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Day One: Arrival in DC (D)
Today we will arrive at the Washington DC airport where our professional Tour Guide and deluxe motorcoach will meet us. We will check into our Washington, DC area accommodations for a two-night stay. After a welcome dinner, we will be treated to an illumination tour of the city. We will see many of the capital’s famous monuments highlighted with spotlights that accentuate their beauty.
Day Two: Monuments, Memorials & Museums (B, D)
A day of exploration awaits us in our nation’s capital! Washington, DC has a dizzying array of attractions, including museums, tours of federal buildings, shops and restaurants. Today as we tour Washington, DC, we will see the White house, the Capitol Building, the towering Washington Monument, the contemplative Lincoln Monument and the scenic Jefferson Memorial. We will have an opportunity to pause at the Korean and Vietnam War Memorials as well as the World War II Memorial to honor those who fought for the cause of freedom. Adjacent to the Capitol is the US Supreme Court, the Library of Congress (where the Gutenberg Bible is exhibited) and the original Supreme Court chamber. Near the Capitol is the 1907 era beaux-arts Union Station, opened then as an elegant gateway for trains to arrive into our nation’s capital. Continuing to function as a train station and metro station (home to Amtrak), it also houses 120 upscale retail shops, theaters, restaurants and cafes. A wonderful place to visit for lunch on our own!
The afternoon will be dedicated to the exploration of the Smithsonian, made up of a large variety of separate museums. Many of these museums are positioned on the National Mall. We may opt to visit one or a number of these museums, including the National Air and Space Museum, housing collections that span from the Wright Brothers flight to the modern space program; the National Museum of Natural History, home to a dinosaur hall and a butterfly exhibit. If you prefer art - there are a number of choices: the National Portrait Gallery, Freer Gallery of Art. Dinner is included this evening.
Day Three: Mount Vernon & Arlington Cemetery (B, L)
This morning, following breakfast we will spend the day in Virginia just across the Potomac River with DC in sight. We will begin our day with a tour of Mount Vernon the former plantation of George Washington. We will enjoy a Mansion Tour. Originally built in 1734 by his father as a much smaller home, George began running the estate in 1754 and for the next 45 years continued to enlarge the Mansion to its final 21 room home. We will also have a guided walking tour of the grounds around the Mansion. This will include some of the most important outbuilding along South Lane as well as the gardens and of course the tomb of George and Martha Washington. We have planned a very special period lunch in the 18thh century Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant.
The afternoon we will travel to the site of the Robert E. Lee estate to visit Arlington National Cemetery, which contains the graves of more than 250,000 U.S. soldiers. Arlington Cemetery has become synonymous with the honor and reverence of those who have served their country in the armed forces. Here we will visit the Maine Memorial, the Kennedy Gravesites and the Tomb of the Unknowns featuring the Changing of the Guard. Dinner is on our own this evening.
Day Four: Colonial Williamsburg (B, D)
Today we will depart the Washington DC area and head to the beach! Virginia Beach that is. It will be quite the contrast from the great American history in DC to a gorgeous 4-night stay on the Atlantic Shoreline in Virginia Beach. On our way to the shore, we will have time for an afternoon visit to Colonial Williamsburg. This represents the exciting colonial period before the US Revolution. It is America’s most complete living history museum. We will take the full afternoon to visit, and we will still not have time to see everything! We leave Williamsburg for the one-hour drive to our hotel at the oceanside in Virginia Beach. We will be staying in this hotel for 4 nights, so unpack relax and make yourself at home. Dinner is included this evening.
