Author Archives: Shuan Butcher

Shuan Butcher

About Shuan Butcher

Shuan Butcher has more than 15 years of management experience in the nonprofit and government sector. He most recently served as executive director of the Frederick Arts Council in Frederick, Maryland. His efforts there helped garner state and national recognition for the city's thriving arts community. In addition, he has worked for a national youth civic engagement initiative, a historic state park in West Virginia, and other organizations. Butcher is a graduate of West Virginia University and earned a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership from Mountain State University. He has written or published two booklets as well as numerous articles for local, state, and national publications. He serves on the board of the Tourism Council of Frederick County and the Frederick County Business Development Advisory Council.

Summer Camp Allows Students to “Take the Journey”



EXTREME-Harpers-FerryExtreme Journey, the award-winning summer day camp organized by the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, uses multimedia, local experts, and the region’s own historic resources to provide middle school students a chance to experience the nation’s 38th National Heritage Area like never before. A successful camp took place last month in Albemarle County and the first of three Loudoun sessions is wrapping up this Friday with the premiere of the camper’s vodcasts. The second camp has just begun and the third camp begins next week (the specific camp dates are July 7-18, July 14-25, and July 21-August 1). The first and third camps take place place at Smart’s Mill Middle School while the second camp is held at Harper Park Middle School. Due to popular demand, the third camp was added this summer and all three camps sold out with a waiting list before they began.

EXTREME-Journey-RangerNow in its ninth year, the Extreme Journey takes students on hiking, biking, and canoeing trips through our National Parks, historic sites and scenic rivers between Gettysburg and Monticello. After being recruited as agents in the “Journey Intelligence Agency, students spend time with National Park Service Rangers, expert historians, archaeologists, naturalists and educators to unlock the stories and lessons of leadership that are demonstrated throughout this region. They visit many of the nation’s most historical heritage sites, assuming the identities of those who actually lived there, and are faced with the same set of circumstances as they “walk in their boots” to better understand the choices and decisions of those who forged this nation.

The students record their trials, triumphs and lessons of leadership learned from the pre-Revolutionary period through the Civil War, using digital cameras to create a video documentary, or “vodcast,” of “What Leadership Means to Me.” The vodcasts are then shared on the JTHG Partnership website, Facebook, and YouTube, creating a “viral” effect of the student’s new found knowledge and appreciation of the nation’s heritage. The vodcasts will be premiered at an event open to the public upon completion of the camp.

EXTREME-Journey-Canoe1

“We transform traditional text-book learning into a truly stimulating experience that exists only outside the confines of the classroom,” said Cate Magennis Wyatt, founder and president of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership. “Coupling the latest technology with creative curriculums, on-site visits, expert accounts, with the region’s breathtaking landscapes, Extreme Journey will leave students riveted by the past and ready to discover the future.”

To find out more details about the camp, to view a video about this program, or to see examples of the work of previous secret agents, visit www.hallowedground.org/Education/Camps.

400 Years of History on One Tank of Gas



Photos by Kenneth Garrett.  © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photos by Kenneth Garrett. © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

With gas prices where they are, families may be wondering what to do this summer or where to travel. There is a place where travelers can get 400 years of unparalleled American history and heritage on a single tank of gas- that is the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. This 180 mile swath of land that runs from Gettysburg, PA to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA includes nine Presidential homes, 13 National Parks, the largest single collection of Civil War sites in the nation, 30 historic Main Street communities to stay and dine in, many of the country’s best wineries and restaurants to enjoy, and to top it off, a National Scenic Byway with breadth taking landscapes, rivers and trails nearby to explore. And it’s all within a short drive from Washington, DC, Baltimore MD, Philadelphia, PA, Harrisburg, PA, and Richmond, VA.

Known as Where America Happened™, this region holds more American history than any other in the nation and can be enjoyed on just one tank of gas. As fuel prices rise and air travel becomes more unwieldy, now more than ever is the time to Take the Journey™ to discover some of the nation’s most picturesque landscapes and explore 400 years of American heritage.

