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Day 1 – Richmond, VA – Dolley Madison Tour – Colonial Dinner w/ Food Historian –
On arrival your afternoon features a tour of Montpelier, the home of our 4th President, James Madison and his wife and Dolley. Your tour titled “The Women of Montpelier” will focus on this woman who loved to entertain and quickly became known as one of America’s great hostesses. By all accounts she was a social and political force of nature, and a powerful ally to her. As America’s First Lady she influenced policy and pop culture, and wielded substantial influence. Her’s is a story for the ages.
Your hotel in Richmond, VA is a DoubleTree by Hilton where you will spend three nights. Once you freshen up you enjoy a Colonial Dinner with a Food Historian who will guide you through the traditional meal. You will learn how your food was cooked in the 18th century and taste a few fabulous dishes. ( D)
Day 2 – First Ladies Tours (Martha Washington – Letitia Tyler – Martha Jefferson)
This full day tour begins at St. Peter’s, known as the church of the first-First Lady. It was in the rectory of this church that Martha Custis was married twice. After being widowed in 1757, she remarried in 1759 at the White House Plantation in Virginia to a young British army officer, Col George Washington. (Neither she or her husband ever resided in the White House in Washington as it was not completed until 1800). It is known that Martha was in opposition to her husband serving as The President (1789-1797), but once in office she hosted many affairs of state in the temporary capitals at New York City and Philadelphia. As the first- First Lady of the United States, Martha Washington established many traditions that were followed through the years by Presidential Wives.
During the morning, this you enjoy a winery tour and tasting at the New Kent Winery. One of the Richmond Region’s growing number of popular wineries, New Kent Winery was built with Old World timbers giving an ambiance of gentility and welcome as one would have found in the earliest days of American wine making.
Next is the nearby Shirley Plantation one of Virginia’s first plantation, it showcases the lifestyles of Virginia’s Gentry Class. Martha Washington, Martha Jefferson and Letitia Tyler, three future first ladies, grew up nearby as part of this elite class of Virginia Planters. You will have lunch here and enjoy a “Courtesies” Program. It will teach you about the “courtesies,” proper etiquette of old Virginia and define the way a Lady should comport herself in social settings. The Shirley Plantation was the home of Thomas Jefferson’s cousins, the Carter family. Jefferson’s wife Martha grew up just down the road. She visited Shirley Plantation on occasion and would certainly have made proper use of those courtesies.
Dinner is included this evening at a local restaurant. Following dinner, you enjoy a guided tour of Richmond, the the State Capital. It is among America’s oldest major cities and you will discover the city’s history from its beginnings to the present day. It was here in St John’s Church that Founding Father Patrick Henry famously declared “Give me liberty or give me death” in 1775, and during the Civil War it was the Capital of the Confederacy under Jefferson Davis. (B,L,D)
Day 3 – First Ladies Fashion Show – Dolley Madison – Elizabeth Monroe
After breakfast this morning you will tour the Scotchtown Plantation home of Patrick Henry. This former tobacco plantation was his home during the Revolution, and as a the center of Virginia Society when Mr Henry served as Governor. It is certain that Dolley Madison played here as a child, and that many notable historic persons visited and were graciously entertained
Lunch today is at the Historic Hanover Tavern. For centuries it has been a part of events that transformed America first from an English colony to an independent nation; and later when rebellion threatened that new nation and Civil War tore it asunder. It has been a gathering place where men discussed events and presented arguments that first created the U S Constitution and then tested it.
Dinner is included this evening at a local restaurant. This evening you will be treated to a First Ladies Fashion Show focusing on the changing dress styles of our First Ladies, from head to toe the style that made them famous. Of particular interest will be our focus on Elizabeth Monroe who was a trendsetter, a part of New York City’s elite circle before her marriage. She introduced a French – Gothic/Early Romantic dress style as First Lady after living in France. She was the Jackie Onassis of her time! (B,L,D)
Day 4 – Pocahontas Tour – Departure
This morning you travel back in time at the Henricus Historical Park, site of the second successful English settlement (1611) in the New World. It is located on the James River just south of Richmond It is an outdoor living history museum with 12 recreated colonial structures, demonstrating history through “hands-on” encounters with period dressed historical interpreters. You will take part in a candle making or herbal workshop. You will also discover the real story of Pocahontas who purportedly saved John Smith’s life at Jamestown, she was an intriguing woman whose dramatic life has become legend. Henricus was her home for two years after she married John Rolfe in 1614. She was a Christian convert, who returned to England with her husband and lived her final years as a Lady. (B)
This afternoon you depart for home.