Category Archives: Land of Beauty

Labor Day Throughout The Journey

Holidays are not intended to just be days off from school or work.  They should be treated as special occasions, including taking the time to pause and reflect what the holiday is about and why it was created in the first place- and Labor Day is no different.  Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country and became a federal holiday in 1894.

Within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, a 180-mile swath of land that runs from Gettysburg, PA to Charlottesville, VA, there are several places that pay homage to the history of work in America.  Here are just a few examples you can visit to observe Labor Day :


Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Gettysburg may be best known for its Civil War history, but the area is also the heart of Pennsylvania ‘s Apple Country.  Therefore, it is fitting to recognize the important role that agriculture, farms, orchards, wineries and the farmers and producers of these goods have not only on this region but the entire country.  Just north and west of the Gettysburg battlefield, more than 20,000 acres of apple orchards produce over 35 varieties of apples, and many of them are sold to processing plants today for things like apple juice and apple sauce.  In fact, the are is home to the National Apple Harvest Festival, which takes place over two weekends in early October each year.  To get additional details, visit


From Gettysburg, continue south along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway into Maryland.  Arrive in the City of Brunswick, located at the southern end of Frederick County.  Situated along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Brunswick became a company town with an exploding population and reportedly had the largest and busiest railroad yards in the world at one point  Although the railroad isn’t as important to our nation as it once was, you can still see the engines whistling down the track in Brunswick.  In addition, the town does serve as a major stop on the Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) Train line which takes commuters in and out of the greater Washington, D.C. area each weekday.  The Brunswick Heritage Museum is a great place to visit as it tells the stories of the railroaders and their families in the early 1900’s and houses one of the largest model train layouts on the east coast. For more information, visit


Photos by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photos by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

In addition, the C&O Canal was a major economic engine for people living along the Potomac River, particularly in the 19th and early 20th century.  Visitors to the C & O Canal can learn stories of western expansion, transportation, engineering, the Civil War, immigration, industry and commerce.   There are several access points to the C&O within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, but one suggested location would be the Williamsport Visitor Center.  Here, there are several examples of major canal structures visible within close proximity.  For more information, visit


Harpers Ferry became a major industrial center during the first half of the 19th Century, particularly with the establishment of The United States Armory and Arsenal there.  During its heyday, the armory was producing hundreds of thousands of muskets, rifles, and pistols.  Not only were there over 400 workers employed at times but inventions helped revolutionize the manufacturing process from craft-based production to machines.  The town also housed other industiries, including a sawmill, flour mill, machine shop, two cotton mills, tannery, and iron foundry. Only ruins remain today of most of this history, but visitors can still get quite the sense of this once industrious town.  For more information, visit Harpers Ferry National Historical Park at


Gristmills once dotted the landscape of rural America, but most of them have now vanished or stand abandoned as silent witnesses of the past., However, Aldie Mill, located in Aldie, Virginia, offers visitors and students a glimpse of how life was lived in the rural South during a time when the Mill served as a vital center of the community.  Find out more at


Manassas is a good place to learn about our country’s rich military history..  Everyone knows about the two Civil War battles that took place there and may also be familiar with the nearby National Museum of the Marine Corps.  However, tucked away inside the Manassas Regional Airport is the Freedom Museum.  The Freedom Museum honors those Americans who made the supreme sacrifice in defense of freedom and pays tribute to those who served our country with honor and distinction.  The thrust of this Smithsonian Affiliate focuses on the 20th Century. Learn more at


For more than four centuries our forefathers had been producing fresh whiskey in the hills of Virginia.  At Belmont Farm Distillery, their whiskey is produced in a genuine solid copper pot still and they have America’s oldest operating pot still.  Although this form of whiskey production had been abandoned in the United States, the folks at Belmont Farm have chosen to preserve a national tradition of copper pot still fresh whiskey (their copper pot still was constructed in 1930).  For more information, visit


