Boarding in Eveleth, Virginia, Hibbing, Grand Rapids, Duluth, Superior WI, Little Falls, Rice, St Cloud, Anoka, Eau Clair WI
|The Blue Ridge is literally the “Backbone” of the great scenic mountain region embracing the Southern Appalachian mountain range. This scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway attracts millions of visitors every year but, for many, the preferred season is autumn. The parkway stretches 469 miles from Virginia and through North Carolina and Tennessee. Shenandoah National Park is on it’s north end with the beautiful Skyline Drive through Virginia and all the way down to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. Your Happy Trails journey begins at the southern point in Cherokee, NC (mile post 469) and follows the parkway to a little beyond Floyd, VA (mile post 160). That’s nearly 300 miles of the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway! This ride-awhile, stop awhile adventure offers scenic wonders all along the way. Below is a listing of the many places you’ll visit on this Happy Trails 12 day Autumn on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
|Per person Double
||Per person Triple
||Per person Quad
- Deluxe Motor Coach Transportation from Northeast Minnesota, Central Minnesota and the Twin Cities
- Eleven Nights Lodging: Cherokee, NC; Asheville, NC; Boone, NC; Winston-Salem, NC; Christiansburg, VA.
(Properties Used:) - Country Inn & Suites; Baymont Suites; Hampton Inns; Best Westerns; Holiday Inn Express
Other overnights along the way are in Rockford, IL; Berea, KY; Charleston, WV; LeRoy, Il
- Renfro Valley, KY – Two Music Shows - the Country Music Hall of Fame – Bittersweet Cabin Tour
- Autumn Drive along the Cherohala Scenic Skyway from Tennessee into No Carolina over the Shanandoah Valley
- FOUR days on the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway - Beginning south at Mile Post #469 traveling north to Mile Post #160
- 1st Day on the Blue Ridge Parkway …. Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC
- 2nd Day on the Parkway-Little Switzerland, NC; Grand Father Mountain, Mile High Bridge Linn Cove Viaduct.
- 3rd Day on the Parkway- Travel to Mount Airy, NC (Andy Griffith - Mayberry RFD) and Winston-Salem & Dinner at Hillbilly Hideaway
- 4th Day on the Parkway….Old Salem Historic District , Meadow of Dan, Mabry Mill, Chateau Morrisette Winery & Dinner
- While in West Virginia: Visit Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, Tamarack Art & Cultural Center and the New River Gorge
- 17 Meals – 11 hot breakfasts, 4 lunches and 2 dinners (taxes and tips included at all restaurants.)
- Fully guided, luggage handling and tips for the porters.
||$150 per person due with reservation when you sign up. Reservations are not secured with a financial deposit paid within 7 days of registering. It becomes non-refundable after July 30, 2012.
||Final payments are due: August 5, 2012. Personal checks, money orders, credit cards accepted. Monies returned with cancellations made between August 5- August 30, 2012 are contingent upon what Happy Trails Tours receives back from hotels, restaurants, activities, charters and tour companies. There are no refunds with cancellations made after August 30, 2012. All cancellations must be made by phone and then followed by a written letter.
||Travel Insurance is available at an additional cost. It can offer peace of mind and financial security. Let us know if you are interested.
||Tips for luggage handling, city tour step on guides along the way and included meals are included. This does not include your driver or on board local travel host.
||This tour is completely casual and comfortable. You may pack one suitcase per person. Carry on bags may be brought on board.
Final documents will arrive in late August after final payments have been received. These documents will tell you when and where you will board, how to pack and give you hotel address and phone numbers. They will also include luggage tags, medical forms, receipts or invoices, and inform you of any changes if there are any.
||Changes: We reserve the right to adjust this schedule for the benefit of all traveling. If a change of hotel, restaurant or an attraction occurs, we’ll replace it with one of equal value or better. As always… we’ll make every effort to inform you of any changes as they occur.
||Disclaimer: Happy Trails Tours acts only as an agent for the various independent suppliers that provide hotel accommodations, transportation, theater, or other services connected with this tour. Such services are subject to the terms and conditions of those suppliers. Happy Trails Tours, INC and their respective employees, agents, representatives accept no liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or any other default of any company or person in performing these services. Responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages or expenses of any kind due to sickness, weather, strikes, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature, local laws or other causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws and regulations of country in which they are provided. Happy Trails Tours INC is not responsible for any baggage or personal effects of any individual participating in the tours/trips arranged by Happy Trails Tours. Individual travelers are responsible for purchasing a travel insurance policy, if desired, that will cover some of the expenses associated with the loss of luggage or personal effects.
