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Cosmos offers Small-Group Discoveries on select North America dates. A Small-Group Discovery is limited to an average of just 24 guests per departure. There’s always room to roam with extra space between you and other travelers—while still getting up close and personal to the experiences you’ve been dreaming of. Small-Group Discoveries include all the features of a traditional Cosmos escorted tour, complete with expert Tour Director, Driver, and Local Guides who ensure that your health and safety is our top priority. A Small-Group Discovery trip is the perfectly sized tour—without the crowds.
Total meals included:
Enjoy time at leisure to relax or do some independent exploring. Your Tour Director is on hand this evening to answer any questions.
Today begins with a guided sightseeing tour that shows you the graves of American heroes, including those of John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert, in beautiful Arlington Cemetery. Your guided tour of the capital continues, with photo stops at Capitol Hill and the White House, and visits to the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials. Afterward, cross the Mason-Dixon Line into Pennsylvania, and visit the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. Tonight, we offer an optional outing to a local restaurant to enjoy the flavor of the area.
This morning enjoy a guided visit to the hallowed Gettysburg Battlefield, site of the decisive Civil War campaign and where Abraham Lincoln delivered his immortal Gettysburg Address in November 1863. Afterward, head for Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, where, in 1859, John Brown made his ill-fated raid on the U.S. Arsenal. The park shares 2,178 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. En route to Shenandoah, crest the Blue Ridge Mountains for magnificent vistas of the Shenandoah Valley. Overnight in Shenandoah National Park.
Travel through lumber and limestone country into wonderfully wild West Virginia. After a lunch break in Lewisburg, a pre Civil War town, travel to Fayetteville and stop at New River Gorge Bridge, the world’s third-longest steel-span bridge, rising 876 feet above the river. Then, on to Beckley, the heart of West Virginia’s “smokeless” coal industry, for an overnight stay.
Before entering Kentucky, we stop in the state capital of Charleston, West Virginia, one-time home of American frontiersman Daniel Boone. As you cross the state border, the scenery changes to green pastures, white-board fences, and the columned estates of Kentucky bluegrass country—backdrop for the movie Seabiscuit. Arrive in Lexington, the “Heart of the Bluegrass.” This afternoon, enjoy a fascinating visit to the Kentucky Horse Park, from where legends like Man o’ War and Secretariat conquered the racing world.
Travel on the Bluegrass Parkway and stop at Sinking Spring Farm, a one-room cabin where the nation’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, was born. A replica of the original log cabin is preserved as a shrine to one of the best-loved American presidents. Visit the Lincoln Museum, dedicated to Lincoln’s life and times. The museum features 12 historically accurate scenes from Lincoln’s life and Civil War memorabilia. Be sure to walk out to the center of Town Square for a photo op in front of the Lincoln Statue and the Lincoln Boy Statue. Afterward, we head to Bardstown and visit the fourth-largest Civil War Museum in the United States. Unlike the other museums, this one focuses mainly on the War of the Western States. Visitors move through a series of exhibits featuring artifacts from both the Union and the Confederacy. End your day by visiting an authentic Bourbon Distillery. You’ll learn about the production of the finest Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and enjoy a tasting. Return to Lexington, where the evening is free for independent activities.
Travel to Tennessee, with a stop at Corbin for a short visit to Colonel Sanders’ original fried chicken restaurant, which is now a museum. This afternoon, visit the fascinating Museum of Appalachia, with 65 acres of farmland and a number of historic cabins, barns, and other buildings—even a frontier privy! The next two nights are in Gatlinburg at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains.
As one of America’s most popular mountain retreats, Gatlinburg offers something for everyone. The day is free for independent activities.
Drive right through the center of the Smokies along the spectacular Newfound Gap Road, peaking at 5,046 feet. Continue into North Carolina and stop at the 7,500-acre grounds of the Biltmore Estate, built by George Vanderbilt, grandson of railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. Overnight in the Asheville area, hometown to singer Roberta Flack.
