Top 6 experiences you can only get in the Deep South
America’s Deep South has its own easy rhythm and laid-back vibe, an unhurried approach to life that chimes with its sleepy landscape and fun-loving towns and cities.
Discover it for yourself on a Cosmos tour of Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and Florida.
Cosmos, the experts in escorted touring, have over 50 years’ experience of leading trips to the planet’s most captivating places: they do all the hard graft behind the scenes, simply leaving you free to discover what the Deep South has to offer. Book a 2019 Southern USA Cosmos tour and upgrade your inbound flight for just £99. Offer ends on 15 Feb 19.
1. Cruise on the Atchafalaya Basin in the Louisiana Bayou
The state of Louisiana blends together French and Spanish colonial history, Deep South musical traditions, voodoo spirituality and diverse fusion cuisine. And the only way to really understand how this culture came to exist is to step onto a boat and get out into the eerily beautiful basin that surrounds the Mississippi.
Atchafalaya Basin is the largest river swamp in the USA, spanning almost one million acres of bayous, lakes and backwaters. This is the heart of Cajun country, rich in musical traditions, where fishermen on boats weave between giant mossy tree trunks, alligators glide silently through the water and beavers scamper around making little dams. On a cruise here, you might also spot black bear, racoons and the iconic bald eagle – with a thriving crawfish population both wild and farmed, the food chain is in good supply for this diverse and unique wetland.
2. Visit Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley in Memphis
Pink Cadillacs, jewel-studded jumpsuits and gleaming guitars – the legend of Elvis Presley will ever live on through his personal memorabilia as well as his music and films. At Graceland in Memphis you can see it all, and stand in the spot where he lived, breathed, ate and slept. You can walk through the rooms where he would write his music and sit in the Meditation Garden where he came to be alone – and pay your respects to him at his grave. You can experience his roots, influences and artistry at one of many exhibitions that run throughout the year, eat dinner at one of the themed Graceland restaurants and even enjoy a luxury stay at the Guest House at Graceland.
3. Experience black history on a plantation tour
There may be no story in American history as unsettling, poignant and important as the story of black slavery. And at Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens, you can see for yourself what life was like for a slave in the 17th century, and chart the history of black people in America from this time up until the present day. In the moving slave cabins, discover their faith practices, crafts and skills, family life, emancipation and freedom.
4. Soak up live jazz in New Orleans
From its marching brass bands to its smoky clubs, live jazz is what New Orleans is famous for – and it happens throughout the day. Head to the French Quarter for a jazz brunch and treat your ears at one of its many music restaurants while tasting some of the local specialities such as turtle soup, Creole jambalaya and chicken gumbo. Or if you’ve got an appetite for music in the evenings, you can choose from spit-and-sawdust cinder blocks with single rows of chairs, sweet little jazz bistros, prestigious concert halls and late-night dance clubs that host swing and jive nights. Whatever flavour jazz you fancy, New Orleans is your crawfish.
5. Sip cocktails in a Savannah speakeasy at the Prohibition Museum
Discover life during the time of the Roaring Twenties at the American Prohibition Museum Learn about the iconic figures of this time in American history, such as the hatchet-wielding female Temperance radical called Carry Nation, the legendary tee-total ‘rum runner’ Bill McCoy and Al Capone – the notorious gangster immortalised by Al Pacino in the film Scarface. Discover how the age of Prohibition ushered in the ‘Age of Jazz’ through its small saloons and speakeasys, and then follow instructions to a special underground bar in which to enjoy a cocktail in a Prohibition speakeasy setting.
6. Visit a horse ranch in Dallas, Texas
There’s more to Dallas than just the shoulder pads, cowboy hats and power suits of the eponymous 1980s television series. Visit a working horse ranch and discover what life is like for real-life cowboys. Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Paints, Arabians, Appaloosas and Warmbloods… they’re all found in this part of the USA. Texas is the centre of cowboy culture, and at a horse ranch, you’ll be able to witness the bond between cowboys and their steeds.
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