See Where America Happened

Take a Journey Through Hallowed Ground in the scenic and historically rich landscape from Gettysburg in Pennsylvania to Monticello in Virginia.

US Capitol in Washington, DC
US Capitol, Washington, DC
Grotto of Lourdes
Grotto of Lourdes, Emmitsburg, Maryland
Burnside Bridge in Antietam, Maryland
Burnside Bridge, Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland
Carroll Creek Linear Park in downtown Frederick, MD
Frederick, Maryland
Manassas National Battlefield in Virginia
Manassas National Battlefield Park, Virginia
Breaux Vineyards in Loudoun, VA
Stop for a wine tasting at Breaux Vineyards, Loudoun County, Virginia
US Capitol in Washington, DC
Grotto of Lourdes
Burnside Bridge in Antietam, Maryland
Carroll Creek Linear Park in downtown Frederick, MD
Manassas National Battlefield in Virginia
Breaux Vineyards in Loudoun, VA

Just 20 minutes from Washington Dulles International Airport is the remarkable cultural landscape that is the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, one of the most historic and beautiful regions in the country. Catch a glimpse into the lives of eight US presidents. Walk in the footsteps of Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers, abolitionists and freedom seekers. Taste the fruits from bountiful vineyards and orchards. Experience pristine rivers and rolling landscapes.

Tour highlights in the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area from Gettysburg to Monticello include:

  • Gettysburg National Military Park
  • Eisenhower National Historic Site
  • Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
  • National Museum of Civil War Medicine
  • Antietam National Military Park
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
  • The Marshall House, General George C. Marshall’s home
  • Wine Tasting in Middleburg
  • Manassas National Battlefield
  • President James Madison’s home, Montpelier
  • President Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello

Day 1

Arrive in Washington, DC.

Day 2

Visit the United States Capitol Visitor Center after breakfast. The Capitol is among the most architecturally impressive and symbolically important buildings in the world. Begun in 1793, the Capitol has been built, burnt, rebuilt, extended and restored. Today, it stands as a monument not only to its builders, but also to the American people and their government.

Lunch in DC, followed by a tour of President Lincoln’s Cottage in northwest DC, where President Lincoln developed the Emancipation Proclamation. He first visited here three days after his inauguration and last rode out to the site the day before his assassination.

After your tour, depart for Gettysburg. After checking into your hotel, dine at the Dobbin House Tavern. Built in 1776, the Dobbin House Tavern is the oldest building in Gettysburg and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Day 3

Walk around downtown Gettysburg and take in quaint shops, then stop in the Shriver House Museum to get a perspective of the Battle of Gettysburg from the civilian’s perspective.

Visit the David Wills House, where President Abraham Lincoln stayed the night before his famous Gettysburg address. Today the Wills House is a place to learn about the address, the town and the battle’s effect on Gettysburg’s citizens.

Visit the Eisenhower National Historic Site, where the only home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, is located. A tour of the home offers an intimate glimpse of the Eisenhower’s life and times.

Day 4

Spend the day at the Gettysburg National Military Park and Visitor Center. Watch the Morgan Freeman-narrated film, A New Birth of Freedom, which will orient you to the Battle of Gettysburg and the American Civil War. After the film, ascend the escalator to see the massive “Battle of Gettysburg" Cyclorama painting – the largest painting in the country. This original 1884 work of art is larger than a football field and combines with an overhead canopy and a 3D diorama to create a Victorian illusion. Your group will feel as though they are on the fields of Pickett’s Charge on the third day of the battle!

Spend free time exploring the Gettysburg Museum, where the story of the battle and the war is told through 12 galleries and includes artefacts, interactive exhibits and films. You may also want to arrange for a Licensed Battlefield Guid, to ride with you through the park.

After your day at Gettysburg, depart for Frederick, Maryland.

Day 5

Rich in Catholic-American Heritage, Emmitsburg is a beautiful and historic town founded in the early 18th century. Visit the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, a replica of the famed Grotto of Lourdes in France and the oldest such shrine in America. A place of pastoral beauty and spiritual inspiration, the Grotto draws approximately 500,000 religious pilgrims and tourists annually.

Visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born citizen to be proclaimed a Saint. Italian and German artisans designed the interior of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Dedicated in 1965, it was designated a Minor Basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1991.

