We board our deluxe motorcoach traveling west through Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee where we cross the river into Arkansas on our wayto Little Rock for our first night.
This morning we have a short drive to Roland, Arkansas and Moss Mountain Farms, the home of P. Allen Smith who is an author, conservationist and TV host of “Garden Home” and “Garden Style”. We will enjoy a tour of P. Allen Smith’s three-story Greek Revival-style home situated on 650-acres overlooking the Arkansas River. We will sit down to a farm-to-table lunch featuring a Seasonal recipe from P. Allen Smith’s book, Seasonal Recipes from the Garden. For dessert, enjoy a slice of Allen’s famous buttermilk pecan pie with homemade whipped cream.Whenever possible Allen enjoys visiting with guests and signing autographs.We continue northwest through Arkansas and into Oklahoma to Tulsa for a two night stay.
It’s a short dive to Pawhuska, Oklahoma where we meet a local guide and roam the Osage Hills around Pawhuska, Oklahoma the home town of Lee Drummond—”The Pioneer Woman”.We go by way of Osage Shuttle to the Lodge on the Drummond Ranch. The Lodge is the family guest house and also serves as the production location for Ree’s Food Network show! (If The Pioneer Woman is taping for TV, we will not be able to visit the lodge.) We returm to downtown Pawhuska for a delicious luncheon all made in The Mercantile and served family style next door to the Mercantile. After lunch, we will visit the historical museum and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in town. The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church is known for its 22 stained glass windows. We visit the Pioneer Woman Mercantile, owned by Food Network TV show host Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, this shop is a must-see destination. The Pioneer Woman Mercantile began in 1910 as Osage Mercantile and was a place for trading goods and browsing. Ree Drummond and family wanted to honor The Merc’s legacy by creating a shopping experience that hints to an earlier time in small town America. We return to Tulsa for our last night. Come explore the glorious cabinets, browse the abundant shelves, and peek in all the drawers! Shopping at The Merc is a treasure hunt, with surprises everywhere you turn. We return to Tulsa for our last night.
We depart Tulsa traveling south through Oklahoma crossing into Texas to Parker—the home of the “Dallas” TV Series. After a catered lunch at South Fork, we board a tram at the Visitors Center to the famous Ewing Mansion. We will hear a history of the ranch and see Texas longhorns and American quarter horses along the way. At the Ewing Mansion, a tourguide will share interesting tidbits about the years of filming, both pastand present and provide insight into the TV characters of the Ewings. Guests are given a full guided tour of the “most famous White House west of D.C.” You’ll even see J.R.’s famous bedroom! As you depart the Mansion, you’ll be free to stroll through the ranch grounds. Be sure to stopand visit Lincoln’s and Longhorns where you’ll find Jock Ewing’s original1978 Lincoln Continental.You’ll also want to stop by the Ranch RoundUp shop in the Visitors Center, featuring a wide selection of Southfork gift items and Texas collectibles. Waco, Texas for the night.
This morning we enjoy a guided tour of Waco, the hometown of Chip & Joanna Gaines.We will visit some of the familiar spots from their HGTV’s Fixer Upper show. We will see some of their fixer upper homes, visit Jimmy Don’s Metal Works and stop by Harp Design Wood Shop featured on HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Clint & Kelly Harp founded this company that is gaining fame for making handmade furniture with recycled and reclaimed wood. Many of their pieces are a patchwork of pine, oak, mahogany, walnut, poplar and other reclaimed woods rescued from old buildings, fallen trees and scrap piles. Then you have time to enjoy Magnolia Market and the Silos, by Chip & Joanna Gaines, hosts of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. You will have time for shopping in the Market, games on the lawn, and touring the garden. Before departing, be sure to have lunch on your own at the ‘Siloteria’ – a collection of food trucks with a wide variety of menu selections. Located just a few blocks from the Magnolia Market, the Dr. Pepper Museum is housed in a historic three story bottling plant. We will take a guided tour of the original bottling facility, and sample some hand-made Dr Pepper from an old fashioned soda fountain.
There’s no place as unique as historic Natchitoches, Louisiana. Established in 1714, Natchitoches is the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. AttheheartofNatchitochesliestheNationalHistoricLandmark District, a 33-block area that serves as a shopping and dining paradise. The movie “Steel Magnolias”, based on the Stage Play by Robert Harling Jr., came to Natchitoches in 1988. As engaging as the movie, the real life story behind the movie is even more fascinating. Hear the real life story. See the site of Truvy’s (Dolly Parton) Beauty Shop. Drive down Harling Lane. See Shelby’s (Julia Roberts) “home”, the Steel Magnolias House and more. Visit St. Augustine Catholic Church at Melrose where the wedding took place. We have an included lunch at one of the area restaurants. After lunch we have time for shopping at Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile Store, Louisiana’s oldest general store. Kaffie features everything you remember from the”good old days” like hardware, housewares, cookware and kitchen supplies, classic toys (like Radio Flyer) and gifts. The original freight elevator still works and the 1910 cash register is not only in great condition, they still use it for every sale. We will spend the night in Natchitoches.
We continue through Louisiana to Frogmore Cotton Plantation & Gins, a privately owned cotton plantation near Ferriday in Concordia Parish, Loui- siana. We join a costumed guide to get insight into the contrasts between a working cotton plantation of the early 1800’s and a modern cotton plantation and gin of today. Frogmore is a one-of-a-kind tour since the owners are the costumed guides, along with their staff. We have a short drive to Natchez, Mississippi a city in Mississippi set on the Mississippi River and best known for its antebellum mansions. Upon arrival we will enjoy a delicious luncheon at Choctaw Hall built around 1836 featuringa blend of Greek Revival to Federal styles. There are four floors whichare connected by an swirling oval staircase. Double porches with white columns bookend the front and back of the house making every scene a picture perfect backdrop. Overnight in Natchez.
We continue to Laurel, Mississippi the up-and-coming local hub of south Mississippi’s best shops and eats. Home Town is an American television series starring husband and wife team Ben and Erin Napier that premiered on March 21, 2017 on HGTV. The married couple restores Southern homes in Laurel, Mississippi. Proud Mississippi natives Erin and Ben are back for a third season of ‘Home Town’ doing what they do best: rehabbing and restoring the old, neglected and historic homes in their tiny hamlet of Laurel — and bringing loads of love to the process of making their own hometown the best place that it can be. Laurel Mercantile Co. owned by Ben and Erin Napier and their four closest friends, AKA “framily,” is the tourism hot spot in Downtown Laurel. After a tour of Laurel and lunch, there will be time for shopping at the Mercantile and Scotsman General Store and wood- shop. Overnight in Meridian, Mississippi.
We depart Meridian this morning for our return trip to Knoxville. After lunch in the Birmingham, Alabama area we drop off passengers in Chattanooga before returning to Knoxville. This has been a delightful tour to visit some of our favorite HGTV star’s hometowns and Mercantile or General Stores.