Independence to Civil War - Visiting the Historical Sites of America

United States
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Well Travelled

Well Travelled writes engaging and informative articles for the mature traveller, helping to inspire their next tour.

13th June 2019

Birth of a Nation

That colourful, often turbulent and divisive story comes alive as you tour the Mid-Atlantic States where modern America was formed.

Representing almost half of what were once the 13 American Colonies, these States were united in their cry for freedom during the American Revolution. Less than a century later, they would be ripped apart by Civil War.

The history of European settlement in America dates back just 450 years but in that time, a social and political structure was radically changed and a new nation shaped.

That monumental story unfolds on the Back-Roads Historic America – Freedom and the Civil War tour.
lone american flag at dawn

The American Revolution

Beginning in Washington D.C, this journey of discovery and fascinating revelation heads north to the nation’s former capital city, Philadelphia. It’s here in Independence Hall, a stately Georgian building, where the Declaration of Independence was finally delivered on July 4, 1776. The U.S. Constitution was also ratified here two decades later.

Heading into the Pennsylvania countryside, a visit to the meadows of Valley Forge offers a glimpse into one of the most pivotal moments during the American Revolution. It is here where George Washington and his Continental Army would survive the harsh winter of 1777-78 transforming the rag-tag army into a formidable fighting force that would eventually defeat the British.
Philadelphia skyline at dusk

Stepping back in time

Pennsylvania is also known internationally as the home of the Amish – the traditionalist Christians of German heritage who hold on to a simple life devoid of modern technologies, fashions, services and tools.

Guests on this very special Back Roads tour will have the chance to shop for hand-crafted Amish goods, take an old-fashioned buggy ride and experience first-hand what life is like on an Amish farm and inside a home. (Just be sure to sample delicious homemade apple-butter!).

Marking the Battle of Gettysburg

The major historical point of interest in Pennsylvania is the Gettysburg National Battlefield. The site of one of the bloodiest, most significant military battles in history, the lush landscape today is decidedly more tranquil and the beautifully preserved historic site includes a museum, monuments, lookouts and informative interactive displays.

Across the border, the tour continues to Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. Located in the mountains where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet, the picturesque town became famous in the 1850s when in the lead up to the American Civil War, abolitionist John Brown was captured by then U.S. General Robert E. Lee for instigating a slave uprising.

From there it’s onward to Maryland where about 23,000 men died, were wounded, or went missing in the bloodiest battle in US history in just one day at Antietam. The haunting battlefield, with its cannons and marked trails, provides deep insight into the conflict, its importance and the consequences of its aftermath.
John Buford statue at Gettysburg

Reflecting at the Arlington Cemetery

The final State on the tour, Virginia, is a place filled with history and natural beauty. More US Presidents come from Virginia than any other state. It’s also where the American Revolution ended and where most Civil War battles were fought.

It’s become a place of national pilgrimage as well given Arlington’s status as the national cemetery for Americans who have died in conflict.

On the grounds of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s confiscated estate, soldiers still plant flags in front of more than 400,000 graves across Arlington’s 624 acres every Memorial Day.
Arlington memorial

Beautiful slices of history

Some of Virginia’s other significant historical sites include Monticello, the plantation home of inventor, philosopher, author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third US President, Thomas Jefferson.

The state capital of Richmond is filled with Civil War history. Tour the ‘White House of the Confederacy’ and the American Civil War Museum.

One of the last stops on the tour is arguably the most beloved house in America, George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Situated on a hill overlooking the beautiful Potomac River, the 18th century mansion has been beautifully preserved with the interior reflecting its appearance during Washington’s time there in the late 1700s.

There is much history to absorb in this part of the world, an escorted small group tour is by far the best way to have it all connected and curated for you and Back Roads Touring do that in spectacular style.

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