Don’t Miss this Event!

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s Tenth Anniversary Annual Conference is scheduled to take place May 19-20 at The Old School in the historic village of Waterford, VA.  This year’s conference location is fitting since the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership is headquartered there.  This year marks not only the tenth anniversary of the organization but we will soon be approaching the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act and Waterford was one of the first towns listed in its entirety on the National Register of Historic Places.


Stephanie Meeks

Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation will serve as a keynote speaker, which is especially poignant as the National Trust placed this region on America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list that first alerted the nation to the threats to our communities almost 10 years ago to the day.

Under Meeks’ leadership, the National Trust has developed an ambitious strategic plan designed to refocus direct action on saving imperiled places, engaging new audiences in preservation, and increasing the organization’s impact by a factor of ten.



Nora Pouillon

Organic food pioneer Nora Pouillon will also serve as a plenary speaker during the conference.  Pouillon moved to the United States in the late 1960s and in 1979 opened Restaurant Nora, which became the first certified organic restaurant in the country in 1999. Her new memoir, My Organic Life, is the story of an unheralded culinary pioneer who made it her mission to bring delicious, wholesome foods to the American table.

As much the story of America’s postwar culinary history as it is a memoir, My Organic Life encompasses the birth of the farm-to-table movement, the proliferation of greenmarkets across the country, and the evolution of the chef into social advocate. Spanning the last forty years of our relationship with food, My Organic Life is the deeply personal, powerfully felt story of the organic revolution—by the unlikely heroine at its forefront.


Erin Francis-Cummings, President of Destination Analysts, will share the results of a new regional tourism market research study.  Workshops will also highlight the upcoming Centennial Celebration of the National Park Service in 2016 and cover various topics, including: engaging youth/students in our collective national history, economic trends in heritage tourism, grant writing, African-American and other minority heritage, and more.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

A Virginia Viticulture Field Session Tour will take participants to several wineries in the area and a networking reception will occur at Catoctin Creek 
Distilling Company in Purcellville.  Guided walking tours showcasing the history of the quaint Quaker Waterford village along with a special awards luncheon where the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership will recognize the Cornelia Keller Champion of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Corporate Partner of the Year, and Certified Tourism Ambassador Star Award winner.


The conference is geared towards a variety of individuals, including economic development and tourism professionals, urban professional planners, attraction and museum staff, elected officials, historians, National Park Service employees, educators, Certified Tourism Ambassadors, and other engaged citizens.

Certification maintenance credits offered through the American Institute of Certified Planners are available for eligible and interested attendees.

Conference sponsors include the Waterford Foundation, Virginia News Group, and Loudoun Mutual Insurance Company.  To register, or for more information, visit

The Fruits of Our Labor

I’m a proud mom of a three year old son and an infant daughter. I’m also a proud third-generation member and owner of my family’s 500-acre fruit and vegetable farm, Hollabaugh Bros., Inc., located in upper Adams county in south-central Pennsylvania. The sheer nature of being a part of a family business intermingles my two worlds on an ongoing basis. But in the fall, my two pride and joy worlds really collide. I try my hardest to keep my head above water with the mountains of work at the farm while making time for every possible precious moment I can spend with my son, as the rapidity with which he is growing, learning, and changing hasn’t yet ceased to amaze me.

apples 1Interestingly, and not altogether surprisingly, these worlds often collide by way of apples. We go for a walk in the orchard, picking apples off the tree left behind by our pickers. We cook applesauce, peeling, chopping, and stirring the apples to make the perfect blend. We share a fresh-sliced apple at the dinner table. If living on an apple farm weren’t enough reason to cause these worlds to collide, the nature of the industry in this area certainly would be.

Pennsylvania, and specifically the south-mountain region of the state, is the 4th largest apple producer in the United States. Agriculture is one of the two largest industries in Adams County, where our farm is located, along with tourism.

In the fall, it’s hard to drive through our neck of the woods without seeing the apple industry at work: from apples being harvested off of trees by quick-moving hands, tractors moving bins in and out of the orchards, trucks transporting apples from field to factory, or tractor trailers hitting the highways, filled to the brim with fresh or processed apples to fill grocery store shelves.

apples 2In the fast-paced world in which we all live, it’s become far too easy to take it all for granted. To assume that the apples will always just magically appear on the grocery store shelves, or that the applesauce will just cook and package itself.

But to our great fortune, another collision has helped us all to take a step back to appreciate our dynamic industry. It’s called Agri-tourism.

