Tag Archives: educational travel tour

Student Travel Groups Tour the Historic Canals in and Near Washington D.C.

In Early America, ships and boats transferred food, people, and other items into the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. To expedite progress and create a transportation system that benefited all, a canal system was built that connected the Potomac River to inland waterways and ultimately Ohio. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was a pivotal moment in U.S. history because it created nearly 200 miles of waterway for the efficient passage of goods and people.

Student Travel Groups Headed to Washington D.C.: Don’t Miss the Canal

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was created in the 19th Century. During this period in our nation’s history, many people along the Potomac River benefited with jobs generated from the flurry of business on the Canal. Today, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal are maintained by the National Park Service, which preserves and protects 184 miles of the former Canal route and its history.

The Great Falls of the Potomac in Northern Virginia: an Engineering Feat
The National Park Service also oversees the Great Falls of the Potomac in Northern Virginia. The Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center is just 15 miles outside of Washington D.C. These Falls were once seen as a severe challenge to building the canal, but this was overcome when a series of locks were installed here. Student travel groups find the rugged rock formations, river scenery, and historic inn stimulating, so the short drive outside Washington D.C. is entirely worthwhile.

Student travel groups on their way to Washington D.C. will want to schedule a visit to one or both sites in order to gain a full understanding of the canal system, and the way in which it functioned and enriched the region where it was located.

Add a Trip to the Georgetown Visitor Center in Downtown Washington D.C.

For student travel groups visiting the Washington D.C. metropolitan area for several days, it is easy to add a visit to the Georgetown Visitor Center of the Canal to the itinerary. Students can take a ride on a canal boat at this location or at the Great Falls Visitor Center. There is a nominal additional fee for canal boat tours, but it’s well worth it for student groups to experience the excitement of really taking a ride on a replica of an historic canal boat.

The visitor centers are also great places to see films and participate in interpretive programs that explain to student travel groups the historical high points of the canal system, the people who built it, made a livelihood on the canals, or used it for travel.

Teachers Take Note: And Educational Kit for Prepping Student Travelers

The educational programs offered by the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park are designed to meet U.S. History Standards for students in grades 5-12. There is an excellent place on the park’s website http://www.nps.gov/choh/forteachers/aboutthislesson.htm teachers may visit in order to prepare student travel groups for the trip to Washington D.C. to see the historic canals.

How to Study the Historic Canals in and Near Washington D.C.
There are many different angles from which the canals can be studied. They are not only a great engineering feat, but impacted the economy of the region and this country in a profound way. There is so much to learn about these historic canals. Students will gain a better understanding of the way in which the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was built and also how it helped advance transportation to meet the pressing needs of an industrial world that was quickly switching to automation for many aspects of life.

Our founding father, George Washington, played a crucial role in the construction of the Potomac Canal, which is one way of stressing its importance. Student travel organizers and educators will want to consider adding a canal visit to their itinerary for Washington D.C. trips. A member of the professional Educational Travel Consultants team will be happy to assist. Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for more information.

Plymouth, Salem, and Lowell Massachusetts: Boston Student Travel Destinations

Student travel groups destined for Boston Mass. are headed to one of the most popular student destinations in the U.S. Chosen as the 5th most popular student tour destination by Student and Youth Traveler, Boston has a great deal to offer. Educational tour groups find diversity in this urban area, and a clearer understanding the early history of Colonial settlement in New England.

Boston was a prominent seaport and a hub in the early days of the Colonies, and one of the strongholds of British rule. Many different periods of U.S. History can be explored in Boston. There are also some historic sites and points of interest just a short bus drive outside of Boston that student travel groups will not want to miss.

Student Travel Highlights of Plymouth
Just north of Boston on the coast of Massachusetts is Plymouth, the place where the Pilgrims made their first landing in the new world. Plymouth was the site of a colonial settlement and newfound freedom from the Church of England, celebrated by the Puritans.

Plimoth Plantation
Plimoth Plantation is a living history site where students can engage with costumed interpreters dressed in the garb of settlers in an English village circa 1627. Student travel groups can watch colonists in their day-to-day activities and better imagine how the early settlers lived. Educational tour groups may also visit the Wampanoag Home site. There they will gain an understanding of the way this Native American tribe that originally inhabited Plimoth lived.

Mayflower II
This reproduction of the original vessel the Pilgrims sailed on is a student favorite. Student groups can learn about maritime travel in the 17th Century, see a ship’s cabin from that era, and discover what it was like to live on board during a transatlantic journey. Student groups will meet both costumed and non-costumed interpreters on Mayflower II. Board the Mayflower II and journey back in time at this destination.

