Southern Charms and Comforts: A Literary Tour of the Deep South of the USA

5 Apr – 27 Apr 2016

  • Region:
    • USA
  • Status: closed
  • Code: 21602
Overview

Tour Highlights

  • This tour is led by Susannah Fullerton, President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia, with the assistance of Russell Casey as tour manager
  • Everyone loves to be told a story! Listen to favourite tales from the Uncle Remus stories narrated to us in African-American dialect at the very plantation which inspired Br’er Rabbit, the Tar Baby and Br’er Fox.
  • Visit ‘The Dump’, the fascinating flat where Margaret Mitchell lived while she wrote her bestselling novel.
  • Dine at the fabulous Georgian Terrace Hotel where Margaret Mitchell once scandalised the guests by doing a sexy ‘Apache’ dance, and where Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh stayed for the film premiere of Gone with the Wind.
  • Visit the only museum in the USA dedicated to F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Attend a performance of To Kill a Mockingbird at the very courthouse where Atticus Finch defends Tom Robinson and look through the courthouse museum in the town of Monroeville.
  • Explore gracious Rowan Oak, home to the South’s greatest novelist, William Faulkner.
  • Enjoy the company of literary specialists from universities and libraries and in Demopolis meet William Gantt, Director of The Southern Literary Trail.
  • Meet and talk with people who were related to the famous authors we discuss, or who knew them well including: Richard Wright’s cousin, Eudora Welty’s niece and Professor Holditch who first met Tennessee Williams in 1978!
  • Enjoy private visits to outstanding archival collections in several libraries including the viewing of the original manuscript of Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple.
  • Learn about the history of the South in museums about the Civil War, slavery and the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Discover and get to know the works and homes of writers who may not be so familiar to you – Richard Wright, Carson-McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, Conrad Aiken, William Johnson, Erskine Caldwell, and others.
  • See incredibly beautiful parts of America, from the historic Natchez Trace, to the magnificently restored houses of Savannah, to Antebellum homes and gardens, quaint cottages, Gothic graveyards and fabulous restaurants.
  • Enjoy a delicious farewell dinner at New Orleans’ most literary restaurant Galatoire’s.

23-day Literary Tour of Southern USA

Overnight GEORGIA Savannah (3 nights) • Milledgeville (2 nights) • Atlanta (4 nights) • Fayetteville (1 night) • ALABAMA Montgomery (3 nights) • MISSISSIPPI Columbus (2 nights) • Oxford (2 nights) • Jackson (1 night) • Natchez (2 nights) • LOUISIANA New Orleans (2 nights)

Tour Overview

The ‘Deep South’ – the words conjure up images of elegant plantation homes, cotton fields, Negro spirituals and Spanish moss dripping from the trees. However, the ‘Deep South’ is also famed for its writers. It is Gone with the Wind country, the land of Br’er Rabbit and the Tar-Baby, the place where Atticus Finch fought racism in To Kill a Mockingbird and where the maidservants of The Help find a voice and use it. Pulitzer and Nobel-prize winner William Faulkner was a product of Mississippi and this tour will include a visit to Rowan Oak, his refuge from the world. Margaret Mitchell worked as a reporter on the Atlanta papers, and the tales her grandmother told her on the porch inspired a fascination for the Civil War which made her create Scarlett O’Hara. This tour will include visits to the flat where she wrote her record-breaking novel, the region where she situated Tara, a Gone with the Wind museum and libraries which contain important Margaret Mitchell documents. Gracious Savannah is home to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and was also where poet Conrad Aiken suffered tragedy in his childhood; Alice Walker grew up in Eatonton and drew on the history of that town for The Color Purple; and Tennessee Williams travelled on a streetcar named ‘Desire’ in New Orleans. Other writers explored during the tour include Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, Flannery O’Connor, Truman Capote, Erskine Caldwell and many more. Many excellent libraries will be welcoming us to view their collections – these include outstanding archives of papers and memorabilia by John Grisham, WB Yeats, and many other writers. There will even be a Presidential library to visit – that of Jimmy Carter in Atlanta. Throughout the tour we will be joined by specialist guides and curators, and even by relatives of the writers we discuss.

This is an historical tour as well as a literary one – there will be Civil War sites, places connected with slavery, museums and exhibitions about the race riots of the 1950s and 60s, grand plantation homes and colonial towns. There will be fine Southern food and hospitality, music and theatre and a rich variety of landscapes to enjoy.

Special Thanks

ASA would like to thank William Gantt, Director of The Southern Literary Trail, and other members of this organization for all their help, support and generous hospitality.

Itinerary

The following itinerary describes a range of museums, historic homes, libraries and performances which we plan to visit. Many are accessible to the public, but others require special permission which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure. The daily activities and meals described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents prior to departure. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunches and evening meals as indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch & D=evening meal. Note: breakfast at a number of hotels on the tour will consist of a substantial continental buffet breakfast.

Savannah, Georgia - 3 nights

Day 1: Tuesday 5 April, Arrive Savannah
  • Complimentary Drinks and Welcome Meeting at the River Street Inn

The city of Savannah, oldest city in Georgia, has one of the largest National Historic Landmark districts in the USA. Its history, beautiful architecture and its reputation for hospitality make it a fitting place to begin our tour. Those arriving on the ASA ‘designated’ flight will be transferred to the the charming River Street Inn located in the heart of the Historic Landmark District. Early this evening we will meet for complimentary drinks at our hotel and a formal welcome to the tour. (Overnight Savannah, Georgia)

Day 2: Wednesday 6 April, Savannah
  • Southern Literary Trail – Savannah: Flannery O’Connor
  • Literary/Historical trolley tour: John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
  • Savannah’s Historic District & Forrest Gump’s Chippewa Square
  • The Gryphon Tea Room
  • The Mercer Williams House Museum
  • Flannery O’Connor’s Childhood Home
  • The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is Southern Gothic in tone, but is a non-fiction book about a real murder in Savannah which resulted in 4 trials and, eventually, an acquittal. The death occurred in the Mercer Williams house, now a museum which we will visit. John Berendt’s book was published in 1994 and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for years. It was also made into a popular film. This morning, we will enjoy a guided trolley tour taking in Savannah’s Historic District and several sites from the book and movie. Savannah was America’s first planned city and one of its lovely squares is Chippewa Square located in the heart of the entertainment area. Chippewa Square became famous when it was used for the park bench scenes of the film Forrest Gump. Actor Tom Hanks, playing Forrest, sits on that bench for about 80% of the film, telling his story to anyone who will listen.

