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Civil Rights Civil War and Scenery Galore
The south eastern states of the USA are full of interesting monuments, museums and memories reflecting on a turbulent history full of poignancy and courage.  Add to this the striking scenery of coastal and mountain drives and you can be assured of a memorable self drive holiday.
Day 1: Washington, DC
Arrive Washington, DC. This evening, explore the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Bistros, bars and boutiques line the streets in this cosmopolitan neighborhood surrounded by the largest concentration of international embassies.

Day 2: Washington, DC
Take an orientation tour this morning to see sites such as Capitol Hill, Library of Congress, Washington Monument, Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, and Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials. This afternoon, tour Arlington National Cemetery and visit the graves of historical figures, prominent explorers, noted casualties of war and presidents of the United States including the grave site of John F. Kennedy or you may want to stroll around one of D.C.’s historic neighborhoods such as Georgetown or Capitol Hill. Georgetown is an affluent section of the city filled with luxury retail shops and restaurants. Capitol Hill is not only a large residential community but the location of many of the city’s landmarks such as the United States Capitol, the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court building. This evening, dine in the funky Adams Morgan neighborhood or take in a show at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Day 3: Washington, DC – Manassas – Charlottesville (115 mi/185 km)
Depart D.C. for Manassas National Battlefield Park, site of the Battle of Bull Run – the first major battle of the Civil War. The Park\'s visitor center offers fascinating electronic battle maps, displays of equipment and battle memorabilia, and regular \"interpretative\" presentations of the battlefield\'s history by U.S. Park Service professionals. Follow this with a walking or driving tour of the battlefield.

Day 4: Charlottesville – Appomatox – Roanoke (120 mi/193 km)
This morning, visit Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and the author of the Declaration of Independence. Monticello is his architectural masterpiece and was not only home to the Jefferson family, but to workers, black and white, enslaved and free. Here one can learn about the experiences of the enslaved people who lived and labored on the Monticello plantation. En route to Roanoke visit Appomattox. The Appomattox Court House National Historical Park commemorates the heroic acts which took place in April of 1865 in this, the original village, to bring about the end of the Civil War. A walking tour allows you to see all buildings which are original to the site, and have been restored to their original condition. The Roanoke Valley region is alive with great restaurants and music clubs from which to choose.

Day 5: Roanoke – Asheville (244 mi/393 km)
Today, travel along the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of America’s most scenic byways to Asheville, North Carolina. En route visit Blowing Rock, an immense cliff overhanging Johns River Gorge 3,000 feet below. The phenomenon is so called because the rocky walls of the gorge form a flume through which the northwest wind sweeps with such force that it returns light objects cast over the void. Further along the parkway visit Grandfather Mountain, one of the most biologically diverse mountains in the world and designated by the United Nations as an International Biosphere Reserve. Cross the Swinging Bridge for breath-taking views. This 228- foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation.

Day 6: Asheville
Spend the day exploring the Biltmore Estate, the largest home in the United States. Take a self-guided tour of this 250-room French château and explore the acres of beautiful gardens and grounds, designed by the renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Asheville’s funky downtown has a vibrant restaurant scene that goes well beyond its Southern cooking and roots and many restaurants also feature live music from jazz to bluegrass.

Day 7: Asheville – Chattanooga (226 mi/364 km)
Visit the Chattanooga Choo Choo where the 1909 famous train station is located. Explore the gardens, shops, and restaurants of this 24-acre historical property before settling in at its hotel for the evening.

Day 8: Chattanooga – Birmingham (148 mi/238 km)
Birmingham is best known for its prominent role in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. Upon arrival, visit The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The institute contrasts the lives of blacks and whites in the south from the 1800’s to the present. One should also visit the Fourth Avenue Business District where there was a distinct separation of “the races”. Today many businesses still operate in this district, serving all races. The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame honors great jazz artists the likes of Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton and Erskine Hawkins. Don’t miss dinner at the Irondale Café. Originally known as the Whistle Stop Café and made famous in the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes, one will enjoy some of the best southern specialties here.

Day 9: Birmingham – Selma – Montgomery (94 mi/151 km)
En route to Montgomery, stop in Selma and visit sites like the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church which played a pivotal role in the Selma – to – Montgomery marches that helped lead to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the Edmund Pettus Bridge, It was here in 1965 that voting rights marchers were violently confronted by law enforcement personnel The day became known as Bloody Sunday. Follow the National Civil Rights Trail into Montgomery, home for the next 2 nights.

Day 10: Montgomery – Tuskegee – Montgomery (76 mi/122 km)
Today, take a day trip to Tuskegee to visit the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. The Tuskegee Airmen fought during World War II and were the first African-American military aviators in the United States armed forces. Educational accomplishments are also honored in Tuskegee at “The Oaks,” home of Booker T. Washington, an African-American educator, author, orator, and advisor to Republican presidents, and at the George Washington Carver Museum. Return to Montgomery this evening and enjoy the local southern fare. Legendary country music crooner Hank Williams got his start in the capital city and frequented many Montgomery restaurants. He was known to often write songs while sitting at the lunch counter in Chris’ Hot Dogs on Dexter Avenue.

Day 11: Montgomery – Atlanta (160 mi/257 km)
Upon arrival in Atlanta, explore sites from its place in the Civil Rights Movement to the iconic attractions of today. Drive to the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Sweet Auburn district to see the restored King birth home, the Ebenezer Baptist Church where three generations of the King family preached, and Dr. King\'s burial site. Or visit the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum, next to The Carter Center. The library includes a replica of the Oval Office and Jimmy Carter\'s Nobel Peace Prize, as well as traveling exhibits. In the evening visit the Virginia-Highland district, Atlanta’s most popular neighborhood for shopping, dining and nightlife.

Day 12: Atlanta
Today take the Inside CNN Studio Tour and watch behind-the-scenes action of the newsroom, or head to the World of Coca-Cola where the famous soft drinks’ story is told through fascinating exhibits, a 4-D theater, classic ads and a fully-functioning bottling station. Taste more than 70 Coca-Cola products from around the world.

Day 13: Atlanta – Charlotte (245 mi/394 km)
A lot of information on the region can be found at the Levine Museum of the New South, featuring interactive exhibits that tell the stories of the American south from 1865 to today. This evening stroll through the EpiCentre, This one block nightlife hub is home to everything from fine dining restaurants, piano bars and a weekly outdoor concert series.

Days 14 & 15: Charlotte – Virginia Beach (343 mi/550 km)
Travel to Virginia Beach a city nestled where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. Here one can stroll the boardwalk, relax on the beach and enjoy some of the great local seafood. Relax here for the next 2 nights.

Day 16: Virginia Beach—Dulles Int’l Airport (222 mi/430km)
Head north through Virginia’s beautiful countryside to Dulles Int’l Airport for the return flight. Time allowing, stop in Fredericksburg, an historic community. Take a trolley tour or visit some of the Civil War battlefields.

Washington, DC

Mayflower Renaissance

Charlottesville, VA

Omni Charlottesville

Roanoke, VA

Sheraton Roanoke

Asheville, NC

Inn at Biltmore

Chattanooga, TN

Sheraton Read House

Birmingham, AL

Hotel Highland

Montgomery, AL

Courtyard by Mariott

Atlanta, GA

Georgian Terrace

Charlotte, NC

Omni Charlotte

Norfolk, VA

Hilton Virginia Beach