21403
Richmond
Signature City Richmond: Great Gardens, Mansions & Museums
Join local experts to discover the great gardens and magnificent mansions of Richmond. Learn Civil War history, marvel at Victorian architecture and explore immaculate landscapes.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21403RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
949
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 5 L 4 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Richmond
D
Omni Richmond Hotel

Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Available from 3:00pm. PROGRAM REGISTRATION: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the hotel lobby between 3:30-5:00pm. Your arrival packet will contain your name tag, updated schedule, and other important information we will review during the orientation session after dinner.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel in the second floor dining area. Plated entrées are served with a Virginia green salad, vegetables, dinner rolls and butter, and dessert, with choice of coffee, decaffeinated coffee, or iced tea.

Evening: ORIENTATION: We will gather in our private meeting room. The Program Coordinator will greet you with a warm welcome, introduce everyone, and provide key staff contact names and phone numbers. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to weather or other local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

DAY
2
Richmond Overview, Shockoe Slip, State Capitol, class
Richmond
B,L,D
Omni Richmond Hotel

Activity note: Walking Field trip is .75 miles through Shockoe Slip to Capitol entrance, including cobblestone and brick surfaces and slopes both down and up. At the Capitol there is standing and walking, and several opportunities to sit; elevators and ramps provide a way around steps..

Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel first floor dining area is a Buffet with choice of fresh fruits, yogurts, organic and gluten free cereals, bread and butter bar featuring oven-baked fresh breads and bakery selections, farm fresh eggs and omelets cooked to order, bacon and sausage, breakfast potatoes, coffee or tea and choice of juice.

Morning: PRESENTATION: Signature City Richmond – History, Culture, Architecture. An overview of Richmond and how it came to be: site of an Indian village in 1607 where Pocahontas’ father, Chief Powhatan, grew up, and later a fortified place on the early frontier; where American patriots convened to call for Independence, and in 1780 the successor as capital to Jamestown and Williamsburg. The city today is a treasure trove of history, culture, and architectural gems with 45 designated National Historic Districts. FIELD TRIP: Virginia State Capitol. This living landmark of American self-government has been home to the General Assembly — the oldest legislature continuously operating in the Western Hemisphere — since 1788. The capitol was designed by Thomas Jefferson, inspired by classical Roman temple design, and has served as a prototype for countless capitols, courthouses, municipal buildings, churches, and even residences for more than 200 years. The famous marble statue of George Washington by Houdon has stood in the Capitol rotunda since 1790, among the most notable pieces of 18th C. art and probably the best likeness of our first President.

Lunch: At the hotel dining area, we’ll have a tasty lunch with either a plated entrée served with sides and rolls and butter, or offerings such as choice of salads with dressing options, soup, deli sandwiches. Served with dessert and choice of coffee, tea, or water.

Afternoon: After lunch we set off on foot for our first Field Trip, to explore Shockoe Slip and the Virginia State Capitol. Shockoe Slip is a revitalized historic neighborhood adjacent to the hotel. Rebuilt 1870-90 after the 1865 Evacuation Fire, Shockoe Slip features a piazza and fountain and fronts the restored James River & Kanawha Canal. Next we go to the Capitol. This living landmark of American self-government has been home to the General Assembly — the oldest legislature continuously operating in the Western Hemisphere — since 1788. The capitol was designed by Thomas Jefferson, inspired by classical Roman temple design, and has served as a prototype for countless capitols, courthouses, municipal buildings, churches, and even residences for more than 200 years. The famous marble statue of George Washington by Houdon has stood in the Capitol rotunda since 1790, among the most notable pieces of 18th C. art and probably the best likeness of our first President.

Dinner: The group will go together to a Shockoe Slip restaurant for dinner, enjoying the 19th C. industrial charm of a place such as Sam Miller’s Café or the Tobacco Company. The plated meal will include dessert and a beverage choice of tea, ice tea, coffee, or water, and with other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: PRESENTATION: Capital Richmond. As the capital of what was then the largest state (before losing its western section), Richmond came to represent both Southern and mercantile interests. Its sons and daughters carried its values west to the middle states and beyond. Richmond became the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War and was later the focal point of Emancipation.

DAY
3
Maymont, Confederate White House and Civil War Center, class
Richmond
B,L,D
Omni Richmond Hotel

Activity note: For both Maymont and the White House, one must ascend stairs to access the house and the second floor (no elevators).

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel:

Morning: Maymont, an 1890s Gilded Age estate, is today a beautifully maintained public park. It was the 100-acre country estate of financier James H. Dooley and his wife Sallie May and the grounds are replete with high bluffs, ravines, rock outcroppings, gazeboes, statuary, paths, and walkways. The mansion, designed by architect Edgerton Stewart Rogers, combines Romanesque Revival with elements of Queen Anne style. After its completion in 1893, the Dooleys proceeded to fill it with treasures from around the world. A knowledgeable staff person will lead us through the house, which retains the furnishings it held when it was bequeathed in the 1920s, including the unique Swan bed and a table made from narwhale horns. The lower level where servants worked and stayed, has been restored, providing a fascinating "upstairs-downstairs" view of the house. We’ll also see the Italian Gardens and Maymont’s fine collection of carriages.

