Stimulate all of your senses on a grand tour of the southern United States, from the home of the King of Rock to the streets of the Big Easy. With Ker & Downey you’ll experience the holy trinity of southern hospitality: good music, decadent cuisine and handcrafted booze to lift your spirits. By Katy Heerssen
Let The Good Times Roll
New Orleans, decadent city of indulgence, is a celebration of life year-round. Exclusive Ker & Downey experiences let you bear witness to its eclectic tapestry of food, drink and live music far from the hordes of tourists. Prowl the streets with a local musicologist and hear tales of musicians who have shaped the landscape of the city as you explore Congo Square, the Preservation Hall Jazz Club and the Treme. From fresh Gulf oysters and shrimp to immaculate Creole creations, take your mealtime to the next level. Taste some of the world’s best bites at James Beard award-winners and family joints passed down through generations. Shake things up with celebrity mixologist Daniel Victory and go behind his bar to learn the art of crafting memorable cocktails.
The Soul of Memphis
In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel. This pivotal place in American history is now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum, a moving interactive experience that traces past and ongoing struggles for equality in the United States. It’s a story told frankly and with much respect, and you encounter it in reverence with a knowledgeable Ker & Downey guide. Explore Memphis’ legendary musical roots at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. More than 2,000 artifacts and ephemera from the golden age of this distinctly American genre fill the halls of this hallowed space.
Pro Tip! Take time to watch the resident ducks walk the red carpet at the Peabody Hotel — a long-standing Memphis tradition. - Catherine Brown, Designer
Music City Magic
Nashville has been the launchpad for countless careers and musical legends, and while the Grand Ole Opry is the big name in the city’s music history (and should absolutely be seen) its roots date back to 1943 and Ryman Auditorium. Known as “The Carnegie Hall of the South,” the historic venue has hosted revivals and stage plays and was the home of the Grand Ole Opry variety show from 1943 to 1974. Take a private tour through the venue with the curator, and an exit through the stage door places you at the doorstep of a local honky-tonk where the stars of tomorrow ply their trade. Don’t miss a private walk through the Country Music Hall of Fame and RCA Studio B, where greats like Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson recorded hit records.
Bluegrass & Bourbon
What could a bluegrass picker know about whiskey? Quite a lot as it turns out, when whiskey is the subject of many of his songs. Louisville legend Hickory Vaught leads you on a unique musical tour by way of downtown Louisville, where live music and an astounding collection of bourbon and whiskey bars await. Outside of the city, heavy hitters like Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark stand out on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, but they aren’t the end of the story of the spirit. With a private Ker & Downey driver and guide, you’ll go behind the scenes at some of the more regionally-famous purveyors. Among these secret spots is the Town Branch Distillery and Brewery, a barrel-aged distillery that also happens to be the oldest craft brewery in Lexington. Alongside master distiller Mark Coffman, get expert insight into both crafts and plenty of tastings, too.