Student Travel Groups Encounter the Ghosts of Arlington, Virginia While Visiting Washington D.C. Area

By Howard Clemens
No student trip to Washington D.C. is complete without a stop in Arlington, Virginia. Arlington is the second largest city of the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Situated on the southern bank of the Potomac River, a stunning view of the D.C. skyline can be seen from all vantage points. While in Arlington, be sure to also visit The Pentagon Memorial, The Marine Corps Memorial and The United States Air Force Memorial. Student groups will learn a great deal about the history of the military in Arlington. In the evening, groups can look forward to seeing the hair-raising Arlington Ghost Tour, and learning about history from a different perspective.

 
Who said Virginia was for lovers? Actually, Virginia is for ghosts. Virginia is the most haunted state in America. No city in Virginia could be more haunted than Arlington, home of Arlington National Cemetery. The heroes of the United States are resting here, or according to the ghost hunters and tour guides – some of the ghosts of America’s past are not at rest at all.

Famous Ghosts Haunt Arlington

Arlington National Cemetery is one of the most haunted sites in the country. This famous cemetery is the second to the largest burial ground in the United States. It is home to the graves of many American war heroes and two U.S. presidents (John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft). Over 300,000 are buried on these green, rolling hills. Over 7,000 funerals occur here per year, adding many new apparitions with each passing season. On average, there are 28 funerals per day at Arlington National Cemetery. This is also the only cemetery where servicemen from every war in U.S. history are buried. Many apparitions of these departed souls have been spotted roaming the cemetery at night.

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The Custis Lee Mansion at Arlington National Cemetery was built in the early 1800s.

The Custis-Lee Arlington Mansion and Robert E. Lee Memorial is a haunted spot located within the cemetery. This Greek-revival style mansion was the last resting place for the Union War dead. Before this, it was the pre-war home of Robert E. and Mary Lee. Several ghosts have been spotted here, including the spirit of Mary Custis Lee herself.

 
Dedicated to American service members who died without their remains being identified, The Tomb of the Unknowns is famous for its frequent changing of the guard ceremony. It is perhaps even more famous for its high level of paranormal activity.

Visit the Kennedy Gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery

A trip to Arlington Cemetery wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Kennedy Gravesites. After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, his widow Jacqueline decided her husband should be buried in a very public place, famously explaining, “he belongs to the people.” Thus, he was buried in Arlington Cemetery, on a slope below the Lee Arlington House. On the day of the funeral, Mrs. Kennedy lighted the Eternal Flame, which continues to burn at the head of the grave, serving as a beautiful reminder of the President’s life and lasting contributions to our country. The gravesites of the President’s esteemed brothers, Robert and Ted, are nearby, decorated with simple white wooden crosses.

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Old Post Chapel is adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery and the site of many ghost sightings.

Ghost Tales from the Old Post Chapel

Across the street from the cemetery is perhaps the most haunted Arlington site of them all, Old Post Chapel. Once used as a mourning room, so much paranormal activity has been spotted here that students will experience a ghostly chill. Constant ghostly voices and footsteps have been reported at the chapel. Locked doors have been known to swing open without any known help. Cabinet drawers swing open to 90 degrees. Loud organ music has been said to play in the Chapel at odd hours of the night. The Chapel is also home to many known apparitions. There is a small boy often seen running through the Chapel – but as soon as he faintly appears, he just as quickly vanishes. Some have heard a woman wailing in the front of the Chapel while others have seen a beautiful dark-haired Spanish lady who disappears the moment she realizes she’s being watched.

Entertainment and Dining Near Arlington

The perfect complement to one of our exciting, ghoulish Ghost Tours is a nice meal in Arlington. Arlington has a sophisticated restaurant district including well-reviewed restaurants such as Liberty Tavern, The Green Pig Bistro and Boulevard Wood Grill. For large student groups, advanced reservations are required and an educational travel company can help make these arrangements. Student groups visiting Washington D.C. also love to visit the Hard Rock Café. Looking for fun entertainment and a meal? In nearby Old Town Alexandria Medieval Madness is a great way to spend an evening. For more information on combining a student tour of Washington D.C. with a ghost tour of Arlington visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

National Harbor has even More to Offer Student Travel Groups Touring Washington D.C.

By Howard Clemens

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National Harbor is the newest hotspot for student travel to Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is full of historical and cultural and sights for student travel groups. Getting slightly outside of the city can be just as exciting as touring the streets of D.C. The National Harbor is the newest destination for student trips to Washington D.C. Visit the Harbor for a day of waterfront fun and – take a spin on some adult sized circus rides such as the Capital Wheel and The Carousel. After intense touring of Washington D.C., students groups can relax for an afternoon and/or an evening on the shores of the Potomac River. Dining, entertainment, shopping and cruising are the main activities to be enjoyed here.

National Harbor Expansion Includes MGM Casino and Resort

National Harbor is located on the shores of the Potomac River in Prince George’s County, Maryland near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Here, visitors have panoramic views of Downtown Washington D.C. Currently, MGM is building a world-class casino/resort at National Harbor, which should attract enormous crowds. Student travel groups will have many other choices in entertainment, more appropriate for their age group.

Take a Ride on the Capital Wheel – the 180 Feet Wonder

For student groups headed to the National Harbor, a ride on the Capital Wheel will be the first on the list of activities for the day. The Capital Wheel rises 180 feet above the Potomac River and offers splendid views of the D.C. skyline. Students can also ride the whimsical Carousel. While walking around, groups may stop and watch the Jumbotron – a large screen outdoor display – where popular shows, entertainment and sports are broadcast.

