Itinerary

The Grand American Arc:

The Drama of the South West & The Glory of the Deep South DATES ON APPLICATION

22 Day adventure discovering:
  • America’s Best Landscape & Culture
  • Highlights: Landscapes Beyond Imagining Georgia O’Keeffe Country Art Jazz The Mighty Mississippi
  • Architecture Southern Style
  • America’s Best Idea: Writer and historian Wallace Stegner called national parks “the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than at our worst.”
  • Discover the exceptional: Travel into the deepest reaches of The Great American South – West and see some of what I believe, to be the most spectacular places on earth.
  • The Great National Parks of the South West:
    • Zion
    • Bryce Canyon Arches
    • Canyonlands Mesa Verde
    • The Colorado River
  • Santa Fe in Festival Mood
  • America’s Southern Glory
  • Chosen Cities of The South:
    • New Orleans – All Jazzed Up
    • Savannah – To Beautiful to Burn
    • Charleston – Dixie Belle
  • Hand selected Accommodation and Restaurants for this wonderful inaugural tour.

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Day 1 Arrive Las Vegas Nevada

Arrive per your own flight arrangements to Las Vegas.

Flights from LA and San Francisco offer wonderful scenery. Take the option of a window seat.

oin Sarah Stegley and guests, dining together in one of the highly regarded resaurants in Las Vegas.

Overnight: Mirage Hotel LAS VEGAS, Nevada

Day 2 Las Vegas Nevada

Day spent seeing what makes Las Vegas tick and resting up after the flight.

The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino–hotels and associated entertainment. Established in 1905, Las Vegas at the close of the 20th century, was the most populous American city founded in that century. 40 million visitors come and win and lose there annually.

Well situated to Utah and the Great National Parks, a day spent in Vegas is like nowhere else.

Comedian, Steven Wright said:
“In Vegas, I got into a long argument with the man at the roulette wheel over what I considered to be an odd number.”
Good Luck!

There are some great chefs in las Vegas, we will dine in style and enjoy a show.

Overnight: Mirage Hotel LAS VEGAS, Nevada

Day 3  Las Vegas Zion to Bryce Canyon National Park Utah

All on board :The start of our great American “ROADIE”.

Zion National Park is one of the most awe inspiring sights in the American Southwest, and it’s an easy two-and-a-half-hour drive from Las Vegas.

Featuring sky-high towers and cliffs of multicolored sandstone rocks, the 2,000 to 3,000-foot high canyon walls of Zion, leave you spellbound.

For all its natural splendor, Zion has a long human history including Anasazi and Paiute peoples; Mormon settlers; daring explorers like John Wesley Powell and famous painters like Thomas Moran. Zion National Park is a wonderful place to start our journey into the great National Parks.

After walking to one of the highlights of Zion we will drive on an hour to Bryce Canyon.

Overnight: Western Cabins Bryce Canyon Lodge, Utah

Day 4 Bryce Canyon National Park Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park is a series of huge natural amphitheaters carved into sedimentary rocks by the Paria River and its tributaries, along the edge of the Paunsagunt Plateau. Differential erosion has produced a fantastic array of brightly colored pinnacles, windowed walls, pedestals, fins and spires.

The early American tribe; the Paiutes were living throughout the area when the first Euro-Americans arrived in southern Utah.

They explained the numerous and colorful hoodoos as “legend people” who were turned to stone by the mythical Coyote.

Guided walks today in the Canyon among the“hoodoos”.

Overnight: Western Cabins Bryce Canyon Lodge, Utah

Day 5 Capitol Reef and one of the great drives north through Utah

The drive today, is one of the most scenic road journeys on the planet.

From Bryce Canyon via All American Scenic Byway 12. This road from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef is just so spectacular with many scenic views and side attractions to discover.

Overnight:The Lodge at Red River Ranch, Capitol Reef, Utah

Day 6 Further north through Utah to Moab and the Colorado River, Utah.

The state of Utah is named after the Native American Indian Tribe the Utes.

Like other Plains Indian tribes the Utes were skilled warriors who specialized in horse mounted combat.

War with neighboring tribes was mostly fought for gaining prestige, stealing horses, and revenge.

Overnight: Red Cliff Lodge, Colorado Riverbank Utah

Day 7 Arches National Park Utah

When we awake this morning, the mighty Colorado River will be rolling right along in front of our deluxe Riverside Cabins.

Not to be resisted, a half day rafting, will allow us to glide through this most scenic part of the Colorado River Canyon towards Moab.

Our experienced professional guides will lead the rafting and make for a safe, adventurous half day trip.
Sunset is the best time to visit Arches National Park.

Arches National Park protects the greatest concentration of natural sandstone arches anywhere on earth. Like many other parks on the Colorado Plateau, eroded sandstone provides the palette for sensational and colorful desert vistas. But special geological circumstances millions of years old, have made Arches unique among the breath-taking assets of the Great Basin Desert.