Photos by Kenneth Garrett.  © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photos by Kenneth Garrett. © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Visitors can discover the stories of Abraham Lincoln and Gettysburg, PA; Civil Rights and Harpers Ferry, WV; historic downtowns like Frederick, MD and Leesburg, VA; the Iroquois Indians and the Potomac River; the inspiration of James Madison and the U.S. Constitution at Montpelier; the genius of Thomas Jefferson and Monticello; as well as locally grown foods, a perfectly aged barrel of Virginia grapes and so much more.

“There are few things that match the joy of discovery when exploring the unmatched history and heritage found in this spectacular National Heritage Area,” said Cate Magennis Wyatt, president and founder of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership. “The Sesquicentennial Commemorations of the American Civil war are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and make it the perfect time walk the battlefields; explore the exceptional historic downtowns; and taste the vibrancy of the farms and vineyards. It’s only by visiting these remarkable places, that the stories of the heroic men and women who lived here during the Civil War become real.”

Photos by Kenneth Garrett.  © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photos by Kenneth Garrett. © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area contains the single largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation, including the beginning, middle and end of the Civil War. Sites include: Aldie, Antietam, Appomattox Court House, Ball’s Bluff, Brandy Station, Bristoe Station, Cedar Mountain, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Harpers Ferry, Kelly’s Ford, Manassas, Middleburg, Rappahannock Station, Spotsylvania Court House, Thoroughfare Gap, Upperville, Wilderness and many others. In fact, July 2014 marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Monocacy, near Frederick, Maryland. Plan your itinerary, request a map, and get more travel information at www.hallowedground.org.

500 Trees to Be Dedicated to Civil War Fallen



In its continuing effort to appropriately commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership will host a Living Legacy Tree Planting Project ceremony, scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 29th at 2:30 p.m., at Oatlands Historic House and Gardens in Leesburg, Virginia. We are thrilled that the The Commandant’s Own, the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and the official Color Guard of the Marine Corps will be participating in the ceremony. The 60 members of this prestigious military group will perform as part of the ceremony, which is free and open to the public.

screenshot- 2014-06-09 at 2.09.52 PMThe United States Marine Corps Drum & Bugle Corps and the Official Color Guard of the Marine Corps are part of the Marine Corps Detachment attached to Marine Barracks Washington, also known as the “Oldest Post of the Corps.” These Marines have agreed to participate in the June 29th Ceremony to honor the over 500 fallen Civil War soldiers who will be commemorated with newly planted and dedicated trees along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, Rt. 15.  The Marine Corps Color Guard carries the official Battle Colors of the Marine Corps. The 54 streamers and silver bands displayed on the battle colors commemorate the military campaigns in which Marines have participated. They span the entire history of the nation, from the American Revolution to the present.

The June 29th Living Legacy Tree Project Planting Ceremony is scheduled the week of Independence Day and serves as a reminder to us of the sacrifice made by generations before.  This planting is part of the Living Legacy Tree Planting project, a sweeping and ambitious effort to plant or dedicate a tree for each of the more than 620,000 soldiers who died during the American Civil War and was launched by the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership to create an appropriate legacy for the Civil War Sesquicentennial. Each tree is geotagged to share the name of the soldier, where he was born, where he died and include the story of the soldier’s life.

These particular trees are being planted adjacent to Oatlands’ property along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground (JTHG) National Scenic Byway, which was designated by Congress as the 99th scenic byway in the country.  Oatlands is at the geographical center of the JTHG National Scenic Byway, is one of two National Trust for Historic Preservation sites within the corridor, and served as the site for the inaugural Living Legacy Tree Planting Project.

Oatlands

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

In addition to the musical interlude, remarks will be given by JTHG Partnership President Cate Magennis Wyatt, Ancestry.com Senior Executive Brock Bierman, and local elected officials. Students who have been researching the stories of the fallen soldiers will also be on hand to dedicate the trees that day.  Oatlands will be offering free admission to the mansion for anyone attending the ceremony, and welcomes visitors to join the opening of their Annual Art Show with a reception beginning at 5:30 in the Carriage House.

This will be the seventh planting ceremony, each one of which recognizes the individuals for whom the tree is planted.  Previous tree plantings have taken place in Leesburg, Virginia, Williamsport, Maryland, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and have included such dignitaries as National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, National Trust for Historic Preservation President & CEO Stephanie Meeks, former Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton, and others.  “This is one of the most beautiful and inspiring ideas I have ever seen – this notion of planting a living tree for each person that fell in the Civil War,” Meeks said.

