Legends Along the Crooked Road

The Beautiful Mountains of Southwest Virginia & Kentucky

10 days & 9 Nights

August 23 – September 1, 2018

 

     Join Laura and Gary Block for a Celebration of Country Music History, a spectacular event that is set in the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia where mountain music was born. Follow us onto “The Crooked Road”, a 300 mile long Heritage Trail that crosses the frontier of the recording industry, with the memory of Country Music Legends.  Enjoy three big tribute shows featuring the music of Patsy Cline & Loretta Lynn, the Statler Brothers and June & Johnny Cash. Visit the birthplace of Loretta Lynn, a Hatfield & McCoy tour, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the Bristol Motor Speedway, plus in Kentucky it’s Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby and step into Tennessee...literally!.  This is ten days and nine nights of experiences you can only dream about.  Compare “Legends Along the Crooked Road” to others and we think you’ll notice there’s more shows, attractions and meals for the price.  You won’t believe what we’ve all included, making this the trip of a lifetime.  

     Our comfortable Across America Transportation tour coach departs Little Falls on Thursday August 23rd, from the northeast corner of the Wal-Mart parking lot.  We’ll also pick up in Royalton, Rice, St. Cloud, the Twin Cities or anywhere else along our route.  We travel through Wisconsin and Illinois as we arrive at our hotel, Hampton Inn & Suites in Normal, Ill.                                                 

     Day two begins with breakfast at the hotel.  We’ll travel to the Bluegrass State and eventually check in to the Hampton Inn in Winchester, Kentucky.  Dinner is included this evening at Golden Corral.

     Day three starts with breakfast at the hotel.  Today we begin our adventure with a visit to the Bluegrass Heritage Museum, bringing the history of the area to life by preserving objects valuable to the history of the Bluegrass region of Kentucky.  We’ll depart with a Coal-Miner’s Sack Lunch as we meet our step-on guide and travel to the birthplace of Loretta Lynn at Butcher Holler.  Nestled between two fog-shrouded mountains up a “holler” just two miles southeast of the mining camp of Van Lear, this is the region that inspired country music star Loretta Lynn to write some of her most famous songs, most notably “Coal Miner’s Daughter”.  Later in the afternoon we check into the Hilton Garden Inn in Pikeville, Kentucky and enjoy country music and a buffet dinner at the hotel this evening.

    Sunday begins with breakfast at the hotel. We’ll offer a shuttle for Sunday services at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. We’ve all heard about the feuding Hatfield and McCoy families, now we’ll find out more with the Hatfield and McCoy Tour.  A buffet lunch is included today at the Pig and a Poke, a family owned and operated establishment and then we’ll continue to Virginia and the Ralph Stanley Museum which is a monument to this American bluegrass artist known for his distinctive singing and playing.  Time to check into a unique and beautiful hotel that just opened this year, the Western Front Hotel in St. Paul, Virginia,  Dinner is included  tonight at that hotel.  There will be time this evening to enjoy this one-of-a-kind hotel!

    It’s breakfast at the hotel as we start Day 5 and meet our local guide. Coal is to Big Stone Gap and the entire Appalachian region, what automobiles are to Detroit, corn to Iowa and oil is to Texas.  Because coal mining, to a large extent, defines the area – how people live, where they work and how they think and feel.  Our first stop this morning is the Harry Meador Coal Museum.  This Museum was put together bit by bit and piece by piece, from the mini treasure troves and memorabilia of private homes, providing a peek into the past and its direct influence on local lifestyle.  At mid-morning, it’s a stop at an 1890’s Victorian stone mansion that is a National Historic Landmark and houses state of the art exhibits that tells the story of Southwest Virginia from the pioneer era of the 1700’s to the mining “boom and bust” of the 1800’s.  Lunch is included today at the home of John Fox Jr., a famous mountain author whose best known book is “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine”, the nation’s first million copy selling novel that was later made into a movie.  Following lunch, let’s stop at the June Tolliver House and gift shop with crafts made by local artisans.  There’s a guided tour of Big Stone Gap, Virginia before we head back to the hotel. Dinner is on our own at the Monday Night Bluegrass at the historic Lays Hardware Center for the Arts in Coeburn.  The Crooked Road comes to downtown Coeburn as local groups entertain and provide music.

