The Journey Through Hallowed Ground
Known as the region Where America Happened™, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area contains more history than any other in the nation and includes: National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic districts, nine Presidential homes, 13 National Parks, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 historic main street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, French- Indian War, War of 1812, and the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation.
This 180-mile long, 75-mile wide area swath of land that stretches from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, contains a rich collection of patriotic and historic destinations to visit. In addition to the plethora of battlefields (Gettysburg, Antietam, Manassas, Harpers Ferry) and national cemeteries (Gettysburg, Antietam, Culpeper), here are a few additional suggestions that may help you decide to Take the Journey.
As everyone knows, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania has the battlefield and national park. It is also home to the oldest national cemetery, Soldiers National Cemetery, dedicated 149 years ago by President Lincoln. However, another great place to visit is the Eisenhower National Historic Site. The former home and farm of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower served the President as a weekend retreat and a meeting place for world leaders. With its peaceful setting and view of South Mountain, it was a much-needed respite from Washington and a backdrop for efforts to reduce Cold War tensions. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/eise. Another unique destination within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area is the War Correspondents Memorial, located within Maryland. The War Correspondents Arch, a National historic monument dedicated in October 1896, is the only monument in the world dedicated to journalists killed in combat. It sits at Crampton’s Gap, which witnessed a portion of the Battle of South Mountain, the first major battle of the Civil War fought in Maryland. Other information is available at www.fredericktourism.org.
Traveling down Route 15, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, visitors should stop by Dodona Manor in historic Leesburg, Virginia. Dodona Manor is the former home of General George C. Marshall and his wife Katherine Marshall, which served as the Marshalls’ residence from 1941 until the General’s death in 1959. In addition to seeing many artifacts that belonged to the Marshall family, visitors can see the current exhibit entitled “With Affection and Admiration,” which examines the remarkable correspondence between Marshall and Winston Churchill, one of the great twentieth- century leaders. Their relationship was forged in the crucible of world war. Check out www.georgecmarshall.org to learn more about the exhibit and the general.
A little further south, folks will find a hidden gem in Manassas. Everyone knows about the two Civil War battles that took place there and may also be familiar with the nearby National Museum of the Marine Corps. However, tucked away inside the Manassas Regional Airport is the Freedom Museum.The Freedom Museum honors those Americans who made the supreme sacrifice in defense of freedom and pays tribute to those who served our country with honor and distinction. The thrust of the exhibit focuses on the 20th Century – the American century. Learn more about this Smithsonian Affiliate at www.freedommuseum.org.
Several towns throughout the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area celebrate Veterans Day with special ceremonies and parades. Gordonsville, Virginia will host their 5th Annual Veterans Day parade on Saturday, November 10 at 2:00 PM along the town’s Main Street. While there, be sure to stop by the Civil War Museum at the Exchange Hotel. For more information, visit www.townofgordonsville.org
At Ash Lawn-Highland, the home of Revolutionary War Veteran and U.S. President James Monroe, a special Commemoration of Veterans Day takes place on Sunday, November 11. The event includes a wreath-laying, playing of TAPS, and a ceremonial folding of the U.S. flag. An honor guard composed of University of Virginia Air Force ROTC cadets will present the colors. The 11:00 AM ceremony is free and open to the public. Veterans and current military personnel and their relatives are admitted free all day to the historic home. Check out www.ashlawnhighland.org for more details.
There are many other historic places for veterans to see throughout the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area to make it a weekend getaway during the Veterans Day celebration or anytime throughout the year. Maps, suggested itineraries, and other travel resources are available at www.hallowedground.org or by calling 540-882-4929.
The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to raising awareness of the unparalleled history within the swath of land from Gettysburg to Monticello. The JTHG Partnership has successfully created the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, in addition to its award winning educational programs, to engage students, teachers, visitors, and citizens in celebrating the cultural, rural, and historic heritage within The Journey.
With 400 years of European, American, and African-American heritage, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area is known as the region Where America Happened™. It contains more history than any other region in the nation and includes: World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic Districts, nine Presidential homes, 13 National Park units, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 Historic Main Street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, French-Indian War, War of 1812, and the largest single collection of Civil War sites in the nation.
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