Tour A - Nashville City Guided Tour, Monday, October 3,2011

Tour of MUSIC CITY, Nashville, Tennessee, from 0900 through 1300, door to door from the hotel. This is a guided tour and transportation is provided on a deluxe motor coach.

Down town Nashville - superb nightlife!!"

This tour departs the hotel for a guided excursion of downtown Nashville, including a drive-by of the Bicentennial Mall, Historic Second Avenue, Music Row, Vanderbilt University, The Parthenon, and other notable sights. The tour includes stops at and entry to the Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

About the Ryman Auditorium: Known as Nashville's Premier Performance Hall, the Ryman Auditorium was originally a church named the Union Gospel Tabernacle. Ironically, it was built by Captain Ryman, a roistering riverboat captain who came to Nashville in 1885 to disrupt services conducted by the Reverend Sam Jones. His visit resulted in an unexpected religious conversion and Captain Ryman began financing the building of the Tabernacle in 1889; it was completed in 1892. After his death, the Union Gospel Tabernacle was renamed the Ryman Auditorium at the suggestion of the Rev. Jones. By the turn of the century the Ryman had transformed itself into one of the South's premier performance halls and launched a tradition of showcasing a wide variety of entertainment genres. Over the next half century, the Ryman stage attracted performances by legends ranging from stars of the silver screen such as Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin to famed composers such as Edward Strauss and Sergei Rachmaninov. The stage also hosted Opera stars like famed African American contralto Marian Anderson and Vaudeville personalities such as humorist and cowboy singer Will Rogers. The Ryman Auditorium was the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 -1974.

The Ryman Auditorium

During that period, the building gained nationwide recognition as the "Mother Church of Country Music" featuring pioneering performers such as Bill Monroe, Hank Williams, and Patsy Cline who all helped shape the future of country and bluegrass music. During 1994, the Ryman Auditorium was completely renovated. In 2004, the Ryman stayed true to its traditions, featuring an eclectic concert schedule which included sold-out performances by R.E.M., Merle Haggard, Carole King, Moe, Ryan Adams, the Pixies, John Prine, Larry the Cable Guy, Erykah Badu, and Keith Urban. The Ryman begins 2005 with a diverse line-up that includes concerts by rock & roll icon Elvis Costello, country legend George Jones, neo-soul diva Jill Scott, and CMA Male Vocalist of the Year Keith Urban, who is back in 2005 with a three night sold-out engagement. "For me," says Urban, "the Ryman is a magical place. Music just sounds and feels right there, and I've been fortunate enough to not only perform there many times, but to also witness some extraordinary nights sitting out front on those old wooden pews. From Merle Haggard to Coldplay, a concert at the Ryman is quite simply a beautiful musical experience." For more information you can visit THE RYMAN AUDITORIUM website.

About the Country Music Hall of Fame: The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has been the home of Country Music since 1967. Located on the west bank of the Cumberland River, just a few steps from the historic Ryman Auditorium and the honky-tonks of Lower Broadway, the monumental edifice, a visceral experience for approaching visitors, invigorates the skyline in downtown Nashville's entertainment district. Inside, the Museum presents the crown jewels of its vast collection to illustrate country music's story as told through the turns of two centuries. A treasure trove of historic country video clips and recorded music, dynamic exhibits and state-of-the-art design, a regular menu of live performances and public programs, a museum store, live satellite radio broadcasts, on-site dining, and fabulous public spaces all contribute to an unforgettable Museum experience. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums, certifying that the Museum operates according to the highest standards, manages its collection, and provides quality service to the public.


Sing Me Back Home is the title of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's permanent exhibit, an exciting, multi-layered journey through the life of country music. Through artifacts, photographs, original recordings, archival video, newly produced films, touch screen interactive media, and beautifully rendered text panels, Sing Me Back Home immerses you in the history and sounds of country music, its meanings, and the lives and voices of many of its honored personalities. A self-guided tour covering two floors of the Museum, Sing Me Back Home tells the story of country music from its pre-commercial roots in the nineteenth century through its vibrant life in the twenty-first century. Organized chronologically, the story moves through large subjects such as "Country During the War Years," for example, while each glass artifact case has its own theme as well. You can read about the music and its makers if you like, or you can let the powerful photos, instruments, costumes - and especially the music - tell the story by themselves.

History of the Country Music Hall of Fame: In 1961 the Country Music Association (CMA) announced the creation of the Country Music Hall of Fame and chose its first three inductees: Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, and Fred Rose. These first three members were announced in November at a CMA banquet held in conjunction with WSM-radio's tenth annual disc jockey convention. The Hall of Fame members' plaques, with facial likenesses and thumbnail biographies cast in bas-relief, were unveiled on the Grand Ole Opry by Ernest Tubb. Until 1967 these plaques and those for subsequent Hall of Fame inductees were displayed in the Tennessee State Museum in downtown Nashville. In 1963 the CMA announced plans for a Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to be built on Music Row in Nashville. That same year the state of Tennessee chartered the Country Music Foundation, Inc. (CMF) as a non-profit, educational organization charged with operating the Museum. The original Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (pictured at left) opened on Music Row (Sixteenth and Division) on April 1, 1967, and closed December 31, 2000. During these years of rapid growth and expansion the Museum's operations came to also include educational programs, CMF Press and CMF Records, the Country Music Foundation Library (1968), and the historic sites RCA Studio B (1977) and Hatch Show Print (1986). The new $37,000,000 Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum celebrated its grand opening on May 17, 2001. This facility features the Hall of Fame Rotunda, where the bronze plaques are displayed for future generations to honor and enjoy. For more information you can visit the COUNTRY HALL OF FAME website.