Flannery O’Connor, novelist, essayist and short story writer, who often wrote in the Southern Gothic style, was born in Savannah. This afternoon we take a walking tour to see places connected with her childhood in the city and visit her childhood home. Flannery, who died when she was only 39, was intensely aware of her Southern heritage. “Anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic”, she once wrote. Today there is an award for short stories in her name.

During the day there will also be visits to the gorgeously designed Gryphon Tea Room and to the French Gothic style cathedral of St John the Baptist where Flannery O’Connor and her parents worshipped regularly. (Overnight Savannah, Georgia) B

Day 3: Thursday 7 April, Savannah
  • Literary tour of Bonaventure Cemetery (incl. grave of Johnny Mercer, poet Conrad Aiken and other famous Georgians)
  • Houses of Conrad Aiken: 228 and 230 E. Oglethorpe Avenue (exterior)
  • Davenport House Museum: lunch reception and house tour, followed by demonstration of 19th century dancing in the historic Kennedy Pharmacy Building

The Bonaventure Cemetery is situated on a scenic bluff overlooking the Wilmington River. It became famous when it featured in both the book and the film of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. We will see the grave of Johnny Mercer, and also that of American poet and novelist Conrad Aiken.

Conrad Aiken was born in 1889 and lived at 228 Oglethorpe Ave in Savannah until he was 11 years old. Then tragedy struck with the murder / suicide of his parents. The traumatised boy was sent away to live with relatives in another state. Many years later, however, the Pulitzer Prize winning writer moved back to Savannah and purchased the house next door – we will view the exterior of both houses. As a result of what he experienced in his Savannah home, he always had a strong interest in psychoanalysis and the subconscious. Aiken’s poetry is reflective and deep, and has been likened to the music of Debussy or the art of Whistler.

A special treat will be a lunch reception in the garden (weather permitting) and tour of the historic Isaiah Davenport House Museum, home to some of the characters in historical novelist Eugenia Price’s St Simon’s Trilogy, followed by a display of 19th century dancing at the Kennedy Pharmacy Museum, another of the wonderful old buildings of Savannah that has been lovingly restored. (Overnight Savannah, Georgia) BL

Milledgeville, Georgia - 2 nights

Day 4: Friday 8 April, Savannah – Macon – Milledgeville
  • Guided Tour of Macon with David A. Davis, Professor of Southern Literature, Mercer University
  • McCaw-Massee House – where Tennessee Williams wrote Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  • Southern Tea Room Dinner & Tour of Sidney Lanier Cottage, Macon

This morning we drive to Macon, ‘Heart of Georgia’ in the geographical centre of the state. Following lunch in downtown Macon, we will take a guided tour with David A. Davis, professor of southern literature at Mercer University. David will show us the home of Ellen Craft, a runaway slave who wrote her autobiography Running 1,000 Miles for Freedom, an historic African American neighbourhood, an old post office named for the first black chaplain in the US army, and other interesting sites associated with films and local authors.

Tennessee Williams enjoyed the hospitality of his friend Wallace McCaw (who invented Crisco, the first vegetable oil shortening) when he stayed at what is now known as the McCaw-Massee House in the 1950s, and it was there he wrote his play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. This was his personal favourite amongst his works and it won him the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955. Subject to permission by the owners, we also hope to visit this ‘birthplace’ of that famous play about a Southern family in crisis.

Later we will dine at the Southern Tea Room and tour the Sidney Lanier Cottage. Lanier was a linguist, musician, lawyer and mathematician, but it was because of his poetry that his birthplace was turned into a museum and gained him the reputation as the South’s most famous poet. Georgia’s coastal regions inspired much of his poetry, such as “Song of the Chattahoochee” and “The Marshes of Glynn”. Sidney Lanier never wrote anything in this house, but it is a fascinating museum, with his beloved silver flute, his wife’s wedding dress, and his alligator shoes all on display.

We stay this night and the next in Milledgeville. When Flannery O’Connor became ill and was told she had only 5 years to live, she returned to her ancestral home at Milledgeville, and there lasted another fourteen years. (Overnight Milledgeville, Georgia) BD

Day 5: Saturday 9 April, Milledgeville
  • Southern Literary Trail –  Milledgeville/Eatonton: Flannery O’Connor and Alice Walker
  • Literary tour of Flannery O’Connor’s Milledgeville incl. Old Governor’s Mansion, Cline-O’Connor-Florencourt House, Old Capitol Building, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Memory Hill Cemetery
  • Brown-Stetson-Sanford House & Afternoon Tea
  • Flannery O’Connor Room, Special Collections, Georgia College Library
  • Andalusia Farm – Home of Flannery O’Connor
  • Lecture on Flannery O’Connor at Andalusia Farm by Dr Bruce Gentry

This morning we take a combined coach / walking tour of the city in the steps of Flannery O’Connor to see places connected with her life and novels, including the Old Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion, and Cline – O’Connor-Florencourt House. She rests in the Memory Hill Cemetery and we will visit her grave there.

We partake of afternoon tea at the Brown-Stetson-Sanford House where Flannery used to dine, and we have a special visit to Georgia College Library (where she studied social sciences) to view their extensive collections on Flannery’s life and works. Her desk, typewriter and one of her paintings are held in this collection.

We will also visit Flannery O’Connor’s home and estate at Andalusia where she lived with her mother, wrote novels and stories and managed to make her chickens walk backwards.