As plantings continue, the Living Legacy Tree 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.  The JTHG National Scenic Byway, which crosses the Mason Dixon Line, serves as a link to each of the battlefields and connects over 30 historic communities, each of which was gravely impacted by the Civil War.  The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area holds the largest concentration of Civil War battlefield sites in the country, including the beginning of the War (Harpers Ferry and Manassas), the middle (Antietam and Gettysburg) and the end, (Appomattox).

The Living Legacy Project will create a unified color palette that reminds visitors that they are, indeed, on hallowed ground.  Upon completion, this initiative will create the first 180 mile landscaped allee in the world and the only allee dedicated to honoring the most defining moment in American history.  A signature palette of seasonal trees and plantings, including redbuds, red oaks, red maple, and red cedar have been selected to represent the courage and valor of the individuals being honored with this project. A secondary palette, including canopy and understory trees, evergreens, shrubs, and ground coverings, will also feature red as a predominant color, with plantings including black gum trees, sassafras, and winterberry.  The native selection is appropriate to the diverse landscapes along this historic corridor, and remains sensitive to the local ecology, scenic views, and development patterns.   “The Living Legacy Tree Project touched me when I read about it in USA Today, such a noble tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Michael A. Dirr, Ph.D, a horticulturist, author, and one of the leading experts on horticulture.  “How could anyone not want to contribute to such a movement? 620,000 trees may seem daunting but the cause is worthy and achievable.”

It’s amazing the support we have received to accomplish this particular planting.  Without companies like Ancestry.com, Asplundh Tree Co, Capital Party Rentals, Clem’s Garage, Design Build Construction, Dominion, Don’s Johns, Enterprise, ESRI, Hart Tree Preservation, Jackson Nursery, Lee Highway Nursery, Lowe Products Company, Inc., Oatlands Historic House & Gardens, Poly Processing, Ratcliff Masonry, Ryder, Saunders Nursery, Virginia News Group, Winchester Equipment, and others, this planting wouldn’t be taking place.  This is something everyone can get behind.  Therefor, we hope other businesses, schools, community groups, and individuals will contribute to this project.  In addition, the JTHG Partnership is seeking $100 contributions to support and plant each tree.  Donors may select a soldier to honor, as the trees will be geo-tagged to allow Smart Phone users to learn the story of the soldier, providing a strong educational component to engage interest in the region’s historical heritage and literally bringing the tree to life.  For more information, check out the Living Legacy Project’s dedicated website at www.hallowedgroundtrees.org.

The Economic Impact of Tourism in the Region



NTTW14_V_4CThe first full week of May is annually recognized as National Travel and Tourism Week, a tradition first celebrated in 1984, established by a Congressional joint resolution passed in 1983.

Within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, a 180-mile long, 75-mile swath of land stretching from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia that contains a vibrant natural, historical, and cultural landscape, there is much to celebrate this week.

Tourism is, indeed, one of the largest industries in this four-state, 15 county region that was designated by Congress as the 38th National Heritage Area in this country. In fact, tourism is a $4 billion dollar industry in the region, that is Billion with a B. In other words, for illustration purposes, it generates $4,000,000,000 (most of us don’t see this many zeros) for our regional economy, according to 2012 data. In fact, tourism within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area employs nearly 50,000 employees, with over $1.3 Billion in tourism- related employment income. And just as important, this industry contributes $371 million dollars in state and local government revenue to support important public services.

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

And there’s plenty of reasons why tourism plays an important role here. With 400 years of European, American and African-American heritage, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground is a National Heritage Area, visitors can explore 400 years of our history on just one tank of gas. Heritage tourism traditionally provides the most beneficial value and we have plenty of that. Known as the region Where America Happened™, this region is home to National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic districts, nine Presidential sites, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, sites from the Revolutionary War, French-Indian War, War of 1812, and the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation.

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

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

In addition, this is a Land of Beauty, with 13 National Parks, a hundred scenic waterways, and over 100 wineries, farms, and orchards with bucolic countryside, valleys, and mountain ranges to explore. Visitors can hike or bike some of the top trails in the country, canoe a number of the rivers, stop at any number of pick your own orchards or farms, and so much more.

