Ken Burns Civil War Tour

A private viewing at the National Archives of our nation′s founding documents, which both established a new country and propelled it towards the war that almost destroyed it… An exclusive visit to a Civil War-era farmhouse that was commandeered for use as a battlefield hospital, and today still shows evidence of the 750+ soldiers who suffered there… A special presentation on slavery and plantation life from a research historian for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello… These are just some of the exclusive experiences that guests will enjoy on Tauck′s new “Most Hallowed Ground” Civil War itinerary. Designed by Tauck and filmmaker Ken Burns, the all-inclusive, 11-day guided tour visits Civil War battlefields including Gettysburg, Antietam, Petersburg and Appomattox, as well as other historic sites in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia.


According to Burns, however, the itinerary goes deeper. “This journey, like my film on the Civil War, goes beyond the battlefields,” said Burns. “The battles are certainly central to the story of the Civil War, but they′re just one part of a much richer mosaic. A full understanding of the war also needs to explore its causes, its impacts on American society, and the incredibly compelling personal stories of those touched by the war.”

For example, Ken Burns noted that the tour itinerary explores the war′s roots during guided visits to the National Archives and Thomas Jefferson′s home at Monticello. The experiences of the combatants, from iconic generals to the common infantryman, are examined at Arlington House, Robert E. Lee′s Virginia plantation that was converted to a cemetery for Union dead, and at the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier.

Guests will also learn about the war′s effects on civilians during an exclusive visit to the privately-owned Jacob Weikert farmhouse in Gettysburg, where the floorboards still bear bloodstains from the surgeries performed there, and at the home of Wilmer McLean in Appomattox, Virginia. McLean fled the war and moved to Appomattox after the Battle of First Manassas (Bull Run) was contested on his property. Four years later, the war caught up with McLean in Appomattox when his parlor was the setting for Robert E. Lee′s formal surrender to Ulysses S. Grant.

The tour will also highlight the war′s impact on medical techniques and technology at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland, and prompt a contemplation of how post-war Reconstruction might have been different under Lincoln during a poignant visit to Ford′s Theatre in Washington, DC.

Throughout their journey, tour guests will benefit from Ken Burns′s personal insights as presented during a series of video vignettes that will air aboard the motorcoach while enroute to various sites. These exclusive short features will include all-new interview footage with Burns, as well as special highlights from his groundbreaking series “The Civil War.”


According to Tauck CEO Dan Mahar, popular interest in the Civil War is surging due to increased awareness surrounding the 150th anniversary of the war′s start this year. “In February we introduced a one-time Ken Burns Civil War event that we′ll operate in May in Washington, DC, and it completely sold out in just 10 days,” said Mahar. “Interest in the new ‘Most Hallowed Ground′ tour should be even higher. Ken′s film on the Civil War is currently re-airing nationwide on PBS, so we fully expect appreciation for Ken′s perspectives to only increase in the coming months.”

Tauck will offer departures of the “Most Hallowed Ground” in September and October of 2011. The tour begins in Washington, DC, and concludes in Richmond, VA, and is priced from $3,980 per person, double occupancy, plus air. Included in the price are all accommodations, most meals, admission to all sites and attractions, entertainment, airport transfers, luggage handling, and more. Hotel accommodations include three nights at the Mayflower Renaissance in Washington, DC, overnights at the Wyndham Gettysburg and Big Meadows Lodge in Shenandoah National Park (VA), two nights at the Omni Charlottesville Hotel, and three nights at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

Besides partnering with Ken Burns on the new Civil War tour and the Washington, DC, Civil War event, Tauck is also working with the filmmaker to offer a one-time, five-day event in New Orleans that will explore the evolution of jazz and feature a keynote address from Burns (October 5-9; from $3,490 per person, double, plus air). In addition, Tauck has teamed with Burns and his longtime collaborator Dayton Duncan to launch a new “Spirit of the Desert: The National Parks of the Southwest” tour (10 days, from $4,390 per person, double, plus air) that explores the themes of the Burns/Duncan documentary, “The National Parks: America′s Best Idea.”

Those interested in more information should contact their local AAA Travel Sales Consultant at 1-800-529-3222.