In the early evening we listen to a private lecture by Dr Bruce Gentry, Professor of English, Georgia College and Editor of the Flannery O’Connor Review, about this remarkable writer, who penned book reviews, letters, a prayer journal and articles for Catholic magazines, as well as novels and short stories. (Overnight Milledgeville, Georgia) BD

Atlanta, Georgia - 4 nights

Day 6: Sunday 10 April, Millegeville – Eatonton – Atlanta
  • Uncle Remus Museum
  • Joel Chandler Harris Literary Trail, Eatonton
  • Light lunch at the Bronson House
  • Turnwold Plantation & Uncle Remus Tales
  • Alice Walker Literary Trail, Eatonton
  • Afternoon tea at Southern Manor Farms – childhood home of Alice Walker

Joel Chandler Harris was a journalist and folklorist, but is now remembered for his Uncle Remus stories, written in the African-American dialect, featuring Br’er Fox, Br’er Rabbit and the Tar-Baby. He was born in Eatonton and we will follow his trail around the town. We will see his birthplace, his childhood home, the old post office where he learned about the world by reading unclaimed newspapers, his school and the ‘Uncle Remus Museum’ with its reconstruction of his cabin and shadow boxes of “de critters” of the stories.

Lunch will be enjoyed at the Eatonton Historical Society’s headquarters, and we then travel on to the Turnwold Plantation, setting for the Uncle Remus stories. Joel Chandler Harris went to work at the plantation when he was 13 years old and the owner Joseph Addison Turner ran a newspaper and allowed the boy to publish some of his own poems and stories. His free time was spent in the slave quarters – as the illegitimate son of Irish immigrants, he felt more at home there than with his employers. From the slaves he absorbed the oral tradition and gained inspiration. By using African folklore and slave dialect, Harris made revolutionary changes in American literature. He published 9 books of Uncle Remus stories (these have been called “the greatest body of folklore which America has produced”) and at least 20 other books. A storyteller will narrate for us some of the Br’er Rabbit tales while we are at the plantation.

Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, was born in Eatonton and today the city celebrates her local connection with an ‘Alice Walker Literary Trail’. We will explore places connected with this novelist, activist and poet, visiting her birthplace, the church where she was baptized and which she faithfully attended, the cemetery where her parents are buried, the Grant Plantation where her mother was born and which Alice Walker mentions in her book In Search of our Mother’s Gardens, and the site of the Walker family home where we enjoy an afternoon tea before continuing our journey to Atlanta. (Overnight Atlanta, Georgia) BL

Day 7: Monday 11 April, Atlanta – Marietta – Atlanta
  • Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum
  • Guided tour of Swan House & Gardens
  • Light Lunch at the Swan Coach House
  • Atlanta History Centre – Atlanta History Museum

The most famous novel about the American South has to be Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. As a book, and then as a movie, it broke all records, and today several museums celebrate its author and her memorable tale of Scarlett O’Hara in the Civil War. From Atlanta, setting for much of the novel, we make an excursion to Marietta to see the ‘Gone with the Wind Museum’. Here you will see the honeymoon dress worn by Vivien Leigh in the film, an exhibition about the African-American members of the cast, memorabilia and foreign editions.

The Swan Coach House with its lavish gardens in Atlanta exudes southern charm, and we will eat a light lunch there before our visit to the Atlanta History Museum. The American Civil War of 1861 to 1865 caused over 1 million deaths, changed the landscape, radically altered lives and also had a huge impact on American literature. The war was also known as ‘The War Between the States’ and the excellent exhibition in the History Museum presents the southern side of the story. Discover what Ashley Wilkes faced when fighting for the South, learn about the bootlegging that Rhett Butler was involved in, and see how women like Scarlett and Melanie lived while their men were off at war, trying to keep plantations running and cotton harvested. (Overnight Atlanta, Georgia) BL

Day 8: Tuesday 12 April, Atlanta

The Atlanta-Fulton Central Library has a Margaret Mitchell collection, including the typewriter on which she wrote her only novel. Margaret was a meticulous researcher, once spending weeks trying to find out if it rained on a particular day of the war, and it was in this library that she did much of that research. Today they display her library card.

After our visit to the library we take the coach to The Wren’s Nest, Atlanta home of Joel Chandler Harris. His ideal of happiness was “home, a cold night, a hot fire and taters in the ashes”, and we will see that home. When he discovered a family of baby wrens nesting in his mailbox, Harris did not wish to disturb them and so built another box for the post and thus acquired a name for his own ‘nest’. The Victorian home is filled with his belongings and furnishings – it was turned into a museum thanks to money donated by Andrew Carnegie, who loved Harris’ works and once visited him there.

The Wren’s Nest is quite a grand home. But there is nothing grand about the one-bedroom flat where Margaret Mitchell lived while she wrote Gone with the Wind – in fact, she called it ‘The Dump’. She started the book after being laid-up by an accident and, as she completed each chapter (the chapters were not written in any sort of order) she stuffed the pages into envelopes and found hidey-holes for the envelopes all around her flat. When a publisher’s representative came to Atlanta seeking new authors, Margaret very reluctantly gave him the envelopes forming the chaotic story of a girl named Pansy. Soon the chapters were put into order, missing linking sections were written, and the heroine underwent a name change. Scarlett made her creator wealthy, but although Margaret Mitchell moved from the tiny flat she never wanted a grand home. The flat is now a museum, with rooms next door covering further aspects of Mitchell’s life and novel.

Margaret Mitchell lived on Peachtree St, Atlanta. She also died on that street, when she was struck by a driver as she crossed the road to go and see a movie. We will explore Peachtree precinct, admire the Fox Theatre and then dine at the Georgian Terrace Hotel. In 1920 Margaret’s society debut took place at this iconic hotel. To the horror of all the respectable matrons, she danced the ‘Apache’, a provocative Parisian jazz dance. This behaviour saw her refused admittance to the prestigious Junior League, but she later got her revenge by refusing to attend the party that very same League hosted to celebrate the premiere of the Gone with the Wind movie. The hotel hosted Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh when they came for the premiere. (Overnight Atlanta, Georgia) BD

Day 9: Wednesday 13 April, Atlanta – Decatur – Atlanta
  • Mary Gay House
  • Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives & Rare Book Library  – including the Flannery O’Connor Collection, circa 1937-2003
  • Lunch at Murphy’s Restaurant
  • The Museum of the Jimmy Carter Library

This morning there will be a chance to view the exterior of the Mary Gay House, one of the few remaining pre-Civil War homes left in Atlanta. Mary was a Civil War diarist and she later organised her diary into a book, Life in Dixie During the War, which she published in 1892. Margaret Mitchell used Mary Gay’s book as a reference for her own work.