And for cultural enthusiasts, there is plenty of culinary dining destinations, craft breweries, and distilleries to fulfill any quench. Not to mention the shopping and arts amenities offered in the over 30 Historic Main Street communities up and down this corridor. And connecting all of these locations is an artery known as the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, the 99th such road designated as such by the Department of Transportation.

So as we pause to reflect, or celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, let us remember how travel also promotes physical and physiological health and improves workplace productivity. In 2013, the average U.S. employee skipped 3.2 days of paid time off. According to a recent study, if workers used all of their available paid time off, the U.S. economy would gain $160 billion in additional annual business sales, which would support 1.2 million new jobs and generate $21 billion in new annual tax revenues. If employees would take just one additional day of earned leave each year, it would add $73 billion annually to the U.S. GDP.

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

“It is now empirical, rather than just anecdotal, that travel is a key driver for improving individual health and strengthening our businesses and economy,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the umbrella organization representing the U.S. travel industry. “Travel holds measurable benefits for our minds, bodies, relationships, businesses and economy. Travel should be celebrated every day.”

The fifteen counties/communities, in whole or in part, that make up the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area include: Adams County, PA; Frederick, Carroll, and Washington Counties in Maryland; Harpers Ferrry, WV; and Loudoun, Fauquier, Culpeper, Prince William, Greene, Madison, Rapphannock, Spotsylvania, Orange, and Albemarle Counties in Virginia. To request a map, view suggested travel itineraries, or get more information, visit www.hallowedground.org.

The Economic Impact of our National Parks



Photo by KG

Photo by Kenneth Garrett | © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide area stretching from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, lies thirteen of the country’s four hundred national parks.

These national parks provide a significant economic impact to the local region, by serving as a job provider and income generator, as well as providing a sturdy tax base.  According to a recently released report, the 13 national parks within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area generated more than $370 million in non-local visitor spending.  The parks also accounted for 5,042 jobs, delivering more than $193 million in wage and salary income for the area.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett | © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett | © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

The 2012 National Park Visitor Spending Effects Study, conducted by C. Thomas, C. Huber, and L. Koontz, examines the economic benefits to local communities by visitors to national parks across the nation.  The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area saw an increase across the board, in visitation, spending, and jobs.  The number of visitors, for example increased from 9.2 million to over 10 million in 2012.

“The 13 national parks within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area not only contribute significantly to our region’s rich historic, natural, and cultural landscape,” said Cate Magennis Wyatt, president of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership,” but are significant economic engines within our communities.”  The list of parks include Antietam National Battlefield, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, Catoctin Mountain Park, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park, Eisenhower National Historic Site, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Gettysburg National Military Park, Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, Manassas National Battlefield, Monocacy National Battlefield, Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, and Shenandoah National Park. Visitors often require overnight lodging, meals, gasoline, and often purchase souvenirs when visiting national parks, all of which benefit the local economies.

Known as the region Where America Happened™, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area contains more history than any other region in the nation.  In addition to the 13 National Park units, visitors can also explore National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic districts, nine Presidential homes, 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.  For more information, visit www.HallowedGround.org.

News Story

Top 2013 News Stories



As a new year begins, we want to take a minute and reflect on the past year.  2013 was a fabulous year for the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, which can be reflected in the media coverage we received throughout the year.  We thank our wonderful media partners, including the numerous local media outlets throughout our 15 county region that covered our events and projects throughout the year.  I have compiled a Top 10 list of the best news stories for 2013, highlighting an article or two for each of our major projects and initiatives, including our educational programs, the Living Legacy Tree Project, our National Heritage Area, the Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) Program, and more.  These articles provide a great overview of the respective efforts.

