Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a great adventure out East, this tour will leave you with wonderful memories and great stories to tell.
For starters, I arrived into the “City of Brotherly” happily greeted by my delightful private driver named Paul. He was awaiting my arrival inside the airport, retrieved my luggage and escorted me into our SUV. Along our route from the airport to the Four Seasons, I enjoyed the mix of architecture and waterways. Once settled and refreshed, all the passengers gathered for a 6 PM meet-n-greet dinner to start our “Day 1“. The pre-dinner mixer featured a well stocked open bar and the most delectable Philly Cheese steak Spring Rolls. Then, the evening progressed into a 3 course dinner hosted by our tour director, Beth. Beth did a phenomenal job making everyone feel welcomed and we had a nice round of ice breakers to meet all the other tour guests, particularly those at our table. After a good meal and plenty of laughs, we retired for the evening.
Day 2 started bright and early with a tour of Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center and horse drawn carriage city tour. Once inside, we were giving a private tour with the most gregarious park ranger you’ll ever meet! His depth of knowledge combined with the love for his job brought all of the historical buildings, paintings and texts to life. The National Constitution Center features several interactive stations that charts the path of our nation’s fight for independence all the way through present day times. As an exhibit gift we were all provided with our own pocket sized constitution keepsakes. The horse drawn carriage ride was a refreshing way to view the historical brownstones that belonged to some of our history’s most important politicians and laymen.
Day 3 took us into Amish country and on to Gettysburg. As we approached Amish country, we were welcomed aboard the motor coach by a local expert named Mary. Mary was actually a Mennonite and has lived in the area all of her life and explained the differences in great depth between the Amish and Mennonite beliefs and way of life. We drove through the farmland and were treated to an up-close look into woodworking, quilting and farming all done without electricity, modern tools or machinery. For lunch, we dined on fare prepared just as the Amish would make for their families and shopped the handcrafted gifts for sale. We reboarded the motor coach for a relaxing scenic ride to the Gettysburg National Military Park. The park features a theatre hall that recounts the battle in vivid detail.
Day 4 was a continuation with the Gettysburg battlefields and the National Museum of the Marine Corps. We made several stops that allowed us to take some remarkably stunning pictures and we were hosted by the park’s rangers that answered questions with ease. Once we finished up there, we headed to the National Museum of the Marine Corps and the first thing that catches your eye is the spectacular architecture. Once inside, we were free to roam the spacious multi-level building with larger-than-life displays ranging from amphibious to air machinery.
Day 5 we awaken in the picturesque town of Williamsburg, a town so small and so quaint that no guided tour was necessary. Equipped with easy to use maps and friendly faces around every corner, we were able to all go our separate ways to see 18th century government buildings, churches, shop and even the College of William & Mary. Many of the locals work as period re-enactors and the street festivities did not disappoint with playful rabble-rousing of visitors.
Day 6 took us into historical Jamestown and onto Washington, DC. Nestled in the wooded national reserves is a museum featuring the rich history of the Powhatan indigenous Americans. We spent the greater part of the day enjoying all of the restored and recreated buildings, shipping vessels and indoor exhibits.
Day 7 brings us to a morning excursion to Mount Vernon where we’re told the story of George Washington while walking his estate overlooking the Potomac River. Following, is a grand sightseeing tour of the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and much, much more!
By Day 8 we were all warm hugs, smiles and well-wishes for our new-found travel friends. And, after a hearty breakfast at the Fairmont hotel, we relaxed in the lounge recapping some of the wonderful sites and memories as we awaited our departure transfer to the airport.
It’s one thing to take a vacation, but it’s something special to travel through an experience. As Tauck says, “How you see the world matters” and I’m happy to say I was able to see such a beautiful side of our nation with Tauck Tours.