4 Day D.C. & Williamsburg Tour
Day 1 You'll See:
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Embassy Row
- Monuments and Memorials
- Ford’s Theater
- Petersen House
Day 2 You'll See:
- Capitol Hill
- Supreme Court
- National Archives
- Museum of American History
- Air & Space Museum
Day 3 You'll See:
- Mt. Vernon
- National Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Museum of Natural History
Day 4 You'll See:
- Colonial Williamsburg
Arlington National Cemetery
You’ll recognize Arlington National Cemetery upon first sight of the endless waves of uniform white headstones unfurling across six hundred+ manicured acres marking the graves of nearly half a million soldiers and their loved ones. Almost two hundred special monuments and memorials stand scattered across the green – including a Pentagon Group Burial Marker placed with the final remains of the one hundred and eighty-four victims of the September 11, 2001 attack. This cemetery is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Washington, D.C. - its important history and beautiful setting make it a perfect place for remembering, for reflection, and for honoring US soldiers past and present. Presidents John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft are buried here.
Once considered D.C.’s premier residential address, Massachusetts Avenue - notorious for its many mansions - garnered the nickname "Millionaires' Row". Evalyn Walsh McLean, the original owner of the infamous Hope Diamond – was among the reigning elite opting to showcase their fortunes in the Nation’s capital. She would actually keep the magnificent gem at her home during the day but had it whisked away to a safe deposit box each night. The glamorous thoroughfare is also the home of the Woodrow Wilson House – the only presidential museum in all of Washington. Today, with most of the socialites long gone, the elaborate, re-purposed historic mansions on Embassy Row house more than 175 foreign embassies, residences, chanceries, and diplomatic missions; how many of their flags will you and your fellow travelers recognize?
Monuments and Memorials
Whether you opt for the guided, narrated version of this popular tour or decide to just wing it, this brisk scenic walkabout gets you and your travel companions around to all of the monuments and memorials of Washington DC, everyone unique and important in its own right. Your invigorating jaunt begins at the White House and continues through the National Mall, along the Reflecting Pool, and around the Tidal Basin, winding to its conclusion at the US Capitol Building and Supreme Court.
John T. Ford bought the original building – a former church - and renovated it into a theatre, which he first called Ford's Athenaeum. Destroyed by fire in 1862, it was rebuilt the following year. Just five days subsequent General Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, President Abraham Lincoln, and his wife were enjoying a performance of Our American Cousin at this infamous venue; notorious actor John Wilkes Booth, desperate to aid the dying Confederacy, stepped into the luxe box where the presidential party was seated and shot Lincoln, who passed away the next morning at Peterson House, just across the street. Visitors to Ford’s Theatre and Peterson House step back in time to retrace President Lincoln’s last hours on earth as they recall the tragic events of that fateful night.
William A. Petersen, a German tailor, constructed this ordinary red brick three-story townhouse directly across the street from Ford’s Theatre, where John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln as he sat enjoying a performance with his wife the night of April 14th, 1865. The mortally wounded Lincoln was carried from the theatre to Petersen’s house and tended in a back bedroom until his death just hours later. The National Park Service has maintained the residence as a historic house museum, recreating the scene at the time of Lincoln's death for visitors who come to learn more about that terrible night in history and the people who surrounded and aided our 16th President in his final hours.
Every exploratory excursion to Washington, D.C. should include a visit to the seat of our legislative and judicial branches. Day 2 of this exhilarating itinerary has you and your group heading off to explore the magnificent Capitol and Supreme Court Buildings, the stately Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress and the breathtaking living exhibits of the U.S. Botanic Garden/Conservatory.
Shhhh! Very important work will be underway as you and your group arrive at the magnificent Supreme Court building – home of the highest court in the Nation. Guests are encouraged to take advantage of a variety of educational programs including informative 30-minute Courtroom Lectures, a visitors’ film, and Supreme Court-related exhibitions; when court is in session, groups may elect to sit on oral arguments. Hungry? Lunch can be enjoyed at the cafeteria, and a ground floor gift shop tenders a fantastic selection of Supreme Court-themed souvenirs – including their best-selling “Lawsuit” board game! Even if you never enter the building, its stunning Neoclassical architecture will sufficiently impress.
The National Archives and Records Administration stores and provides public access to the original documents that set up the American government as a democracy in 1774; additionally, records of the nation's civil, military and diplomatic activities are held here for present and future generations. The Archives is our nation's record keeper; of all the documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the Federal government, only 1%-3% are so important for legal or historical reasons they are retained and preserved forever. Guests are transported on a fascinating journey across time through a series of exhibits in five Preamble-themed Public Vaults and tendered a priceless opportunity to view the U. S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. A series of rotating artifacts in The Record of America – a pathway connecting the five vaults - include such gems as George Washington's handwritten letters and Abraham Lincoln’s wartime telegrams.
