full Itinerary: America’s Music Cities Total Solar Eclipse
August 14–22, 2017
Day 1 – Monday, August 14, 2017: ARRIVE NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA. (Dinner)
After flying into New Orleans on your own schedule, you will be met by a representative and driven to the 4-star Marriott New Orleans, on the edge of the French Quarter. You’re free to relax and explore this intriguing city, rich in musical history, colorful street life, and delicious Cajun and Creole cuisine. Join us in the evening for a welcome dinner at one of New Orleans’ best-known restaurants.
Overnight: Marriott New Orleans or similar (3 nights)
Day 2 – Tuesday, August 15, 2017: FRENCH QUARTER. (Breakfast / Dinner)
After breakfast, enjoy a guided walking tour of the famed French Quarter, including St. Louis Cathedral, one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Continue on to the bustling French Marketplace, where you can explore Pirates Alley, the Cabildo, the Presbytere, and the Pontalba. And of course we stop to taste a New Orleans favorite: beignets at the Café Du Monde.
In the evening, roll up your sleeves and discover how to cook Louisiana-style! During a hands-on demonstration at the New Orleans School of Cooking, your chef will let you in on some of the local secrets that attract foodies from around the world. Then, following dinner, discover why New Orleans remains the epicenter of traditional jazz when you take in a spirited live revue at a local club.
Day 3 – Wednesday, August 16, 2017: BAYOU CAJUN COUNTRY. (Breakfast)
Traveling out of New Orleans on historic Esplanade Avenue, we journey across the bayou to embark on a classic Louisiana swamp cruise – with colour commentary provided by our hospitable captain. Learn about the history and biology of this fascinating ecosystem while keeping an eye out for a rich array of wildlife including bald eagles, herons, turtles, and alligators! You also see houses – accessible only by boat – belonging to Cajun families who’ve made their homes in the bayou for centuries. On our return to New Orleans, you’re free to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening discovering this great city your way.
Day 4 – Thursday, August 17, 2017: NEW ORLEANS – MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Today you head north by private motor coach to Memphis, which can justifiably stake its claim as the birthplace of the blues – not to mention rock ’n’ roll, rhythm ’n’ blues, and soul. On your first evening, indulge in the city’s renowned barbecue cuisine.
Overnight: Sheraton Memphis Downtown or similar (2 nights)
Day 5 – Friday, August 18, 2017: ELVIS’ MEMPHIS. (Breakfast)
Your day begins with a musical tour of Memphis, as veteran local musicians join us to point out highlights from the city’s heritage of celebrated performances and historic recording sessions. Then it’s time to put on your blue suede shoes (or your sequined jumpsuit) for a visit to Graceland, the palatial home of Elvis Presley. Your tour of the 14-acre estate includes the legendary star’s home, his original business office, the trophy building, and the Meditation Garden, where Elvis and members of his family have been laid to rest. Later visit Sun Studio, perhaps the most famous recording studio in the world. A guided tour will introduce you to the location that began the careers of musical legends such as Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis, and, of course, Elvis. It was here at Sun Studio, in 1954, where Elvis first began recording commercially, changing the music world forever. For the balance of the day, enjoy this city’s vast musical offerings on your own: dance to live music at open-air concerts, browse in music-themed shops, and spend your evening exploring the vibrant clubs along Beale Street.
Day 6 – Saturday, August 19, 2017: NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE. (Breakfast / Lunch)
After checkout we continue on our journey to the self-proclaimed “Music Capital of the World” – Nashville. Our resident expert fills you in on history and local lore during a tour that includes the Tennessee State Capitol, the country and gospel landmarks of Music Row, and the Parthenon – a full replica of the Athenian original! In the evening, enjoy an early dinner on your own before taking your reserved seat at the famous Grand Ole Opry. Originally the home of a weekly local radio show in the 1920s, the Opry today is a major entertainment complex that attracts music fans from all over the world. After the show, enjoy an exclusive backstage tour and hear firsthand how it all comes together – along with the Opry’s star-studded history – during a chat with some of the proud staff.
Overnight: Gaylord Opryland Hotel or similar (3 nights)
Day 7 – Sunday, August 20, 2017: NASHVILLE MUSIC. (Breakfast)
Your day begins with an up-close look at RCA Studio B, Nashville’s oldest recording studio, where Elvis, the Everly Brothers, Connie Francis, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, and countless other greats recorded many of their classics. Later, explore the nearby Country Music Hall of Fame, the world’s largest museum of popular music, whose vast collections of recordings, instruments, costumes, and memorabilia are presented in artfully designed exhibits that capture the colourful history of country music and the artists who’ve shaped it. In the evening, join us for an expert briefing on tomorrow’s eclipse logistics.
Day 8 – Monday, August 21, 2017: TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE. (Breakfast / Box Lunch / Dinner)
Rise early this morning for your private coach journey to the specially selected eclipse viewing location in rural Tennessee. Standing in the Moon’s shadow for 2 minutes and 40 seconds, you’ll be awed by a spectacle that has not been visible from North America in more than 26 years!
Later, complete your total solar eclipse experience by raising a toast with fellow travellers as we enjoy a special farewell dinner at the famed Wildhorse Saloon, home to a massive dance floor that attracts country music fans and revelers from around the world!
NASHVILLE WEATHER PROSPECTS FOR TOTAL ECLIPSE VIEWING
by Eclipse Meteorologist Jay Anderson
In August Nashville enjoys its sunniest and second-driest month of the year, with two-thirds of daytime hours offering bright sunshine. Hourly cloud statistics collected during the past three decades show a 40% frequency of clear or mostly clear skies for the month and less than a 15% frequency of overcast skies. Although Nashville’s climate falls in the “humid subtropical” category, by August temperatures are declining from their summer highs and are pleasantly warm, typically ranging from 21°C (70°F) in the morning hours to 31°C (88°F) in the late afternoon. The latter part of the day tends to be humid, but mornings are usually pleasant and comfortable.
Most of the daytime cloud in Nashville and the surrounding area is convective in nature, forming as the result of daytime heating and building gradually into the afternoon as temperatures rise. Most of these cloud buildups are modest in size, as by August the frequency of thunderstorms is in rapid decline. Overall, the regional cloud pattern bodes well for eclipse day, as the approaching shadow of the Moon will cause temperatures to fall, and therefore much of the convective cloud will dissipate.