As I stated in my review of Yellowstone last year, national parks are wonderful places to combine history education with outdoor activities. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many families are not able to travel to the best known national parks this year. However, right now is the best time to begin planning for summer 2021. Many of the hotels, restaurants, and activities sell out 9-12 months in advance so you will want to start planning your dream trip today!
The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have prevented me from traveling to any new Presidential sites this month. However, several of my previously reviewed Presidential sites in Virginia have reopened their extensive hiking trails and gardens. With many parents looking for a place to let their children play in the outdoors, these sites make a perfect place to visit during the pandemic! Read my new review today to plan a safe and fun visit.
Henricus Historical Park near Richmond is the site of one of the oldest settlements in America. The site was founded in 1611 by English colonists as the second settlement in Virginia (the first was Jamestown). Today the site is a living history museum with recreated English and Native American structures. It has reopened after being closed for the coronavirus pandemic, and since it is mostly outside, it is a great place to visit with your family. Read my new review today!
One way to learn more about the history of the Civil Rights struggle in America is to visit the moving National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. The museum is built beside the preserved Lorraine Motel, which was where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spent his last night. The museum is an important and must-see site for families, especially with the current challenges facing our country. Read my new review today!
The little town of Bedford, VA lost the most soldiers proportionally of any town in America during the storming of the beaches at Normandy during World War II. That is why you will find the National D-Day Memorial in this small town that isn’t near an interstate. Thousands of people flock here every year to pay their respects to all of the soldiers who didn’t make it back home from the attacks. The memorial usually has a moving ceremony on June 6th, the anniversary of the attacks, but this year, the celebration will be virtual, which means that you and your children can watch from anywhere! Learn more about it in my new post today!
My quest to visit Presidential and First Lady sites has been hampered by the travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, since I live in Central Virginia, an easy drive from many of these sites, I decided to check out a Presidential site in my own backyard, Tuckahoe Plantation. It's a lovely site to visit, even during this pandemic. Read my new review today!
Fort Monroe in Hampton Roads, VA is a place with a storied history that dates back to the beginning of America. It was on these grounds that the first enslaved African-Americans came to the English colonies in 1619. This site was also known as “Freedom’s Fortress” during the Civil War, as thousands of contraband slaves who made it to its walls were given their freedom by Union Gen. Benjamin Butler. 155 years ago this month, it served as the prison for the former Confederate President, Jefferson Davis. The fort continued to be used by the military for another 140 years before being decommissioned in 2011. Today, the fort’s lovely grounds and buildings are open to visitors, including the Casemate Museum where Davis’ jail cell was located. It makes for a fun day trip, even in the midst of the pandemic closures. Read my new review today!
155 years ago, the United States was in turmoil. President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated, his killer, John Wilkes Booth, was on the run, and some Confederate forces had not yet surrendered. While Gen. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox effectively ended the Civil War, there were still soldiers in North Carolina and in states and territories out west that didn’t lay down their arms until weeks or even months after Appomattox. Not only was North Carolina a pivotal place in these last few weeks of the war, it also served as the birthplace of the 17th President, Andrew Johnson, who was negotiating the peace. Read my new review today about the historic sites around Raleigh/Durham where you can learn more about President Johnson and the largest surrender of soldiers during the Civil War.
Living in Central Virginia, Civil War history is all around us. With much of the war taking place in the area, there are many battlefields, historic homes, and museums with their own history from the war. This week marks the 155th anniversary of the end of the war - from the fall of Richmond on April 3rd to the last battle at Sailor’s Creek on April 6th to Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9th. Check out my new post about that week’s events and some spots to visit, both virtually and in person, to learn more about this important time period in our nation’s history.
March ended yesterday and with it ended the celebration of Women’s History Month. This year, the celebration of women’s history has been overshadowed by the current COVID-19 health crisis. While seemingly forgotten, this is an important year to celebrate women’s history as it is the centennial celebration of the 19th amendment, which gave women in all states the right to vote. I had planned to provide you a list of sites to visit to celebrate women’s history all throughout the year but with the travel bans in place, visiting in person is not an option. However many sites have made their exhibits and artifacts available online. Take a look at the many resources and celebrate women’s history all year!