The construction site of 'Noah's Ark', 'Frozen Niagara Falls', sightless fish, America's Secret City and sleepovers on the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo. If you're looking for a quirky, but fascinating fly-drive through the USA then check out our Only in America 14-night fly-drive through the rolling hills of Kentucky and the music cities of Tennessee...
Price per person includes:
Distance: 5 miles
Your Only In America fly-drive holiday kicks off in Northern Kentucky, where you'll stay in the town of Covington for the first two nights. Overlooking the confluence of the Ohio and Licking Rivers and established in 1815, Covington has a treasured Historic District which is perfect for an evening stroll. Alternatively head to the Mainstrasse Village and hang out with the locals in the lively bars in this thriving entertainment district. Covington is a ideal base from which to explore nearby Newport and is a hop and a skip across the river to Cincinnati.
Be sure to stroll across the Roebling Suspension Bridge (a prototype of the Brooklyn Bridge) spanning the Ohio River and take in the Cincinnati River Front with its parks, baseball and American football stadiums.
The banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati meant freedom to entrapped slaves and the striking National Underground Railroad Freedom Center portrays three centuries of slavery from its introduction into the Americas to its abolition at the end of the American Civil War. The exhibit describes who the enslaved were, why they were brought here, how they lived, how they worked and also who their allies were - and how ultimately they became free.
Before there was Las Vegas, there was Newport, Kentucky. Explore the streets where the mob made their millions, gamblers lost their lives, and ladies of the night earned their reputations. Join the gangster guides for a raucous, high energy presentation inside an old casino to explain the historic significance of Newport and discover how this little town gave birth to the modern gaming industry.
It's always fun to learn the juicy secrets of a city's history. With the Newport Gangster Tour you can visit the buildings that actually housed casinos, brothels and speakeasies while learning about Newport’s connections to some of the most well-known crime figures in our nation’s history.
Distance: 80 miles
Depart Newport-on the-Levee and head south toward Louisville on I-65. Amidst the rolling hills of Kentucky is The Creation Museum.
The Creation Museum is a state-of-the-art facility that brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Majestic murals, great masterpieces brimming with pulsating colours and details, provide a backdrop for many of the settings. Learn how the Bible has been attacked and defended throughout history. The Noah’s Ark Construction Site, a full-scale cross-section of the Ark representing only one percent of the actual Ark, considers the construction, tools, and skills needed to construct a vessel to survive a worldwide flood.
Continue south to Louisville which is firmly embedded in the American national consciousness for its multimillion-dollar Kentucky Derby held each May at Churchill Downs. The Derby, known as the richest two minutes in sport, attracts 500,000 fans to this cosmopolitan and diversified city the first Saturday in May, but there is racing at Churchill Downs in April, May, June, October and November and the track is open for tours year-round. The next-door Kentucky Derby Museum is an excellent hands-on experience and has a magnificent audio-visual display that captures the Derby Day atmosphere on a 360o screen.
Downtown Louisville rolls gently down towards Main Street then abruptly lunges down to the river where the historic Belle of Louisville leaves for daily sightseeing cruises. Don’t miss the Slugger Museum and Factory and be sure to sample the Urban Bourbon Trail along Whiskey Row and around town.
Distance: 101 miles
Learn about the Louisville Lip and travel to the heart of Kentucky horse country, Lexington, before spending the night at a historic Shaker community.
The Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville, rises on the south bank of the Ohio River and has majestic views of Kentucky’s largest city where Ali was born Cassius Clay in 1942. Ali went on to boxing fame and fortune but in his heyday he was known as the Louisville Lip and a loquacious self-promoter responsible for some of the finest quips to emerge from a sportsman. The Ali Center is not obsessed with glory and triumph and it does not shy away from Ali’s failings, but his boxing achievements are the centrepiece and fans can watch his fights in a multimedia area as well as follow his brave and principled stand against the Vietnam War and racism.
Continue onto Lexington, The Horse Capital of the World, before checking into the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill.The Shakers were 19th century America’s largest and best-known communal society. Their movement began in New York shortly before the American Revolution, and by the 1840s, nearly 3,500 Shakers lived in communities from Maine to Kentucky. In 1805, a group of Shakers came to central Kentucky and established a village they named Pleasant Hill.
Distance: 167 miles
Distance: 149 miles
Discover why the Corvette is “America’s true sports car” and how a small Kentucky river town is a UNESCO Creative City – one of seven in the world.
General Motors began production of the esteemed Corvette at the Bowling Green assembly plant in 1981 and the facility has remained the exclusive home of the Corvette for more than 30 years. The guided tour of the factory shows how man and machine combine to produce 137 cars a day - all on order.
The nearby National Corvette Museum features more than 70 Corvettes from classics in mint condition including Roy Orbison’s vintage ‘67, one-of-a-kind prototypes that never went into production to racetrack champions and modern-day wonders of engineering and design. There is also a display of six of the eight smashed-up cars that were swallowed by a massive sinkhole in 2014 when the roof of a cave below the museum collapsed – causing visitor numbers to double.