Atlanta has wonderful libraries with rich collections on Atlanta history and writers. The Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives & Rare Book Library holds the original manuscript of The Color Purple and a wealth of Flannery O’Connor material including the weekly letters she wrote to her close friend Betty Hester. The library also has many valuable first editions of the classics (including some of Jane Austen’s novels!!), an African – American Literature collection and an extraordinary Irish Literature collection. We can view WB Yeats’ letters to Maud Gonne, memorabilia relating to Seamus Heaney, and many other literary treasures.

Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the USA, was awarded the Nobel Peace prize. He is a prolific author and has written books on diplomacy, justice, religion and poetry, and even a children’s book. His Presidential Library and Museum is in Atlanta (Carter was born in Georgia) and it covers his personal life, his achievements as President, and it hosts regular talks and events. Explore the legacy of the man who stated “We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.” (Overnight Atlanta, Georgia) BL

Fayetteville, Georgia - 1 night

Day 10: Thursday 14 April, Atlanta – Jonesboro – Fayetteville
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. – National Historic Site
  • Light Lunch hosted by the Historic Oakland Foundation
  • Literary tour of Oakland Cemetery (incl. grave of Margaret Mitchell)
  • Along the Old Tara Road: literary landscapes between Jonesboro and Fayetteville
  • Holliday-Dorsey-Fife House Museum, Fayetteville
  • Evening meal at Frank’s at the Old Mill

The Help, the 2009 novel by Kathryn Stockett, which has also been turned into a film, depicts the lives and problems of black American maids in Mississippi homes in the early 1960s. The book is a memorable depiction of the women’s lack of basic rights, the indignity with which they were often treated by white employers, and the mood for change sweeping the country. Much of that change was instigated by Martin Luther King, clergyman, activist and orator, who organised bus boycotts, protest marches, and whose ‘I Have a Dream’ speech is one of the most famous speeches in history. The ‘Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site’ consists of several buildings connected with King’s Atlanta boyhood. There is the church where he and his father were pastors, a museum about the Civil Rights movement, a rose garden and a Civil Rights ‘Walk of Fame’. We will spend the morning learning more about this man who brought about such important change in America.

Most old cities in America have thriving historical associations. Today our lunch will be hosted by members of the Historic Oakland Foundation, who kindly wish to welcome us to their part of America.

After lunch we go to see the grave of Margaret Mitchell and that of her husband John Marsh in Oakland Cemetery, before setting off on a coach drive along the Old Tara Road between Jonesboro and Fayetteville in Clayton County (it is in Fayetteville that Scarlett O’Hara receives her meagre schooling). This is the county where Mitchell’s family originated and where her Tara was placed, in her imagination. As a girl she had listened enthralled to tales of the Civil War told by her grandmother. Grandma just forgot to mention that the South lost the war, and it came as a huge shock to Peggy (as Margaret Mitchell was known) when she learned that ‘her’ side had been conquered (although this is still disputed in the South today!). This drive will allow us to see the ‘real’ countryside of Gone with the Wind rather than the Hollywood version of it. In Fayetteville, we also visit the Holliday-Dorsey-Fife Museum, built in 1855 by the Holliday family and one of the most historical houses in Fayetteville County. On display are historic artifacts and treasures from the Civil War in particular, as well as a Gone with the Wind Room.

Dinner will be served at the historic ‘Frank’s at the Old Mill’. (Overnight Fayetteville, Georgia) BLD

Montgomery, Alabama - 3 nights

Day 11: Friday 15 April, Fayetteville – Moreland – Columbus – Montgomery

Erskine Caldwell wrote about racism and poverty in the Deep South and was famed for his novels Tobacco Road and God’s Little Acre (which sold 14 million copies and became one of the best-selling novels of all time), although many Southerners felt he was too critical of his own ‘folk’. His first novel, provocatively called The Bastard, was banned and he was briefly arrested. Today, however, ‘The Little Manse’, the simple cottage in Moreland, Georgia, where he was born in 1903, is a museum and a ‘living farm exhibit’, and we will visit it. Caldwell was one of the first authors to have his books published in mass-market paperback editions, and he was honoured by the governments of France and Bulgaria for his writings.

The Greek Revival Wynn House will be our elegant setting for lunch before we move on to the Smith-McCullers House Museum. Carson McCullers explored what it was like to feel an outcast in the American South in her novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, published in 1940. She was born in Columbus, Georgia, and her literary output includes poems, essays, plays and short stories as well as novels. In the little white-frame birthplace that is now a museum, the young Carson used the various rooms as stages and auditoriums, with siblings and neighbours roped in as her audience. However, she felt ‘freakish’ and odd in Columbus society and her life was not a happy one either there or in New York. We will also look at the Columbus History exhibit in the local art museum. (Overnight Montgomery, Alabama) BL

Day 12: Saturday 16 April, Montgomery – Monroeville – Montgomery
  • Downtown Montgomery: First White House of the Confederacy, Alabama State Capitol & Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church
  • The Museum of Alabama and Official Welcome to the Southern Literary Trail
  • Southern Literary Trail – Monroeville: Truman Capote & Harper Lee
  • The Old Monroe County Courthouse at Monroeville (home of To Kill A Mockingbird)
  • Performance of To Kill A Mockingbird at the County Courthouse, Monroeville

This morning we visit Montgomery’s Historic Downtown including the King Memorial Baptist Church, Alabama State Capitol and First White House of the Confederacy, which was built by Zelda Fitzgerald’s grandfather, and enjoy views of this city on the Alabama River which was at the heart of the Civil Rights Movement. We also visit the Museum of Alabama, located at the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH), the nation’s oldest state-funded, independent archival and historical agency, and enjoy a tour of the Museum which features exhibits about Alabama’s history and the Civil Rights Movement. Here Dr Bert Hitchcock will officially welcome us to the Southern Literary Trail. Dr Hitchcock attended the University of Melbourne for graduate studies and is one of the Trail’s academic advisors.