Day 1 – Sunday, September 30th Travel to Rockford, Illinois (490 miles from Iron Range)
You’ll travel in a deluxe Trobec motor coach with boarding beginning in Grand Rapids, Iron Range cities, and Duluth. Our friends from central Minnesota will enjoy a relaxing shuttle this morning as they travel east to join up with the rest of the group. Together we’ll enjoy a leisure day as we embark on an 11 day adventure southeast through the Appalachian Mountains to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. We’ll make stops every 2-½ - 3 hours as the day goes along…So just set your seats back, relax and get acquainted with fellow travelers on your Happy Trails Tour. About 6 weeks prior to departure, specifics on boarding site and estimated departure time will be announced. We’ll arrive in the late afternoon to the Baymont Inn, Rockford, Illinois. This property has 2 queen beds, an indoor pool, guest laundry, coffeemakers, irons & boards, and hairdryer in the rooms. There’s also a Cracker Barrel next door.
Day 2 - Monday, October 1 Travel to Berea, Kentucky (495 miles)
Hot breakfast Included
We’ll travel today through lovely countryside as we travel southeast through the states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. We’ll begin to see the landscape change as we travel south into the foothills of mountains. Coffee breaks, comfort and meal stops will be made as we travel today.
5:00 pm - Estimated arrival to Berea. Our hotel property in Berea for the next two nights is the Country Inn & Suites. They have 2 queen/double beds, an indoor pool, guest laundry, coffeemakers, irons & boards, and hairdryer in the rooms. There are several restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.
Day 3 Tuesday, October 2nd Renfro Valley, Kentucky - music, food, museums & tours
Hot breakfast, lunch & family style dinner included today.
We’ll visit Renfro Valley, Kentucky, aka “Kentucky Country Music Capital” which celebrates not only great country and bluegrass music, but also the scenic landscape in these old Kentucky hills as it welcomes in the autumn season. The restaurant, gift shops, theater and museums are all waiting for our arrival today. First we’ll enjoy a nice lunch and musical entertainment. Next our afternoon will include a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Bittersweet Cabin tour. Time for shopping and browsing through the craft shops and stores is also a must! Then…it’s a family style sit down dinner before taking our seats at the Barn Theater for a good ol’ fashioned Bluegrass music show at 7 pm. We’ll return to our hotel in Berea (about 15 minutes down the road) for a peaceful night’s rest.
Day 4 - Wednesday, October 3rd Travel to Cherokee, North Carolina (Mile Marker 441) (325 miles)
Full breakfast, included
Depart Renfro Valley, KY for Cherokee - 325 miles away. We’ll travel south from Renfro Valley crossing the state line into Tennessee … We’ll stop in Knoxville (about 2-½ hour away) for a coffee stop. Then from Knoxville we’ll continue south (another 1 ¼ hours to Tellico Plaines) our lunch stop. Now it’s here where it really starts to get beautiful!!!! We’ll take the “Cherohala Scenic Skyway” (AKA the Mile High Skyway) into North Carolina. This scenic skyway goes from 860’ elevation to 5290 ’ elevation. It’s AMAZING. We’ll continue our journey to Blue Ridge Mile Marker #441 to Cherokee, the south end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. 6:30 PM- Arrive to Cherokee, NC to the lovely Great Smokies Inn.
This property is located downtown where there’s lots of shopping. They have 2 double beds, guest laundry, coffeemakers, irons & boards, and hairdryer in the rooms. They have a full service restaurant in house.
Day 5 - Thursday, October 4th Travel to Asheville, North Carolina (51 miles)
Hot breakfast and dinner, included.