A few short generations ago, it seemed that everyone was connected to a farm in some not-too-distant way. Today, farm and ranch families comprise just 2 percent of the US population. And we see evidence of that disconnect in our farm market every day. Brussels sprouts harvested on the stalk are purchased not for the nutritional value, but for the sheer novelty of how they’re grown.

Agri-tourism allows us to reconnect the farm to the consumer. We do it in a number of ways on our farm: farm tours, pick-your-own fruits, walking tours, CSA memberships, children’s events, and festivals. And others are doing it, too. The Gettysburg Wine and Fruit Trail offers dozens of farm markets, wineries, and breweries in the south-mountain region that folks can visit to experience a taste of agriculture. A local corn maze provides on-farm entertainment not unlike what you’d get at an amusement park, except with grass and corn instead of paved walkways and roller-coasters.

apples 3

And so, instead of sitting at my desk until dark, doing the work that never seems to stop piling up, I leave the office. I hold my son’s hand (I know all too well that in not too many years, it won’t be cool to hold my hand anymore), and we head out for a walk in the orchard, crunching on apples and marveling at the beauty of the season together. I highly recommend you do the same.

Photos courtesy of the Adams County Fruit Growers Association.

Note: Mark your calendar for the 60th Annual Apple Blossom Festival May 2-3 in Adams County, PA. The festival is located at the South Mountain Fairgrounds in the heart of Apple Country, USA, and is hosted by the Adams County Fruit Growers Association. For more information, visit


Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association Partners with JTHG on Living Legacy Tree Project

Secretary Haymore receives tree from Brent Hunsinger of VNLA.

Secretary Haymore receives tree from Brent Hunsinger of VNLA.

The Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association (VNLA) recognized members of the 2015 Virginia General Assembly, Governor Terry McAuliffe, and his entire cabinet with a donation of native trees to the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Living Legacy Tree Planting Project.  The trees will be dedicated at an April 20 ceremony at the Historic Montpelier Train Station, located on the grounds of James Madison’s Montpelier near Orange, Virginia, at 1:00 p.m.

Brad Copenhaver from Virginia Agribusiness Council, Brent Hunsinger of VNLA, and Delegate Ed Scott.

Brad Copenhaver from Virginia Agribusiness Council, Brent Hunsinger of VNLA, and Delegate Ed Scott.

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s Living Legacy Tree Planting Project is an effort to honor the 620,000 fallen soldiers of the Civil War by planting one tree for each who died during this country’s most defining moment.  In doing so, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s Living Legacy Tree Project will become a National Memorial for the Civil War Fallen.  VNLA members thought it fitting to honor Virginia’s legislators and staff for their careful decision-making on topics affecting Virginia residents and the state’s green industry with a donation that not only beautifies, but pays homage to the ultimate sacrifice made by thousands who came before them.

Brent Hunsinger of VNLA presents tree to Secretary Ward.

Brent Hunsinger of VNLA presents tree to Secretary Ward.

Honorees that will be attending the ceremony include Commonwealth of Virginia Senator Emmett Hanger Jr., Commonwealth of Virginia Delegate Edward T. Scott, Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward, and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore.  “The VNLA is comprised of hundreds of growers, garden centers and landscape professionals, all who want to show support and appreciation for the steadfast work of the General Assembly and staff who keep our state progressing forward,” VNLA President, Sonya Lepper Westervelt, said. “We view the General Assembly as Virginia’s ‘root system’ supporting the Commonwealth and her residents. Similar to the Living Legacy trees, the legislative seeds planted during the 2015 Regular Session will continue to grow in impact and allow future generations to thrive.”

Brent Hunsinger of VNLA presents tree to Senator Hanger.

Brent Hunsinger of VNLA presents tree to Senator Hanger.

Trees planted as part of the Living Legacy Project will eventually stretch along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, a 180-mile swath of land that runs from Gettysburg, PA to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA.  It was upon the battlefields within this region that many of the soldiers who fought and died over 150 years ago.  Upon completion, the Living Legacy Tree Project will create the first 180-mile planned landscape in the world.  For more information on the Living Legacy Project, visit

Canal Quarters Lockhouse Allow Visitors to Spend the Night in History

Tucked along the C&O Canal are over twenty stone structures that pay testament to the canal era, when boat horns would sound and lock keepers would scamper from the beds to open the locks. Today, visitors are invited to stay in the lockhouses and experience the life of a lock keeper – although with no boats to lock through, guests can enjoy their days hiking or biking, and their nights by a campfire.

