President’s Day ~ Patriots’ Passage Family Vacation 2012

8 days from Washington DC to Philadelphia

Vacation Overview

While it can be interesting to learn history from textbooks, nothing brings history to life like seeing the places and landmarks that are part of America’s history.

On this family vacation, you and your family will have an opportunity to visit some of America’s historical treasures, including Independence Hall in Philadelphia and Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC. Step back in time in Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the new world, and Colonial Williamsburg, where costumed villagers reenact life in 18th -century Virginia. See the meeting place for Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and other patriots, and enjoy a colonial-style lunch at a local tavern, where you’ll experience a recreated dining experience savored by 18th-century patriots. Tour Gettysburg National Military Park, where you’ll hear about the Battle of 1863, and have fun on a ghost tour of this historical area.

Historical treasures are not the only thing offered on this marvelous vacation. Discover the Luray Caverns—a subterranean wonderland with stalagmites, stalactites, and even sparkling lakes—and the breathtaking beauty of Shenandoah National Park. Learn about a new culture when you visit an Amish farm and house, and hear about a way of life that excludes the use of modern conveniences such as electricity and telephones. For chocolate lovers in your family, a chocolate-making experience at Hershey’s Chocolate World is sure to delight.

History, nature, fun experiences, and hassle-free travel…What more could you ask for on a family vacation?

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive in Washington DC

Welcome to Washington DC, capital of the United States! This evening, mingle with your fellow travelers and meet a historical personality at a 7 pm WELCOME PARTY & DINNER. Later, your Tour Director prepares you for your upcoming adventure. (Dinner)

Day 2 – Discover the Nation’s Capital

See what makes Washington DC so magical on a half-day guided sightseeing tour featuring ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY with the KENNEDY GRAVESITES; the VIETNAM, KOREAN, and WORLD WAR II MEMORIALS; a stop for photos at the White House and Capitol Hill; and much more. This afternoon, why not visit one of the Smithsonian Museums or tour the International Spy Museum, focusing on the art of intelligence-gathering and the role spies have played in world events throughout history? Tonight, head out for an ILLUMINATION TOUR of the monuments and memorials. (Breakfast)

Day 3 – Explore Mount Vernon & Jamestown Settlement

Heading south today, stop and visit MOUNT VERNON, the home of George Washington, America’s first president. Tour the mansion and its lovely gardens, as well as the slave quarters, stables, and George and Martha Washington’s tomb. Then, continue to JAMESTOWN SETTLEMENT, where costumed historical interpreters in faithfully recreated settings—a Powhatan Indian village, three replica ships that sailed from England in 1607, and a Colonial fort—show what daily life was like for people who lived here 200 to 300 years ago. (Breakfast)

Day 4 – Step Back in Time at Colonial Williamsburg

Enter the COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG’S HISTORIC AREA for a guided tour among costumed villagers who add to the authenticity. Stroll down its quaint streets, browse through the historic trade shops, see the Public Gaol (prison), and drop in at Raleigh Tavern, the meeting place for Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and other patriots. While here, vote for or against American independence, join the militia, or participate in the Election of Burgesses. This afternoon, roll up your sleeves and dig in to a COLONIAL-STYLE LUNCH at a famous local tavern, a recreated dining experience that would have been truly savored by 18th-century patriots! Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure—maybe join an optional excursion to nearby Busch Gardens with its thrilling rides, attractions, and entertainment. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 5 – Go Spelunking in Shenandoah National Park

Today, head into the Blue Ridge Mountains to LURAY CAVERNS. Journey into a subterranean wonderland, 4,000,000 centuries in the making, and see the enormous cave with chambers of stalagmites and stalactites and even sparkling lakes. This natural wonder is a must-see! Continue to breathtaking SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK. Keep your eyes open for the white-tail deer, coyotes, owls, hawks, eagles, big brown bats, and other wildlife, and stop to admire the panoramic views from Skyline Drive. Check into your lodge inside the park, where you will enjoy a BBQ dinner. After dinner, gather ‘round the campfire for s’mores! (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 6 – Walk the Battle Lines of Gettysburg

Today you get to relive one of the Civil War’s most pivotal battles at GETTYSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK. Walk with a Local Guide on the fields where the Battle of 1863 was waged, and experience what the Union and Confederate soldiers did in your own reenactment. The afternoon is free to enjoy at your leisure—perhaps relax at your hotel’s pool. This evening, join a Colonial candlelight dinner at the elegant DOBBIN HOUSE TAVERN, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Later, a guided GHOST TOUR takes you to some of the houses and fields in and around the town of Gettysburg, where haunted sightings of Civil War soldiers, moving again in battle lines, are common. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 7 – Indulge Your Sweet Tooth & Learn About the Amish Way of Life

Travel east to HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE WORLD, where you’ll experience chocolate making from bean to bar at a simulated factory and, of course, get a sample of the real Hershey’s product! On to Lancaster to visit an AMISH FARM & HOUSE and to enjoy a real Amish lunch. Learn about the Amish faith, culture, and traditional way of life that excludes the use of modern conveniences such as electricity and telephones. You will even take a ride in a traditional horse & buggy used by the Amish to get around. Continue to Philadelphia, where your Tour Director hosts a special SEND-OFF CELEBRATION DINNER. Begin with a walking tour of some of Philly’s historic district’s landmarks, which you will find populated with Colonial characters. After dinner at the Historic City Tavern, your Colonial host “sneaks” you into INDEPENDENCE HALL after hours, where you will witness several Founding Fathers deep in discussion over the creation of the Declaration of Independence. It’s the perfect ending to your historic family vacation! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8 – Take a Walk Through History in the City of Brotherly Love

This morning you may wish to see the Liberty Bell and learn just how it cracked, or enjoy a traditional Philly cheese steak before departing for the Philadelphia International Airport for guests with homebound flights (please schedule flights from Philadelphia Airport after 1:30 pm). For passengers who would like to return to Washington DC, the motorcoach will provide a transfer to the Capital Hilton at no additional cost. (Breakfast)

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