When Truman Capote had to leave the little town of Monroeville, he wept: “I didn’t want to go. I’d never left this small, isolated Alabama town surrounded by forests and farms and rivers.” Nor did he wish to leave his best friend, a young girl called Harper Lee who would one day immortalise him as ‘Dill’ in To Kill a Mockingbird. This afternoon we explore Monroeville in the footsteps of these friends and writers and visit the Old Courthouse Museum to see items connected with both Lee and Capote. We also go up to the balcony where Scout, Jem and Dill watch the infamous trial proceedings. In 2006 the novel was ranked ahead of the Bible as the book that every person ought to read! Its fame has made Monroeville the ‘Literary Capital of Alabama’.

The Old Courthouse Museum in Monroeville has authentically restored the room in which Atticus Finch fought racism in defending a black man. This room is now the ‘stage’ for theatrical versions of To Kill a Mockingbird which draw thousands of tourists to the town every year. We will watch a performance of the play in the evening. (Overnight Montgomery, Alabama) BLD

Day 13: Sunday 17 April, Montgomery

In 1918 F. Scott Fitzgerald was stationed with an army unit near Montgomery. At a country club dance he met local girl Zelda Sayre and fell in love with her. They married in 1920, when he had made money from his first novel, and they lived the high life for the next decade. But by 1930 Zelda was mentally ill and Scott rented a house in Montgomery where they could live quietly so she could recover. It was a brief stay – by March 1931 they had moved out and Zelda was placed in a clinic – but the house is the only museum honouring this great American writer. (Zelda was also a writer – her novel Save me the Waltz is very autobiographical, and she also wrote poems and short stories.) The Tudor style brick house holds many of their possessions, Zelda’s paintings, photographs and letters.

In the afternoon (2.00pm) we will attend a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. (Overnight Montgomery, Alabama) B

Columbus, Mississippi - 2 nights

Day 14: Monday 18 April, Montgomery – Demopolis – Tuscaloosa – Columbus
  • Southern Literary Trail: Demopolis – Lillian Hellman
  • Literary Walking tour of Demopolis exploring sites associated with Lillian Hellman and her family – led by William Gantt, Director of the Southern Literary Trail and Kirk Brooker, Marengo County Historical Society
  • Lyon Hall (exterior) and Bluff Hall, both of which bear strong resemblance to the mansion ‘Lionnet’ in Hellman’s play, and Gaineswood Mansion
  • St. John’s-In-The-Prairies (St. John’s Episcopal Church)
  • The University of Alabama (where Harper Lee was a student and college journalist)
  • Early Dinner at the Cypress Inn, Tuscaloosa

Today William Gantt, Director of the ‘Southern Literary Trail’, will guide us around his home town of Demopolis. Lillian Hellman, memoirist and playwright who is best remembered for The Little Foxes, belonged, on (her) mother’s side to a banking, storekeeping Demopolis heritage.  Alabama and Sunday dinners were large, with high-spirited talk and laughter from the older people of who did what to whom.” Hellman set several of her works in Demopolis. The Little Foxes was based on two local families and the fictional ‘Lionnet’ was inspired by Lyon Hall and Bluff Hall which we will see. Her grandfather ran the Demopolis Opera House and the bank established by her family still stands. Another Part of the Forest is another of her plays which draws on her Demopolis family.

En route to Tuscaloosa, we make a stop at St John’s Episcopal Church, a small Gothic-style church that is believed to have been constructed around the 1860 according to the designs of the prominent New York architect, Richard Upjohn. We will also visit today the University of Alabama, where Harper Lee was a student and a college journalist, before enjoying dinner at the Cypress Inn in Tuscaloosa. (Overnight Columbus, Mississippi) BLD

Day 15: Tuesday 19 April, Columbus
  • Southern Literary Trail – Columbus: Tennessee Williams & Eudora Welty
  • Tennessee Williams Home and Welcome Center: guided tour by Nancy Carpenter, CEO and Executive Director of the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation
  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (assoc. with Tennessee William’s grandfather – Rev. Walter E. Dakin): guided tour by Tennessee Williams Scholar, Dr Steve Pieschel
  • Antebellum home, Whitehall: tour followed by light lunch on the verandah. Tennessee Williams mother, Edwina, played cards at Whitehall during her time in Columbus.
  • Tennessee Williams Memorabilia Collection, Billows-Garth Archives – Columbus-Lowndes Public Library with archivist Mona Vance-Ali
  • Mississippi University for Women (MUW): guided tour with Dr Bridget Pieschel
  • Driving tour of historic Columbus aboard an authentic Double-Decker Bus hosted by Nancy Carpenter
  • ‘Southern Palate Dinner’ at Temple Heights Mansion with musical entertainment

Thomas Williams was born in 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi. He lived in that home until he was 3, and today the house has been moved from its original site. His father came from a Tennessee family and later the son used that connection for his professional name. This morning we visit the Tennessee Williams House and Welcome Centre. He was very close to his grandfather who ran St Paul’s Episcopal Church, which we also visit with Dr Steve Pieschel, retired literature professor at the Mississippi University for Women.

Following a champagne lunch on the veranda at Whitehall, the grand antebellum home of Dr. Joe and Carol Boggess, we view the Tennessee Williams Collection at the public library with archivist Mona Vance-Ali.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Eudora Welty wrote novels and short stories set in the Deep South. She studied at the Mississippi University for Women, which we will explore with Dr Bridget Pieschel, head of the Women’s Studies department, after which we will take a special tour on a double-decker bus around Columbus to see places connected with her and with Tennessee Williams.

