Many of you who have followed my columns over the years know that I love the history and culture of places that I or my clients visit and look forward to hearing from them when they return. I also love helping them plan travel around the things they are interested in. For American History buffs - here are two to seriously consider.
I was so excited to see that tour companies are coming up with specials commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. Two options vary not just by price but by itineraries, speakers, and experience. As usual in travel there are options!
This year Tauck Tours has partnered with the award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns known for his PBS documentaries (along with collaborator Dayton Duncan) - such as the trilogy epics Civil War, Baseball, and Jazz, with many more fascinating, in-depth documentaries on American life and history.
"The Tauck Civil War Event" May 22 - 26, 2011, is a five day event in Washington DC and includes three in-depth, small group tours that will give you Ken's unique perspective. This is not a bus tour visiting various Civil War battlefields as you would find on many a tour. Instead for only 300 exclusive guests that are separated into groups of no more than thirty, there are three Ken Burns designed adventure tours "Lincoln's War," "The Meaning of Freedom," and "The Peoples War," in which every group will experience during the four day event.
Highlights include: Exclusive tour of Lincoln's Cottage with museum director, a tour of Ford's Theatre; A tour of the Library of Congress and the new Civil War Photo exhibit; a ranger-led tour through the Frederick Douglass House; U Street walking tour; Tour of the African American Civil War Memorial & Museum; Manassas Battlefield; Ben Lornond House and historic Occuquan; a visit to Arlington House.
Additionally there are three private gala events held in historic buildings in Washington, D.C. One night includes the keynote speaker Ken Burns at the National Archives, a location that is pivotal to his research. Another evening features a Civil War era dance and a lecture by Civil War historian and Lincoln Scholar, Harold Holzer at the National Building Museum. On the last evening you will wine and dine at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery where President Lincoln had his Second Inaugural Ball. These are very exclusive entrances to some of the nation's most important buildings.
The price for this tour varies from $3590 to $3990 per person (double occupancy) depending on which five plus star hotel you choose. Airfare is additional.
Mayflower Tours is commemorating the 150th Anniversary with a Civil War Series. It is a five part series, one specific Civil War series per year, from 2011 - 2015. Each six day tour encompasses the history of the long and bloody Civil War. The first tour, "Battle of Bull Run, Virginia," is one date only on July 22, 2011 and includes three nights in Arlington, VA., two nights in Richmond, VA, and 9 meals (3 dinners, 1 lunch and 5 breakfasts).
Tour Highlights: A live battle reenactment of the Battle of Bull Run in Manassas - the first battle of the Civil War; Harpers Ferry Historic Park and learn of its importance during the war; An evening illumination tour of Washington, D.C., mall area where you can view the monuments bathed in light; Chatham Manor, a vital Union Headquarters and hospital during the Battle of Fredericksburg; Tour of historic Richmond with local history guides, Tour the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar: A visit to the Museum and White House of the Confederacy: An evening of Southern hospitality and cooking at a Confederate dinner.
This tour price is $1399 per person, based on double occupancy, and does not include airfare. The rest of the series includes 2012 "Civil War Sites in Tennessee;" 2013 "Pennsylvania and Gettysburg;" 2014 "Georgia and March to the Sea;" 2015 "Back to Virginia and Appomattox where the War Between the States ended." Pricing for these has not yet been determined.
If you are a Civil War enthusiast I am sure one of these tours should be on your list of 'must do's!'
Patty Toppa is a travel consultant with Gadabout Travel. She can be reached at email@example.com or www.cruisetraveltours.com.