Blue Ridge Parkway runs from the Great Smokies to Shenandoah National Park without a single traffic light along its 470-mile route. Take in a portion of the parkway today, from Fancy Gap to Roanoke. Visit Mount Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s hometown. Affectionately known as Mayberry, the town is the inspiration for the setting of The Andy Griffith Show that ran in the 1960s. There is time to stroll Main Street, visit Floyd’s Barber shop and enjoy a taste of the past at Walkers soda fountain. This afternoon stop at the tranquil setting of Mabry Mill, one of the most photographed spots in the country. Next up: a visit to Natural Bridge, a 215-foot-high arch in a wooded setting, once owned by Thomas Jefferson. George Washington’s initials are still visible on the cliffside, from his work here as a young surveyor.
Visit the graceful home of the third U.S. president, Thomas Jefferson. The Monticello Estate reflects Jefferson’s skills as an artist, architect, and designer. It is the only house in the U.S. that is on the UNESCO World Heritage list of international treasures. Enjoy an orientation tour of Richmond, capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Stop at the Capitol Building for photographs before making our way to Williamsburg, between the James and York Rivers, where the very earliest English settlers established their first colonies.
Today is dedicated to Colonial Williamsburg, where American heritage is proudly preserved in the reconstructed buildings and historical displays. Stroll down quaint streets and browse through homes, gardens, taverns, shops, and exhibits. In the Hall of Burgesses, listen as costumed interpreters debate the controversial steps that led to the Declaration of Independence.
This morning, visit Mount Vernon, the beloved home of George and Martha Washington, overlooking the banks of the Potomac River. Take time to explore the most popular historic estate in America. The final leg of your journey takes you back to Washington DC , where you overnight in close proximity to quintessential D.C. The evening is free for independent activities.
Your vacation ends this morning. You can extend your vacation with extra nights and explore the nation’s capital further.
It may occasionally be necessary to use alternative hotels of a similar standard to those shown.
Guests Love this new Alexandria, VA Hotel's Central Location The Holiday Inn Alexandria at Carlyle welcomes each guest to its convenient location off the Capital Beltway / I-95. Our charming, full-service hotel is just a block from the Metro for fast & easy travel to Old Town Alexandria, Reagan International Airport (DCA) & the Washington, DC area.
Ideally located in Northwest DC's Woodley Park neighborhood, the Washington Marriott Wardman Park offers the best of both worlds. Washington Marriott Warman Park provides a quiet respite in the heart of the city with 16 acres of manicured gardens.
The hotel has a fitness center, hot tub, indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, putting green, guest laundry, lounge, and complimentary continental breakfast. Guestrooms include cable TV, coffeemaker, Internet access, iron/ironing board, and hairdryer.
Located inside Shenandoah National Park and along the highest point on Skyline Drive. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley and cool mountain breezes. Approximately 17 miles from Luray, VA. The hotel has a restaurant, gift shop, ranger led programs, horseback riding stables, and children's playground.
The Hampton Inn Beckley hotel is located in the heart of Beckley, WV, minutes from Tamarack, Ace Adventure, Burning Rock Outdoor ATV Park, Exhibition Coal Mine, Hatfield/McCoy ATV trails, Grandview Outdoor Theater, Lake Stephens and Winterplace Ski Resort.
With views of Triangle Park and downtown Lexington, Hilton Lexington Downtown connected by skywalk to Victorian Square, Rupp Arena, and Convention Center. The hotel features two on-site restaurants, indoor pool, and fitness center.
Located in historic Lexington, Best Western Lexington Inn offers complimentary breakfast daily and a convenient location near shopping and dining.
Attractive Lodge located 1 mile from Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, this hotel has free Wi-Fi, a restaurant and bar, room service, laundry, business center, fitness center, and indoor pool.
An outdoor pool, a 24-hour fitness center, and complimentary breakfast is available at this smoke-free hotel.
Our expert Tour Directors help you get the most out of every place you visit - and have a 96% customer satisfaction rating.
We’re delighted to have achieved the Good Housekeeping Reader Recommended endorsement for customer experience.
We are a member of ABTA and our flight-inclusive holidays are protected by ATOL. If your holiday is cancelled for any reason, you’ll receive a full refund.