Lockhouse 6 is perched along Lock 6 in Brookmont, MD, at mile marker 5.4

Lockhouse 6 is perched along Lock 6 in Brookmont, MD, at mile marker 5.4

The Canal Quarters program, a partnership between the C&O Canal Trust and the C&O Canal National Historical Park, is an innovative, award-winning program that restored six lockhouses within the Park to provide overnight interpretive experiences for guests. Each has been furnished to depict and interpret a different time period from the 1830s to the 1950s, and a stay in all six lockhouses will allow visitors to trace the history of the Canal in an interactive way.


Lockhouse 10, in Cabin John, MD, features a screened-in porch and is nestled in the trees above the canal and towpath.

Lockhouse 22 near Potomac reflects the 1830s-40s and tells of the engineering marvels that created the canal, locks, and aqueducts, while Lockhouse 28 at Point of Rocks relives the 1830s race to the west between the C&O Canal and the B&O Railroad. Lockhouse 25 is nestled in the sleepy town of Edwards Ferry and interprets the movements of Union and Confederate troops across the Potomac River during the Civil War. All three of these lockhouses are “rustic” – with no electricity or running water, guests really have an authentic experience of stepping back in time and living without the amenities we are so accustomed to today.

The upper floor of Lockhouse 25 in Poolesville, MD showcases period beds and reproduction trundles.

Lockhouse 49 is located near Clear Spring and tells the story of the families and merchants who lived in the Four Locks community during the Canal’s heyday in the 1920s. This lockhouse offers electricity. Cabin John’s Lockhouse 10 houses antiques from the Civilian Conservation Corps, when men in that 1930s program lived in nearby camps and worked to preserve the canal, and Lockhouse 6 relates Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas’s 184.5 mile hike of the entire canal in order to help preserve it in the 1950s. The two most modern lockhouses do feature electricity and running water. Of particular note are the antique stove and refrigerator from the 1930s in Lockhouse 10.

The 1930s Westinghouse stove and ice chest are the highlights of Lockhouse 10’s kitchen.

The 1930s Westinghouse stove and ice chest are the highlights of Lockhouse 10’s kitchen.

No matter which lockhouse visitors choose, their guest book comments tell of their wonderful adventures. Frequent are stories from children who start out their entry saying how much they were dreading being away from technology all weekend, and end with joyous accounts of hikes in the woods, the discovery of frogs, the family games of dominos and Lincoln Logs, and the enchantment of living in the forest, away from it all. Each lockhouse can sleep up to eight people, and all have been the site of numerous birthday and anniversary parties, holiday celebrations, family reunions – and even a few weddings!

A group of volunteers called our Quartermasters are an integral part of the program – they are the caretakers of the lockhouses, helping guests and doing maintenance as needed. It costs between $100-$150 a night to reserve a lockhouse, depending on which one you select. All proceeds from the program go right back into the continued preservation and maintenance of the lockhouses.

You can reserve your lockhouse stay by visiting the C&O Canal Trust’s website at

Civil War Trust Park Day

Every year since 1996, history enthusiasts, preservationists, and other community volunteers have gathered at historic battlefield sites across the country for the Civil War Trust’s Park Day. This annual event, scheduled for Saturday, March 28th, is an effort to help keep our nation’s heritage not only preserved, but pristine. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, the 180 mile swath of land that runs from Gettysburg, PA to Charlottesville, VA has the largest concentration of Civil War battlefields in the country. As such, there are multiple opportunities for individuals to take on maintenance projects large and small to support the particular needs of each participating site.   We encourage you to find a location or opportunity that works for you and join others on that day to make a difference. Here is a listing of confirmed activities within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.


Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Join volunteers from the Civil War Trust and Gettysburg National Military Park cutting brush on the slopes of Little Round Top to reveal historic terrain and original breastworks.  Space is limited and advance registration is required.  Contact: Jo Sanders at Gettysburg NMP via phone at 717-334-1124 x3351 or by email at: For more information, visit


As our nation commemorates the final year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, volunteers across the country have another opportunity to answer their country’s call to service. The Park Day project at Monocacy National Battlefield will focus on removing trash from an area that has been previously inaccessible. It promises to be fun work that will greatly assist your local National Park. Please dress appropriately for field work. Event registration will be from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the visitor center. Volunteers must attend the safety briefing at 9:00 a.m. to participate. Pre-registration is encouraged; please call 301-662-3515. For more information, please visit


Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Forty volunteers are needed to assist with the spring cleanup of the Antietam National Cemetery and the Mumma family cemetery. To sign up please contact project coordinator, Rick Schriever at 301-432-6035. Thirty volunteers are also needed to assist with preparing the Rohrback Group Campground for the camping season. To sign up please contact project coordinator, Debbie Cohen at 301-432-2243. Both projects will work from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. Volunteers should wear proper footwear and dress appropriately for the weather. For more information, visit


Volunteers are needed to help mulch and clear trails. Work will be done on the historic 1862 battlefields of the Park. The park will supply wheel barrows, pitch forks, loppers & steel rake but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves. The Park Service will supply extra gloves if needed for this 4-5 hour work day. For more information, visit


At Ball’s Bluff Battlefield projects include mulching, removal of fallen branches, trash pickup, and many other things. Please bring weather appropriate clothing, gloves, water, and rakes and shovels if you can. And wear clothing that can get dirty, and is appropriate for the weather.

Light snacks will be provided. For more information, call 703-779-9372 or e-mail For more information, visit



Photo Courtesy of the Civil War Trust


Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield is organizing a 2015 Park Day activity on CWT’s Cedar Mountain Battlefield Property. Volunteers are needed to take on a variety of tasks including clearing trash & debris, improving interpretive trails, cleaning markers, and cutting back intrusive brush and fallen trees. They may also work on the split-rail fence on the battlefield. Volunteers are encouraged to bring gloves, rakes, shovels, weed whackers, loppers, etc. and wear appropriate work clothing. Light food and drinks (snacks, desserts) will be provided. For more information, visit


The Brandy Station Foundation has identified two projects: to clean up and maintain the trail leading to Kelly’s Ford on BSF owned property along the Rappahannock River at Kelly’s Ford. This trail is used by visitors to access the historic ford, one of the most heavily used during the Civil War; cleanup of the one of the storage areas on the Graffiti House property and a corner of the property along the railroad tracks at Brandy Station. Everyone is invited to join in. it is a great way to see historic areas, make new friends, and improve historic areas. Volunteers will be welcomed at the Graffiti House, 19484 Brandy Road, Brandy Station, Virginia, and assigned work at 9:00 AM. They should bring their own work gloves, hats and sturdy shoes. Please bring tools helpful in cutting and removing brush, downed trees and weeds. BSF will provide water, snacks and Park Day T-shirts or patches (while they last). Please sign up in advance with BSF Park Day coordinator Gary Wilson at 540-547-4106. This will help work assignments which match the abilities and interests of volunteers and get needed tools lined up. For more info, visit


Volunteers are encouraged to join the staff at Bristoe Station Battlefield for a fun and rewarding day of work at Bristoe Battlefield. Projects will include litter pick up, cleaning cemeteries and trail maintenance throughout the 133-acre park. Wear sturdy work shoes, bring gloves and remember sunscreen. Tools and snacks will be provided. For more information, call 703-366-3049


Activities here will include trash and debris pickup, raking leaves, painting, cleaning up pulloff and monument areas. Volunteers should meet at the Saunders Field shelter on the Wilderness Battlefield, on Rt 20 in Orange County at 9:00 a.m. Bring your own gloves and safety vests if you already own some. For more information, visit



This 18th annual Park Day volunteer event, which takes place at more than 98 historic sites nationwide, is sponsored by the Civil War Trust, HistoryTM and Take Pride in America. For a full list of locations, visit

Explore Women’s History Month in the Journey Through Hallowed Ground

As Women’s History Month is celebrated each March, one region in the country is highlighting the significant contributions women have made throughout the nation’s history and encouraging individuals to visit specific sites to learn more.  The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, known as the region Where America Happened™, contains more history than any other in the nation and includes: National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic districts, nine Presidential sites, 13 National Park units, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 historic main street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, French-Indian War, War of 1812 and the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation.

This 180-mile long, 75-mile wide swath of land that stretches from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, contains a rich collection of sites that chronicle important contributions women have made throughout history.  Here are a few suggestions that will help you decide to Take the Journey™.

Photo by Destination Gettysburg

Statue of Elizabeth Thorn. Photo by Destination Gettysburg

While most envision men and boys marching the battlefield in Gettysburg, PA, many of the town’s heroes are actually women. After the epic battle in 1863, women were often the only ones to tend to the wounded and take charge in cleaning up the town. One such woman is Elizabeth Thorn. Her husband Peter was the caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery, and was off fighting in another part of the country. At the urging of the community, Elizabeth who was six months pregnant and the mother of three children, dug over one hundred graves in the rocky soil in the extreme July heat.  Today, a statue of Elizabeth Thorn stands outside the cemetery gatehouse as part of the Gettysburg Civil War Women’s Memorial.  For more information, visit

Continuing down Route 15, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, visitors should stop by the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, MD.  This site promotes the life and legacy of the Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, the first native-born saint from the United States.  Seton, who lived, worked, died, and is now buried here, founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s.  Her enduring legacy now includes hundreds of schools, social service centers, and hospitals throughout the world.  She was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975 in St. Peter’s Square.  Check out for additional details.