Overnight: Red Cliff Lodge, Colorado Riverbank Utah

Day 8 Canyonlands to Mesa Verde Colorado

A morning spent in Canyonlands NP.

The Green River drains the Rocky Mountains from Wyoming through Utah, along the way carving majestic canyons such as this one. The junction of the Colorado and the Green River occurs in what is now known as Canyonlands National Park.

We then drive on, into Colorado. The clouds might hint at rain, while the trees struggle to survive in the high desert. Breathtaking vistas are surprisingly common in this part of the country.
In the early evening we will arrive at Mesa Verde.

Overnight: Far View Lodge Mesa Verde NP, Colorado

Day 9 Mesa Verde National Park Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado.

It is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States.

The park was created in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt to protect some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the world, or as he said, “preserve the works of man”. It is the only cultural National Park set aside by the National Park System.

It occupies 81.4 square miles near the Four Corners and features numerous ruins of homes and villages built by the Ancient Pueblo peoples, sometimes called the Anasazi. There are over 4000 archaeological sites and over 600 cliff dwellings of the Pueblo people at the site.

The day will be spent walking the trails with expert guides and exploring the ruins and villages of these early peoples.

Overnight: Far View Lodge Mesa Verde NP, Colorado

Day 10 Mesa Verde National Park to Abiquiu New Mexico

Travelling south-east through beautiful wooded country into northern New Mexico and down to the very special little village of Abiquiu.

Artist Georgia O’Keeffe lived here from 1949 until shortly before her death in 1986 at 98 years of age.

There is a very pretty little Inn here with very good food and sensibility.

After a day on the road, it will be most welcome.

Overnight: Abiquiu Inn, NM

Day 11 Santa Fe New Mexico

A morning tour of Georgia O’Keeffe’s studio and home and an hour later we will have made the 85 kms to Santa Fe.

Welcome to Santa Fe!

A town in full festival mode.

Staying at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi in Santa Fe, we will be minutes from Palace of the Govenors and San Miguel Mission.

This very special 4.5 star hotel is within close proximity of Cathedral Basillica of Saint Francis Assisi and Museum of Contemporary Arts.

Overnight: Inn of the Anasazi, Santa Fe, New Mexico 5 star

Day 12 Santa Fe New Mexico

25th Annua Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta is in progress, and we will take the opportunity to enjoy the highlights.

Overnight: Inn of the Anasazi, Santa Fe, New Mexico 5 star

Day 13 Santa Fe New Mexico

MUSEUM HILL is where the best Santa Fe Museums are located. We will spend the morning museum hoping and enjoy lunch here.

Showing while we are in town at the Museum of American Arts and Culture: Turquoise, Water, Sky: The Stone and Its Meaning highlights the Museum’s extensive collection of Southwestern turquoise jewelry and presents all aspects of the stone, from geology, mining and history, to questions of authenticity and value.

Across the street from our hotel is the Palace of the Governors!

Originally constructed in the early 17th century as Spain’s seat of government for what is today the American Southwest, the Palace of the Governors chronicles the history of Santa Fe, as well as New Mexico and the region. This adobe structure, now the state’s history museum, was designated a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1960 and an American Treasure in 1999.

Dine in style again in Santa Fe.

Overnight: The Inn of the Anasazi, Santa Fe, New Mexico 5 star

Day 14 Mississippi Plantation Louisiana

Flight this morning from Santa Fe to New Orleans, Louisiana

On arrival we will be transported along the banks of the Mississippi to Nottoway, the South’s largest remaining antebellum mansion, is a stunning historic plantation that lies between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana. A dramatic, multi-million-dollar renovation has restored this historic plantation to her days of glory as well as adding luxury resort amenities.

This home was completed in 1859 for the John Hampden Randolph family. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Overnight Mississippi Plantation, Louisiana

Day 15 New Orleans Louisiana

New Orleans has always been a laboratory for the American experiment, and the astonishing mingling of peoples there

has created the most original urban culture in America.

From the very beginning, New Orleans has been, “a world in miniature.”

Out of that mixing came not only a distinctive style of architecture and a vibrant cuisine, but also the eclectic musical foundations that gave rise to jazz — one of America’s greatest cultural contributions to the world.

Overnight: New Orleans, Louisiana

Day 16 New Orleans Louisiana

New Orleans: the utterly original American city that lies at the mouth of the mighty Mississippi and at the beating heart of the great American experiment.

One of America’s most distinctive and beloved cities:

  • a small French settlement surrounded by water that ultimately would become the home of America’s biggest party, Mardi Gras,
  • and its most original art form, jazz; the site of explosive struggles
  • with both integration and segregation, and a proving ground for national ideas about race, class and equality;
  • a mirror that reflects both the best and the worst in America.