Plymouth Rock
Not far from the pier where the Mayflower II is anchored, is Plymouth Rock, the actual site of the first landing of Pilgrims from the old world, coming to the new world. A portico now surrounds the symbolic stone, and 1620, the date the Pilgrims landed, is etched on it. Student travel groups can learn more about the Pilgrims and the history of Plymouth Rock in Revolutionary times and during times of unrest.

Salem
Salem Witch Museum

The Salem Witch Museum has much to offer educational travel groups who want to learn more about the consequences of religious intolerance during the Colonial period. The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 were held here, and the book, The Crucible, was based on the accusations that eventually led to the death of the accused. The Salem area includes 10 sites near Salem Common, such as the site of the courthouse, the Meetinghouse, Cemetery, and Gallows. Student travel groups will learn much by visiting the Salem Witch Museum and touring the Salem Common area.

Lowell, Mass.
Lowell National Historic Park

Just outside of Boston Mass. is Lowell, the New England town where Jack Kerouac, the famous American Writer, grew up. Kerouac’s family was French Canadian and they migrated to Lowell to find work in the textile mills. The National Park Service has preserved historic areas of Lowell, where the textile mills became an integral part of small town American life, and working class life, especially during the post World War I era, when the industrial revolution began to really take hold in the United States. Students can see the dam and canals that used the energy from the Merrimack river, the textile mills where fabric was made, and a boardinghouse that would be typical of many worker’s dwellings of that era.

Boston is a colorful place to explore the history of Early America. Don’t limit student travel group destinations to Boston proper. There are many rich educational experiences for students just outside of Boston that can easily be integrated into a tour. Visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com for even more ideas about student travel tours to Boston.

Add On Day Trips for Student Travel to Washington D.C.

Student travel groups headed to the Washington D.C. area may want to consider adding on day or overnight trips to nearby areas relevant to colonial or revolutionary history. There are many rich educational experiences in the Washington D.C. area, and even more destinations just a 2-4 hour driving distance outside of Washington D.C.
In my experience as an educational travel consultant, groups benefit greatly from visiting additional cities. From an educational perspective, it gives students a much wider scope of the historic period they are studying. For many groups, a study of the Civil War is relevant to their tour, and a northern and southern perspective is needed for a complete overview of the Civil War period.
Suggestions for additional cities that can easily be added to a student travel trip to Washington D.C. are included here. If the student group flies into Washington D.C., a motor coach can be utilized to travel to additional destinations such as Williamsburg, Gettysburg, and Philadelphia and Lancaster.

Williamsburg
Approximately three hours south of Washington D.C. is the town of Williamsburg Virginia. Williamsburg was the 18th Century colonial capital, and the place where the Governor resided. Colonial Williamsburg has been called the living history capital of the east, and for good reason. A student travel group can tour the town and watch history come alive as costumed interpreters tell stories derived from historical records, and give more detailed information about buildings and colonial lifestyles. Students embrace living history because it’s a fun way to learn. If student groups can stay in the Williamsburg area overnight, an additional trip to Historic Jamestown, site of the first permanent English settlement, and Yorktown National Battlefield, significant in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, is plausible.

Gettysburg
The Gettysburg National Military Park is located about two hours northwest of Washington D.C. and makes for a nice additional city to add on to a student travel tour.

The Educational Travel Consultants student tour of the Gettysburg battlefields includes a tour guide with expert knowledge of the Gettysburg area and the Civil War era. Student travel groups should be prepared to tour for two to three hours. A visit the National Park Visitor Center benefits student groups by giving them a better understanding of the Gettysburg National Battlefield history through exhibits and films.

Philadelphia and Lancaster
Student travel groups who explore the educational venues in Washington D.C. will expand their knowledge of history when they take a short trip to Philadelphia and/or Lancaster Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia walking tour is a great way for student travel groups to familiarize themselves with colonial history and the history of the U.S. government. A tour of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were both composed. Students can also see the Liberty Bell, Visit Betsy Ross’s house and walk in Elfreth’s Alley, one of the oldest residential streets in Philadelphia, which dates back to 1702.
In nearby Lancaster Pennsylvania, students can experience the Amish way of life, tour a working farm, and dine at an authentic Amish restaurant.
With all of the additional choices for educational travel outside of Washington D.C., there are lots of creative ways to construct an interesting trip that will give a group a great overview of history and be fun and interesting at the same time.

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Government Student Tour of Washington D.C. May Include Historic Sites in Annapolis, Baltimore, Manassas or Fredericksburg.

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.

Baltimore Maryland
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.

Fredericksburg, Virginia
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.

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