battles of the Pacific Islands, visitors trace America’s role in the war and on the Home Front. Lunch is included before returning to the hotel or the French Market. This afternoon is free for you to explore New Orleans on your own!
Tonight, dinner is included at Court of Two Sisters. Delicious food and a beautiful restaurant! And…..we will be dining while listening to the music of our own jazz combo! (B,L,D)
This morning, we sadly depart The Big Easy and turn our motorcoach northward. Making the necessary stops along the way, we’ll arrive in Tunica, Mississippi, for the night, staying at Gold Strike Resort and Casino. Dinner is included. (CB, D)
We depart this morning for Memphis, following a delicious buffet breakfast. Upon arrival, we will visit Bass Pro Pyramid. The first thing you’ll notice is the eleva-tor—it actually lights up in changing colors, and it’s the tallest freestanding elevator in the nation. You will also notice that the whole place is filled with fake cypress trees; the craftsmanship is incredible. There are giant fossil imprints hand-carved in the floor, taxidermy in every direction, and an aquarium on the first floor. There are also indoor ponds (with live fish), ducks and boats, some of which you can get on. Other things you find on the first floor – all kinds of clothes – everything from North Face stuff to campy t-shirts to swimsuits, plus shoes, sunglasses, ATVs, camp recliners, gifts, toys, snacks and all kinds of fishing supplies. And, that’s just the first floor!!
A delicious Memphis BBQ lunch is included before continuing our journey home, arriving in Southern Illinois late afternoon. (B, L)
- 13 meals; 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners
- Guided New Orleans city tour/guide gratuity
- New Orleans School of Cooking
- National World War II Museum
- Royal Carriage tour to Mulate’s Cajun Restaurant
- Dinner at Mulate’s with Live Cajun Music
- Court of Two Sisters with Jazz Trio
- Oak Alley Plantation
- Mardi Gras World
- Bass Pro Pyramid
- Five nights’ deluxe accommodations, including three nights at Bienville House in New Orleans/Luggage handling
- Fully escorted by Jane’s Journeys
- Deluxe motorcoach transportation/ driver’s gratuity
COST PER PERSON:
$250 deposit with reservation; Final payment is due by Feb. 15, 2018.
$20 early bird discount with deposit received before 12/31/17, to be deducted from final payment.
Travel insurance is $93 dbl & triple per person; $115 single occupancy.