A ‘Southern Palate Dinner’ will be served for our group in the classically elegant Temple Heights Mansion. (Overnight Columbus, Mississippi) BLD

Oxford, Mississippi - 2 nights

Day 16: Wednesday 20 April, Columbus – Starkville – New Albany – Oxford
  • Mitchell Memorial Library MSU: The John Grisham Room and Ulysses S. Grant papers, Starkville
  • Southern Literary Trail – New Albany: William Faulkner
  • William Faulkner Literary Garden: Union County Heritage Museum, New Albany
  • W. Faulkner Birthplace – Historical Marker, New Albany

The library of the Mississippi State University in Starkville is one of the few universities to house presidential papers. Ulysses S. Grant was a Civil War General and 18th President of the USA. We will view his letters, papers, fan mail and photographs, before moving on to another fascinating collection – the papers of best-selling novelist John Grisham. Grisham studied at this university and gifted it all his papers in 1989. His legal thrillers, such as The Firm, The Client and The Pelican Brief have been adapted into films and have been published worldwide.

William Faulkner is probably the American South’s most important writer. He won the Pulitzer Prize twice and also the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was born in Oxford, Mississippi and when he left he never lost the feeling that he was being called back to the region: “I wish I was at home, still in the kitchen with my family around me and my hand full of Old Maid cards”, he wrote. Today we will visit the William Faulkner Literary Garden which is one block away from his birthplace. Here his descriptions of various plants are paired with the actual plants in the garden.

His birthplace was his home for only a year, but his “own little postage stamp of native soil” never ceased to inspire him as a writer – he re-named it Yoknapatawpha County’. When his works made him money, Faulkner returned to Mississippi and lived for more than 30 years at ‘Rowan Oak’. (Overnight Oxford, Mississippi) BL

Day 17: Thursday 21 April, Oxford
  • Southern Literary Trail – Oxford: William Faulkner
  • JD Williams Library, Archives & Special Collections – Viewing of manuscripts in the Faulkner Room
  • The Sound and the Fury: A literary walking tour of Oxford – sites associated with William Faulkner by Jay Watson, Howry Professor of Faulkner studies and Professor of English at the University of Mississippi
  • Rowan Oak: Home of William Faulkner
  • Bailey’s Wood National Recreational Trail

The JD Williams Library in the University of Mississippi (affectionately known to locals as ‘Ole Miss’), has a Faulkner Room. Here we will see manuscripts, personal effects and items relating to Faulkner’s life and writings.

The Sound and the Fury, published in 1929 is a stream-of-consciousness novel and is considered one of the best English-language works of the 20thC. Like 25,000 other literary pilgrims every year, we will take a literary walking tour of Oxford, to see places Faulkner knew and wrote about. We then go on to his beloved Rowan Oak, the home he could not afford but could also not resist. The distinctive white house with green shutters was in a bad state of repair and Faulkner did much himself to restore it. His shirt collars and muddy shoes are on display, we can also sit on the porch where he liked to spend the late afternoons, and there are his library, study and fold-up desk to admire.

Our day ends with a walk in Bailey’s Wood Recreational Trail, once part of Faulkner’s home. He drew great inspiration from these woods and whenever he could, he bought up additional land so that he could preserve the trees and the natural beauty. (Overnight Oxford, Mississippi) B

Jackson, Mississippi - 1 night

Day 18: Friday 22 April, Oxford – Jackson
  • Southern Literary Trail – Jackson: Eudora Welty & Richard Wright
  • An Informal Talk on Eudora Welty at the Lemuria Bookstore
  • The Eudora Welty Foundation: House & Garden
  • Eudora Welty: A Literary tour of historic Jackson incl. Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church & Greenwood Cemetery
  • Special viewing of the Eudora Welty Collection, William F. Winter Archives and History Building
  • Dinner at the Fairview Inn

Eudora Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1909. This morning we will enjoy an informal talk at the Lemuria bookstore (the book shop she considered her own!) about her life and works, before visiting the Eudora Welty House and Garden Museum. Her birthplace is a Writers’ Centre, but the home where she lived 76 years and where she wrote most of her fiction is now open to the public. The visitor feels that Welty has just stepped out for a moment, and can view her antique brush and comb, her piano, and the set of Dickens’ novels which her mother once braved a burning house to rescue. Welty won a Pulitzer Prize and six O. Henry Awards for short stories – she is considered one of American’s finest storytellers, her works have been translated into many other languages, and Welty conferences are held regularly. She loved gardens and often alluded to plants, which continue to grow today in her garden, including her favourite camellias. She was also a keen photographer. Her book One Writer’s Beginnings often mentions her Jackson childhood and her sheltered life in the South. The house remains the same as when she lived there and is a wonderfully ‘complete’ literary museum. We hope also to meet with Eudora Welty’s niece and former director of the Eudora Welty House, Mary Alice Welty White

In the afternoon we explore historic Jackson (setting for Kathryn Stockett’s novel The Help), and view the church Eudora Welty attended, Greenwood Cemetery where she is buried and the Eudora Welty Collection.

Dinner will be at the Fairview Inn, a historic 1908 Colonial Revival mansion surrounded by formal gardens shaded by ancient magnolias, located in one of Jackson’s lovely residential neighbourhoods. We will be joined by some members of the Mississippi chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), including their President, Dr Carolyn Brown, who is also a Welty scholar.  (Overnight Jackson, Mississippi) BLD

Natchez, Mississippi - 2 nights

Day 19: Saturday 23 April, Jackson – Port Gibson  – Natchez
  • Historic Natchez Trace including Port Gibson, described by Ulyssess S. Grant as the town ‘too beautiful to burn’, and the Windsor ruins
  • Morning refreshments at Isabella’s, a delightful Queen Ann Victorian Cottage
  • The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians including a presentation on ‘Natchez Indians in Literature’ by Site Director Lance Harris
  • Reading and discussion of Eudora Welty’s A Worn Path, with Nancy McLemore
  • The home of Diarist William Johnson, Natchez
  • Dinner at the Cotton Alley Café

Today we follow the Historic Natchez Trace, a 710km trail originally created by Native Americans. The path has literary associations – Eudora Welty used it as the narrative backbone in her 1943 novel The Wide Net, while The Robber Bridegroom features a dashing highwayman, who stains his face with berry juice for disguise and carries off his sweetheart as he gallops along the Trace. Not all of the Trace survives, but we will visit the town of Port Gibson, which Ulysses S. Grant thought “too beautiful to burn” and the ruins of Windsor Plantation, visited by Mark Twain and photographed by Eudora Welty.