Tour B - THE HERMITAGE & Hermitage House Smorgasbord Buffet Luncheon-
Monday, October 3, 2011

The Hermitage

Tour the THE HERMITAGE and then dine at the Hermitage House Smorgasbord This guided tour starts at 0800 and ends at 1300 door to door from the hotel. Transportation is provided on a deluxe motorcoach and lunch is included.

Andrew Jackson was the first President not to come from aristocracy. Despite his ordinary heritage, he built The Hermitage in Nashville, a stunning Ante-bellum plantation now restored as a museum dedicated to Old Hickory. In addition to revolving exhibits, a film on the history of the President and costumed tour guides, visitors will certainly want to see the first Hermitage cabins, where the former penniless orphan and future political leader and his beloved wife, Rachel, lived before achieving financial and political stability.

In 1804, when Jackson bought the first 425 acres of what would become The Hermitage, middle Tennessee was still dangerous frontier. When Jackson arrived in 1788, Nashville's population barely numbered a thousand. As a 21-year-old lawyer licensed to practice in the North Carolina territories west of the Appalachians, Jackson's quick temper and tendency to back his actions with fists or pistols attracted controversy. During the 1828 presidential campaign his marriage became an embarrassment when it was revealed that he had married Rachel Donelson Robards before her divorce was finalized (a fact that neither knew). After her divorce was finalized, Rachel and Jackson married a second time. In 1806, he killed a man in a duel over the results of a horse race and was ostracized by the Nashville community. Nonetheless, Jackson forged ahead. On the frontier, land meant power, and Jackson attempted to make money through land speculation, with mixed results. Plunging into political life, he became a member of Tennessee's Constitutional Convention, was elected its first U.S. congressman and later US senator and was for six years a Tennessee Superior Court judge. At The Hermitage, Jackson worked hard at farming. Using slave labor, he raised cotton as his primary crop. Slave quarters and farm outbuildings such as the smokehouse, springhouse and kitchen are part of the self-guided tour of the grounds.

Designed in the Greek Revival style, the Hermitage was erected in 1819. Many prominent people of the early nineteenth century visited The Hermitage, including the Marquis de Lafayette (May 1825). Rachel died in 1828 and was buried in the Hermitage gardens on the east side of the home. Shortly after her death, Jackson was inaugurated the seventh president of the United States and served two terms. In 1834, while he was in Washington, the Hermitage was severely damaged by fire. In 1837, Jackson had the house rebuilt with the front of the home being painted white to conceal the smoke blackened bricks.

Jackson died in 1845 and was buried in the gardens next to his beloved Rachel. Today, The Hermitage is one of the most popular attractions in Nashville. It has been meticulously furnished just as it was in 1836 during President Jackson's retirement. For more information you can visit the HERMITAGE website.

Hermitage Smorgasbord for lunch!!

About The Hermitage House Smorgasbord Buffet: We specialize in Southern style cooking. While we are not gourmet, we are homemade. What you will find is a refreshing, cold salad bar made with only fresh ingredients and a hot food bar filled with your favorite comfort foods. Our dessert bar is full of Apple Fritters, Cobblers, and our version of popular classics. Menu items change daily based on quality and availability of food stuffs. For more information you can visit The Hermitage House Smorgasbord website.

Tour C - Belle Meade Plantation & Carriage House Luncheon - Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tour BELLE MEADE and then dine at the Carriage House. Deluxe motorcoaches pick us up at the hotel at 0900 and return to the hotel at 1400.

Belle Meade Plantation

The "Queen of Tennessee Plantations" began in 1807 when Virginian John Harding bought Dunham's Station log cabin and 250 acres on the Natchez Trace. For the next 100 years, the Harding family prospered, building their domain into a 5,400 acre plantation that was world renowned as a Thoroughbred horse farm. In the early years, Harding boarded horses for neighbors such as Andrew Jackson, and he was breeding Thoroughbreds by 1816. He shipped grain to Charleston and New Orleans, and owned large tracts of land in Arkansas and Louisiana. In 1853 John Harding's son, William Giles Harding, completed the mansion, doubling its size and adding the front porch and columns, which are solid limestone. The Belle Meade Plantation became a stunning example of the grandeur of the South's Greek Revival Ante-Bellum architecture.