Educational Programs

1.  Daily Progress, Oct. 23

2.  NPS Sentinel, Spring 2013

Living Legacy Tree Project

3.  USA Today, December 21

4.  TCIA Magazine, Sept. 2013

5.  Landscape Architecture Magazine, March 2013

Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area

6.  US FrontLine, June 20

7.  The Stamp Pad, Summer 2013

8.  Park Advocate, November 19

Regional History

9.  Black Meetings & Travel, January 18

Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) Program

10.  The Central Virginian, June 20

In addition to the local newspaper articles, there were countless other articles, including write-ups in the Washington Post, bthere, Hallowed Ground Magazine, and Marine Corps Times.  There were television appearances on ABC27, NBC4, NewsChannel 8, Daytime TV, and an NBC29 story, as well as various radio station interviews (WTOP, WFMD, WITF, etc.).

In fact, here are two more honorable mentions that we have to share – thanks to Kate Kelly (Huffington Post) and the New York Times.

Huffington Post, October 1

New York Times, March 8

History Through Art



By Shuan Butcher, JTHG Director of Communications

Art is a powerful tool and has always been an important vehicle to capture history or reflect on history.  As we are in the midst of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, art is one means for commemorating this country’s most defining moment.  On such exhibit, entitled The Civil War and American Art, is currently on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City through September 2, 2013.  This exhibit, which first debuted at the Smithsonian Institution, examines how America’s artists represented the impact of the Civil War and its aftermath.  Whether it is Winslow Homer’s aesthetic power in conveying the intense emotions of the period in his paintings or Alexander Gardner’s battlefield photography that documents the gruesomeness of carnage and destruction, each artist’s work portrays the triumph and tragedy of the American experience during the 1860’s.

But you do not have to travel to New York City to see an art exhibit chronicling the American Civil War.  Within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, there are three art exhibits currently on display that explore this subject matter.  Here is a brief description of each:

The Gettysburg Collection: Rebecca Pearl Art ShowRebecca Pearl's Robert E. Lee
National Museum of Civil War Medicine

Through July 12, 2013

Based on the equestrian monuments located through the battlefields of Gettysburg National Military Park, nine original watercolor paintings will be the anchor pieces of the Rebecca Pearl Art Show. Additionally, eight landscape views of the battlefield will be on display.  This special exhibit is open to the public and Rebecca Pearl’s artwork will be available for purchase.  For more information, visit www.civilwarmed.org.

 


 

John Rogers Mail Call“Valley of the Shadow”
Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
Through July 28, 2013

With 23,110 casualties, the Battle of Antietam remains a day of great loss for America and stimulated a chain of events leading to the Emancipation Proclamation and the Battle of Gettysburg. This extensive exhibition brings together works of art, such as Eastman Johnson’s (American, 1824-1906) “Study for ‘The Wounded Drummer Boy'” on loan from the Brooklyn Museum and objects of material culture, such as weaponry, musical instruments and clothing, to tell the stories of the war, from the soldiers who fought in its battles to the women and children who remained at home. Loans from public and private collections and the museum’s collection will come together in our largest gallery, the Groh Gallery, to create a “museum within a museum” commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Gettysburg Campaign of 1863.  For more information, visit www.wcmfa.org

 


 

“Images of the Civil War”Antietam flag bearer by Susan Ruddick Bloom
Carroll Arts Center
Through August 6, 2013

The Civil War conjures sentiments on both sides, the issue of slavery, artillery, battles, the role of women and children, uniforms, portraits and more.  The 150th Anniversary of the Civil War is being honored in Carroll County with an exhibit by local artists entitled “Images of the Civil War.”  For more information, visit www.carrrollcountyartscouncil.org.

In addition to the art exhibits, there are other exhibitions worth checking out.  A new exhibit that just opened on June 16th, entitled Treasures of the Civil War: Legendary Leaders Who Shaped a War and a Nation, offers a rare glimpse into the personal and professional lives of 13 individuals who shaped a nation: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, George G. Meade, John Reynolds, George Pickett, Alexander Webb, William Tecumseh Sherman, George Custer, John Mosby, Frederick Douglass and Clara Barton.  This exhibit offers 94 historic items from seven different outstanding Civil War collections throughout the United States – all being exhibited together for the first time at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. Visitors can look at Lincoln’s face mask; Meade’s frock coat and slouch hat he wore at Gettysburg; Pickett’s spur; Grant’s sword for the Vicksburg victory; Reynolds’ kepi worn at Gettysburg; a lock of Lee’s hair and his horse Traveller’s mane; and an original copy of Douglass’ autobiography “The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass,” to name a few.  For more information, visit www.getttysburgfoundation.org.