We arrive for lunch at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, which sits near the origin of the Natchez Trace, used extensively in bygone years by the Natchez Indians. The Grand Village’s Director Mr Lance Harris will talk about early French literature surrounding the Natchez Indians and show us around the grounds of what was once their main ceremonial centre. We will also participate in a reading of the Eudora Welty playlet A Worn Path which is set on Natchez Trace. This will be arranged by Nancy McLemore, former Library Director at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

Before the Civil War a freed slave named William Johnson set himself up as a barber and his Natchez business flourished. He also found time to keep a diary and this 2000 page journal gives a wonderfully complete account of the life of a freed slave (although he actually kept slaves himself) in Antebellum America. Johnson wrote in his diary from 1835 until his death in 1851. His status as a free man was tenuous – he could not vote, sit on a jury or testify against whites. Johnson was killed in a property dispute but there were only black witnesses to the crime and of course they could not testify. William Johnson’s 1841 townhouse is a museum which we will visit before going on for a light evening meal at the Cotton Alley Creole / Cajun Cafe. (Overnight Natchez, Mississippi) BLD

Day 20: Sunday 24 April, Natchez
  • Southern Literary Trail – Natchez: Richard Wright
  • Lecture on Richard Wright who was born near Natchez in 1908, given by his cousin Charles Wright
  • Lecture on African-American Vernacular English and Richard Wright’s use of language, given by Dennis Harried, professor of African-American Literature
  • Richard Wright Ramble: churches, schools, home sites, cemeteries associated with the Wright family – led by Charles Wright
  • Sunday Buffet Brunch at The Carriage House Restaurant, Stanton Hall, an Antebellum Classical Revival Mansion
  • Greg Iles house (exterior) and the Adams County Courthouse (exterior)
  • Longwood: An historic antebellum octagonal mansion
  • Evening meal at Dunleith Historic Inn

African-American novelist Richard Wright was born near Natchez in 1908. He was among the first black writers to achieve fame and fortune, but his novels Black Boy and White Man, Listen! shocked American readers with their pictures of the black American experience. This morning we are privileged to have meet with us Richard Wright’s cousin Charles Wright, who will give us a talk about Richard Wright’s life, as well as Mr Dennis Harried, a professor of African-American Literature and particular authority on Richard Wright’s use of language. Following these talks Charles will take us on a Richard Wright ramble, to see schools, churches and graveyards associated with his family.

After a buffet brunch at the Carriage House Restaurant at Stanton Hall, an Antebellum Classical Revival mansion, we go to see the Greg Iles House (exterior only), the outside of the Adams County Courthouse and the Antebellum home Longwood, the most visited house in Natchez.

Tonight we enjoy a special evening meal at the exquisite 1856 Dunleith Historic Inn. This unique inn is listed as a National Historic Landmark and sits on 40 landscaped acres. (Overnight Natchez, Mississippi) BLD

New Orleans, Louisiana - 2 nights

Day 21: Monday 25 April, Natchez – Baton Rouge – New Orleans
  • Historic Baton Rouge
  • Cajun Buffet Lunch and Guided tour of Oak Alley Plantation
  • Laura Plantation: A Guided tour by the owner exploring Creole Folktales & Br’er Rabbit

Today we make a brief visit to historic Baton Rouge, capital of the state of Louisiana, situated on the Mississippi River.

Cajun cuisine is the style of cooking brought to America by the French-speaking Acadian, or Cajun, immigrants from Canada. Cajun dishes include Gumbo, Jambalaya, Boudin and crawfish and vegetables. Our lunch will be a Cajun buffet at Oak Alley Plantation.

The Laura Plantation is a 19th century Creole style home on the west bank of the Mississippi. Laura Locoul Gore was the 4th mistress of the plantation and ran it as a sugar plantation. She wrote her memoirs and these were published in 2000. It is thought that the original French versions of the Br’er Rabbit stories were first told at this plantation and written down by a friend of Joel Chandler Harris. (Overnight New Orleans, Louisiana) BL

Day 22: Tuesday 26 April, New Orleans
  • Literary walking tour of Historic New Orleans
  • Steamboat Natchez: Harbour Cruise
  • Afternoon at leisure
  • Evening talk on Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner by Professor Kenneth Holditch
  • Farewell Meal at Galatoire’s Restaurant

New Orleans was home for a while to Tennessee Williams (who travelled on a streetcar going to ‘Desire’, one of the city’s suburbs) who commented, “If I can be said to have a home it is New Orleans, which has provided me with more material than any other part of the country.” The Tennessee Williams Festival is held every year in late March in his honour. It was also home briefly in 1925 to William Faulkner whose 1840 lodging house there, where he wrote his first novel Soldier’s Pay, is now the Faulkner House Bookshop. And it was home to writer Kate Chopin who resided in the French Quarter. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Truman Capote were amongst the literary visitors to the city.

This morning we set off on a literary walking tour of New Orleans’ gorgeous French Quarter, followed by a cruise along the Mississippi River, on board the Steamboat Natchez. The rest of the afternoon will be at leisure to further explore this fascinating city.

Every literary tour should end with a literary dinner. We have a very special evening planned at Galatoire’s Restaurant in the French Quarter. Every writer of importance connected with the city, or who visited New Orleans, ate at Galatoire’s, famed for its French Creole cooking. Tennessee Williams preferred its corner table, and in his A Streetcar Named Desire Stella takes Blanche to dine at Galatoire’s too.