Located at Montpelier (the former home of President James and Dolley Madison) sits the Gilmore Cabin, a post-Civil War African-American’s house. Former Madison slave George Gilmore built this log cabin for his family in the early 1870s. President Madison’s nephew owned the land. George Gilmore was more than 90 years old when he purchased the house and 16 acres for $560, just before the death of Dr. James Ambrose Madison in 1901. The property offers a glimpse of what life was like for African-Americans in the years during the Reconstruction era. Museum educators will be on hand to demonstrate the techniques of 19th-century farm life.  Check out

Photo by Shuan Butcher. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Shuan Butcher. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership


And finally, make sure you take a ride on the Hatton Ferry, a historic ferry across the James River and the only poled ferry still operating in the United States. A ride on the ferry is a unique opportunity to experience times past.  Two hundred years ago, there were a thousand poled ferries carrying people across rivers and streams throughout the United States.  Ferries served Albemarle County from the mid-eighteenth century to the mid- nineteenth century, and provided a means by which European settlers could communicate with other settlers and establish commercial ventures.  There’s no better way to experience the beauty and tranquility of the James River- and to get a glimpse of a simpler way of life- than by taking the ferry at Hatton.  The Hatton Ferry is located in southern Albemarle County, a few miles outside of Scottsville.  Be sure to check out their website for hours and operating conditions at

In addition to the sites listed above, there are several other places to visit within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.  Those interested in other suggested itineraries or to request a map should visit

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

Make the Journey Better

There are many great destinations in America, but there are very few great journeys left. This is because we live in a world of rapid change, but also growing homogeneity. Today, if you were suddenly dropped along a road outside of most American cities, you wouldn’t have the slightest idea where you were because it all looks exactly the same. Over the past 50 years too many of our townscapes have gone from the unique to the uniform and from the stylized to the standardized.

New building materials can be imported from anywhere. Hills can be flattened and streams put in culverts. We can transform the landscape with great speed and build anything that fits our budget or strikes our fancy. Technological innovation and the global economy make it easy for building plans drawn up at a corporate office in New Jersey to be applied over and over again in Phoenix, Philadelphia, Providence or Peru.

The deadening sameness is particularly pronounced along many of our highways and at the entrances to our communities. Charles Kuralt, who spent a career “on the road”, used to say that “thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything”.

The staff, supporters and partners of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground have done a great job of promoting and protecting many of the historic destinations along the corridor, but they have done a much less good job of preserving and enhancing the journey: the experience of traveling from one end of the corridor to another.

We all know the difference between a road that beckons and one that depresses and driving along Route 15 can indeed be depressing: far too many billboards, strip malls, cookie cutter franchises and look-a-like subdivisions follow us down the road. And talk about “context sensitive road design”, there is none. Every new bridge railing is a Jersey barrier; every road project simply aims to move traffic faster, at the expense of everything else.

We see relatively little of any place on foot, therefore preserving what we see from the road is critical to the corridor’s sense of place. Place is more than just a location on a map, A sense of place is a unique collection of qualities and characteristics – visual, cultural, social, environmental – that provide meaning to a location. Sense of place is what makes one town different from another town, but it is also what makes our physical surroundings valuable and worth caring about.

The more any community in Virginia or Maryland comes to look just like every other community the less reason there is to visit or invest. On the other hand the more a community does to enhance its uniqueness, the more reasons there are to visit. When it comes to 21st century economic development a key concept is “community differentiation”. Sameness is not a plus in the world we live in today. If you can’t differentiate your community from any other community, you will have no competitive advantage.

So what can be done to make the journey better? 1. Development design guidelines for new commercial buildings and signs within view of the corridor. Promote the guidelines heavily and give annual awards to business that do the best job of building to these guidelines. This is already being done in the Shenandoah Valley and in the PA Wilds (i.e. North Central Pennsylvania). 2. Demand that the Virginia and Maryland Departments of Transportation apply context sensitive design standards to all new highway projects with the corridor. US 15 should be treated like it is a parkway, not like a typical highway. 3. Consider establishing a new land trust that would focus on acquiring viewshed or conservation easements on properties along the road. The idea of “saving you view and getting a tax break too” has already been applied in areas like Washington County Maryland where the state partnered with groups like The Conservation Fund and the Maryland Environmental Trust to buy easements on land within view of the Antietam battlefield.