Head back into Frederick, where Maryland’s second-largest city has figured prominently in three centuries of American history. The 50-block downtown area shows off intriguing architecture and sites linked to celebrated “locals” like Francis Scott Key and Civil War heroine Barbara Fritchie. Specialty shops, art galleries and antiques stores round out the scene.

Visit the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is the premiere repository of exhibits and artifacts devoted to the technological and procedural advances made in the medical field between 1861 and 1865.

Enjoy dinner at local favourite, Pistarro's Ristorante, in Frederick. 

Day 6

Arrive at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Take a tour with a National Park Ranger at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park with a focus on Civil War to Civil Rights: John Brown, Frederick Douglass and the W.E.B. Dubois’ Niagara Movement.

Spend the afternoon in Sharpsburg, Maryland and visit Antietam National Military Park. Here, 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after 12 hours of savage combat on 17 September, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

Tour the Pry House Field Hospital. This new museum is located in the historic Pry House, which served as Union Commander General George B. McClellan's headquarters during the battle.

Day 7

Arrive in Leesburg, Virginia. Visit The Marshall House, home of General George C. Marshall. During his residency in Leesburg, General Marshall served our nation as Chief of Staff of the Army from 1939-45. General Marshall was the architect of the European Recovery Plan, known globally as the Marshall Plan, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.

Spend the afternoon in Middleburg, Virginia to explore where Jackie Kennedy walked the streets. Founded in 1787, Middleburg is nestled at the foot of the Virginia Piedmont in scenic horse country. Elegant and sophisticated, Middleburg’s mystique is evident in its graceful, tree-lined streets and treasure of stylish shops, excellent restaurants and cosy inns. Enjoy a wine tasting at Boxwood Winery or Chrysalis Vineyards before departing to Prince William County.

Day 8 

Tour Manassas National Battlefield Park in Prince William County, where on 21 July, 1861, the Confederate and Union armies clashed for the first time. Begin your tour at the Visitor Center with Manassas: End of Innocence, a 45-minute movie providing an overview of both the First and Second Battles of Manassas.

Have lunch in Historic Manassas and take in the great quaint shops the downtown offers. Tour the Manassas Museum and experience the place where the first major land battles of the Civil War began. 

Day 9 

Depart Manassas for Culpeper to see the Graffiti House. Generations of wallpaper have been peeled back to reveal handwritten notes, drawings and patriotic missives written by soldiers on both sides of the Civil War. Take a driving tour of the Brandy Station Battlefield, which was the largest cavalry battle of the war, and still considered the largest cavalry battle to take place in North America.

Take in lunch in historic downtown Culpeper, Virginia.   

After lunch in downtown Culpeper, you’ll tour James Madison’s Montpelier and Madison’s Tomb. The lifelong home of James Madison, "Father of the Constitution" and fourth President of the United States, was also home to three generations of the Madison family from 1723 to 1844. The mansion core was built by Madison's father c.1760. Today, it is the centrepiece of a 2,700-acre estate containing farmlands, forests, formal gardens, 135 buildings and a steeplechase course that was added in the 20th century.

Arrive in Charlottesville, Virginia to check into your hotel for the evening.

Day 10 

Enjoy your morning with an early tour at Monticello, the beloved home of Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence (1776) and the third President of the United States. See Thomas Jefferson's World, a 14-minute introductory film that dramatically presents Jefferson’s ideals and accomplishments and illustrates Monticello’s central importance to his life and work. Monticello and the University of Virginia are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Enjoy a southern fare buffet lunch at historic Michie Tavern. Period-attired wait staff serve a hearty Colonial period fare buffet in this 200-year old converted log house.

Spend the afternoon at Ash Lawn-Highland, home of President James Monroe, fifth President of the United States. Monroe is considered the author of America’s first foreign policy.

Upon departure, drive through the campus of the University of Virginia. Jefferson’s architectural talents are evident in the classic beauty of the campus. He patterned the Rotunda in his original "Academical Village" after the Roman Pantheon, and it is still the focal point of the grounds.

Where else can 400 years of history on one tank of gas equal a lifetime of memories? 

Take the Journey to Where America Happened®. Visit HallowedGround.org and start your journey today. 

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