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Most Hallowed Ground



11 days from $4190

Ken Burns, award-winning creator of the great documentary film The Civil War, brings personal stories and insightful interpretations to an amazing journey through the Civil War’s “most hallowed ground,” one of the most comprehensive Civil War tours. This 11-day trip chronicles some of the pivotal events and venues of the war. From Washington, DC to Richmond, VA, the trip is highlighted by guided visits and unique access to some of its most significant sites, including the battlefields of Gettysburg, Antietam and Petersburg; enjoy private presentations and talks by experts; a behind-the-scenes experience at the National Archives; an interactive experience where guests assume the identity of an actual Confederate or Union soldier, and more. Exclusives include Stories by Ken Burns – filmed vignettes offering Ken's unique perspectives on the terrible conflict and its pivotal role in shaping the nation we live in today, enlivening your travels in Washington, Gettysburg, Harpers Ferry, Charlottesville, Appomattox and Richmond.

Shenandoah National Park View



    Exclusive early admission & private, behind-the-scenes experience with an insider at the National Archives
    Keynote presentation on the 36th Congress and causes of the Civil War by a noted historian in Washington, DC
    Filmed vignettes by Ken Burns featuring compelling stories, fresh insights and personal perspectives on America’s greatest conflict, accompanied by clips and images from The Civil War
    Private visit to the Jacob Weikert Farm, a private home that still bears scars from its service as a makeshift field hospital at Gettysburg; meet the home’s current owners
    Private presentation on slavery and plantation life by Dr. Leni Sorensen, African American Research Historian for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello
    Private meeting with a Richmond Civil War historian at the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar
    Private concert of traditional spiritual music by the gospel choir of Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church in Charlottesville
    Interactive experience where guests “become” a Civil War combatant at the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier
    Hotel accommodations for 10 nights
    23 meals (10 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners)

    Service charges, gratuities to local guides, admission fees, taxes and porterage


Day 1 – Arrive Washington, DC – the perfect place for Civil War tours to begin
Your tour begins at The Mayflower® Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel at 5:30 PM. A transfer is included from Ronald Reagan National Airport or Dulles International Airport to The Mayflower® Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel. Learn about the days ahead through a filmed vignette by Ken Burns during tonight’s welcome cocktail reception, followed by dinner. (D)

Day 2 - House Divided: Ford's Theatre and a visit to Arlington.

Most Hallowed Ground begins by fast-forwarding to the end of the conflict – the tragic night of April 14, 1865 – for a deeper understanding of the beginning. Visit the restored Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, where President Abraham Lincoln was fatally shot that evening by actor John Wilkes Booth. Explore the theatre itself and the Ford's Theatre Museum chronicling Lincoln's presidency. A guided sightseeing tour examines the capital's beginnings as well as its role in the Civil War, viewing the White House, the Capitol, the Mall and more. The human cost of the war, as well as its ironies, are the focus of a poignant visit to Arlington National Cemetery, situated on what had been the estate of General Robert E. Lee. A private tour includes gravesites of Civil War dead, the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and the JFK Memorial; visit Arlington House, Lee’s former home, now a memorial to the Confederate leader. After dinner, enjoy an evening tour of Washington and its illuminated monuments. (B,L,D)

Day 3 - American Stories: The National Archives
The seeds of discontent that grew into secession and war are brought to light in a keynote presentation at your hotel by a noted Civil War historian on events occurring during the 36th U.S. Congress (1859-1861). Stories recounted include abolitionist John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry and his subsequent execution; Abraham Lincoln’s election; the secession of seven states, and the shelling of Fort Sumter in April, 1861. Another behind-the-scenes look at the Civil War tours the Rotunda of the National Archives, where exclusive early admission provides a private viewing of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, with welcome comments by an Archives insider. Go behind the scenes with a staffer to learn how modern archival techniques preserve both great documents and stories of individual Americans. Spend the rest of the day as you please in Washington. (B)

Day 4 - "Bloody Antietam" to Gettysburg
Heading outside the Beltway into Maryland, stop in Frederick for a guided visit to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Exhibits tell inspiring stories of care, healing and courage, and advances such as Dr. Jonathan Letterman's system for treating battlefield casualties, still in use today. In Sharpsburg in 1862, a little creek gave its name to American history’s bloodiest single day of combat; your guided tour of Antietam National Battlefield includes the story of Burnside’s Bridge. Travel to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; a Ken Burns vignette offers insights on the town’s destiny as the site of the “high water mark of the Rebellion.” After lunch at a 19th-century Gettysburg inn, explore Gettysburg National Military Park’s new Visitor Center and the amazing Cyclorama that brings vividly to life the sights and sounds of the battles that raged here on July 1-3, 1863. Drive with a Gettysburg expert through some of the battlefields, viewing pivotal sites and hearing stories such as the defense of Little Round Top and the courage and futility of Pickett’s Charge. (B,L,D)