Harding was very wealthy, very pro-secessionist and donated $500,000 to the Southern cause. When the Federals occupied Nashville in February 1862, Harding was arrested and sent north to be imprisoned in Fort Mackinac, Michigan. His wife, Elizabeth McGavock, was left to tend the plantation. In September, Harding was released on parole and returned to Belle Meade. The Belle Meade Plantation was headquarters for Confederate Gen. James R. Chalmers of Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry command prior to the Battle of Nashville (December 1864). On the first day of the battle, Union soldiers burned the Rebel wagons parked at the racetrack while Chalmers was elsewhere. Returning to Belle Meade, Chalmers' men charged the Yankees and drove them back before running into an enemy infantry camp. The Yankees fired as the cavalry galloped back past the mansion, where Selene Harding, nineteen, waved a handkerchief despite the bullets flying around her. Bullet holes can still be seen in the porch columns.

After the war, William Harding turned over control of the farm to his son-in-law, William Jackson, a West Point graduate who had commanded a cavalry division under Gen. S.D. Lee in Mississippi and Louisiana. Under Jackson's tutelage, Belle Meade (French for "beautiful meadow") became an internationally renowned Thoroughbred farm and showplace. The farm sold breeding stock of ponies, Alderney cattle, Cotswold sheep, and Cashmere goats. The vast estate also featured a 600-acre deer park. At its sale in 1904, Belle Meade was the oldest and largest Thoroughbred farm in the United States. In 1953, Belle Meade Mansion and eight outbuildings on 30 acres were deeded to the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities. Today, the Belle Meade Plantation is one Nashville's most popular attractions and managed by the Nashville chapter of the Association.

Belle Mead Plantation highlights include the 1853 Mansion (restored to the sumptuous elegance of the Victorian era), the 1890 Carriage House and Stable, and the 1790 Log Cabin, one of the oldest housed in Tennessee. For more information you can visit The Belle Meade Plantation website.

The Carriage House at BELLE MEADE Plantation

Luncheon Menu for the Belle Meade Plantation Carriage House: Chicken Salad Plate for those wanting a lighter lunch with a Southern twist! Oven Roasted Chicken Salad on a bed of fresh spring greens, fresh Seasonal Fruit, Hot Bleu Cheese & Bacon Dip with Granny Smith Apple slices, Beefsteak Tomato slice and Chocolate Fudge Brownie with Caramel Sauce.

Tour D - Nashville Nightlife Dinner Theatre - Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Enjoy an evening of fun at The Nashville Nightlife Dinner theatre. Deluxe motorcoaches pick us up at the hotel at 1700 and return to the hotel at 2030.

Inside the Nashville Nightlife Theatre

"THE BEST OF COUNTRY MUSIC SHOW" Voted Nashville's #1 Dinner & Show! Come and experience a celebration of Country Music from both past and present. Hear songs from many of the great artists in country music history and today's hottest superstars. Enjoy the music of everyone from Hank Williams Sr. and Patsy Cline, to the superstars of today like Sara Evans and Toby Keith!

Throughout the season we will be having many guest stars including; Tommy Cash, Steve Hall and Shotgun Red, and Grand Ole Opry star Jeannie Seely. Plus Brenda Best, Diana Murrell, & Cindy Moore as Minnie Pearl!

Mix together cool country music and hot home cookin', add a dash of Nashville, and you'll have the fantastic Nashville Nightlife Dinner Theater! You'll fill up on an endless buffet of delicious home style cooking before being treated to one of the most popular shows in Music City. The 'Best of Country" Dinner Show is a celebration of Country Music from both past and present that will have your entire family tapping their feet and dancing in their seats. Be sure to stick around after the show for an exclusive autograph and photo session! For more information you can visit the Nashville Nightlife website.

Shuttlebus to Downtown Nashville, Tennessee - Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shuttle bus makes runs between the hotel, downtown Nashville, and back to the hotel from 1300 until 2200.

Nashville Skyline as seen from across the Cumberland River.

Once again, as we did in San Antonio, we are making a shuttle bus available for Rush Mates to plan their own day in downtown Nashville. The details of the schedule and drop-off /pick-up site in downtown are still being worked out.

Once you are downtown, you will have an opportunity to tour at your leisure. You can visit the Wild Horse Saloon, Tootsie's Orchard Lounge, or any of the many Honky-tonk saloons; or shop at Dolly Parton's Trinkets & Treasures; eat at Demos' or any of the many fine local popular restaurants.

The bus schedule is being fine-tuned, but we expect to have the final departure back to the hotel at about 2130 for a 2200 arrival.

TOUR E The General Jackson Showboat Cruise - Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ride The General Jackson as the boat cruises the Cumberland River while enjoying lunch onboard.Travel from the hotel on a deluxe motorcoach, leaving at 1030 and arriving back at 1530.

The General Jackson moored in Nashville, Tennessee.

The General Jackson Lunch Cruise is a casual, country-themed cruise that includes a delicious luncheon meal and great entertainment for the entire group. You'll enjoy the proud tradition of the great showboats of yesteryear and delight in the panoramic sights of the scenic Cumberland River as you enjoy a leisurely cruise aboard The General Jackson Showboat, the largest showboat in the world. The General Jackson Luncheon Cruise is one of the most popular activities in Nashville. For more information you can visit The General Jackson website.

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