Day Five: Norfolk (B, D, E)
We will enjoy a nice full day today following a great breakfast at the hotel. Just half an hour away from Virginia Beach is Norfolk, VA home to the world’s biggest Naval base. We will be gone all day from our hotel today, as the we will be having a special private dinner in Norfolk. Our day will begin with tours by land and sea as we visit the Nauticus and Battleship Wisconsin. Nauticus is the science center and museum known as the National Maritime Center, which features one of the largest battleships in the US - The Wisconsin. We will have a tour of the museum and the battleship. We will enjoy a cruise around Norfolk and see these magnificent Naval ships with a narrated tour by sea. We’ll enjoy lunch on our own at the Waterside District with plenty of choices to please everyone. No trip to Norfolk is complete without a visit to Doumars famous ice cream shop (home of the original waffle cone), where we will enjoy a frozen treat. This afternoon, we will visit The MacArthur Memorial. This is a museum and research center dedicated to preserving and presenting the story of the life of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. Situated in downtown Norfolk, VA the Memorial consists of a museum, archive and research center, education center, theater, welcome center, and a gift shop. A visit to the Memorial will allow us to explore the life of one of America’s greatest and most complex leaders.
We have a fun evening planned at a Winery with a wine tasting, pairing and a very special dinner. We will enjoy their wine bar and a special customized private dinner! Then it’s back on the coach for the short drive back to our hotel.
Day Six: Outer Banks, NC - Wild Horses (B, D)
Following breakfast this morning we will drive south out of Virginia Beach and even out of Virginia to the incredible Outer Banks of North Carolina. This is America’s First Beach. The site of our country’s first National Seashore and the place where the English first tried to settle in the New World at Roanoke Island. Here is the story of the “Lost Colony” and their plight to set up the first attempt of English civilization in the New World. Our first visit will be to the Wright Brother National Memorial, where Orville and Wilbur Wright broke our bond with the earth in 1903. Listen to an interpretive talk about the first flight from a park ranger, see the reconstructed campsites, view the markers that indicate where the Flyer landed, and walk up the monument itself.
This afternoon we will travel to the northern part of the Outer Banks to the beachside town of Corolla. Here amongst the sand dunes the Wild Horses roam with complete protection from man and all predators. We will take open air safari style trucks with 15 guests each and drive around the dunes and along the shore to see them in their natural habitat. This is one of those wonderful surprises that will never be forgotten. We will enjoy Dinner with cocktails on the Outer Banks before returning to Virginia Beach.
Day Seven: Day at the Beach! (B, D)
Live The Life! Yesterday was a very busy day, so we can sleep in a little bit, have breakfast and then begin our morning tour of Virginia Beach before we have a free afternoon to explore on our own. Virginia Beach is home to a flourishing local culinary scene, rich history, a variety of arts and entertainment and family-friendly attractions that keeps locals and visitors entertainedyear-round. It’s true. Virginia Beach is more than just a beach. In fact, there are multiple beautiful beaches and eclectic districts, each with its own distinct personality. Every corner of the coastal city offers unique ways to live the life, whether on the ocean or on the bay, or somewhere in between.
On the morning tour we will see the Cape Henry Lighthouse. Built in 1792 commissioned by George Washington and overseen by Alexander Hamilton. It sits next to the site of the "First Landing" where the English arrived in 1607 prior to settling Jamestowne. We will be visiting The Military Aviation Museum. It is home to one of the largest private collections of WWI and WWII era military aircraft in the world. Each plane beautifully restored using original parts whenever possible. These planes are sitting and hanging in several hangars that are so clean you can eat off the floor!
We will return to our hotel and then have the afternoon free to relax, explore, even go swimming or take a walk on the boardwalk. It is our time to do as we please. Each of us will be given a voucher for admission to the Surf and Rescue Museum, which preserves history of the historic 1903 Life Saving Station including the rescuers who worked there and how they helped create modern Virginia Beach. This is a short walk from our hotel and we can go whenever we want as individuals and not have to go as a group. Tonight, we will have our final night dinner together before settling in for the night.
Day Eight: Home (B)
Today, depending on our flight schedules on the first day, we will do additional touring we missed on Day 1. What a week at the beach! Who would have thought there was so much so close in one of America's great playgrounds!