Day 5 - A visit to a private home, a trip to Harpers Ferry, and the magnificent Skyline Drive
More than 50,000 men on both sides were killed, wounded or missing at Gettysburg; about 6,000 lie in the national cemetery here, which Lincoln dedicated with his famous address later that year. Many of the thousands of wounded were attended to at makeshift field hospitals like the one at the Jacob Weikert Farm, today a private home. On your visit, you’ll meet the current owners, hear their stories and see the scars of battle that remain in the home nearly 150 years later. Traveling to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, a Ken Burns vignette sets up your visit to the site of John Brown’s failed 1859 raid on the town’s federal arsenal, where the abolitionist was captured and most of his 21-man “army” were killed. Ride the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park; overnight at Big Meadows Lodge or Skyland Resort. (B,L,D)

Day 6 - President James Madison's Montpelier and on to Charlottesville
The Civil War was fought in 10,000 places, the majority of them in the South; armies swept across American farms and burned American towns, and homes became headquarters and hospitals. A look at life at one of those homes in the prewar South begins at Montpelier, the former estate of President James Madison and his wife Dolley, nestled in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Discover the home’s early history and way of life in the years between the Revolution and the Civil War; see archaeological work being done on the estate. After a filmed vignette by Ken Burns en route, arrive in Charlottesville and visit the University of Virginia’s landmark Rotunda and Grounds, described by its designer Thomas Jefferson as an “academical village.” Tonight is alive with inspirational sounds at a private performance of traditional spiritual music by the choir of Charlottesville’s Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church. (B,D)

Day 7 - Intriguing Monticello and an exclusive lecture
You’ll feel the presence of author, statesman, scientist and third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson throughout your guided visit to Monticello, the hilltop house he designed on the principles of Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. As you explore the house, plantation and grounds, you’ll observe that the realities of plantation life did not always fit comfortably with the founding father’s principles of equality and liberty. After lunch featuring colonial fare and servers in 18th-century period attire at the historic Michie Tavern, enjoy a Civil War Tours Exclusive: a lively private presentation on “Slavery, the Plantation and the Civil War” by Dr. Leni Sorensen, scholar, living history interpreter, and African American Research Historian for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. (B,L)

Day 8 - Appomattox and on to Richmond
Journey this morning from Charlottesville to Appomattox Court House. Town resident Wilmer McLean had moved to this quiet village to escape the tumult of war after the First Battle of Bull Run had raged across his property in 1861. But on the afternoon of April 9, 1865, he was reluctantly thrust into history when Generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant met in his parlor and agreed to terms which would lead to the reunification of the nation – so in another of the war’s great ironies, it could be said that the conflict began in McLean’s backyard and ended in his parlor four years later! Relive the moment on a visit to McLean’s reconstructed house with a local guide, and gain insights from a Ken Burns vignette en route to Richmond and a three-night stay at The Jefferson Hotel, the city’s finest since 1895. (B,L,D)

Day 9 - Richmond, Heart of the Confederacy
An in-depth view of the war from various perspectives awaits in Richmond, once the Confederate capital. Hear the story of Robert E. Lee’s divided loyalties on a guided visit to the Rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol, where Lee accepted command of the state military forces, and stand in the space shared by the Virginia legislature and the Confederate government during the war. Examine the life of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in his wartime home, the White House of the Confederacy; step back to the time he resided here with his family on a guided visit, and take a self-guided tour of the Museum of the Confederacy. After lunch, experience Union, Confederate and African American viewpoints at the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar and the Tredegar Iron Works, the Confederacy’s industrial heart. In another Civil War Tours Exclusive, meet with a local historian who shares insights about the unique role of the Tredegar works, along with little-known facts about “industrial slavery.” (B)

Day 10 - Petersburg, and a visit to the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier
Explore the siege of Petersburg on a tour of Petersburg National Battlefield, where you’ll view re-creations of troop bunkers and officers’ quarters, and relive the drama of battle with the iconic story of The Crater. Then enjoy a unique glimpse of what life was really like in the field with a powerful interactive experience at Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier – where you’ll assume the identity of an actual Union or Confederate soldier, listen to his own words and stories through your headset, and learn his ultimate destiny during the war. You’ll also see Civil War reenactors depicting camp life, musket firings and other period demonstrations. Tonight, enjoy a farewell reception and dinner at your stately five-star hotel, a National Historic Landmark in downtown Richmond. (B,L,D)

Day 11 - Journey Home
Your tour comes to a close today.


Washington, DC: The Mayflower® Renaissance Washington, DC
Gettysburg: Wyndham Gettysburg
Shenandoah National Park: Big Meadows Lodge / Skyland Resort
Charlottesville: Omni Charlottesville Hotel
Richmond: The Jefferson Hotel




Departure Date Twin Single Triple
April 6, 2013 $4190 $5281 $3857
April 16, 2013 $4890 $5981 $4557
April 27, 2013 $4190 $5281 $3857
May 7, 2013 $4190 $5281 $3857
May 18,, 2013 $4890 $5981 $4557
June 8, 2013 $4190 $5281 $3857
September 10, 2013 $4190 $5281 $3857
September 21, 2013 $4890 $5981 $3857
September 28, 2013 $4190 $5281 $4557
October 8, 2013 $4190 $5281 $3857
October 19, 2013 $4190 $5281 $3857


Additional Information


Prices are land-only, per person.