Shop at Tanger Outlets & Have Some Lunch

Dining and shopping opportunities at National Harbor are numerous. The Tanger Outlets have over 85 name brand stores located there. So, trip leaders may want to allow time for a couple of free hours for shopping, before or after lunch at one of the many restaurants. National Harbor has a wide choice of restaurants, from burgers and prime steak and seafood to Baja fresh Mexican food, Italian, Pan Asian and much more. Ben and Jerry’s or Goodies Frozen Custard and Treats are great places to stop for dessert.

Cruises on the Potomac Include Historic Sites

The marina at National Harbor provides different options for student travel groups. National Harbor has a boat rental area, where kayaks, canoes and stand up paddle boards can be rented by the hour or the day. Many student groups may not have the time or prior training needed to operate these type of watercraft on the Potomac. So I usually recommend a cruise on the Potomac River instead.

Students look forward to a cruise. Cruises include dinner and dancing to the contemporary music students enjoy. The Potomac River Cruise can be boarded at National Harbor, making for quite a full day and evening. For those who want to see Washington D.C. lit up at night, sightseeing cruises offer a great opportunity to view historic sites from the water, including the Washington Monument and Mount Vernon Cruises.

Pre-Planning is Key to Fitting it All in When Student Travel Groups Visit National Harbor

There is so much to see and do at National Harbor it is almost overwhelming. In order to maintain oversight of the student group, it’s best to focus on different activities for set periods of time – such as cruising or riding the Capital Wheel and Carousel. Pre-trip planning is essential to fitting in dining, entertainment and shopping opportunities for large student groups spending the day at the Harbor. Be sure to have an educational travel expert help develop a travel itinerary for National Harbor to get the most out of a visit. For more information on student trips to Washington D.C., request a quote.  

 

Museum of Modern Art in NYC Offers Student Travel Groups Sophisticated Look at International Art

By Howard Clemens

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MOMA is a popular point on the itinerary for student travel groups in NYC.

What do Henri Matisse, Diego Rivera and Georgia O’Keeffe have in common? Their works can be found in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City. MOMA’s permanent collection of international art is staggering in its enormity. Any student of art will want to visit this museum at some point. No student trip to New York City is really complete without a visit to MOMA. I recommend student travel groups interested in visiting MOMA to spend at least a half day touring this world famous museum.

MOMA’s Permanent Collection Online – A Great Teaching Tool

For those educators who want to preview the work of well known artists before a student trip to NYC, most pieces in the permanent collection are viewable online. This is a wonderful way to familiarize students with the work of artists prior to a class trip to New York City. The permanent collection is in alphabetical order and works owned by MOMA are displayed in image format, making a preliminary study of artists in the collection easy and interesting.

Matisse's "Interior With a Young Girl" is a great example of his work.
Matisse’s “Interior With a Young Girl” is a great example of his work.

Henri Matisse: the Cut-Outs

Matisse is a French artist whose interest in drawing and painting the nude set him apart from his contemporaries early on. MOMA owns an extensive collection of Matisse’s work. Matisse’s last body of work, made in the late 1940s, is composed of cut-outs. He used paint, paper and scissors as his primary mediums to construct colorful and playful works of art. In this MOMA show, which will be on exhibit until February 8, 2015, students will see 100 cut outs (both small and large scale) along with related drawings, prints, illustrated books, stained glass and textiles. Running concurrently with this exhibition is MOMA’s restoration and exhibition of Matisse’s “The Swimming Pool” a wall-sized cut out once displayed in Matisse’s own dining room.

The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters

This exhibition displays the art, social life and talent of one of the most famous Parisian painters of the late 18th Century: Toulouse-Lautrec. His work documents the Belle-Epoch era in Paris from 1864-1901. The show will be on exhibit until March 22, 2015.

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“Girl With Tulips” by Henri Matisse.

It includes posters Lautrec made for actual theatrical productions in Paris, lithographs, printed materials, illustrated books and 100 examples of Lautrec’s best work. For student travel groups headed to NYC in late fall 2014 or early spring 2015, stop by the Bauhaus Staircase to participate in the Interactive Lounge. Here, students learn more about the entertainment, dining and personal spaces that inspired Lautrec’s work.

Painting and Sculpture I & II

These exhibition rooms are designed to cover specific eras in art history, by offering a comprehensive look at it, while showcasing works of artists from MOMA’s permanent collection. Painting and Sculpture I covers the period from 1880-1940; Painting and Sculpture II surveys 1940-1980. Both exhibits give an overview of stylistic movements, artists and themed works that exemplify these periods. Students walk away with a broader understanding of the way artists across the globe impact a time period by stimulating cultural conversations.

Teach Art, English and History on a Student Tour of MOMA

While Art teachers may find it easier to develop a customized tour of MOMA, History and English teachers will want to complement a study of a certain period in history or literature with an examination of art of the same period. It is possible to structure a tour geared towards these areas of study at MOMA, mainly because of the way exhibitions are organized. Teachers will want to take a look at MOMA’s permanent and rotating exhibitions prior to planning a tour, to focus the educational experience.

Consult with an educational travel company to create the perfect student tour of MOMA to fit curricular needs. For more information about student travel itineraries to New York City, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.