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There's no better way to follow the epic story of American democracy than standing in the very places where history was made. Begin at the beginning in Philadelphia, a city that served as both the capital of Colonial America and the Federal capital from 1790-1800 until it was moved to Washington, D.C. in 1801. Guided by a knowledgeable American Heritage guide, you'll walk the same cobblestoned streets as our country's Founding Fathers along an area known as "America's Most Historic Square Mile." Highlights include the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall where both the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed; Betsy Ross House, home of the Quaker seamstress who made our first flag; and Franklin Court Print Shop and Museum, which pays tribute to Benjamin Franklin's many accomplishments. Also enjoy dinner at City Tavern, a reconstruction of the tavern frequented by Benjamin Franklin.
Then depart Philadelphia for the rolling hills and farmsteads of Amish Country in Lancaster County. Learn first-hand about the Amish way of life as you tour farms powered by windmills and waterwheels, see a multi-media show about Amish history and sit down to a family-style Amish lunch buffet. Get an insider’s view of a different sort at Gettysburg Battlefield, site of the Union victory that marked a turning point in the Civil War. A guided tour with a Civil War expert illuminates those three historic days in 1863 and the decisive battle that changed the course of American history. Later, enjoy dinner at The Fairfield Inn 1757, one of only five inns in America that has been in continuous operation since the 1700s and where a dinner theatre appearance by "Abe Lincoln" enlivens the evening.
Conclude your journey through history in our nation's capital, Washington D.C. where you’ll enjoy two days exploring the city’s many sights. Visit the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center on Capitol Hill and the U.S. Library of Congress, the largest national library in the world. The following day, see Arlington National Cemetery, America’s shrine to valor and sacrifice, and final resting place for thousands of soldiers from every major U.S. war. Continue with stops at the moving World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the Korean War Memorial. See many of those same memorials in the evening during an Illuminated Monuments Tour plus visit Mount Vernon, the beloved 18th century plantation home of the first U.S. president, George Washington.
• 6 nights accommodations: 1 night in Philadelphia, PA, 3 nights in Lancaster, PA and 2 nights in Arlington, VA
• Meals – Daily breakfast, 1 lunch and 5 dinners
• All on-tour transportation by deluxe motor coach
• Services of a professional Tour Manager
• Historic Sights – Guided tour of the historic sights of Philadelphia; full day excursion in Amish Country; tour of Gettysburg National Military Park guided by a professional Civil War guide; daytime and nighttime tours of National Memorials & Monuments in Washington, D.C.
• Visits to Chocolate World in Hershey, PA and U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Library of Congress, Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon and more in D.C.
• Round-trip airport transfers
Note: This tour involves quite a bit of walking and standing for extended periods each day so please bring comfortable walking shoes. Pre-tour and post-tour hotel nights may be available. Inquire at time of booking.
Day 1 – Arrive in Philadelphia
Arrive at Philadelphia International Airport and meet your escort in the baggage claim area. Transfer to your hotel for check-in and the remainder of the day at leisure. This evening, enjoy dinner at City Tavern, a reconstruction of the tavern frequented by Benjamin Franklin and many of the delegates of the Continental Congresses and the Constitutional Convention.
Accommodation: Sonesta Hotel, Philadelphia - 1 night
Day 2 - Philadelphia Sightseeing
Enjoy a breakfast at the hotel this morning prior to checking out. Then meet the group’s American Heritage guide for a city walking tour of Philadelphia. History comes alive as you walk in the footsteps of our Founding Fathers along brick walkways and cobblestone streets in William Penn’s "Green Countrie Towne," Philadelphia. This city, which served as the capital of the colony of Pennsylvania, the capital of Colonial America and the Federal capital from 1790-1800, has a history that is unrivaled in America.