On August 29th, 2005, a catastrophic hurricane named Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast of the United States. When the skies finally cleared, the survival of a major American city hung in the balance. For more than two hundred years, that city had been an iconic feature on the national landscape — a vital port; a cosmopolitan mecca; a sensual, mysterious refuge. Now, the storm had laid it waste, raising a stark and previously unthinkable question: What exactly would America be without New Orleans?

New Orleans has served as home and inspiration for some of America’s most famous creative forces, from Tennessee Williams to Louis Armstrong. “Without New Orleans, our American culture would look and feel much different,” says American Experience executive producer Mark Samels. “What would our music sound like? Would we have a different understanding of race?”

With New Orleans at a crossroads, this is the perfect time to train our lens on this city and explore, learn and enjoy.

We will start our exploration today with a walking tour of the French Quarter.

The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré, is the oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. After New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, the city developed around the Vieux Carré (“Old Square”).. Most of the present-day historic buildings were constructed during the late 18th century, during the city’s period of Spanish rule, and reflect Spanish colonial architecture.

The district as a whole has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, with numerous contributing buildings that are separately deemed significant. It is a prime tourist destination in the city, as well as attracting loyal residents. Because of its distance from areas where the levee was breached during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it suffered relatively light damage as compared to other areas of the city and the greater region.

Overnight: New Orleans, Louisiana

Day 17 New Orleans Louisiana

This morning we will take a Riverboat cruise to show off Crescent City.

Lunch in The Garden District and a tour of the Mansions and Gardens that captivate and amuse.

St. Louis Cemetery No 1 is nearby and not to be missed.

We will follow on from last evening with more wonderful food and Jazz. Tonight, away from Bourbon Street and off to Frenchmen Street. Many of the houses in this area are over 100 years old, some much older. The Frenchmen Street entertainment district began developing in the 1980s with the appearance of several bars that featured live music. As Bourbon Street became more commercialized and the entertainment more tourist focused, Frenchmen emerged as the favorite spot for locals to party, as the music and vibe was much more geared toward authentic local tastes. Over the years more bars and restaurants opened on the street, and while Frenchmen Street’s popularity soared among locals, the street still remained a relative secret to tourists unless you were clued in or stumbled upon it accidentally.

Overnight: New Orleans, Louisiana

Day 18 Charleston South Carolina

A flight this morning to Charleston, South Carolina.

Welcome to Southern Charm!

Founded in 1670 to in honor of King Charles II of England, known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, distinguished restaurants, and mannerly people, Charleston has received a large number of accolades, including “America’s Most Friendly City” and also “the most polite and hospitable city in America”.

Overnight Charleston, SC

Day 19 Charleston South Carolina

The first shot of the Civil War was fired in Charleston

Charleston became very prosperous in the plantation-dominated economy of the post-Revolutionary years. The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 revolutionized the processing of this crop, making short-staple cotton profitable. Slaves were the primary labor force on the cotton fields and within the city, working as domestics, artisans, market workers and laborers. The city also had a large class of free people of color, who developed as a skilled, educated and propertied class.

Charleston is famous for its unique culture, which blends traditional Southern U.S., English, French, and West African elements. The downtown peninsula is well known for its art, music, local cuisine, and fashion. Spoleto Festival USA, held annually in late spring, has become one of the world’s major performing arts festivals.

Overnight Charleston, SC

Day 20 Savannah Georgia

Savannah’s architecture, history, and reputation for Southern charm and hospitality are internationally known. The city’s former promotional name was “Hostess City of the South,” a phrase still used by the city government. An earlier nickname was “the Forest City”, in reference to the large population and species of oak trees that flourish in the Savannah area. These trees were especially valuable in shipbuilding during the 19th century.

Savannah is the oldest city in the state of Georgia. Established in 1733, the city of Savannah became the first state capital. A strategic port city in the American Revolution and during the American Civil War. Savannah is today an industrial center and an important Atlantic seaport. Savannah’s architecture and historic buildings are her main attraction.The Historic District of Savannah largely retains the original town plan with the beautiful 22 park like squares, that have made the city so famous.

Overnight Savannah, Georgia

Day 21 Savannah Georgia

Pre-Civil War Savannah was praised as the most picturesque and serene city in America. It was known for its grand oaks festooned with Spanish moss and its genteel citizenry. The Georgia Historical Society was founded in that era. Magnificent Forsyth Park acquired its ornate fountain, a sight worth seeing.

A City to Beautiful to burn… During the Civil War, the city suffered from sea blockades so strict that the economy crumbled. The city did not fall until Union General William Sherman entered in mid-December after burning the city of Atlanta and everything else in his path on his “March to the Sea.” Upon entering Savannah, Sherman was said to be so impressed by its beauty that he could not destroy it. On December 22, 1864, he sent a famous telegram to President Abraham Lincoln, offering the city as a Christmas present.

Overnight Savannah, Georgia

Day 22 Departure onwards from Savannah

END OF TOUR


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