Author Louis L’Amour used to say that the “trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel to fast and you will miss all that is worth traveling for.” Let’s all work together to save not just the destinations but the journey as well.

Restoring a Masterpiece

As the Architect for the University of Virginia, each day I’m reminded of the privilege of working in such magnificent surroundings. The Jeffersonian Grounds, or the University’s core historic precinct, were designed by Thomas Jefferson as the embodiment of his ideas for an educated citizenry as a cornerstone of democracy. In fact, Jefferson cited the University (in his phrasing the ‘Academical Village’) as one of his proudest achievements, along with writing the Declaration of Independence and Virginia’s statute for religious freedom. He sought recognition not only for two documents fundamental to American freedom but also for the institution through which those freedoms would be preserved.

image00That’s why the Jeffersonian Grounds, with the Rotunda as the centerpiece, have been designated a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage site along with Monticello. In short, Jefferson’s Academical Village is recognized as an architectural masterpiece.

This historic heart of the University of Virginia is not set aside as a museum. It is a bustling place filled with top-notch teachers, world-class researchers, and bright, striving students. In addition, it is heavily trafficked each day, attracting thousands of visitors annually. As such, it presents special preservation challenges. The needs are continuous, costly, and urgent for the 17 historic structures, 103 student rooms, and 40 acres of gardens and landscape that comprise the Jeffersonian Grounds.

In these spaces, students and faculty continue the shared pursuit of knowledge as they have for nearly 200 years. If I may be so bold to say it, the Jeffersonian Grounds are the physical and emotional core of the University of Virginia—the place where our beliefs reside, where we commit every day to the expansion of knowledge, freedom of inquiry, and open dialogue.

That’s why I and so many others are determined to accomplish a landmark program to restore, renovate, and repair Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village. The Jeffersonian Grounds Initiative is our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure that this historic precinct remains a thriving academic center for both U.Va. and visiting students and faculty, as well as a vital cultural heritage site for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world.

We cannot afford to wait. Time, the elements, and constant use have taken a toll on the Jeffersonian Grounds. Marble column capitals on the Rotunda are crumbling. Cores of the Colonnades are eroding. Air conditioning units hang from Jeffersonian windows. The ranges must be sand-bagged in rainy weather. A fire nearly destroyed Hotel A, and only a chance discovery led to a $4 million emergency repair of chimneys and installation of a fire-suppression in student rooms.

The total cost of maintaining a masterpiece is high, in the many millions of dollars. Yet the opportunities are unprecedented. Restoring the Jeffersonian Grounds opens the door to new discoveries in archeology, history, landscape architecture, and conservation. We’re already making great strides:

  • Phase I of the Rotunda renovation was completed in 2013. The project included installing a new oculus and copper roof, making extensive masonry repairs, and refurbishing the window sashes and architraves. Phase II has just begun. Work to replace the marble column capitals and to provide all new building systems is part of this phase.
  • The University has contracted with award-winning landscape architect Laurie Olin, of OLIN, to create a design for the Rotunda courtyards and North Terrace. Patricia O’Donnell, principal of Heritage Landscapes LLC, led the creation of the University’s first-ever Cultural Landscape Report to document the conditions of the Lawn, gardens, and other landscapes, and guide decisions within the World Heritage site’s boundary.
  • The University is developing plans for a new interpretive center that will enhance the visitor experience, complement the University Guide tours, and provide interactive displays for rotating exhibits and tour highlights.

With our unique situation—as a living, breathing, constantly evolving institution of higher learning—comes a tremendous amount of responsibility. We have an obligation to our national heritage, the students and faculty, and to future generations. That sense of duty is what drives me each day to ensure that we’re giving the appropriate care and feeding to these nearly 200-year-old buildings and grounds. It’s what drives everyone involved in the Jeffersonian Grounds Initiative.

