Few places outside Washington, D.C., are so closely associated with American presidents as The Journey Through Hallowed Ground. Many of the places along the Presidential Journey conjure images of the men, such as Lincoln at Gettysburg and Jefferson at Monticello. But this journey is more than the bricks and mortar of presidential places. Rarely, if ever, has there been such a chance to walk, literally, in their footsteps, and allow the landscape to influence you.
Monticello was the home of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States and noted architect and inventor. Jefferson began construction on his “little mountain” home in 1769 and, after remodeling and enlarging the house, finally finished 40 years later in 1809. The home is about 11,000 square feet with a total of 43 rooms in the entire structure. The grounds consist of gardens, orchards and vineyard that were once part of a 5,000 acre plantation. Jefferson died in 1826 more than $107,000 in debt, and his heirs were forced to sell Monticello and most of its contents. During the Civil War, the Confederacy seized and sold the property. After many years the property was returned to its rightful owner, Jefferson Monroe Levy, who in 1923 sold it to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. The newly opened Visitor Center complex contains a ticketing and visitor information counter, café with indoor and outdoor seating and a spacious gift shop. The center also features four interactive exhibit areas, an introductory film “Thomas Jefferson’s World,” and the Griffin Discovery Room where children can explore Jefferson’s life and times through hands-on elements and activities. Same-day tickets can be purchased at Monticello’s Ticket Office. Because Monticello uses timed ticketing to expedite the house tour process, it’s recommended that visitors purchase tickets in advance to ensure their preferred tour time and avoid (sometimes lengthy) waits for the next available tour. Reserved tickets can be purchased up to two hours in advance online at www.monticello.org. Visitors should plan on arriving at least 30 minutes before their reserved tour time. Please Note: Photography and video recording are allowed on the grounds of Monticello but are prohibited inside the house. Large strollers are not permitted in the house; small strollers are available for use at the Visitor Center.
Located in historic downtown Charlottesville, it is one of the most beautiful and successful pedestrian malls in the nation. Main Street was one of the main colonial routes in Virginia from the 1730s; part of Jack Jouett’s famous ride and the Marquis de Lafayette’s efforts to prevent Gen. Charles Cornwallis from obtaining munitions took place along this road. The district and mall includes over 8 city blocks of restored and renovated buildings with more than 120 unique shops and 30 restaurants (many with outdoor cafes) housed in the historic buildings on and around old Main Street. Visitors can also enjoy the Virginia Discovery Museum, ice skating, theaters, the Charlottesville Pavilion, Transit Center and Freedom of Expression Wall or just relax under the oak trees or by a fountain along the red bricked mall. Convenient parking is available along Water Street and in nearby garages and parking lots. Free trolley service connects the Downtown Mall to the University of Virginia along West Main Street.
Ash Lawn-Highland is a historic house museum at the homestead of James Monroe, fifth president of the United States. At the suggestion of his friend and mentor Thomas Jefferson, Monroe purchased the land nearby Jefferson’s Monticello for his plantation, which he named Highland, in 1793. It was home to his family for nearly 25 years. Monroe sold the estate in 1826 to retire at Oak Hill in Loudoun County with his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe.
Later owners changed the name from “Highland” to “Ash Lawn”; today, both names are used. Owned and operated by Monroe’s alma mater, William and Mary, Ash Lawn-Highland offers guided tours daily and hosts special events throughout the year. In addition to the main house, the property includes various outbuildings, boxwood gardens, and farm animals. The museum shop features presidential memorabilia, a large selection of books, sandwiches and salads delivered fresh daily, and a Virginia Artisans Room containing locally handmade items.
Stroll through the gardens and grounds, have a picnic, learn about the latest research discoveries, and explore the life of one man who helped build, grow, and define the United States.
Pine Knot was the country retreat of Theodore and Edith Roosevelt and their children from 1905 to 1908 during his term as President as a rural retreat from the ‘city’ environment of Washington, D.C. Pine Knot was a sanctuary for the Roosevelt family where they could hike, observe birds and wildlife, hunt, ride and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The building had no plumbing, toilet, heat, or electricity or other facilities for the family, with a minimum of rustic comfortable furniture. In 1911, Edith purchased an additional 75 acres of land, intending to return to the retreat when Roosevelt ran for President again. Roosevelt lost the presidency in 1912 running as a candidate of the Bull Moose Party. After his visit in May 1908, he did not visit there again before his death in 1919.