Museum of American History
Day two of your D.C. adventure takes you and your group to the incredible National Museum of American History, the premier institution charged with the considerable undertaking of telling the history of our great nation through a series of incomparable collections of millions of artifacts and engaging and ever-fresh visitor experience. An authentic blue and red Conestoga wagon greets visitors to the 750,000 square foot museum; three floors of exhibitions explore major themes in American history and culture, from the War of Independence to the present day. Here, you will find Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, Dorothy’s ruby slippers….and everything in between!
Air & Space Museum
Visitors to this museum will encounter the largest and most significant assemblage of aviation and space artifacts, relevant artworks and educational materials in the world. You and your group will discover the fascinating history of flight and planetary exploration through examination of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s massive, unparalleled collections – which began in 1876 with a pair of Chinese kites and expanded to encompass more than 3,500 objects from the historic Apollo Moon landing effort – including the Apollo 11 Command Module, "Columbia" – the only part of the spacecraft to return to Earth. Can you imagine drifting through space in a 10 by 12 “container” with two travel companions?
A tour of this prominent historic landmark presents to visitors a wonderful cross-section of the life and times of the Father of Our Country – a successful Virginia gentleman planter and entrepreneur - and ultimately the leader of a fledgling democratic nation. What was once a simple one-and-a-half-story farmhouse evolved into a grand home and prosperous plantation; First President George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate is now one of the nation’s most visited historic sites? You and your travel group will truly enjoy exploring this authentically interpreted and appointed 18th-century home sprawled on lush gardens and grounds. You’ll browse intriguing museum galleries, see our First President’s tomb, his progressive four-acre Pioneer Farm, a carefully reproduced working gristmill and distillery and enjoy first-rate dining and shopping opportunities while visiting this outstanding national treasure!
National Holocaust Memorial Museum
At the laying of the Museum’s cornerstone in 1988, our 40th President Ronald Wilson Reagan remarked, "We must make sure that all humankind stares this evil in the face." This living memorial to the Holocaust presents a poignant cross-section of those horrifying years through a series of relevant programs, exhibits and displays - a truly moving and enlightening experience highlighting the unspeakable atrocities of Adolph Hitler’s despicable reign of terror and underscoring the importance of confronting hatred, promoting human dignity and crushing the future of genocide. A tour of this living memorial to the Holocaust on the National Mall belongs on every Washington, D.C. itinerary – lest we forget.
Museum of Natural History
The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is a behemoth; be ready for a lot of walking – you’ll never see it all in a day! Download and print the museum map and chart your course of discovery by choosing from the myriad exhibitions to create your group’s self-paced tour of this world-renowned scientific and cultural institution. Visit a lush butterfly rainforest conservatory, catch an exhilarating 3D film exhibition at the IMAX theater, wrap your mind around the paradoxical “Power of Poison”, discover mysteriously morphing denizens of the ancient deep in the Hall of Vertebrate Origins and hear the stories of the Vanished Birds of North America. Behold, the magnificent, deep blue 45.52 karats Hope Diamond; it’s safely displayed right here in the National Gem and Mineral Collection. Drift into the 29,000 square foot Milstein Hall of Ocean Life and crawl beneath the 21,000 pound model of a Blue Whale, one of over 750 fascinatingly lifelike interactive models of marine creatures you’ll encounter amongst 14 full-sized dioramas and eight stunning ocean ecosystem displays.
It’s Day Four of your grand getaway and you and your troops are off to Williamsburg, Virginia - part of the “Historic Triangle” of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown originally founded as Middle Plantation, a fortified settlement on high ground between the James and York rivers, renamed in 1669 in honor of King William III, when the capital was moved from Jamestown which burned to the ground during Bacon’s Rebellion. Years of dramatic, pivotal events compose its rich and colorful past as the thriving cultural hub, educational mecca and political center of the Colony of Virginia during the Revolution. Today, Colonial Williamsburg - the city’s historic area and living, breathing museum - spans some 301 acres of wonderfully authentic 17th, 18th, and 19th-century architecture just waiting for you to explore! Hundreds of stately homes, charming shops, and public outbuildings have been meticulously reconstructed on their original foundations; prominent buildings you’ll see include the Capitol, the Governor's Palace, the Magazine and the Courthouse. A stop by the Visitor’s Center prepares you for your romp through the Revolutionary City with the film, “Williamsburg—The Story of a Patriot”; let the tour commence! Centuries fall away and you and your travel partners are immersed in the details of 17th-century life as expert character guides escort your group through quaint garden gates, quiet courtyards, and shadowy doorways; can you hear the rattle of wagon wheels on cobblestone or the contented cluck of a Colonial hen? Do you smell the coal smoke and start, just a bit, as blacksmith’s hammer meets cast anvil, forging a shoe for a patriot’s faithful steed?