In an area known as America’ Most Historic Square Mile, the tour includes:
• Carpenter’s Hall (outside only), where the delegates gathered for the First Continental Congress
• The State House of Pennsylvania, known today as Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed
• Congress Hall (outside only), where the House of Representatives and the Senate met form 1790-1800
• The Liberty Bell, America’s most cherished artifact cast in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Penn’s Charter of Privileges
• Benjamin Franklin’s gravesite in Christ Church Cemetery
• Betsy Ross House, home of the Quaker seamstress who legend maintains made our first flag and whose home is an excellent example of an 18th-century working class residence
• Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously occupied residential street in America
• Christ Church, the Anglican Church established in 1695 where many of the Patriots of the Revolution worshiped
• Franklin Court Print Shop and Museum, a working tribute to the accomplishments of the greatest American of the 18th century
After lunch on your own in the food court of the National Constitution Center, we depart for Lancaster. After hotel check-in and time to relax, enjoy dinner this evening at Historic Revere Tavern. This historic stagecoach stop and tavern was built in 1740.
Accommodation: Cork Factory Hotel, Lancaster – 3 nights
Day 3 – Amish Country of Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Enjoy a continental breakfast at the hotel this morning then depart for a visit to Kreider Farms, a high-tech dairy farm of 1,400 milking cows. Stop and see the cow carousel, a revolving milking platform that takes 300 cows at a time on a milking ride that is udderly unbelievable.
Later, travel to the very heart of Amish Country, between the towns of Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse, to The Amish Experience at Plain & Fancy Farm. Here meet your guide who will offer details and insights about Amish history and culture as you explore the Amish way of life. Highlights include:
• Amish Farmlands Excursion - See picturesque countryside and farmland, pass buggies, perhaps cross one of the area’s two covered bridges and learn about the Amish lifestyle. You can relax and enjoy the quiet Amish countryside and have a rare "insider’s" view into a unique way of life. Windmills and waterwheels turn to provide power; around every turn is a picture-postcard view.
• Sturgis Pretzel Factory - Step into the past and twist a pretzel just as Julius Sturgis did in 1861 in a bakery dating back to 1784. Children from 2 to 100 are invited to try their hand at this almost extinct art of pretzel twisting. Here in Lititz in 1861, Julius Sturgis opened the first commercial pretzel bakery. From this small bakery grew the pretzel industry of today.
• Amish Experience Show - Discover the Amish through the drama of Jacob’s Choice. The theater uses multi-screen imagery, a 3-D set and unique special effects to highlight 400 years of Amish history and tradition and reveal what it "feels like" to be Amish.
• Amish Family Style Lunch – After your explorations, enjoy a buffet style lunch with many choices of entrees, starches and vegetables.
Depart the Amish Experience Farm for a true taste of Amish Country with a stop at the Kitchen Kettle Complex in the town of Intercourse. This very special village features 32 shops, each featuring specialty and handcrafted goods and a personality all their own. Follow your nose down Pepper Lane to the beat of Banjo Jimmy to the Jam & Relish Kitchen and much more. Also enjoy an included horse-drawn buggy ride to see the sights around town. Return to the hotel to rest and freshen up for the evening. Enjoy dinner on your own tonight.
Day 4 – Gettysburg National Military Park
Enjoy a deluxe continental breakfast at the hotel this morning. Then depart for a visit to the 1719 Hans Herr House, built by Christian and Anna Herr. This house is the oldest surviving home in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and is the oldest original Mennonite meeting house still standing in the Western Hemisphere.
Continue on to Gettysburg, site of the Union victory that marked a turning point in the Civil War. Upon arrival tour the new Gettysburg Museum, watch the film, A New Birth of Freedom and visit the Cyclorama Center at the Gettysburg National Military Park. Then meet your professional Civil War guide at the entrance of the Museum/Visitor’s Center. A guided tour of the site illuminates those three historic days in 1863 and the decisive battle that changed the course of American history forever.
Enjoy dinner this evening at historic The Fairfield Inn 1757. Built nineteen years before the Declaration of Independence, The Fairfield Inn was originally the Mansion House of Squire Miller, an original founder of the town, and is one of the five oldest continuously operating inns in the entire country. Having hosted such luminaries as Patrick Henry, Thaddeus Stevens and Robert E. Lee, The Fairfield Inn also served as a Confederate Civil War Hospital and a stop on the Underground Railroad. Enhancing your dining experience will be a Civil War Era Dinner Theatre performance featuring the historical "Abe Lincoln."
