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What type of educational tour should you do with your students?

History comes to life in Washington DC, New York, Chicago,  Boston, Montreal, Quebec City and many other destinations on a middle and high school educational group tour. We retrace the steps of the events and people who shaped these cities and countries.  We examine the architecture, the economics, the arts, the languages and culture that have influenced them and bring them to life for the students on their tours.


Challenging the students is one of the most important aspects of our educational tours to Washington DC, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Montreal and Quebec City. Our GO Tour Leaders are chosen from the education departments and part of their training is to complement their knowledge of teaching to apply them to educational travel.


For example, the event of the American Revolution had a dramatic impact on the french language and culture. The loyalist sensing trouble to the south made sure the French would fight alongside the British and the Quebec Act was passed that allowed the french to retain use of their language, religion and law. Today, Quebec Civil Code is the law while common law is applied in the rest of the continent.


When we visit the United Nations in NYC we see  a Foucault’s Pendulum in the entry hall. How does it work and explain that the earth actually rotates on its axis ? Newtonian principles are in full view in front of us.


The Hugenots’ impact on the history of Boston,  the Cradle of Liberty in Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market and Boston Common to Harvard Square all have a past and present to share.


Places, people and concepts are shared explained and presented throughout the tours and of course all of the current events and important past events are presented.


These tours are of course done in a safe and secure environment. Group and individual safety is our primary concern. Making sure the students are safe in their travels, at the accommodations, in transit and their meals.


So we will elaborate a little more here in this blog on our travel programs. As you can see we distinguish between :


– year end trips

– general cultural tours

– academic focus where teachers and their students can

– linguistic experiences

– music

– sports


and other activities can be combined to realize your travel objectives.

Much to see and much to do…. on your mark, GO, join us.

Gettysburg and the Presidential Inauguration Part III

Gettysburg and the Presidential Inauguration.

Gettysburg is A Time Capsule of American History, Only 1½ Hours from Washington, D.C.

In Gettysburg, My Favorite Place to Dine And Sites To See…..

Many planning to attend the presidential inauguration are likely unaware that Gettysburg battlefield and town, a gem of American history, is only a 1 ½ hour drive away. Whether one is attending the inauguration, or plans to visit D.C. at any time of year, a visit to Gettysburg will not disappoint.

My favorite place to dine is The Dobbin House, although the Farnsworth House is also very good. The Dobbin House is also preserved as it appeared back then. It was built in the late 1700s and inhabited by a reverend. During the war, a mortally wounded Confederate General Lewis Armistead, famed for personally leading Pickett’s Charge with his hat stuck on the end of his sword, was taken to the basement of the Dobbin House for medical treatment. The basement was later converted to a bar, and then a tavern for dining, walls of stone and the room dimly lit by candlelight. The bar is preserved as bars appeared in the 1800s, encased by a wooden cage on hinges that is pulled up and latched to the ceiling when the tavern is open, and down after closing as practiced in those times to prevent theft. The varnished wood bar counter is original, from the early 1800s. Also in the tavern is the original spring well, where food was kept cool, visible from the stairs leading down to the tavern. The tavern offers a limited but excellent menu, and the main dining room at ground level and the second floor has a complete menu of culinary delights – many quality cuts of steak cooked to perfection, authentic Maryland crab cakes, crab meat a la Dobbin, Gettystown shrimp, seafood Isabella, imperial crab, roast duck Adams County, veal Madeira, and much more. Many items on the menu are prepared in traditional 1800s style, even the desserts, which feature Adams County apple pie and warm colonial gingerbread. The ambiance of the dining room, flickering candlelight dancing on the walls, waitresses wearing period dresses, replicates dining in the 1800s.

A Civil War band plays outside the Dobbin House

The battlefield itself is vast and offers stunning views of the undulating landscape, particularly from the vantage point of Little Round Top, where Bowdoin College Professor and Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain ordered a bayonet charge after his regiment of loggers, trappers, and fishermen from Maine ran out of ammunition. The repulse of the charging Confederates helped save the battle for the Union, because they held the flank of the Union fish hook line along the ridge, the high ground. Trenches dug in 1863 on Little Round top exist today.

View from Little Round Top

Little Round Top overlooks Devil’s Den down below, an amalgamation of large boulders that are fun to walk amongst. Walking trails snake around the boulders and past genuine Civil War cannons. It was here that on July 2, 1863, Union soldiers from New York tried unsuccessfully to defend this position under assault by Confederates from Texas and Alabama. At one point, the trajectory of bullets producing a sound like angry hornets, cannon like cracks of lightening, Major James Cromwell from New York tried to rally his men and charged alone on his horse down the smoke filled slope of Triangular field, brandishing his sword, and was shot dead right through the heart. After the Confederates seized Devil’s Den, they used the position to fire at Union soldiers on Little Round Top.