Passport to Your National Parks® Program Expands in Local Region



passport_stamp_Blog_Master_Wordpress_inline_imageJourney Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area Launches Program at Several Travel Destinations

 National Trails Day took place on June 1 and Get Outdoors Day is scheduled for June 8th.  Both events provide a great excuse to explore the various natural, historic, and cultural assets here.  In addition to the 13 national parks located within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, travelers can now participate in the Passport to Your National Parks® Program at key historic sites and visitor centers within the region.

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At the organization’s annual conference in Gettysburg, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership launched an expansion of the Passport To Your National Parks® program to include dozens of additional sites within the National Heritage Area.  Since its inception in 1986, the Passport To Your National Parks® program has introduced millions of visitors to the National Park System and continues to promote visitation, education, and appreciation of America’s national treasures.  This popular program, administered through Eastern National, includes a passport book and online resources that lists all national parks in the United States.The Passport To Your National Parks® program is one of the most popular ways to preserve memories of visits to America’s national parks.  Visitors can get their complimentary Passport cancellations at each site they visit. The rubber- stamp ink markings record the name of the location and date of the visit.The program is already in existence at the 13 national parks located within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, including Antietam National Battlefield, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, Catoctin Mountain Park, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park, Eisenhower National Historic Site, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Gettysburg National Military Park, Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, Manassas National Battlefield, Monocacy National Battlefield, Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, and Shenandoah National Park.

However, the official visitor centers within the fifteen counties located within the region will now be able to stamp the passports, as well as key historic sites such as the David Wills House, National Museum of Civil War Medicine, Newcomer House, Oatlands Historic House and Gardens, Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre, Montpelier, Monticello, Ash Lawn-Highland, and others.  All of these locations will be included on a new map/brochure of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, which will include a panel on which to collect cancellation stamps.  For a full list of participating locations, visit www.hallowedground/passport.  The National Park Foundation has stated that most Americans are less than 100 miles from a national park experience.  Within this swath of land, we are fortunate to have 13 national parks within 180 miles… are you taking full advantage?

Historic Garden Week Activities Within The Journey



The bucolic countryside of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, with its magnificent landscapes, rich farm lands, and historic homes, will be on full display during Virginia Garden Week, an annual House & Garden Tour scheduled for April 20-27.  Every April, visitors are welcomed to more than 250 of Virginia’s most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks during “America’s Largest Open House.” This 8-day statewide event provides visitors a unique opportunity to see unforgettable gardens at the peak of Virginia’s springtime color, as well as beautiful houses sparkling with over 2,000 fabulous flower arrangements created by Garden Club of Virginia members. 

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Here is an overview of the tours taking place within The Journey:

Somerset Estates in Orange County (April 20)

Virginia Garden Week

“Where Tradition Meets Today” is the theme of this pastoral and picturesque house and garden tour.  Since the 18th century, the rolling countryside with gentle blue mountains in Virginia’s Piedmont near Somerset has attracted the establishment of impressive estates. Three of these historic mansions with their beautiful gardens will be on view, including Annandale, Rocklands and Frascati.  In addition, the tour will include a visit to Grelen Nursery, one of the largest retail nurseries in Virginia, featuring its new Farm Market and Garden Shop.  The future of development in and around Somerset has drawn major controversy to this tiny community during the past year. This Historic Garden Week tour, sponsored by the Dolley Madison Garden Club, offers a unique opportunity to visit private estates in the area, located less than two hours from Washington D.C., and understand why Somerset has become a focal point in the development/conservation debate in the Piedmont.

Morven and the Charlottesville Area (April 20-23)

Morven Park Virginia Garden WeekMorven, a three-story brick manor house built in the late-Georgian/Federal Style, dates to 1820. The land on which it sits was part of the original Carter family land grant and was known to Thomas Jefferson as, “Indian Camp.” The 7,378-acre estate was given to the University of Virginia Foundation by the late John Kluge. The 19th century ambience of the house remains even after 20th century additions and interior renovations. The grounds are extraordinary. Annette Hoyt Flanders renovated the original gardens in the 1930s and more gardens were added by Mr. Kluge. Look for unusual trees such as a pair of Osage orange trees, the state champion Chinese chestnut, and a lovely dove tree. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and on the Virginia Landmarks Register.  Tours continue on Sunday and Monday at four other stunning properties in Afton and the Nellysford area that are sponsored by the Albemarle Garden Club, The Charlottesville Garden Club and the Rivanna Garden Club