Lunch: At a notable Richmond restaurant. We will order in advance for this plated meal, which will include dessert and a beverage choice of tea, ice tea, coffee, or water, and with other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we’ll proceed to the White House of the Confederacy that has been restored to its condition when Jefferson Davis and his family lived here from August 1861 until the evacuation of Richmond on April 2, 1865. It also includes Davis’s desk and chair where President Lincoln sat after Richmond's fall. We’ll also explore the adjacent Museum of the American Civil War Center. The Museum's rich collection of artifacts encompasses thousands of rare objects and artwork, and a wide range of military items that includes uniforms, weaponry and flags.

Dinner: Dinner is at the hotel.

Evening: Class on Richmond's greatest jewel, the Virginia Capitol.

DAY
4
Tuckahoe, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, free evening
Richmond
B,L
Omni Richmond Hotel

Activity note: Garden paths, uneven ground; footwear suitable for outdoors recommended.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel:

Morning: Field trip: We’ll ride to Tuckahoe Plantation, boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson. A local expert will discuss the plantation’s colonial-era gardens and cedar-lined lanes that reflect the grandeur of the period. Unusual because of its H-shaped plan and overall setting, and especially for the preservation of its outbuildings, Tuckahoe is considered to be America's finest existing example of an early 18th century plantation. We'll explore the House that contains ornately carved woodwork and staircases, and the grounds with the "plantation street" featuring a storehouse, smokehouse, barn, kitchen, plantation office, slave quarters, and the schoolhouse Jefferson attended as a child. This famous plantation is often used as a setting in films, yet Tuckahoe has been a home and working farm for nearly 275 years. Our next destination is the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The VMFA is one of the top ten comprehensive art museums in the U.S., displaying more than 5,000 years of art from around the world. We’ll have time before lunch to begin to explore on our own the numerous permanent galleries connected by a 4-story atrium.

Lunch: In the Best Café at the VMFA, a card with a preset value will allow a selection from food options that include a selection of salads, entrées including vegetarian options, sandwiches, pizzas, desserts, soft drinks, coffee, tea, water. The café is located in the new wing with a view of the sculpture garden and an outdoor patio open in suitable weather.

Afternoon: At the art museum, we’ll gather for an expert led exploration with a special VMFA focus. On our return to the hotel, we’ll drive down Richmond's grandest boulevard, Monument Avenue, and view a famous set of monuments: to Robert E. Lee (1890), JEB Stuart (1907), Stonewall Jackson (1919), Jefferson Davis (1907), Matthew Fontaine Maury (1929), and Arthur Ashe (1996). Monument Avenue is located in Richmond's Fan District, an early 20th century residential area that has preserved its architectural character. The remainder of the afternoon is free. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. The hotel courtesy van will take you where you want to go within a range of 5 miles.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Downtown are a number of restaurants of varying specialties, including a dozen in the Shockoe Slip Historic District.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
St. John’s, Maggie Walker House, Ginter Botanical Gardens
Richmond
B,L,D
Omni Richmond Hotel

Activity note: St. John's Church has steps up to the churchyard. Garden paths, uneven ground; footwear suitable for outdoors recommended.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: We’ll proceed to St. John's Church. Here at the namesake for Church Hill, we'll learn its history and importance as the setting for the Second Virginia Convention in 1775, at which Patrick Henry made his famous "Liberty or Death" speech. Among those buried in the churchyard are George Wythe, who taught law to Jefferson, and Edgar Allan Poe’s mother. Next we’ll head to the Maggie Walker House, a National Park Service site, built by the pioneer African American female banker and civic leader of the late 19th-early 20th century period. The house is in the Jackson Ward neighborhood, much of it built in the 19th century, and in the early 20th century the leading African American section of Richmond. Next we’ll motorcoach to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, fast becoming one of the great botanical gardens in North America.

Lunch: At the Garden Café at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, a card with a preset value will allow a selection from food options that include a selection of salads, entrées including vegetarian options, sandwiches, desserts, soft drinks, coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Located on land that was once Powhatan Indian hunting territory, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is internationally respected for its botanical and applied horticultural research and education. A knowledgeable Garden Guide will conduct us through and describe types of gardens too numerous to mention, including Asian areas, roses, wetlands (with a unique collection of pitcher plants), woodlands (with a rare collection of ferns), native plants, ornamental grasses, herbs, more than 2500 varieties of perennials, annuals, miniatures, wildflowers, azaleas, mountain laurels, and rhododendrons displayed in formal, ornamental, Victorian, sunken, seasonal and other settings, interspersed with lakes, streams, and ponds. The Conservatory at Lewis Ginter is a lush oasis of exotic and unusual plants from around the world, including the domed palm room, the orchid hall, and the butterfly room.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Evening: This evening we will hear a musical performance at the hotel.

DAY
6
Final Class, Program Concludes
Richmond
B,L

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel:

Morning: Final summary class on Richmond history and culture, followed by early lunch at 11:30 am. Your program ends after lunch. Room check-out is 12:00 noon.

Lunch: Program ends after early lunch in the hotel. Check out time is 12 noon.