Clara Barton Memorial at Antietam

Clara Barton Memorial at Antietam

Near Sharpsburg, Maryland, a monument stands at Antietam National Battlefield to Clara Barton, one of the most honored women in American History.  Known as the “Angel of the Battlefield,” Barton brought supplies and nursing aid to the wounded at several Civil War battle sites, including Antietam, Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, Harpers Ferry, and others.  She later founded the American Red Cross in 1881 and led it for the next 23 years.  For more information, visit

First Ladies also left their mark within the region.  Jackie Kennedy’s style and grace epitomized Loudoun County’s horse country and its capital, Middleburg.  In the early 1960s, the Kennedy’s used Middleburg as an escape from Washington by leasing, and then building, their own country retreat.  In the 1990s, Jackie Kennedy Onassis often returned to spend fox-hunting weekends in the Middleburg countryside, which was filled with happy memories from her time as First Lady. Today, visitors can see memorabilia at the Red Fox Inn and other establishments the First Lady patronized, and the town’s public pavilion and garden are dedicated to Jackie.  For more great places to visit in the area, check out

Edna Lewis, born in Freetown, Virginia, inspired a generation of young African American chefs and ensured traditional Southern foods and preparations would live forever.  Before her culinary journey began, Lewis found work as a seamstress and copied Christian Dior dresses for Dorcas Avedon.  She made a dress for Marilyn Monroe and became well known for her African-inspired dresses.  Eventually, Lewis opened up Café Nicholson, a restaurant located in Manhattan’s East Side. She became a local legend and cooked for many celebrities such as Marlon Brando, Marlene Dietrich, Tennessee Williams, Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, Salvador Dali, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Truman Capote.  Known for her simple, but delicious Southern cooking, Lewis authored three seminal cookbooks and is lauded as one of the great women of American cooking. A new food festival, created in 2012, recognizes the culinary contributions the Orange County native has made.  Details can be found at

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

And finally, visitors should also make a point to stop at Ash Lawn-Highland in Charlottesville, Virginia.  This home of President James Monroe, and his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, served as the official residence of the former first family from 1799 to 1823.  Here, they regularly welcomed friends, neighbors, dignitaries, and other visitors with warm hospitality.  To learn more, visit

There are many other historic sites pertaining to notable women within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.  Maps, suggested itineraries, and other travel resources are available at or by calling 540-882-4929.

ADDENDUM:  For a wonderful and in-depth story about Elizabeth Thorn, check out Kate Kelly’s piece at

Experiencing Presidents’ Day In The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area

For some residents, Presidents’ Day is a recognized federal holiday, a day off of school or work. I can recall honoring the actual birthdays of President George Washington (Feb. 22) and President Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12). But the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971 moved the holiday to the third Monday in February and is intended to celebrate all those that have served as our nation’s top leader. Whether you have the day off or not, this is a great opportunity to connect with our shared American heritage. Right here in our region, there is a rich collection of presidential history. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, a 180-mile swath of land that stretches from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, is known as the region Where America Happened™. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area contains more history than any other in the nation and includes: National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic districts, nine Presidential homes, 13 National Parks, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 historic main street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, French-Indian War, War of 1812 and the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation.

Of course there are the traditional places where Washington slept, but many other presidents visited or lived within this historic region. For example, Gettysburg, PA, primarily known for the battle that took place there in 1863, is also home to the Eisenhower National Historic Site. The former home and farm of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower served the President as a weekend retreat and a meeting place for world leaders. With its peaceful setting and view of South Mountain, it was a much-needed respite from Washington and a backdrop for efforts to reduce Cold War tensions. For more information, visit

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Nearby, tucked away in the Catoctin Mountain region of Maryland sits the presidential retreat known as Camp David. Essentially, every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has traversed to this retreat site while they were in office. Although it is closed off to visitors, individuals can visit Catoctin Mountain Park, where there is some interpretation of Shangri-La and its predecessor available at the Visitors Center. For more information, visit