The restoration of the Academical Village gives the University a chance to renew its commitment to our community of learners and to educate visitors from around the world about Jefferson as the architect of American democracy and higher education.

Chesapeake Landscapes – and the Work They Inspire

Photos by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

In upstate New York, from Otsego Lake at Cooperstown to the rolling hills and farmlands near Corning and Elmira, people treasure a rural landscape at the headwaters of the Susquehanna River. A bit south and west of there, visitors travel to the Pennsylvania Wilds, a land once deforested, now forest again and home to the largest elk herd in the eastern United States. Still further south lies the internationally known Amish farming country of Lancaster County where off the main roads one sees and feels part of a different way of life. From Gettysburg through the Shenandoah Valley are the fields and small towns where our nation tore itself apart in the 1860s, now hallowed ground. The Appalachians roll off to the west and to the east lies the vast coastal plain surrounding the Chesapeake Bay. Along these shores landscapes once indigenous, then colonial, later maritime, and today recreational, rural and urban, sit at the heart of the narrative of this larger place.

Photos by Kenneth Garrett.  Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photos by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

This vast landscape of the Chesapeake watershed is a mosaic of all of the above, drawn together in countless ways: by the great rivers of the Chesapeake – James, Rappahannock, Potomac, Shenandoah, Susquehanna, Choptank and more; by layers and layers of history at the crux of the nation’s story; by interconnected waters, marshes and forests crucial to millions upon millions of migrating birds; by a tradition of local and regional farming still part of the region’s identity; even by a series of trails and byways that trace these connections – the heart of the Appalachian Trail, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal towpath, the Captain John Smith Trail, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground and more.

This greater Chesapeake landscape – in all its diversity – has inspired conservation efforts for well over one hundred years. The historic preservation movement was born here in the 1860s at Mt. Vernon. Throughout the first half of the twentieth century conservationists worked to protect and restore overwhelmingly deforested lands, forming the basis of what are now extensive state and national forests—magnets for recreation. In the 1950s and 1960s, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas was a vocal advocate for establishing what would become the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park – a significant landscape conservation corridor along the Potomac River, and one that crosses another major corridor, the Appalachian Trail. Leadership at the state level spawned innovation that set national examples and stimulated adoption across broader regions. Vastly successful land protection programs were created in the latter half of the century in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Pennsylvania established one of the first state heritage area programs and Maryland followed suit. A case can be made that the intensive development of heritage areas in Pennsylvania in the late 1980s and 1990s fueled the rapid growth of heritage areas nation-wide that continues to this day. The growth of local and regional land trusts in the Chesapeake over the past several decades mirrors explosive growth of land trusts nationwide. Innovative approaches to targeting and prioritizing conservation values have arisen here as well, such as Maryland’s “Greenprint” and Virginia’s natural landscape assessments.

Photos by Kenneth Garrett.  Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photos by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

The 3.4 million acre Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area is an example. A landscape bound together by the rolling Piedmont from Gettysburg to Monticello tells a big piece of the Chesapeake’s—and the nation’s—story. With the homes of homes of nine presidents, battlefields from the French & Indian Wars to the Civil War, working farms and forests and a national scenic byway, this place is rich is resources. Yet, it is the tying together of it all through a partnership, a name, promotion, education, conservation and leadership that make it so compelling today. It is an example of large landscape collaboration at the heart of the Chesapeake region; and an example of the success and innovation of the region as well.

We have made great steps here. Unlike western states, by the close of the 19th century very little land in the Chesapeake watershed was permanently protected, just one or two percent, if that. One hundred plus years of efforts to conserve this very large landscape, and the many special landscapes within it, has brought a different result. By 2010, approximately 7.8 million acres in the watershed were permanently protected, twenty percent of the land mass. More than a half million of these are within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, the majority privately protected by their owners through conservation easements.