Professor Kenneth Holditch, Emeritus Professor of the University of New Orleans and world specialist on Tennessee Williams, will join us this evening for dinner at Galatoire’s and talk to us then about Williams and Faulkner (subject to confirmation in 2016). Prof. Holditch is the co-editor of the two-volume Library of America collection of Williams’ works, and has edited the Tennessee Williams Journal. He has also co-authored the books The World of Tennessee Williams and Tennessee Williams and the South(Overnight New Orleans, Louisiana) BD

Day 23: Wednesday 27 April, Depart New Orleans
  • Airport transfer for participants departing on the ASA ‘designated’ flight

Our tour ends in New Orleans. Passengers travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight will transfer to the airport for the return flight to Australia. Alternatively you may wish to extend your stay in the Southern States. Please contact ASA if you require further assistance. B

Accommodation

23 days in the Southern States

ASA has selected a range of 2 to 4-star hotels that are themselves historical buildings and/or are located in historical centres. All hotels provide rooms with private facilities. A double room (for single use) may be requested – and is subject to availability and payment of the single supplement. A hotel list will be given to all participants prior to departure.

GEORGIA

  • Savannah (3 nights): 3-star River Street Inn – a charming inn, originally built in 1817 as a cotton warehouse, located on Savannah’s riverfront, in the heart of the Historic Landmark District. www.riverstreetinn.com
  • Milledgeville (2 nights): 2-star Comfort Suites Milledgeville – a modern hotel located a few kilometres outside of Milledgeville and just opposite Flannery O’Connor’s Andalucia.  www.comfortsuites.com
  • Atlanta (4 nights): 4-star The Georgian Terrace – built in 1911, the hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is within easy walking distance of the Margaret Mitchell House. Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh stayed here in 1939 and attended the premier party of Gone with the Wind. www.thegeorgianterrace.com
  • Fayetteville (1 night): 2-star Holiday Inn Express – Historic Downtown, a modern hotel built as a replica of the historic 1908 Burke Hotel, located on the historic square of Fayetteville. www.ihg.com

ALABAMA

  • Montgomery (3 nights): 4-star Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Centre – modern hotel located in the city centre, attached to the Convention Center and within easy walking distance of numerous restaurants. www.marriott.com

MISSISSIPPI

  • Columbus (2 nights): 2-star Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott – a relatively new hotel, located a few kilometres from the historic district. www.marriott.com
  • Oxford (2 nights): newly opened The Graduate – conveniently located just steps from Oxford’s Square, the cultural and historic hub of the city center, and a short drive from the beautiful University of Mississippi campus. www.graduateoxford.com
  • Jackson (1 night): 3-star Hilton Garden Inn Jackson Downtown – historic hotel located in downtown Jackson. Built in 1923 and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. www.hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com
  • Natchez (2 nights): 3-star Grand Hotel – located in the historic district of Natchez, on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. www.natchezgrandhotel.com

LOUISIANA

  • New Orleans (2 nights): 4-star Bourbon Orleans Hotel – occupies three historic buildings and is located in the historic French Quarter adjacent to the St Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square. www.bourbonorleans.com

Note: Hotels are subject to change, in which case a hotel of similar standard will be provided.

How to book

Make a Reservation

ASA RESERVATION APPLICATION FORM

Please complete the ASA RESERVATION APPLICATION and send it to Australians Studying Abroad together with your non-refundable deposit of AUD $500.00 per person payable to Australians Studying Abroad.

Passport Details

All participants must provide no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the program a photocopy of the front page of their current passport.

Double (as single) Supplement

Payment of this supplement will ensure accommodation in a double room for single use throughout the tour. The number of rooms available for single use is extremely limited. People wishing to take this supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance.

Gallery Tour Map
Physical Endurance & Practical Information
Physical Rating

The number of flags is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, six to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 23-day tour involves:

  • 2-3 site visits most days involving up to 1-2 hours of walking at each (sometimes on uneven terrain) and/or standing, interspersed with coach travel
  • Many early-morning departures (between 8.00–8.30am), concluding in the late afternoon (5.30–6.30pm); some days with evening performances
  • Extensive coach travel
  • The use of audio headsets which amplify the voice of your guide (despite noisy surroundings). This technology also allows you to move freely during site visits without missing any information
  • 2 to 4-star hotels with nine hotel changes
  • Steamboat Natchez: Harbour Cruise (Day 22)
  • You must be able to carry your own hand-luggage. Hotel porterage includes 1 piece of luggage per person

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you.

Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the ASA Reservation Application Form.

Practical Information

Prior to departure, tour members will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers see: www.smartraveller.gov.au

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $11580.00 Land Content Only

AUD $2350.00 Double (as single) Supplement

For competitive Economy, Business or First Class airfares and/or group airfares please contact ASA for further information.

Tour Price (Land Content Only) includes
  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms with private facilities in 2 to 4-star hotels
  • Breakfast daily, lunches and evening meals indicated in the tour itinerary, where: B=breakfast, L=lunch & D=evening meal
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included.
  • Transportation as outlined in the tour itinerary by air-conditioned coach
  • Steamboat Natchez: Harbour Cruise (Day 22)
  • Airport-hotel transfers if travelling on ASA ‘designated’ flights
  • Porterage of one piece of luggage per person at hotels (not at airports)
  • Lecture and site-visit program
  • Tour Handbook
  • Entrance fees
  • Use of audio headsets during site visits
  • Tips for the coach driver, local guides and restaurants for included meals.
Tour Price (Land Content Only) does not include
  • Airfare: Australia – Savannah, New Orleans – Australia
  • Personal spending money
  • Airport-hotel transfers if not travelling on ASA ‘designated’ flights
  • Luggage in excess of 20 kg (44 lbs)
  • Travel insurance.
Terms & Conditions
Deposits

A deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA tour.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 75 days before departure: $500.00**
  • 
75-46 days prior 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

**This amount may be credited to another ASA tour departing within 12 months of the original tour you booked. We regret, in this case early-bird discounts will not apply. We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we recieve written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Tour Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. If an ASA tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all tour monies paid. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products or services. If a service provider does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA.

ASA will not be liable for any claim (eg. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any such service provider however caused (contingencies). You must take out adequate travel insurance against such contingencies.

ASA’s liability in respect of any tour will be limited to the refund of amounts received from you less all non-refundable costs and charges and the costs of any substituted event or alternate services provided. The terms and conditions of the relevant service provider from time to time comprise the sole agreement between you and that service provider.

ASA reserves the sole discretion to canel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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