What better way to understand the evolution of our democratic system of government is there than to visit actual historic sites which describe it in vivid detail? Student travel groups traveling in and around the Washington D.C. area can be given a wider scope on history if the tour group goes just a little bit outside of Washington D.C. into nearby Baltimore and Annapolis Maryland, and Manassas and Fredericksburg, Virginia. These towns offer a precious glimpse into the past, as they thrive in the present.
Here is an overview of some important historic sites in these cities neighboring Washington D.C. of interest to student travel groups on tour.
U.S. Capital and White House
Of course the U.S. Capitol and the White House are two government buildings that should not be missed on a tour of Washington D.C. I have mentioned them in another article in great detail. Visit: http://educationaltravelconsultants.com/blog/?m=200707
for more information.
Annapolis, Maryland, Berth of the U.S. Navy
Annapolis is a city that dates to over 300 years old and was once a thriving mecca and cultural center in colonial times. Only one hour outside the city of Washington D.C., Annapolis is well worth a daylong visit by a student travel group on tour. Designed and built on a grid similar to Baroque cities in Europe, Annapolis is truly modeled on classical architectural and urban planning styles. The radiating streets highlight the significance of buildings in the center.
Named after Queen Ann, the city of Annapolis is rich in history. Because of its strategic location, Annapolis was a colonial seaport and offered berth to European traders as well as entrée to the Chesapeake Bay region and further south to other port cities. Annapolis is also known for horse racing. The gentry of Europe needed to indulge this passion in the new world, and so Annapolis is renowned for breeding thoroughbred champions whose lineage dates to colonial times.
Fort McHenry is perhaps one of the best-known historic destinations in Baltimore Maryland, and is the place where Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner while witnessing the Battle of Baltimore there in 1814. Yet Fort McHenry, because of its location on the Baltimore Harbor, would also be a well-defended location during subsequent U.S. Wars including the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. Student travel groups maybe tour the highlights of Fort McHenry including a look at the battery, Major Armistead’s quarters, soldiers’ barracks, the place where a British bomb was dropped but not exploded, and more. Teachers may visit http://www.nps.gov/fomc/forteachers/lessonplansandteacherguides.htm for lesson plans and guides for student travel visits to Fort McHenry.
Manassas, Virginia Historic Battlefield
Bull Run is the site of two famous American Civil War battles fought there beginning in the summer of 1861 and culminating in another battle a year later. The Battle of Bull Run tipped the cards in favor of the Confederate army during this part of the war. Student travel groups may tour the 5,000 acre battlefield to learn more about the Battle of Bull Run, just an hour’s drive from Washington D.C. A one-hour self-guided walking tour is available to groups on the Henry Hill Loop Trail, or student groups may select a driving tour, or a park ranger guided hike. Bull Run is an excellent place for students to learn about the Civil War era. Teachers may obtain curriculum materials by visiting: http://www.nps.gov/mana/forteachers/curriculummaterials.htm.
One of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, the Battle of Fredericksburg, was fought there and is lauded as General Robert E. Lee’s finest victory. This was the first of four battles fought there between 1862-64. Three others include: Battle of Chancellorsville, Battle of Wilderness, and Battle of Spotsylvania. Student tour groups can see Chatham Manor at the Fredericksburg battlefields, a well restored and preserved Georgian Manor that sits on a hill overlooking the Rappahannock River and historic Fredericksburg. Chatham Manor was at one time a hospital and Union headquarters. Student groups will also want to visit Salem Church and the Stonewall Jackson Shrine at this National Park Service site. Teachers may obtain lesson plans for student travel groups visiting Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial by visiting http://www.nps.gov/frsp/forteachers/lessonplans.htm.
Take a student travel group on a short trip just outside of Washington D.C. to help them understand the big picture of American history.