     Breakfast at the hotel this morning, prior to checking out of the hotel and then we travel the Daniel Boone Trail to the Natural Tunnel State Park.  One of the nation’s most historic routes, the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail was blazed by the legendary frontiersman in 1775 from Kingsport, TN, through the Cumberland Gap of Virginia and into Kentucky.  It would become the route for hundreds of thousands of settlers of the western frontier.  Abingdon, Virginia is our destination today.  We have an included lunch at Heartwood, tucked into Virginia’s ancient mountains and home to music, crafts and food of the Crooked Road.  Delight in the experience of locally produced foods in a “Farm to Table Lunch” at this 30,000 square foot attraction..  Sometimes at Heartwood there are local musicians who gather to entertain with distinctive music from the area.   Meet our guide for a tour of Abingdon which is nestled in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, in an area of unparalleled natural beauty that is rich in tradition. Chartered in 1778, the city is a Historic Landmark where visitors enjoy amenities usually reserved to much larger communities.  You can stroll shaded brick sidewalks and savor the ambiance of the oldest town west of the Blue Ridge Mountains or explore a 20-block historic district filled with outstanding examples of Federal and Victorian architecture.  Take a tour and sample a tasting at the Olive Oil Company Gallery and stop at White’s Mill where we’ll be greeted by a banjo player and storyteller.  Following our hotel check in at Comfort Inn in Abingdon, VA., we’ll join other motor coach groups for a dinner show at a local events center that begins with Virginia Country Cooking and ends with a tribute to a pair of country music legends.  This evening’s show features the Music of Patsy Cline, a native of Winchester, VA who had such hits as “Honky Tonk Angels”, “Walking After Midnight”, “Crazy”, “Sweet Dreams” and “I Fall to Pieces”.  This show also features a tribute to Patsy’s friend Loretta Lynn and you’ll hear some of her greatest hits such as “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’”, “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” and many more.  

It’s breakfast again at the hotel as we get ready today to visit the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate that is dedicated to telling one story only, an event Johnny Cash called “The Big Bang of Country Music”.  In 1927 a talent scout from the Victor Talking Machine Company had four men carrying a portable recording device into a Bristol hat factory and invited local musicians to record the music of the Appalachians.  The legendary Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers were among the first artists ever recorded.  After the museum, you have free time in downtown Bristol where State Street separates Virginia from Tennessee.  You will find quaint shops, antiques, boutiques and more.  Stand in two states at once or buy yourself a milkshake at the Burger Bar rumored to be where Hank Williams ate his last meal.  Lunch is on your own.  Your afternoon highlight is the Bristol Motor Speedway where you can do a lap on the high-banked track known as “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile”.  You’ll also see Pit Road and the Bristol Dragway known as “Thunder Valley”.  The musical feature of this visit to Bristol Motor Speedway is a concert by American Pride Country, a group that performs the music of The Statler Brothers, who also hailed from the State of Virginia.  You’ll hear their tribute song to Johnny Cash, (who discovered them) “We Got Paid by Cash” and many other originals such as “Flowers on the Wall” and “My Only Love”.  Dinner is an included catered meal of country favorites served under a tent in the VIP Hospitality area where you watched the show.  Following dinner, our group motors to the remote community of Hiltons, VA for a special show “Johnny Cash Returns With June” at the Carter Fold.  This is hallowed ground because the original Carter Family lived here.  Tonight a number of tour operators have rented the music center known as The Fold which exists as a tribute to A.P. Carter, Sara and Maybelle.  Every Saturday night The Fold hosts an evening of old-time mountain music.  However, tonight’s concert is a tribute to Maybelle’s daughter June and her husband Johnny Cash.  Did you know that June Carter wrote “Ring of Fire” in the early 60’s, several years before she married Johnny?  You’ll hear songs like “Jackson” and “Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man” as the tribute artists recreate their love and music at the ancestral home.     

     Thursday morning we’ll enjoy breakfast at the hotel as we prepare to say good-bye to Virginia and travel back to Kentucky where we have an included lunch at the Farm House Café in Lexington.  The Café is located at the Kentucky Horse Park which includes a comprehensive look at horse history and culture around the world.  There’s nothing else like it!  The included dinner this evening is at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant where there is a choice of four entrée…Pasta Marinara, Grilled Mahi Fillet, Schwarzbier Tenderloin Tips and Pecan Crusted Chicken.  Please include your entrée choice when you fill out your registration form.  After dinner, it’s time to check into our hotel for a quiet evening at the Drury Inn, Louisville, Kentucky..          