Photos by Kenneth Garrett.  Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photos by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Yet, there is even more challenging work ahead. This is also a landscape of 18 million people, most in the great arc of metropolitan area surrounding the Bay from Norfolk to Richmond to Washington to Baltimore. The pace of change quickens, even more so as a changing climate and its effects on land, water, wildlife, culture and people unfold. Land fragmentation, invasive weeds, water quality and availability, the quest for energy, even the survival of stories and cultures all present challenges that extend across jurisdictions, organizations, and landscapes. The imperative of nurturing linkages and scaling up partnerships to extend across the Chesapeake region, along rivers and trails, and between cities and countryside springs from these increasingly complex challenges.

Working at the landscape level is difficult. As conservation partners, we need the management tools of coordination, mediation, and facilitation of dialogue. We need our knowledge-building to include information at scales relevant to managing water, adapting to a changing climate, or protecting wildlife or historic resources. And we need to work across large landscapes to develop means that strengthen dialogue, support shared actions, leverage resources and enhance coordination.

But this is what Journey Through Hallowed Ground has already started. And it is what’s going on through a partnership among landscapes throughout the Chesapeake region. Now it’s time to start reminding people of the importance of this work, of the region’s long leadership in conservation, and of the beauty and value of the many Chesapeake landscapes.

‘Hallowed Ground’ with no Farmers?

The National Heritage Area known as Journey Through Hallowed Ground is recognizable for its rolling hills and mountains, and its farmland. While there are a dozen or so cities and towns that dot the Piedmont from Gettysburg to Charlottesville, farms still form most of the landscape inhabited by our founding fathers and they are emblematic of the culture that helped form the nation. The farmland hasn’t changed that much. What may be missing is the next generation of farmers.

Monticello. Photo by Greg Bowen

Monticello. Photo by Greg Bowen

On May 2nd, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the 2012 ag census data for the states. Since 1840, the U.S. government has been conducting censuses of agriculture. Those who have been watching agriculture trends for some time will not be surprised as to how few farmers there are age 34 and younger.

The trend has been in place for some time. The “green revolution” began in the 1940s and really kicked in during the 1960s and 1970s. It involved the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, better equipment, more irrigation, hybridized seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides and it has vastly increased U.S. farm productivity. For example, average corn yield increased from 30 bushels per acre in 1930 to 150 bushels per acre today. It also resulted in increased farm sizes and it has reduced the need for farmers and farm laborers. The average farm size in the U.S. increased from 174 acres in 1940 to 434 acres in 2012.  According to a USDA report Farm Size and the Organization of U.S. Crop Farming, published last year, the number of farms with at least 10,000 acres of cropland grew 179% from 2001 to 2011 (from 409 farms to 1,140 farms).

Historic barn in Frederick. Photo by Greg Bowen

Historic barn in Frederick. Photo by Greg Bowen

As the need for new farmers decreased, ag in the classroom was dropped in most school districts. Farm children left the farms to seek other careers. Yet, farm productivity continued to improve with new equipment and  new production methods. In 1940, roughly 20% of all farm operators were 34 and under. By 2012, that dropped to 5.6%. There are nearly six times as many farmers age 65+ as there are farmers 34 and younger. The USDA predicts that up to half of all farmers are likely to retire in the next decade. Who will replace them?

In the United States, the swath of land within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area is an old farming region. The farms were carved out of the wooded hills and valleys in the early 18th century as the leaders of the colonies began debating the formation of a new nation. Today, the farm sizes put them at a disadvantage of scale for commodity crops (corn, soybeans, wheat, etc.) and industrial livestock production.

In the last few decades a new ag trend has emerged–the local food movement. Direct food sales in the U.S. have been growing twice as fast as total ag sales.  These types of operations are well suited to the small-scale farms in the region and this has generated renewed interest in farming. However, beginning farmers are finding it difficult getting access to land. Most did not grow up on a farm. Those who want to grow vegetables, fruits, and livestock need a place to live on the farm and water for the crops and/or livestock. For most beginning farmers, it makes sense to lease land, as long as they have enough experience and there is housing and the ability to have the infrastructure to operate.