Traveling down Route 15, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, visitors should also stop in Middleburg, Virginia. Considered the capital of Loudoun County’s horse country, President John F. and Mrs. Jackie Kennedy leased and then purchased a place in the quaint town as their own country retreat. In the 1990s, Jackie Kennedy Onassis often returned to spend fox-hunting weekends in the Middleburg countryside, which was filled with happy memories from her time as First Lady. Today, visitors can see memorabilia at the Red Fox Inn and other establishments visited by the first family. The town’s public pavilion and garden are dedicated to her. A great website to check out is

Montpelier, located near Orange, VA, was the lifelong home of James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution” and fourth President of the United States. The mansion core was built by Madison’s father circa 1760. The house has been newly restored to the way it looked when James and Dolley Madison returned from Washington in 1817, following Madison’s two terms as President. The 2,650-acre estate features the Madison mansion, 135 historic buildings, a steeplechase course, gardens, forests, the Gilmore Cabin, a farm, two galleries and an Education Center with permanent and changing exhibits, many archaeological sites and an Archaeology Laboratory. Information can be found at

In Charlottesville sits Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States and noted architect and inventor. Jefferson began construction on his “little mountain” home in 1769 and, after remodeling and enlarging the house, finally finished 40 years later in 1809. For more information, visit

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

Jefferson’s friend and neighbor James Monroe owned Ash Lawn-Highland, along with his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, from 1793 to 1826 and their official residence from 1799 to 1823. Ash Lawn-Highland is an historic house museum and 535-acre working farm of the former U.S. President and Revolutionary War veteran. Check out for more details.

Also in the area is Pine Knott, the country retreat of Theodore and Edith Roosevelt and their children from 1905 to 1908 during his term as President. This rural retreat from the “city environment” of Washington, D.C. provided a sanctuary for the Roosevelt family where they could hike, observe birds and wildlife, hunt, ride and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The building had no plumbing, toilet, heat, or electricity or other facilities for the family, with a minimum of rustic comfortable furniture. For more information, check out

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

In addition to the sites listed above, several other presidents visited towns and locations throughout the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. For example, President Lincoln’s footsteps can be traced to several locations. After the Battle of Antietam, he visited the site to meet with Union generals as well as wounded soldiers. During that trip, he stopped in other places such as Harpers Ferry, WV and Frederick, MD, where he gave remarks to citizens gathered on the street. And a year later, he gave a short address in Gettysburg that would is recited today by many around the world. Travelers interested in getting the presidential experience will find maps, suggested itineraries, and other travel resources are available at

African American History along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area contains a rich collection of historic destinations that chronicle the African American experience from slavery to civil rights.  In addition to the plethora of Civil War battlefields (including Gettysburg, Manassas, Harpers Ferry, Antietam, Monocacy, and The Wilderness) that interpret the issue of slavery to varying degrees, here are a few additional suggestions that will help you decide to Take the Journey.

Antietam National Battlefield, located in Washington County, Maryland, is a must for visitors interested in learning more about the Emancipation Proclamation.  The Union victory at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, led President Abraham Lincoln to release the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation five days later.  The Emancipation Proclamation substantially altered the character of the war from Restoration of the Union alone, to freedom for all. As Historian Bruce Catton wrote, “It finally determined that the Civil War was not merely a war for reunion but also a war to end human slavery; turned it from a family scrap into an incalculable struggle for human freedom.”  For more information visit,

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Another not to miss place to visit within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area is Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.  The historic quaint town has played a prominent role in the Civil Rights movement, starting with John Brown’s uprising there in 1859.  On May 30, 1881, abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave an address on John Brown on the campus of Storer College, stating “If John Brown did not end the war that ended slavery, he did at least begin the war that ended slavery. If we look over the dates, places and men, for which this honor is claimed, we shall find that not Carolina, but Virginia- not Fort Sumpter, but Harper’s Ferry and the arsenal- not Col. Anderson, but John Brown, began the war that ended American slavery and made this a free Republic.”  Harpers Ferry continued to be at the center of the African American experience in the early Twentieth Century.  The Niagara Movement convened there in August 1906 with leaders such as WEB Dubois and others, which became the precursor of the NAACP.  For more information, visit