      It’s time to rise and shine. Where is breakfast being served today?  Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby!!  Your visit will include the Backstretch Breakfast Tour which is an authentic railside breakfast in the Track Kitchen while watching the horses during their morning workouts.  Talk to the trainers and private guides since this is an exclusive group experience!  Visit the Churchill Downs Racetrack, “The Greatest Race” film, interactive exhibits and meet resident thoroughbreds.  Lunch is included at the Derby Café and a local Bourbon authority will treat guests to three of Kentucky’s finest bourbons, if they so desire, while learning the history of the state’s signature spirit.  This afternoon we’ll stop at the home of the world’s biggest baseball bat, the Louisville Slugger Museum.  This Louisville landmark is a popular tourist spot and everyone will receive a miniature souvenir bat at the end of the tour.  Dinner is on your own this evening as we return to the Bloomington/Normal area for our overnight stay at Comfort Inn.                                                                                                                                                                    

    It’s our final day together and we’ll enjoy the breakfast at the hotel before we begin traveling back to Minnesota.  We’ll be returning to Little Falls this evening after a fabulous ten day journey..  Compare this trip to any others on the market.  We offer more shows, twenty meals, quality name-brand hotels and attractions for the price.  You won’t find another trip as unique as this one..  This will be ten days and nine nights of fun and adventure..  Don’t delay, sign up today for this experience of a lifetime.

 

·         Comfortable  Across Country Transportation coach and experienced drivers

·         Two night’s accommodations at Hampton Inn & Suites – Normal, Ill

·         One night accommodations at Hampton Inn - Winchester, KY

·         One night accommodations at Hilton Garden Inn - Pikeville, KY

·         One night accommodations at Drury Inn – Louisville, KY

·         Two night’s accommodations at Comfort Inn – Abingdon, VA

·         Two night’s accommodations at the brand new Western Front Hotel, St. Paul, VA

·         Bluegrass Heritage Museum - Winchester, KY

·         Birthplace of Loretta Lynn at Butcher Holler, KY    

·         Country music and dinner at Hilton Garden Inn

·         Hatfield & McCoy Tour   

·         Ralph Stanley Museum – Clintwood, VA

·         Harry Meador Coal Museum – Big Stone Gap, VA

·         1890’s Victorian Stone Mansion and State Park – Big Stone Gap, VA  

·         John Fox Jr Home – Stone Gap, VA

·         June Tolliver House & Folk Art Center – Stone Gap, VA

·         Big Stone Gap, Virginia Tour

·         Monday Night Bluegrass at historic Lays Hardware Center for the Arts – Coeburn, VA

·          Daniel Boone Trail & Natural Tunnel State Park – Scott County, VA

·         Heartwood - Farm to Table Meal – SW Virginia

·         Guided tour of Abingdon, VA

·         Abingdon Olive Oil Company Tour & White’s Mill

·         Country Music Legends Loretta Lynn & Patsy Cline Tribute dinner show – VA

·         Birthplace of Country Music Museum – Bristol, VA

·         Downtown Bristol free-time

·         Bristol Motor Speedway Tour and an option to ride a lap on the high-banked track

·         Statler Brothers Tribute with American Pride Country – Bristol Speedway

·         Dinner at Bristol Motor Speedway VIP Hospitality Area

·         “Johnny Cash Returns with June” at the Carter Fold Music Center – Hiltons, VA

·         Kentucky Horse Park – Lexington, KY

·         Churchill Downs – Backstretch Breakfast  & Kentucky Derby Museum Tour & Bourbon Basics – Louisville, KY

·         Louisville Slugger  Factory & Museum – Louisville, KY                                                                                                                                              

·          20 meals that include 9 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 6 dinners

·         Optional shuttle to  Sunday Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

·         Numerous local and step-on guides

·         Luggage handling

·         Fun & prizes

·         Hosted by Laura & Gary Block

 

Gary Block Tours

320-632-8632

mgaryblock@hotmail.com                                   www.garyblocktours.com

Turn over for price and sign-up reservation form

 

$1989 per person double occupancy

$1819 per person triple occupancy

$1719 per person quad occupancy

$2589 single occupancy

$250 non-refundable deposit required per person with full payment due by July 1, 2018.

 

 

 

 

Cancellation & Refund Policy

Transportation and lodging hosted by Gary Block Tours is arranged with independent firms.  Bookings for entertainment are arranged through independent hotels, theatres and other entertainment venues.  We take great pride in our selection of reliable firms.  However, we do not control these independent firms.  Sometimes shows or celebrity appearances are changed or cancelled without notice.  We cannot be responsible for claims or losses arising out of injury, accident, death, loss of enjoyment, frustration or inconvenience that arises from the act or omission of any independent firm supplying services to Gary Block Tours, or for mechanical breakdowns, governmental actions, acts of God, strikes or acts of war beyond our control.  We cannot be responsible for the consequences of your failure to follow instructions, including but not limited to check in, check out and baggage handling.  If events or reservations are cancelled or changed, we will make every effort to provide a comparable substitute tour experience. 

Deposits and payments are non-refundable unless the tour is cancelled.

I have read and understand the Cancellation and Refund Policy notice.

All participants of this trip must sign below.

Clip & return with payment to:  Gary Block Tours, 112 SE 4th Street, Little Falls, MN  56345

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Legends Along the Crooked Road