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Echoes of the Past: Reflections on the Civil War from D.C. to Charleston

Program Number: 21075RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/27/2013 - 11/7/2013;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Virginia/North Carolina/South Carolina/District of Columbia
Price starting at: $5,630.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 32; 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Low Fat    

With America commemorating the sesquicentennial of its Civil War, embark on a voyage to some of the war’s most critical settings: Fredericksburg, Petersburg, Wilmington, Fort Sumter and more. Learn the story of the conflict that, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, gave America “a new birth of freedom.”

Activity Particulars

Standing for up to two hours at a time, up to four hours a day. Mobility is essential, as small boats and tenders are sometimes used for disembarkation and re-embarkation.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Washington, D.C.(Arlington), 1 night; aboard Yorktown, 10 nights.

Days 1-2: Arrival Washington, D.C. (Arlington) / embark Yorktown:

Explore America’s capital on an excursion led by a Road Scholar expert. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.

Day 3: Alexandria, Va.:

Journey to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s sprawling estate and gardens. Visit the mansion, the grounds and the reconstructed whiskey distillery.

Day 4: Colonial Beach / Fredericksburg:

Delve into the story of the Battle of Fredericksburg, a one-sided Confederate victory, plus other battles that took place nearby.

Day 5: Colonial Williamsburg:

Experience Colonial Williamsburg, the nation’s premiere living history museum, including the Capitol, the Governor’s Palace and Bruton Parish Church.

Day 6: Petersburg or Berkeley & Richmond:

Drive to Petersburg to visit the Siege Museum and the Petersburg National Battlefield, or to historic Berkeley and Westover Plantations. Return to Richmond and explore the Museum and White House of the Confederacy and the old Tredegar Iron Works.

Days 7-8: On the Intracoastal Waterway / New Bern, N.C.:

Sail to historic New Bern, occupied by Union forces throughout most of the war. Discover magnificent Tryon Palace.

Day 9: Morehead City:

Discover this port city that was home to large encampments by both armies. Explore Fort Macon and examine the Civil War exhibit at the History Place.

Day 10: Wilmington:

Delve into the strategic importance of the port of Wilmington, Fort Fisher and the Weldon Railroad during the war. Explore Airlie Gardens, which boasts 67 acres of formal, woodland gardens.

Days 11-12: Charleston, S.C. / disembark / departure:

Complete your voyage in Charleston, the prosperous and cosmopolitan seaport where the war began.


Built and registered in America and staffed by American officers and crew, the Yorktown is the perfect vessel for exploring America’s great coastal waterways. With a draft of only nine feet, it can sail where larger vessels cannot go, and its American registry allows it to operate domestic itineraries unavailable to foreign-flag ships. Passengers enjoy an informal onboard atmosphere and tend to spend much of their time underway enjoying lectures and concerts in the lounge or reading and relaxing on the sun deck.

