Explore the cornerstones of American Democracy on a unique tour that showcases Philadelphia, Virginia and Washington, D.C.; as well as historic sites and historic homes. In Philadelphia, highlights of your tour include a visit to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Betsy Ross' home. Visit Wheatland, the palatial home of James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States; see Monticello, the beautiful home of Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd U.S. President and author of the Declaration of Independence; and Mount Vernon, the beloved home of the 1st President of the United States, General George Washington. Learn about the traditions and history of the Amish with a locally guided tour and home-hosted dinner in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Bring to life the most decisive battle of the Civil War in Gettysburg where a narrated tour is both educational and fun. Behold amazing views of the Shenandoah Valley while traveling along famous Skyline Drive en route to Colonial Williamsburg where you'll have time to explore the restored historic buildings and enjoy dinner at one of its famous taverns. In Washington, D.C., explore the world-renowned Smithsonian Institution where you can see the fabled Hope Diamond, the gowns of the First Ladies, and so much more. Famous monuments and memorials, a visit to Arlington National Cemetery with its Tomb of the Unknowns, a visit to the nation's Capitol building, and Ford's Theatre, site of President Lincoln's assassination will all leave you with a renewed insight into America's great heritage.
Day #1 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Explore America’s heritage, history and scenic horizons on this in-depth tour of the eastern United States.
Day #2 Philadelphia - Lancaster/Strasburg - This morning embark on a tour of “the Birthplace of a New Nation” which highlights the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Independence Hall is rich in heritage as the location of both the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the drafting of the Constitution. Continue on to the Amish Country of Lancaster, the second largest Amish community in America.
Day #3 Lancaster/Strasburg - Visit Wheatland*, the gracious Federalist home of James Buchanan, the 15th U.S. President, and the only president never to marry. Sample the true taste of Amish Country with stops at the Farmer’s Market and the Kitchen Kettle Complex where small batches of jams, jellies and relishes are handcrafted daily. Next, a local guide introduces you to the fascinating history and traditions of the Amish people during a tour of their farmlands. As you learn more about their self-sufficiency and peaceful lifestyle you will understand how their “life apart” is an expression of their religious faith and dedication. Tonight, enjoy dinner in the home of an Amish family, for an Amish feast** - a true highlight of your tour.
Day #4 Lancaster/Strasburg - Gettysburg - Charlottesville, Virginia - Journey to Gettysburg, site of the Union victory that marked a turning point in the Civil War. A guided tour of the site illuminates those three historic days in 1863 and the decisive battle that changed the course of American history forever. The battle is often referred to as the “High Water Mark of the Confederacy,” with about 51,000 casualties. The area also provided President Abraham Lincoln with the setting for his most famous address!
Day #5 Charlottesville - Williamsburg - Visit Monticello, the beautiful home and gardens of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was not only the third U.S. President and author of the Declaration of Independence, but he was also an accomplished inventor and true “Renaissance man.” He personally designed his beloved Monticello, and this stately home reflects his active interests in many topics, from botany to meteorology. This afternoon you arrive in the historic town of Williamsburg. Tonight, begin your journey into Revolutionary-age America by dining in a Colonial Williamsburg tavern specializing in colonial fare.
Day #6 Colonial Williamsburg - Begin the day by viewing “Story of a Patriot,” a short film which introduces you to Colonial Williamsburg, one of the largest and best living history museums in the world which has been lovingly restored to its original glory. Costumed re-enactors populate the streets and buildings, bringing the customs and sentiments of 1770 to life. Tour Governor’s Palace and Gardens before enjoying time to wander the cobblestone streets and explore some of the eighty-eight historic buildings on your own. Tonight you are at leisure to explore Williamsburg independently.
Day #7 Williamsburg - Washington, D.C. - This morning, visit Mount Vernon, the beloved home of the first U.S. president, George Washington, from the time of his marriage in 1759 until his death in 1799. You have time to wander the beautiful plantation grounds he adored and tour the home, filled with 18th century artifacts. Then, travel to his namesake city, Washington, D.C. Explore the world-famous Smithsonian Institution’s countless treasures such as the fabled Hope Diamond, 45.52-carats large and allegedly cursed; the actual Apollo 11 Command Module which carried Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon; and even television’s Archie and Edith Bunker’s worn living room chairs! Smithsonian’s new National Museum of the American Indian houses the largest and most extensive collection of Native American art and artifacts in the world. This evening you may choose to enjoy an optional excursion including dinner and a twilight tour of Washington’s famous monuments and memorials including those dedicated to Jefferson, Lincoln and Iwo Jima.
Day #8 Washington, D.C. - Your day begins with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery where you will view the Tomb of the Unknowns and the Kennedy gravesites. Visit the White House Visitor Center where you will gain insight into the many transitions this historic residence has undergone. Your tour of our nation’s capital affords you wonderful views of the Capitol building, the White House, monuments and museums. Drive along Embassy Row and stop at the moving World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Memorial.
Day #9 Washington, D.C. - Tour Ends - From the crafting of the documents of Democracy in Philadelphia, to the flawless reconstruction of Colonial Williamsburg, to the monuments and museums of Washington, D.C., your memories of this tour are sure to stay with you forever.