Barboursville Ruins is the only building in Orange County known to have been designed by Thomas Jefferson. It was constructed between 1814 and 1822 for Jefferson’s friend James Barbour, Governor of Virginia (1812-1814). Barbour also served as a U.S. Senator, Secretary of War, and Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Jefferson’s design called for a dome similar to his own home at Monticello. Although the dome was not built, the rest of the house largely followed Jefferson’s plans. The grand house was known in its day as one of the finest and largest in the region. It even had its own racetrack. It was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day, 1884. The grounds surrounding the ruins, now part of Barboursville Vineyard and Winery, are open to the public. The ruins offer a unique atmosphere for a picnic. They also serve as an exceptional background for the Four County Players’ presentations of “Shakespeare at the Ruins” on August weekends
The lifelong home of James Madison, “Father of the Constitution” and fourth President of the United States, was also home to three generations of the Madison family from 1723 to 1844. The mansion core was built by Madison’s father c.1760. The house has been newly restored to the way it looked when James and Dolley Madison returned from Washington in 1817, following Madison’s two terms as President. The 2,650-acre estate features the Madison mansion, 135 historic buildings, a steeplechase course, gardens, forests, the Gilmore Cabin, a farm, two galleries and an Education Center with permanent and changing exhibits, many archaeological sites and an Archaeology Laboratory. There are also walking trails to the James Madison Landmark Forest, Mount Pleasant, a Confederate Civil War Encampment where Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia spent the winter, the Slave Cemetery and the Madison Family Cemetery – the final resting place of James and Dolley Madison.
An open-air shelter provides orientation exhibits. A five-mile driving tour and several walking trails provide access to key spots on the 1864 battlefield
Originally known as Fairfax, the Town of Culpeper was founded in 1759. Roughly bounded by Edmonson Street, Stevens Street, West Street and the railroad in Culpeper, most of the commercial buildings are vernacular, Italianate, and neo-classical-style brick structures. The district’s focal point is the Culpeper County Court House, completed in 1874 by Samuel Proctor who crowned it with a fanciful cupola. Commercial history is linked with its early roads, stagecoach routes, and the railroad. Military history is represented by the homes of Revolutionary War General Edward Stevens and Confederate Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell (A.P.) Hill. The town served as a staging area and hospital center for both Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War and witnessed more than 100 battles.
James Monroe (1758-1831), the fifth President of the United States, began the construction of Oak Hill, his Loudoun County mansion, between 1820 and 1823 and lived here following his presidency until 1830, the year before he died. For the design of Oak Hill, Monroe sought ideas from both Thomas Jefferson and James Hoban, the architect of the White House. Local builder William Benton constructed the house. Its dominant architectural feature is the unusual pentastyle portico.
Oak Hill was visited by Lafayette in 1825 during his tour of America, and it was here that Monroe drafted the Monroe Doctrine, a policy aimed to limit European expansion into the Western Hemisphere and assign the United States the role of protector of independent Western nations.
Oak Hill is private. Follow the link below for more information.
The Cozy is the oldest family-owned restaurant in the state of Maryland. Wilbur R. Freeze along with his wife Mary L Freeze founded the Cozy in 1929 with his son Jerry at the helm today. Over the past 76 years, the Cozy Restaurant and Inn has hosted Presidents, cabinet members, for¬eign delegations and dress corps. The Camp David Museum at Cozy houses the history of Camp David through pictures and memorabilia of presidents from Hoover up until today. The artifacts in the Camp David Museum were gifts to Cozy from press corps and dignitaries. Cozy was the original housing for the Secret Service who protected President Roosevelt while in Thurmont. In the early years of Shangri-La, the newspaper delivery to the retreat would be made to the Cozy.
Located adjacent to the Gettysburg Battlefield, the home and farm of President Dwight D. and Mamie Eisenhower served as a weekend retreat and a meeting place for world leaders. The 690-acre site includes four farms, three of which were used by President Eisenhower for his show herd of Black Angus cattle. A visit to the site begins with a 15-minute orientation tour of the grounds and farm operation. Visitors can then tour the home with its original furnishings, the grounds including the garage which still houses the Eisenhowers’ jeep, golf carts, and station wagon, the skeet range, and the farm. A multi-media exhibit including a 10-minute video, celebrates Eisenhower’s military career, military leadership in WWII and popular presidency; and the exuberant, trend-setting First Lady Mamie.
Often called the “Most famous small town in America” because of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863), Gettysburg is also known for its institutions of higher learning, namely the Lutheran Theological Seminary, founded in 1826, and Gettysburg College (originally Pennsylvania College), which began operating in 1832.
This most famous Civil War Battle occurred over three hot summer days, July 1 to July 3, 1863, around the small market town of Gettysburg, population 2,400. It began as a skirmish but by its end involved 160,000 Americans with an estimated 51,000 casualties.
In 1879 the first of about 1,300 monuments were erected on the battlefield, which eventually became and has remained the most heavily marked such place in the world. · In 1913, over 50,000 Civil War veterans reunited as former foes walked the battlefield and camped around the battlefield. The reunion of Blue and Gray was addressed by both President Woodrow Wilson and Vice President Thomas R. Marshall.
The last formal reunion of Blue and Gray was held in 1938, during which President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the Peace Light Memorial. An estimated 200,000 people attended this reunion, including 1,845 Civil War veterans, most of who had not fought at Gettysburg.
Many roads radiate from Gettysburg, including the Lincoln Highway (U.S. Route 30) the first transcontinental U.S. highway and Route 15, a Pennsylvania Scenic Byway. Gettysburg is the northern-most point of The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. Because of the Battle of Gettysburg the main industry of the borough is tourism. Annually on November 19th Gettysburg holds an annual “Remembrance Day” event commemorating Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (November 19, 1863) at the dedication of Soldiers National Cemetery.