Meals and Lodgings
   Hyatt Arlington
  Washington, DC 1 night
  Aboard Yorktown 10 nights
 Hyatt Arlington
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Just minutes from Washington, DC businesses and attractions and only steps to the Rosslyn Metro, the Hyatt Arlington offers Southern comforts with metropolitan polish. Set within the heart of the Rosslyn business community, this hotel offers a variety of flexible function space, outstanding accommodations, and inventive cuisine.
  Contact info: 1325 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22209 USA
phone: 703-525-1234
  Room amenities: Each room features a television with premium television channels, air conditioning, a telephone, coffee and tea making facilities, wake-up calls, bathrobes, hair dryer, clock radio, iron and ironing board, wireless Internet access (for a fee), and an in-room safe.
  Facility amenities: This hotel features Internet access (for a fee), complimentary newspapers in lobby, fitness facilities, restaurant, room service, bar/lounge, safe-deposit box at front desk, dry cleaning/laundry services (for a fee), gift shop, and parking (for a fee).
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar in Amherst, MA if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights 413-253-9736.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The Yorktown is the perfect vessel for relaxed and convivial exploration of America’s great coastal waterways. Built in Florida in 1988 specifically for coastal cruising and certified by the U. S. Coast Guard, the Yorktown flies the American flag and is staffed by friendly and experienced American officers and crew. With a draft of only 9 feet, the Yorktown is able to maneuver in secluded waterways and visit small ports that are inaccessible to larger vessels. And Yorktown’s American registry makes it possible to operate domestic itineraries unavailable to foreign-flag ships. The ship’s cuisine, served in a dining room large enough to accommodate all guests at once, emphasizes American regional culinary traditions. Accommodating only 130 guests in 65 exterior cabins, the Yorktown enjoys an atmosphere of warm and relaxed informality that endears it to repeat and new guests alike.
  Ship Information: Length: 257 feet Beam: 43 feet Draft: 8 feet Cabins: 69 Flag: American
  Contact info: Travel Dynamics International
132 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021 USA
phone: 800-257-5767
  Room amenities: Most cabins have large picture windows, and each is furnished with comfortable beds, a writing desk, ample storage, a clock/radio/CD player, and has a private bathroom. Your cabin is the perfect place for peace and quiet and for private rest and reflection.
  Facility amenities: The ship offers a dining room, spacious observation lounge, large sun deck, library, and swimming platform. Both the lounge and dining room are surrounded by large picture windows that afford unobstructed views of the passing scenery. The water aboard ship is safe to drink, and bottled water will be provided on group excursions. Cash (USD) and credit cards are the preferred forms of payment aboard ship. For telephone communication onboard, you may use the ship's Maritime service satellite system which will be charged to a credit card. Email access on board: Internet-ready laptop computers will be available for use on board from which personal emails can be received and sent by accessing your own web-based email account. A fee will be charged for each 30 minutes of use. There is also wireless Internet access available for a fee.
  Smoking allowed: No

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Washington, DC (Arlington). Welcome Orientation at 5:00 PM in the hotel. You will be staying at Hyatt Arlington that night.
  End of Program:
Charleston, South Carolina. After breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Yorktown the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. TDI Traveler Information Form is required. All participants are required to have a driver's license or a passport in order to embark the Yorktown.
  Parking availability:
To Start of Program
  Location:  Washington, DC
  From End of Program
  Location:  Departure
Travel Details

From the Ronald Reagan National Airport to the Hyatt Arlington


From Airport




Public Transportation


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 




5 Miles


At the National Airport Metro Station, take the Blue Subway towards Largo Town Center. Get off at the Rosslyn Metro Station and walk to the hotel at 1325 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA.


From the Ronald Reagan National Airport to the Hyatt Arlington


From Airport






Per Person/One Way:


Approximately $20
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


12 minutes 




5 miles


From the dock in Charleston to the Charleston International Airport


To Airport






Per Person/One Way:


