"It is so known through the length and breadth of its watershed. The Bay. There is no possible confusion with any other body of water, no need for more precise description. It is, after all, the continent’s largest estuary. Its waters are rich, the main supply of oysters, crabs, clams and other seafoods for much of the Atlantic seaboard. Its shorelines cradled our first settlements. It is the Chesapeake.”
William Warner, Beautiful Swimmers: Waterman, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay
Discover the rich natural beauty and storied history of this unique region of America. We will explore the quaint waterfront villages of St. Michaels and Oxford and cruise to Tangier Island. We will visit Fort McHenry and learn about the first casualties of the Civil War in the Baltimore Riot. From Ford's Theater, we will trace the escape route of assassin John Wilkes Booth to the site where he was shot and killed. We will spend a day with a local historian following Harriet Tubman's Underground Railroad network through the Eastern Shore. We will take a sunset sail aboard a "skipjack" with wine and cheese as the ship's captain explains current efforts to restore the health of this complex ecosystem. And, of course, we will sample plenty of delicious Maryland blue crab along the way!
June 15, Thursday
Gather in Baltimore and meet fellow travelers and staff at tonight's welcome dinner.
Overnight Homewood Suites by Hilton, Baltimore's Harbor (R,D)
June 16, Friday Ft. McHenry – B&O Railroad Museum
We will take a VIP guided-tour of the world-class B&O Railroad Museum located at the historic Mount Clare Station. Mount Clare is considered the birthplace of American railroading as it was the site of the first regular railroad passenger service in the U.S. (May 22, 1830). We will conclude our visit with a 20-minute train ride down the first commercial mile of railroad track laid in America.
A week after the fall of Fort Sumter, a clash between pro-South civilians and soldiers of the 6th Massachusetts resulted in the first bloodshed of the Civil War. We'll trace the action of the Baltimore Riot of April 19, 1861 at the President Street Railroad Station. Continue to Federal Hill overlooking Baltimore Harbor. One night following the riot, union troops occupied the Hill (against orders from Washington) with artillery to ensure the City's allegiance to the Union. At Fort McHenry, we will learn about the Battle of Baltimore, September 13-14, 1814. Francis Scott Key was inspired to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” after witnessing the fierce bombardment of the Fort. O/N Homewood Suites by Hilton, Baltimore (B,L)
June 17, Saturday Booth’s Escape Route
Today, we will drive to Washington, D.C. where we'll see the "Star-Spangled Banner" at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History. Then at Ford's Theater, Ed will relate the events of the Lincoln Assassination. We'll trace Booth's route of escape from the Theater to the Surratt House, on to Dr. Mudd's home, and finally to the site of the Garrett's barn in eastern Virginia where Union sharpshooters shot the cornered Booth. We will have dinner at Captain Billy's Crab House. O/N Hampton Inn, Dahlgren, VA (B,L,D)
June 18, Sunday Stratford Hall – St. Mary's City
This morning, we will tour several historic landmarks in Virginia's historic "Northern Neck" including the birthplace of George Washington and beautiful Stratford Hall, where Robert E. Lee was born in 1807. We will also visit the Ingleside Winery for a tour and tasting and see historic Christ Church in Weems, VA that is virtually unchanged since it was established in 1735. O/N The Inn at Stratford Hall (B,L)
June 19, Monday Tangier Island
Drive to Reedville where we'll board a ship and cruise to Tangier Island, the "soft shell crab capital." First mapped by Captain John Smith in 1608, residents still speak with a trace of an Elizabethan accent. We'll have a family-style lunch at a local restaurant and have time to explore this quaint fishing village.
O/N The Inn at Stratford Hall (B,L)
June 20, Tuesday St. Mary's – Point Lookout
This morning we travel to Historic St. Mary's City, Maryland's first colonial capital. This National Historic Landmark is recognized as one of America's best-preserved colonial archaeology sites. We'll meet re-enactors on a tour of this 800-acre living history museum situated where the Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay. We will continue to Point Lookout, the site of the largest Union prisoner of war camp during the Civil War. O/N Holiday Inn Solomon's Island (B,L)
June 21, Wednesday Annapolis - U.S. Naval Academy - St. Michael's
This morning, we will drive to Annapolis. We'll tour the U.S. Naval Academy where we'll learn about "Life on the Yard," and we hope to see the Noon Meal Formation as the Brigade forms for uniform inspection before lunch. Following our own lunch, we will take a walking tour of Annapolis' historic district and visit the Maryland State House. Built in 1772, it is the oldest state capitol building in the United States still in legislative use. George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on December 23rd, 1783 in the Old Senate Chamber.
We'll proceed to Maryland's Eastern Shore to explore the charming waterfront towns of St. Michaels, Oxford and Cambridge. St. Michaels was dubbed “The Town that fooled the British” during the War of 1812 when citizens hung lanterns in tops of trees causing the British guns to overshoot their target. We'll visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum that tells the stories of the Bay and the people who have lived, worked, and played here. We'll take a cruise on a skipjack (the Chesapeake sailboat developed for oyster dredging), and learn about the health of the Bay and its famous blue crab. O/N Best Western Plus, Easton (B,L,D)
June 22, Thursday Cambridge - Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway
Join a local historian for a tour of Cambridge, one of Maryland's oldest towns. We will see the beautiful homes of distinguished former residents which included four Maryland governors and sharp-shooter Annie Oakley. We will tour the new Harriet Tubman Visitor Center (scheduled to open in March 2017) and drive a portion of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway. Our driving tour will include stops where Tubman grew up, worshiped, labored, and led others to freedom. O/N Best Western Plus, Easton (B,L,D)
June 23, Friday
Individual departures from Baltimore. (B) **arrival at Baltimore International Airport will be at approximately 9:30 am. Please do not book a flight the departs BWI before 12 noon.
CHESAPEAKE PROGRAM INCLUDES:
* Services of an Historian Guide
(Ed Bearss is scheduled to lead this tour)
* Services of a Tour Manager
* 8 nights hotel accommodations
* transportation on a full-sized coach
* all admissions and excursions
* two wine/beer welcome receptions; daily breakfasts; 7 lunches; 4 dinners
* all taxes, baggage handling and gratuities; pre-trip notes, reading list and map book
COST: 9 DAYS/8 NIGHTS
Double Occupancy: $3595 per person
Single Occupancy: $4195
(NOTE: All costs are based on a minimum of 20 participants.)