Sherwood Forest (Virginia)

After writing about the Virginia Capital Trail last week, I’ll be reviewing many of the stops along the trail in the coming months. Several battlefields and historic homes are along the route, including the home of our nation’s 10th President, John Tyler. In my quest to visit all of the Presidential and First Lady historic sites, I knew I had to see it in conjunction with the Capital Trail. His home, named Sherwood Forest, is a peaceful place for your family to take a break while on a bike trip. Read my new review today!

Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania)

The small town of Gettysburg, near Pennsylvania’s border with Maryland, seems an unlikely spot for a battle of significance. However, in the summer of 1863, Union and Confederate forces clashed here, in what is called by some historians as the turning point of the Civil War. Whether you agree with that statement or not, there is no doubt of the battle’s effect on history. Now a National Military Park, Gettysburg’s location in the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania makes it the perfect place to take a fall socially-distanced educational trip with your family.

Civil War Trails

If you live in the mid-Atlantic region, you may not realize that you are probably within a few miles of a historic Civil War battleground or site. With hundreds of battles fought in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Tennessee, almost every county or city has a Civil War historical site. As we are all doing more staycations thanks to the travel restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic, this might be a perfect time to check out these historical sites in your own backyard!

Presidential sites on Virginia’s Northern Neck

Did you know that within a one-hour drive on Virginia’s Northern Neck, you can visit 3 different Presidential birthplaces?  Virginia is called the Mother of Presidents for a reason!  These mostly outdoor sites make great places to visit during the COVID-19 pandemic, when families are looking for safe places to social distance.  From nature walks to beach fun, these sites are a good place to let your kids run and play while learning more about Presidents George Washington, James Madison, and James Monroe! Read my new review today!

Petersburg National Battlefield (Virginia)

There are over 100 Civil War battlefields in Virginia, and almost 50% of the total number of battles in the entire war were fought here.  One of the easiest battlefields to visit during the heat of the summer and during this time of social distancing is the Petersburg National Battlefield.  Most of the battlefield can be seen during a driving tour, with stops along the way at various interest points.  If you’re looking for a new place to take a drive with the kids, Petersburg National Battlefield is a great choice. Read my new review today!

Fort Monroe (Virginia)

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!

Andrew Johnson’s birthplace and Bennett Place (Raleigh/Durham)

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.

Last week of the Civil War (Virginia)

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.