Creativity is the common thread that connects people from around the globe to Paducah. The world’s 7th City of Crafts and Folk Art in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Paducah is home to the National Quilt Museum, the Lower Town Arts District and 50 life-sized panoramic floodwall murals.
Distance: 178 miles
Distance: 210 miles
At the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville peek inside the one-room schoolhouse attended by a young Anna Mae Bullock – known to the world as Tina Turner. Flagg Grove School is now home to a collection of the Queen of Rock's memorabilia including costumes and gold records donated by Tina and her family. Even her high school yearbook is included among the treasures.
Nashville may be best known for its country roots, but the word is out that it’s also home to a diverse mix of musicians (Kings of Leon, the Black Keys, Jack White) and a diverse mix of music (rock, Americana, bluegrass, blues, gospel) as well as the largest song writing community in the world. Nashville’s creative spirit has also led the way to an evolving arts, fashion and culinary scene that’s starting to share the spotlight with its music scene.
Spend an evening at the Bluebird Cafe, Nashville’s legendary hotspot where you’ll enjoy songwriters performing original material in an intimate “in the round setting.” Or experience Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, the world’s longest running radio show, to see first-hand some of country music’s rising stars such as Taylor Swift and legends like Dolly Parton. Take a backstage tour and see the dressing rooms and famous Green Room.
Distance: 225 miles
Drive east from Nashville to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited park. Just west of Knoxville is Oak Ridge.
Oak Ridge was America’s Secret City during World War II where 75,000 workers lived in total secrecy while producing the first atomic bomb. The American Museum of Science and Energy explains the rise of nuclear energy and tells the extraordinary story of life in the Secret City and even includes a photo of guards frisking Father Christmas.
Along the banks of the Tennessee River is Knoxville and its Volunteer Landing includes refreshing waterfalls and fountains, historical markers and locally owned restaurants. Volunteer Landing is also the location of the Star of Knoxville riverboat and Three Rivers and Rambler Rail Road.
Stretching for half a million acres across Tennessee and North Carolina, this national park is your home for the next two nights in delightful Smoky Mountain log cabins.
Distance: 125 miles
Drive south from the Smokies to Chattanooga and you are travelling through the ancient homeland and territory of the Cherokee Indians.
The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum is owned and operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The museum honours Sequoyah, creator of the Cherokee alphabet, who was born in the Old Cherokee Village of Tuskegee, near the present site of the museum. The museum also interprets the history of the Overhill Cherokee towns such as Tanasi, namesake for the State of Tennessee and the Tennessee River.
Fort Loudoun was the first British outpost in the southern Appalachian Mountains and it sits across the road from Sequoyah Birthplace Museum. The fort was established in 1756-1757 at the request of pro-British Cherokee factions but the relationship between the Cherokee and British soon soured and devolved into open conflict. The Cherokees laid siege to the fort, drove out the soldiers – killing all but one, and finally burnt the fort. In the 1970’s a replica of the fort was built on the grounds and opened to the public.
Chattanooga is nestled along the beautiful Tennessee River and surrounded by spectacular mountains and scenic beauty. Chattanooga has a newly revitalised riverfront, first class attractions, a free electric shuttle, a clean and Green environment, outdoor adventures, rich American Civil War history, a thriving music scene and plenty of annual events that offer year-round entertainment.
No visit to Chattanooga is complete without a visit to the Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal Station Complex & Hotel. This 1909 train station was made famous by the song Pardon me boy – is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo? when it became the first record in the world to sell over one million copies. But you can still tour this historic complex; ride an electric trolley; spend the night in a train carriage; have dinner in the diner where your waiter will take the stage and sing you a song.
Distance: 110 miles
See the scenic sights of Chattanooga before driving south to Atlanta for your evening flight back to the UK.
Chattanooga’s Native American name comes from the pointed mountain rise only 15 minutes from downtown - this “rock – coming to a point” is Historic Lookout Mountain where you’ll find a whole new arena of things to do. Ride the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway – the steepest incline in the world, or go underground to Ruby Falls, a 145-foot waterfall deep inside the mountain, or stroll to the National Park Service’s American Civil War Battlefield at Point Park.
Rock City Gardens - an award-winning garden and geological wonder – is located atop Lookout Mountain, just six miles from downtown Chattanooga. Rock City is a true marvel of nature featuring massive ancient rock formations, gardens with over 400 native plant species and breathtaking See Seven States panoramic views. Take an unforgettable journey along the Enchanted Trail where each step reveals natural beauty and wonders along the woodland path. Experience the magic of Fairyland Caverns (an inspiration for Walt Disney), Mother Goose Village and lunch at the Big Rock Grill.
Although this is your last day, your adventure doesn't have to end here. Perhaps you may want to extend your stay and spend a few nights in Atlanta or maybe head to the beaches of Florida for some relaxation before you head home.
Call the USA travel specialists at Bon Voyage to discuss your perfect Only In America adventure.