The Historic Preservation Society of Gettysburg – Adams County (HGAC) leads Underground Railroad tours at the site of McAllister’s Mill, adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park along the Baltimore Pike. The site, now a ruin with foundations and waterways still visible, was most probably one of the first stops made in Adams County by people seeking freedom on their flight north from slavery. About two miles south of Gettysburg and six miles north of the Mason-Dixon Line, McAllister’s Mill provided shelter to hundreds of freedom seekers during the years leading up to the Civil War. After receiving assistance at the late 18th century grist mill, the formerly enslaved were guided north about 10 miles into Upper Adams County to the homes of free African Americans and Quaker Abolitionists, forming critical links in one of the earliest regional networks of the Underground Railroad in the nation.  In 2011, the McAllister Mill site was accepted into the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, a nationwide collection of sites that have a verifiable association to the Underground Railroad.  To make arrangements for one of the tours, which start in May, call McAllister Mill Tours at (717) 659-8827.  For more information on the Network to Freedom, consult the NPS website at

Two historic sites in Frederick, Maryland highlight the discourse that occurred over the issue of slavery.  At Kemp Hall, members of the state’s legislature hotly debated the issue as they met to decide whether to secede from the union.  Also, the Taney House interprets a property owned by Roger Brooke Taney, the fifth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Taney was mainly known for his affiliation with the Dred Scott decision.  To get started, check out

Continuing down Route 15, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, visitors should stop by Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, Virginia.  Oatlands was formed in 1798 from 3,408 acres of prime Loudoun County farmland by a young bachelor named George Carter, a descendant of one of Virginia’s first families.  Basing his plantation economy on wheat production, Carter eventually branched out to grow other small grains; and in 1801 he began calling his plantation “Oatlands.”  In 1804 Carter began building a classic Federal-style mansion near the southern boundary of his property. As his farm took hold and his financial position strengthened, he added a terraced garden and numerous outbuildings to the property, including a propagation greenhouse, a smokehouse, and a three-story bank barn.  Just prior to the Civil War Oatlands housed the largest slave population in Loudoun County, numbering 128 people.  On January 5th, the historic site will host a program that includes a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, historical commentary and scene painting from area historians and educators, a lantern-light walk around Oatlands with slave remembrance commentary and hymns, and concluding with discussion and input from those in attendance on the anniversary.  For more information, visit

Significant African American sites in Prince William County include Lucasville School, a one-room schoolhouse built solely for African American children; the Ben Lomond Historic Site, which has one of the few remaining public slave quarters in Northern Virginia; and the Jennie Dean School memorial, highlighting a school founded by a former slave and was one of the only sources of higher education for African Americans in Northern Virginia.  Details are available at

Photo by Shuan Butcher. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Shuan Butcher. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

The arc of citizenship, from 18th Century Slavery through the Jim Crow Era, can also be found at Montpelier, the former home of President James and Dolley Madison.  Understanding daily life at Montpelier during the 18th and early 19th centuries must include an understanding of the contributions and sacrifices of the enslaved community who were an integral and intimate part of Montpelier life.  The post-emancipation era at Montpelier has come to be defined by George Gilmore and his family. Born into slavery at Montpelier, Gilmore and his wife and children were living as a freed family near the property by December 1865. The Gilmore family eventually purchased a plot of land from Dr. James Ambrose Madison and established a small, independent farm. They resided in a log cabin that would be home to at least three generations of Gilmores.  And finally, the Montpelier Train Station houses a permanent exhibit entitled In the Time of Segregation.  Interpretive panels found in and outside the depot address the local African-American community who lived in this area throughout the period of segregation, the codification of laws which dictated that blacks and whites be given “separate but equal” accommodation.  Like other southern railway stations of the early twentieth century, the station’s depot building was designed to comply with state racial segregation laws. White and black passengers at the depot were required to use separate waiting rooms and ticket windows. During the same era, postal services at the depot were integrated because of federal laws that forbade racial segregation in U.S. post offices. By the end of the 1950s, all of the services at the Montpelier Train depot had become fully integrated. To learn more, visit

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center preserves the rich heritage and legacy of the African American community of Charlottesville-Albemarle, Virginia. Through inter-generational offerings, the Center will promote a greater appreciation for and understanding of, the contributions of peoples of color locally, nationally, and globally.  The Heritage Center is located in the heart of the African American community, its main constituency. In the early 1960s, the City of Charlottesville undertook an urban renewal project that ruptured the core of the African American community.  For more information, visit

Honoring Their Paths

There are many other historic sites pertaining to the African American experience, Civil War, freedom, or emancipation throughout the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. Additional information, including a county by county listing of sites, can be found in the book Honoring Their Paths: African American Contributions Along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, written by Deborah A. Lee and published in 2009.  To purchase a copy, or to request maps, suggested itineraries, and other information, visit