Waterford in Loudoun County (April 22)

Waterford Keller Garden for Virginia Garden Week “Waterford: Where the Past is Always Present” is the theme of this house and garden tour. The frenetic pace of life drops to an ambling gait as you stroll the streets of Waterford. This tour invites you to take a leisurely walk into the past through a village settled in 1733. Its history will speak to you through the language of the architecture of the lovingly and accurately restored 18th century homes. Waterford, once a busy hub of commerce centered around the Janney Mill, was left to decay as the Civil War and subsequent railroad passed it by. Neglect nearly spelled the end for the village. By the late 1930’s interest in Waterford had begun to stir once again due to its picturesque rural setting and quiet pace. Buildings began to be carefully renovated and new life began to emerge. Since that time Waterford has been largely returned to its graceful and peaceful pace with homes and gardens that beckon exploration and a journey to another time.  Exclusive of one home, this is a walking tour. It includes six homes and the Old School in Waterford.  This tour is sponsored by the Leesburg Garden Club and the Fauquier-Loudoun Garden Club

 

Warrenton (April 24-25)

Warenton Garden for Virginia Garden WeekFollow in the footsteps of Chief Justice John Marshall as you visit the houses and gardens on this tour of hunt country in Northern Virginia. Leeds Manor Farm in Hume, built for Marshall’s son in 1829 is still a working farm. The Chief Justice built a small addition near the house for his books and to use during his retirement. Nearby in the village of Hume is the Parsonage, built ca. 1855. It has been completely renovated, but retains the extensive gardens of it previous owner. Glen Gordon Manor in Huntly, originally a stagecoach stop for Wells Fargo, became the residence of a friend of the Duchess of Windsor in the 1920s. The bones of the formal garden are being resurrected by the current owners and magnificent trees, including century old beeches, grace the lawns. Nearby in Flint Hill is Standen Still, a “new old” house built in the 1990s following the style of the English Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th century. An extensive garden, initially laid out by noted landscape designer, Dana Westring, has been extended by the current owner, a budding horticulturist and designer. Locust Grove in a park-like setting near Flint Hill is a gracious 19th century brick house with beautifully integrated modern wings. The house is filled with antiques and family memorabilia. Headquarters for this tour will be located at Marriott Ranch in Hume, another John Marshall house. The Ashland Basset Hounds and the Piedmont Driving Club will add another component to this tour featuring 5 properties.  Sponsored by The Warrenton Garden Club.

Tickets are available on-line at http://www.vagardenweek.org/.  Proceeds go to the Garden Club of Virginia for use in restoring historic gardens throughout the Virginia.

March is National Women’s History Month



The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area highlights destinations that chronicle important contributions made by women.

By Shuan Butcher

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.

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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™.

Elizabeth Thorn Memorial-- image by http://www.flickr.com/photos/soaptree/4478790703/

Elizabeth Thorn Memorial, 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 www.gettysburg.travel.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

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 www.setonheritage.org for additional details.

Clara Barton in 1865 in an image by Matthew Brady.

Clara Barton in 1865 in an image by Matthew Brady.

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 www.nps.gov/anti.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis by Cate Wyatt

Image courtesy of Cate Magennis Wyatt

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 foxhunting 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 www.visitloudoun.org.

In Spotsylvania County, the Spotsylvania Museum has a special exhibit at the Spotsylvania Towne Center about the Battle of Chancellorsville, which commemorates its sesquicentennial in May.  The exhibit features the Hawkins Girls, who were at home at the time of General Stonewall Jackson’s Flank attack across their property.  The exhibit will be on display through May 2.  To learn more, check out www.spotsylvania.va.us.

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Edna Lewis

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.  The 2013 event is scheduled for August 10th.  Details can be found at www.ediblefest.com.

Elizabeth Kortright Monroe

Elizabeth Kortright Monroe

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 www.ashlawnhighland.org.

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 www.hallowedground.org or by calling 540-882-4929.