approximately $33
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


approximately 20 minutes 




approximately 13 miles

Driving Directions
  From the North to the Hyatt Arlington Heading South on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, take the I-66 E/US-50 exit toward Roosevelt Bridge / Washington / Rosslyn. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for US-50 W / Rossiyn and merge onto US-50 W / Arlington Blvd. Take the exit toward Rosslyn / Key Bridge. Turn right onto Lynn Street, turn left onto Wilson Boulevard, and the hotel will be on the right.
  From the South to the Hyatt Arlington Head North on I-95. Merge onto I-395 North via Exit 170A-B toward Washington / I-495. Merge onto Washington Boulevard / VA-27 North via Exit 8B toward Pentagon / Arlington Cemetery / Rosslyn. Take the ramp toward Pentagon North Parking Entrance. Merge onto VA-110 North / Jefferson Davis Highway. Turn slight left to take the Wilson Boulevard ramp toward Rosslyn. Turn slight left onto Wilson Boulevard. Turn right onto Nash Street. The hotel will be immediately on the right.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome Orientation
(Sunday, October 27)
 Afternoon: Arrivals in Washington, DC. Welcome Orientation at the hotel in Arlington, VA (approximately 5 miles from Washington DC). Meet your group in Private Dining Room number 1 in the Cityhouse Restaurant in the hotel, at 5:00 PM.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner in the Cityhouse Restaurant in the hotel.
Accommodations: Hyatt Arlington
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Washington, DC (Arlington) / Embarkation
(Monday, October 28)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Throughout the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln struggled to preserve the Union. He lived long enough to see it maintained, but not to heal the wounds of war. On the night of April 14, 1865 as he attended a performance at Ford’s Theater he was assassinated by actor, John Wilkes Booth. The theater and the Peterson House where he died are preserved today as the Ford’s Theater National Historic Site. Our visit will encompass the theater and the Peterson House.
 Lunch: Lunch will be at the Ebbit’s Old Grill, founded in 1856 with the distinction of being Washington’s oldest Saloon.
 Afternoon: After lunch we will explore the Lincoln Cottage, located on the grounds of the Soldier’s Home where President Lincoln lived from June to November to escape the heat and distractions of life at the White House. Enroute to the Yorktown we discover the city during an excursion that includes Howard University, U Street and the Lincoln Theatre, and the African American Civil War Memorial. Late afternoon embarkation briefing, introduction of ship staff, and safety drill.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Mount Vernon / Alexandria, Virginia
(Tuesday, October 29)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: After breakfast, depart by bus to George Washington’s beloved Mount Vernon estate. Spend the morning exploring the mansion and outbuildings which include the gardens where the great patriot experimented on crops that could provide economic stability for a new nation.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a local tavern.
 Afternoon: After lunch, continue to the reconstructed Gristmill & Distillery and learn about the productivity of the estate’s export crops and spirits. In Alexandria, enjoy a guided walking excursion through the old town viewing the remarkably preserved colonial homes and commercial buildings. Yorktown departs at midnight.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Colonial Beach / Fredericksburg, Virginia
(Wednesday, October 30)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: After an early breakfast, depart the ship, and drive to the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. Explore the battlefields, monuments and grave markers from the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.
 Lunch: Drive to Fredericksburg and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, take a walking excursion of the historic district including a visit of the Kenmore Plantation. Built in 1770 in the Georgian style by Fielding & Betty Washington-Lewis, the home reflects the great wealth of Fredericksburg Merchants before the Revolutionary War. Return to the Yorktown at Colonial Beach and sail in the early evening.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Colonial Williamsburg / Yorktown, Virginia
(Thursday, October 31)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: The Yorktown arrives alongside at the port of Yorktown in the early morning. After breakfast depart by coach to nearby Williamsburg. Step into the past and enter the largest living history museum in the world at Colonial Williamsburg. This restored and reconstructed 18th century capital of the colony of Virginia includes taverns, bakeries, houses and an army of costumed interpreters demonstrating life in a revolutionary center of commerce and culture. Enjoy a guided field trip through many of the buildings including the Governors Palace.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at an 18th century tavern.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a bit of free time before the ship sails in the late afternoon. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Petersburg / Richmond, Virginia