States in the National Heritage Area
Maryland Pennsylvania Virginia West Virginia U.S.
Average farm size 166 130 181 168 434
Percentage of farm operators 34 or younger 4.9% 8.3% 6.1% 4.2% 5.6%

Each of the four states in the National Heritage Area are striving to preserve the region’s farmland and help beginning farmers gain access to land. For example, in Maryland there is the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation and Maryland FarmLINK, a free resource that helps farmers sell, buy or lease farmland, mentor novice farmers and find important farming news and information. Resources like this are important, but communities will need to support these efforts if they want the programs to succeed by getting to know their farmers and purchasing local farm products.

This is an important time for the region. If we hope to continue to see the working landscapes and witness the farming culture that helped to create our nation, we will need to support opportunities for the next generation of farmers to get established.

Visit Some of Virginia’s Most Beloved Historic Gardens in the Region During Historic Garden Week

For nearly a century the Garden Club of Virginia, a non-profit organization, has been committed to preserving the beauty of Virginia for all to enjoy. Early leaders in conservation issues and environmental concerns, members advocated for maintaining the pristine beauty of Goshen Pass and the wilderness of the Great Dismal Swamp. Over the last decade, the Garden Club of Virginia has supported conservation projects along rivers and waterways, sponsored workshops and hosts an annual Forum that takes a balanced look at environmental issues within the commonwealth. These efforts go hand in hand with educating members and the public about relevant topics, like using native plants in the landscape.

Since 1920 the Garden Club of Virginia has grown from eight founding clubs to 47 clubs with over 3,300 members. It is the coordinated efforts of these talented volunteers, along with the generosity of over 200 private home owners, who make Historic Garden Week possible. Historic Garden Week is Virginia’s largest ongoing volunteer effort and the country’s oldest and biggest house and garden tour. Proceeds from this statewide annual event have supported the restoration and preservation of some of Virginia’s most beloved historic gardens, including Mt. Vernon, Oatlands and the University of Virginia.

There are 31 tours across Virginia that take place over 8 consecutive days. For a complete schedule, tickets, tour descriptions and 6 suggested itineraries, visit Here’s a sneak peek at just three of the tours taking place this year between April 26 and May 3.

Orange County – Saturday, April 26.

photo provided courtesy of Dolley Madison Garden Club

photo provided courtesy of Dolley Madison Garden Club

Garden Club Gordonsville has just celebrated its bicentennial anniversary – a place of presidents and generals. It was an important crossroad during the Civil War as both a receiving hospital for thousands of casualties and a rail hub for transporting food, supplies and soldiers. The town emerged from the war and its aftermath, a devastating downtown fire and the Great Depression to the present day renaissance of its downtown. Historic Garden Week visitors will tour three village homes and their gardens, experience upscale shopping along the main street and have access to unique dining experiences. The Exchange Hotel, which was recently renovated, is included in the tour. Christ Episcopal Church will include special activities during the day, along with musicians and artists in historic venues in downtown.

Middleburg – Sunday, April 27 and Monday, April 28.

photo provided courtesy of Missy Janes

photo provided courtesy of Missy Janes

Tucked in the northwest corner of Virginia in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains are the historic towns of Middleburg and Upperville. Filled with unique shops and quaint restaurants, these enchanting towns in the heart of Hunt Country are featured in this year’s “Splendor in the Grass” tour. Both towns are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Of the five estates included, two predate the Civil War. All were chosen to inspire gardeners.

Albemarle County – Sunday, April 27 and Monday, April 28.

photo courtesy of Catriona Tudor Erler

photo courtesy of Catriona Tudor Erler

Visitors will travel historic roads amid scenic vistas through part of the Southern Albemarle Rural Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 in recognition of its national significance. Several buildings in the district reflect the influence of Thomas Jefferson’s classical architectural ideals and much of the land is still held in large farms as it has been since the 18th century. Three of Albemarle County’s finest historic properties, all dating to the Jefferson era, highlight the area’s treasured early architecture, beautiful landscapes and rich agricultural heritage.

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

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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



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



“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

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