A Virginia Sampler: Exploring Blue Ridge Mountain Historical Sites
Learn the story of the Blue Ridge Mountains as you visit Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, walk the Appalachian Trail, discover historic sites and enjoy unique regional entertainment.
Rating (4.9)
Program No. 13052RJ
6 days
Starts at
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Getting There
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At a Glance

Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and Smith Mountain Lake are renowned for their beauty, history and distinctive culture. Join academic experts to discover the compelling stories behind Thomas Jefferson and Booker T. Washington, immerse yourself in Appalachia and discover the inside story behind a famous local feud. Along the way experience the compelling story of D-Day, explore the Virginia Museum of Transportation, take a brief hike the Appalachian Trail and enjoy a boat trip on beautiful Smith Mountain Lake (weather pending). Cap your adventure with a night of unique regional entertainment.
Activity Level
Varies by date
Varies by date. On Your Feet: Walking up to two miles along the rocky terrain of the Appalachian Trail. Easy Going: Walking less than a mile along the Appalachian Trail.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Take a short hike (distance varies by date) on the Appalachian Trail and visit the Virginia Museum of Transportation, home to a restored Class J 611 steam engine.
  • “Meet” Thomas Jefferson and then explore his personal retreat, Poplar Forest, an exploration of Thomas Jefferson's personal retreat.
  • Experience the National D-Day Memorial in tiny Bedford, VA and thrill to the story of the town’s noble sacrifice of 21 young men who stormed the beaches on June 6, 1944.
Featured Expert
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April Cheek-Messier
April Cheek-Messier served as the director of education at the D-Day Memorial since January, 2001 — six months prior to its dedication in June, 2001 - until her appointment as Director of the Memorial in early 2013. She holds a B.A. in history and English from Hollins University, as well as an M.A. in history from Virginia Tech and a M.A. in education from Hollins. She is a 2004 recipient of the prestigious Virginia Attraction Employee of the Year and is a member of the Virginia Association of Museums and the National Council for History Education.
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Bill Barker
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April Cheek-Messier
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Betsy Haynes
Suggested Reading List
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