(Friday, November 1)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: This morning choose between two optional excursions. Option 1: Petersburg National Battlefield and Siege Museum. Depart the ship and drive to Petersburg, a critical gateway for supplies to Richmond during the Civil War. Take a ranger-led excursion of the Petersburg National Battlefield where in 1865 the city endured nine months under siege and 70,000 men were lost in the conquest of Richmond. Also explore the Siege Museum and its collection of documents and artifacts depicting life before, during and after the Civil War. Option 2: James River Plantation of Westover & Berkeley. Explore the gardens of Westover Plantation situated on the James River and featuring a rare clairvoyee capped with icons of virtue. Continue to the Berkeley Plantation, designed and built in the Georgian Style for Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence and father of William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States. Discover the historic home then visit the terraced gardens leading down to the James River.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Take a coach excursion through historic Richmond including the Virginia State Capitol and the American Civil War Museum located in the Tredegar Ironworks building. Finish the excursion of these many splendid national treasures during a coach excursion to view the White House of the confederacy, Monument Avenue, and St. John’s Church.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
(Saturday, November 2)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Spend the day aboard Yorktown enjoying lectures and stunning views. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Enjoy the views of North Carolina's Crystal Coast. Take in presentations by our expert lecturers.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Morehead City / New Bern, North Carolina
(Sunday, November 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: At sea. Take in a shipboard guest lecture.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Depart the port and drive to New Bern to explore Tryon Palace and Gardens. Now organized as a living museum, the estate exhibits demonstrations of period quilting, printing and smithing by costumed interpreters. Explore the Governor’s Mansion and its elegant gardens.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Morehead City, North Carolina
(Monday, November 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Explore Fort Macon, a five-sided stone and brick fortification built to guard the deep water Beaufort Inlet. In 1816, the US Congress appropriated funds toward a seacoast defense known as the Third System, resulting in 42 forts plus many more batteries. Fort Macon was finally taken during the Civil War but only after 11 hours of horrific siege from Union gun boats and the employment of the new rifled cannon recently proven in the siege for control of Savannah. Explore the fort and its brick vaulted casements, cisterns and visitors center.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: At sea. The Yorktown departs in the early afternoon. Take in a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Wilmington, North Carolina / Fort Fisher
(Tuesday, November 5)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: In the morning, choose between two optional excursions. Option 1: Airlie Gardens & Burgwin-Wright House. Today explore Airlie Gardens; established in 1901 on 67 acres including formal and woodland gardens and featuring a 462 year old live oak. Discover Historic Wilmington including the Burgwin-Wright House; a 1770 Georgian style home built for John Burgwin, merchant, planter and treasurer of the colony of Carolina. Seven walled gardens have been restored and feature 18th century native Carolina species. Option 2: Fort Fisher. Study Fort Fisher an important Civil War stronghold that supported the blockade runner supplying much needed supplies to the Confederate Army. By 1865, Fort Fisher was the last remaining bastion for supplies and became the focus of an incredible siege. Over two and a half days Union ships bombarded the fort on two sides followed by an infantry assault by 3,300 ground troops culminating in fierce hand-to-hand combat. When night fell, so did the fort and shortly afterward, Wilmington was taken as well, choking off all supplies to the Confederate forces.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: At sea. The ship departs Wilmington in the early afternoon. Take in a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Charleston, South Carolina
(Wednesday, November 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Enjoy a morning excursion by bus and on foot of historic Charleston. Visit the 18th century Heyward-Washington house filled with Charleston-made antiques of the period and St. Michaels Church. Continue to the Citadel to explore the campus and Summerall Chapel.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, choose between two optional excursions. Option 1: Middleton Place Plantation. After lunch drive to Middleton-Place Plantation, a National Historic Landmark. Discover the house and stables and spend time in the graceful gardens which are the oldest landscape gardens in America. Option 2: Drayton Hall. Drive to Drayton Hall, one of the oldest pre-revolutionary houses in existence. Now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and under its stewardship the house is in remarkable condition. Enjoy a special guided excursion of this historic building, its gardens and outbuildings.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
 Evening: Enjoy free time to explore Charleston on your own.
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Charleston, South Carolina / Disembark / Departures
(Thursday, November 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Disembark Yorktown in Charleston, South Carolina. Departures.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