Depart Cherokee and begin our adventure along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Due to high traffic during this time of year we have to allow ample time to travel from point A to point B. Estimated arrival to anywhere along the parkway depends much on the traffic, weather and road construction. Our first stop will be the Oconoloftee Visitors Center. Many of the visitor centers offer wonderful overlooks for photos as well as restroom breaks. Another place we’ll stop is at (Mile Post 430) Highest Point on the Parkway - Richland Balsam Gap (6,047 Feet). Other stops will also be made as we move along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We’ll in the early afternoon, we’ll arrive to Asheville, North Carolina to the Biltmore Estates. We’ll enjoy a self-guided tour of the home (with audio head sets) and a tour of the winery. We’ve allowed plenty of time to explore as per your own agenda with time to pick up a few souvenirs. Our lodging tonight is the Hampton Inn on Tunnel Road in Asheville. Once we get settled in, we’ll take everyone out to a nice dinner, included. They have 2 queen/double beds, indoor pool, guest laundry, coffeemakers, irons & boards, and hairdryer in the rooms. The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy as per your own agenda.
Day 6 – Friday, October 5th Travel to Boone, North Carolina (89 miles)
Hot breakfast and lunch included.
Depart Asheville this morning and travel to Boone, NC - about 90 miles up the parkway. Our ride to Little Switzerland (Mile Post 334) will be beautiful. We’ll spend a little time in this quaint little mountain village before traveling further up the parkway to Grand Father Mountain.
Our directions have changed slightly when going to Little Switzerland due to high traffic volume on the parkway. It’ll be a lovely drive. At 5,946 feet, Grand Father Mountain is the tallest mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Also more than a billion years old and home to dozens of rare and endangered species, Grandfather Mountain has been honored and recognized by the United Nations as an International Biosphere Reserve. Grand Father Mountain is also considered one of the best fall color destinations in the Southern Appalachians because of its amazing diversity of plant life. There’s a visitors center, nature film and museum, gift shop and restaurant. We’ve included your lunch today at the mountain. In the later afternoon, we’ll travel to the Linn Cove Viaduct Visitors Center. The Visitors Center offers a film telling about the viaduct and also offers indoor restrooms and info. For those interested, you can also walk down “underneath” the viaduct which many folks enjoy.
Continue to Boone, NC. Our lodging tonight is at the Country Inn & Suites. They have 2 queen beds, indoor pool, guest laundry, coffeemakers, irons & boards, and hairdryer in the rooms and restaurants nearby. The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy as per your own agenda.
Day 7 – Saturday, October 6th Travel to Winston-Salem, No Carolina (140 miles)
A deluxe continental breakfast and family style dinner, included.
We’re off this morning for another adventure along the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway. Our morning destination is Mount Airy with an estimated arrival of late morning. Mount Airy, aka as “Mayberry”, is Andy Griffith’s hometown. We’ll stroll along the streets checking out some of the cute little shops and maybe even go for a ride in Barney’s cop car! We’ll visit the Andy Griffith Museum and take an area tour to learn more about this mountain village nestled up in the Appalachian hills. Later in the afternoon, we’ll continue to Winston-Salem, our home away from home for the next two nights. We have one more fun event before the day’s end….dinner at the Hillbilly Hideaway. all-you-can-eat meals is served family style. It’s a hot spot even for the locals! (Note the fine china at your place setting!) Our lodging is at the BW Brookstone Inn. It’s located right in the heart of the historic district within walking distance of many attractions. Each evening they offer a wine and cheese reception as well as cookies and milk before bedtime. It does not have an indoor pool, but there are coffeemakers, irons & ironing boards, hairdryers, guest laundry and a full service restaurant on site. The rooms have 2 queen/double beds in them.
Day 8 - Sunday, October 7th Sunday Morning Open & Old Salem Historic District
Hot breakfast and lunch
Enjoy a leisure breakfast before beginning your day’s activities. We’ve slowed the pace down by adding an extra night here in Winston-Salem. Because of the location, I think you’ll enjoy the attractions within walking distance. In Old Salem Historic District, you’ll experience early American history in the unique Moravian settlement of Salem. This German community is home to original structures, gardens, artifacts, hands-on workshops, events and shopping. View history through objects and tour a wide range of early southern artistry, craftsmanship and stories found in the world class collection of decorative arts from the early American South, 1660 – 1860. Stroll through award-winning restorations that create a landscape reminiscent of early Salem where utility, practicality and beauty united. On Sunday mornings, the Home Moravian Church offers services, which are open to all faiths. So if this is something you’d like to do, feel free. We’ve included lunch today at the Old Salem Tavern (signature Moravian Pot Pie and Ginger Bread for dessert). Enjoy this day as per your own agenda and walk back to the Inn when you wish to. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at your leisure.