Day 5 – Hershey’s Chocolate Tour & Arrival in Washington D.C.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning prior to checking out. Meet your Tour Escort and depart for Hershey, PA. Visit Chocolate World and enjoy the tour ride that takes you on the journey of chocolate, from the harvesting of cocoa beans to the production of Hershey's Chocolate.
In the afternoon, arrive in Washington D.C. Our first stop will be the Capitol Visitor Center on Capitol Hill. After lunch on your own at the Capitol Visitor Center cafeteria, visit the United States Library of Congress. Established as an act of Congress is 1800, The Library of Congress is the largest national library in the world with more than 10 million items in three buildings. The original Library of Congress Building (now called the Thomas Jefferson Building) is perhaps Washington’s most richly ornamented building. The library has more than 650 miles of bookshelves and more than138 million objects in 470 different languages.
Later, check-in at the hotel. This evening, enjoy a Welcome to Washington D.C. Dinner served family style at Carmines (or similar restaurant) in Penn Quarter, Washington, D.C.
Accommodation: Renaissance Capital View, Arlington – 2 nights
Day 6 – Washington, D.C. Monuments & Memorials
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning. Depart with our Tour Escort to visit Arlington National Cemetery. No land in American is more sacred than this square mile. It is America’s shrine to valor and sacrifice. This is the final resting place for President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Robert F. Kennedy, Edward Moore (Ted) Kennedy, Audie Murphy, prizefighter Joe Louis and thousands of soldiers from every major U.S. war. Tram tickets are included for your visit.
Continue on to a tour of Memorials on the National Mall. Stops include:
• The Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Statue) - One of the largest bronze statues ever cast depicts the American Flag being raised on Mount Suribachi during World War II and commemorates all Marines who have died in battle since 1775. The view of Washington from this memorial are spectacular. Stop for a photo opportunity of The White House.
• The Vietnam Veterans Memorial - This privately funded memorial has drawn millions who have come to touch the over 50,000 names, make pencil rubbings and leave flowers, letters, flags and personal mementos.
• The Lincoln Memorial - Overlooking a now iconic Reflecting Pool, this memorial was patterned on a classic Greek temple. Inside, inscriptions from his Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address flank the 19-foot marble statue of our 16th President.
• The Korean War Veterans Memorial - The triangular field contains nineteen ground troopers, clad in foul weather ponchos, fully equipped for battle. Representing those who supported the ground troops are hundreds of faces etched on a polished granite wall.
Enjoy lunch on your own at Union Station and free time to explore the shops. The city’s main train station is a classic Beaux Arts design of monumental proportions. Restored to its original grandeur in the 1980s, Union Station features a large food court, movie theater, shops and kiosks. Depart for a drive along Embassy Row and tour the Washington National Cathedral. Visit the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Meet the motor coach on the National Mall entrance of The National Museum of American History and depart.
Enjoy dinner this evening at Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place, located in Georgetown’s Washington Harbor. After dinner, enjoy an Illuminated Monument Tour.
Day 7 – Mount Vernon & Depart for Home
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning. Depart with your Tour Escort and visit Mount Vernon, the estate of George Washington. Wander the beautiful plantation grounds he adored and tour the home, filled with 18th century artifacts. Following the tour, enjoy lunch on your own today and free time to explore historic Old Town Alexandria. Browse the antique shops, specialty shops, galleries, and boutiques that give Alexandria its quaint, small-town feel. You’ll understand why George Washington chose to live near this once-thriving seaport, years before he chose the site for the nation’s capital.
Arrive at Ronald Reagan National Airport at 2:30 pm for departure flights home.
Limitations & Restrictions
*Prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to availability at time of booking, and may change without notice. Single supplement may apply. Except for packages including air transportation, unless stated otherwise, airfare, taxes and government fees are not included. Offers valid for new bookings only. Member Benefits are per person and apply to first and second traveler only. Member Benefits are available only with advertised fare and are subject to change without notice. Your travel arrangements may be modified or canceled subject to the travel providers’ policies. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. We make every effort for accuracy at time of printing but reserve the right to correct errors. AAA Travel strongly recommends the purchase of trip protection insurance. Except for packages including air transportation, fares may not reflect additional fuel supplement or port charges and vary by provider.
CST #1003968-80. Registration as seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.