"Bayonet! Forward" My Civil War Reminiscences

Author: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Description: A collection of professor and Civil War general Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain's most noted writings, covering his experiences in Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Petersburg and Appomattox.

A Short History of Charleston

Author: Robert Rosen

Description: A third-generation Charlestonian, Rosen traces the history of Good King Charles's City from its founding to the present with flair.

Abraham Lincoln

Author: Thomas Keneally

Description: An elegant, brief biography of the Kentucky-born political hero.

Battle Cry of Freedom, The Civil War Era

Author: James McPherson

Description: A comprehensive, vivid history of the Civil War, its genesis, battles, politics and personalities from the war with Mexico to Appomattox. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the book may be 900 pages long but it reads like a good novel.

Civil War Petersburg, Confederate City in the Crucible of War

Author: A. Wilson Greene

Description: The noted Civil War historian Wil Greene's expertly researched, eloquently written history of the Virginia city that was second only to Richmond in size and strategic significance during the Civil War.

Fodor's Washington D.C.'s 25 Best

Author: Fodors

Description: A shirt-pocket guide with an excellent pull-out map and essential information on museums, sightseeing, restaurants, shopping, hotels and nightlife.

Lincoln on War

Author: Harold Holzer

Description: Holzer turns to Lincoln's own writings and speeches for this illuminating collection of the great president' thoughts on war.

Literary Charleston, A Lowcountry Reader

Author: Curtis Worthington (Editor), Louis D. Rubin, Jr. (Introduction)

Description: A lovingly edited anthology of writing about Charleston, arranged chronologically and including heavyweights such as Henry James and Edgar Allen Poe, as well as less known writers.

Moon Handbook Virginia, Including Washington D.C

Author: Julian Smith

Description: This compact guidebook covers Virginia and the Capital region. It combines text on history, culture and nature with practical information for travelers, and it features plenty of photographs, maps and illustrations.

Personal Memoirs, Ulysses S. Grant

Author: Ulysses S. Grant

Description: A remarkable (and big) account of a rich life, from a poor boy on the frontier to a great general and president, written by Grant on his deathbed -- and originally edited by none other than Mark Twain.

Richmond Burning, The Last Days of the Confederate Capital

Author: Nelson D. Lankford

Description: A narrative account of the fall of Richmond, which signaled the end of the Confederacy. Citing a variety of primary documents, Lankford creates a vivid portrait of events and personalities at the dusk of the Civil War.

Starving the South, How the North Won the Civil War

Author: Andrew F. Smith

Description: Smith chronicles the role food -- and the relative lack thereof by the confederates -- in determining the outcome of the Civil War.

Team of Rivals

Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin

Description: Goodwin explores how Lincoln transformed three former political opponents into essential members of his cabinet.

The Civil War, An Illustrated History

Author: Geoffrey C. Ward, Ken Burns

Description: An illustrated, comprehensive social history of the Civil War by the now-famous team of Ward and Burns. With 500 photographs and maps, extensive text and original essays by contributing experts.

The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln

Author: Stephen L. Carter

Description: A professor of law at Yale, novelist Carter projects an alternate history, where Lincoln survives the assassination attempt at Ford's Theater, in this thrilling, provocative novel.

The March

Author: E. L. Doctorow

Description: In this powerful historical novel, Doctorow captures the drama and import of General William Tecumseh Sherman's devastating march through Georgia and the Carolinas during the final years of the Civil War.

This Republic of Suffering, Death and the American Civil War

Author: Drew Gilpin Faust

Description: Dr. Faust, President of Harvard University, explores in fascinating detail how the Civil War's unprecedented bloodshed changed America's cultural, political and spiritual attitudes towards death.

U.S. Grant, The Making of a General, 1861-1863

Author: Michael B. Ballard

Description: Ballard traces the evolution of Grant's strategic and tactical concepts from the outset of the Civil War to to overall commander.

United States Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Map

Author: Hallwag

Description: A map of the eastern United States from the northern half of Georgia to the southern part of New York, at a scale of 1,200,000.

Very Charleston, A Celebration of History, Culture, and Lowcountry Charm

Author: Diana Hollingsworth Gessler

Description: A quirky overview of the city and its attractions, this guide provides an original, entertaining and colorful paean to one of America's most historic and popular destinations.

Washington, D.C.

Author: Gore Vidal

Description: The sixth installation in Gore Vidal's "Narratives of Empire" historical novel series. This tale of corruption follows the lives of a conservative senator and a newspaper publisher in Washington D.C.

Washington, DC Map

Author: Berndtson & Berndtson

Description: A laminated, folded map of the capital at a scale of 1:15,000.

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