Day 9 - Monday, October 8th Travel to Christiansburg, Virginia (100 miles)
A hot breakfast and lunch Included
A leisure departure this morning brings back onto the Blue Ridge Parkway …. Traveling to the Meadow’s of Dan area. Our first visit will be to Nancy’s Candy Factory and sample some treats. (They have an observation window). We’l continue to Mile Post #176 to Mabry Mills, the most photographed historic site on the parkway. Mabry Mills is a working mill and we’ll be sure to give you time to purchase some of their products before we continue. In the afternoon (in time for lunch) we travel to Mile Post # 171.5 to the Chateau Morrisette Winery. This scenic drive takes us to Floyd, Virginia to this delightful hidden treasure. We’ll enjoy lunch, included, and an opportunity to sample some of their wines. We’ll be here a couple of hours before re-boarding the coach and traveling to Christiansburg, ½ hour away. This is the last day we’ll travel along the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway. Tonight we’ll stay at the Fairfield Inn. This property does not have an indoor pool but they do have an outdoor year round hot tub and they have coffeemakers, irons & ironing boards, hairdryers, guest laundry and serve a full hot breakfast in the morning. The rooms have 2 queen/double beds in them.
Day 10 – Tuesday, October 9th Travel to Charleston, West Virginia (153 miles)
A hot breakfast, included.
Depart for Charleston, WV with our focus on Beckley, West Virginia - about 100 miles northwest of Christiansburg. Our first stop with at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine. Here we’ll enjoy a 45 minute tour. From here we’ll continue to “Tamarack” a huge facility highlighting West Virginia’s Arts and Cultural exhibits. This is also where we’ll get our lunch, paying on own. Our afternoon brings us the New River Gorge. The New River Gorge Bridge is featured on the WV quarter! After our time here, we’ll move on the Charleston, WV, where we’ll spend the night at the Holiday Inn Express. They offer an indoor pool, double/queen beds, coffeemakers, irons & ironing boards, hairdryers, guest laundry and serve a hot breakfast in the morning. There are many great restaurants nearby the hotel. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Day 11- Wednesday, October 10th Travel to Leroy, Illinois (520 miles)
A hot breakfast is included.
We’ll start our day early this morning and travel through the lovely states of West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana to Illinois. We’ll relax as we enjoy the lovely scenery out our windows. Again, stops are made as the day goes along. We’ll check into the Holiday Inn Express in the late afternoon with the rest of the evening to enjoy as we wish. Restaurants are within walking distance of the hotel. This property offers coffeemakers, irons & ironing boards, hairdryers, guest laundry and serve a full hot breakfast in the morning. The rooms have 2 queen/double beds in them.
Day 12 - Thursday, October 11th Travel Home (600 miles to the Northeast MN)
(490 miles to Twin Cities)
A deluxe continental breakfast , included.
We’ll board the coach early this morning and travel one last day together as a Happy Trails family….stops are made as we go along. We sure hope that you’ve saved a little room in your suitcase to pack all the memories you’ll have made while traveling on your Blue Ridge Mountain tour. We appreciate your business and look forward to seeing you on future Happy Trails Tours!
These are estimated time of arrivals to your home destinations:
In Eau Clair, WI (Meet the Trobec Shuttle Bus) Twin Cities @ 6:30 PM; St Cloud @ 7:30 PM; Rice @ 8 PM; Little Falls @ 8:30 PM
Estimated Arrival home for Northeast MN: Duluth @ 6:00 PM; Eveleth @ 7:30 PM; Virginia @ 8 PM; Hibbing @ 8:30 PM; Grand Rapids @ 9:15 PM
Disclaimer: Happy Trail Tours are arranged and operated by Diane Olds @ Happy Trail Tours INC, PO Box 432, Forbes, MN 55738. Happy Trail Tours, INC and its employees act only as agents for others (airlines, bus lines, hotels, restaurants, theaters, etc.) in providing services included in the tours. No liability shall be incurred by Diane Olds, Happy Trail Tours, INC or its employees because of injury, monetary, or property loss, or other complications experienced by tour members.
Occasionally a change will occur in a tour listed. Whenever possible, we'll replace it with something of equal value or more. Happy Trail Tours always reserve the right to adjust any scheduled itinerary for the benefit of all traveling.
Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.