A Historic Moment for the National Park Service

On April 9, 1933, newly inaugurated President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to take a day trip to Shenandoah National Park to inspect a fishing lodge on the Rapidan River that had been donated to the park by his predecessor, President Herbert Hoover, to see if he wanted to use the building as his retreat.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

FDR invited Horace Albright, the director of the National Park Service, to ride along, and on the return trip, Albright took the opportunity to describe the Civil War battles at Manassas on the land where the fighting had taken place.  The land was in private ownership at the time, and as the story went, they stopped at Stone House, located at the intersection of Routes 211 and 234.  Albright made the pitch to have battlefields administered by the War Department, as well as a number of other historic sites administered by the Department of Agriculture and other agencies, transferred to the National Park Service.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

When they returned to Washington, FDR asked Albright to put his money where his mouth was and to prepare a proposal along the lines of what he had suggested at Stone House.  Albright made his proposal, and within days, the president issued two executive orders transferring more than 20 military parks, historic battlefields, and monuments to the Park Service, as well as more than a dozen non-military historic sites. Among them were the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore and of the District of Columbia’s most hallowed places, including the Lincoln Memorial, the other monuments on the National Mall, and Rock Creek Park.  In all, over 50 parks, monuments, and historic sites came under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Today, many of the centerpieces in the “Journey Through Hallowed Ground,” administered by the National Park Service, as a result of these executive orders, have created a wonderful partnership that has and will continue to benefit all Americans.

Wine Tourism Conference Comes to Loudoun

Virginia’s wine history began more than four centuries ago and now, wine industry leaders get to share their storied past and current success with wine tourism professionals from around the world.

Located in the heart of The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, Loudoun County will welcome hundreds of wine tourism officials from across the world in November as it hosts the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference.

Boxwood Winery 3 Secured by Visit Loudoun, the conference will make its East Coast debut at Lansdowne Resort in DC’s Wine Country Nov. 18-20. Previous conferences have been held on the West Coast in premier wine destinations like Napa, Sonoma, CA and Portland, OR.

The Wine Tourism Conference is organized by Zephyr Adventures and is expected to attract wine tourism professionals from across the world. Open to winery owners, journalists, wine associations, wine destination marketing organizations and tour operators, the conference serves as a networking forum and provides extensive educational opportunities for this growing industry.

Visit Loudoun worked closely with Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Wine Marketing Office to bring this to the Commonwealth and this conference is just another milestone as the Virginia wine industry continues to thrive. Hosting the conference helps position Virginia as a must-visit wine destination and gives our winemakers a chance to showcase their award-winning wines to leaders in the wine industry.

Virginia’s wine history began more than four centuries ago when the Jamestown settlers signed a law that required every male settler to plant and tend at least 10 grape vines. The settlers hoped that Virginia would become a major source of wine for the British Empire. Later, Thomas Jefferson cultivated European grapes for more than 30 years, but his Monticello vineyards never produced a single bottle of wine.

In the 1820s, however, the wine industry began to thrive and in 1873 a Virginia Norton was named one of the best red wines in the nation at the Vienna World’s Fair. Unfortunately, the wine industry’s success was short lived as prohibition put a halt on production.

Sunset Hills 1-credit Sunset HillsWhile the industry took some time to bounce back following prohibition, today it is thriving. With 250 wineries across Virginia, the wine industry is not only driving tourism in the state, but providing jobs and preserving thousands of acres of farmland.

In Loudoun, the wine industry began in 1984 when Lew Parker of Willowcroft Farm Vineyards established the county’s first winery. Parker planted his first grapes in 1981 on the slopes of his farm, which, in the 1800s, was successfully planted with orchards. The soil and temperate climate in the area, which is just about 25 miles from the nation’s capital, proved fruitful for winemaking and soon others were transforming the farmland into rows of lush vineyards.

With more than 40 wineries, Loudoun is one of the premier wine regions along the East Coast and leading the way in Virginia. Loudoun’s vineyards are nestled between winding roads, rolling countryside, horse farms and historic estates. Our boutique wineries house tasting rooms in everything from rustic barns and winemaker’s homes to intimate cellars & architecturally stunning facilities.

Loudoun’s wine industry will continue to grow and visitors can constantly find new experiences and opportunities that range from tastings and tours to hands-on winemaking classes and seminars with winemakers.

BluemontviewWe invite you to explore our wine region while traveling through the Journey Through Hallowed Ground; take a moment to relax, sip and enjoy the stunning views in this national scenic byway.

For more information on Loudoun, visit