Not far from Devil’s Den is a barn and house, near the Peach Orchard. The top of the barn’s façade is brick and still features a large imprint where a cannon ball struck, yet another reminder that lest we forget, like the bullet marks that anointed the Farnsworth house, this beautiful landscape once hosted one of the fiercest battles of the civil war.

Learn more here about our Presidential Inauguration student tour program here:

Inauguration Info

It does not surprise me that President Eisenhower retired to Gettysburg. He felt the same appreciation and awe of the hallowed ground, the beautiful landscape, and the town that seems frozen in time.

Gettysburg and the Presidential Inauguration Part II

Gettysburg – An Obligatory Stop while visiting Washington, D.C. during the Presidential Inauguration

As a Civil War historian, I may be biased, but those attending the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2013 should consider visiting the historic town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Gettysburg is a 1½ hour drive from Washington, D.C.. Because the presidential inauguration is a historic event, visiting Gettysburg after the inauguration would both make the inauguration an indelible memory and would pay homage to sacred ground, consecrated by those who fought to make our nation whole.

Do not be surprised to see reenactors and other men and women donned in period dress or uniforms, a musket slung over their shoulder or sword attached to their belt. I once walked into the historic Farnsworth House Tavern to pick up my room keys, after arriving too late to formally check in inside the bookstore. As I opened the door, live music spilled out, only the music was of the sort you would hear in a civil war camp. There by the bar was a band dressed like they lived in the mid 1800s, and at the bar sat a few men dressed as Confederate soldiers. The Farnsworth House experienced heavy combat during the battle. There was house to house fighting. One side of the house that is visible from the street, a brick wall with no windows except for the attic, is still riddled with about a hundred bullet marks, chips of white studding the orange brick. The reason is that during the battle, two confederate snipers were in the attic, firing at Union soldiers in the street, who naturally fired back. One wonders if it was one of these snipers who killed the only civilian to die during the Battle of Gettysburg, Jenny Wade, who was felled by a bullet in her kitchen across the street while baking bread for Union soldiers. A hole in the door where that fateful bullet passed is still there today at the Jenny Wade House, which offers tours.


See the bullet marks on the brick facade above, and the attic where the snipers were nested.

It is possible to tour the attic of the Farnsworth House, where reputedly the ghosts of the Confederate Snipers haunt. I have stayed there several times, and while I prefer the rooms in the original portion of the house, decorated and furnished as they were in 1863, I once stayed in the General Custer room and enjoyed it. The Custer room is decorated with a western theme, including a few original artifacts hanging on the wall, a deer antler chandelier, an animal skin rug, and a working gas fireplace.

One night I stayed in the Sara Black Room, one of the original rooms, directly below the attic where two Confederate snipers were nested, and eventually killed. The room overlooks Baltimore Street, which is the street Abraham Lincoln walked down on his way to deliver the Gettysburg Address. At around 3 AM, I was awakened by the sound of heavy footsteps in the attic, and large objects being dragged on the floor. After hearing this for fifteen minutes, my curiosity piqued, I left my room, walked to the top of the stairs leading up to the attic door, and saw that it was padlocked from the outside. I felt a chill down my spine and my heart skipped a beat. Quietly, I went back down the stairs to my room. The next morning, I asked the front desk if anyone had been touring the attic at around 3 AM. They replied that nobody had been up there. I then recounted my experience, and that the attic door was padlocked from the outside, yet there were distinct sounds from inside. They assured me that I was not losing my mind, that many guests report exactly what I heard, and some have actually seen the ghosts that haunt the Farnsworth House. I learned that many other places in town, and on the battlefield, are frequented by soldiers of times past who still do not know that the battle is over.

The town of Gettysburg has several other homes that existed during the battle and can be toured. My favorite house tour is the Shriver House, preserved, furnished, and decorated as it was during the battle. Confederate snipers also used its attic to fire at Union soldiers in the street, and a bloodstain on the attic floor still to this day, from when the snipers were eventually killed, memorializes the event. The house is a living history and offers the chance to see what life was like in those times, lectured by the house’s tour guide. You will see the kitchen utensils they used and learn what they cooked. You will learn about how beds were different than today. The term “sleep tight” originated from the use of “rope beds” before the advent of box springs. Every night before bed, people would tighten the ropes on which the mattress rested, so that the mattress would not sag and cause a sore back by morning.

As we approach the 2013 presidential inauguration, I am reminded of the prophetic conclusion of Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address:

“The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Gettysburg exudes those “mystic chords of memory”, much as the chords I heard from the Civil War band that played in the Farnsworth House Tavern.


Learn more here about our Presidential Inauguration student tour program here:

Inauguration Info

Presidential Inauguration 2013 Washington DC

This year the Presidential Inauguration 2013 Washington DC

There will be a private ceremony on Sunday the 20th of January. Then on the Monday will follow the public Presidential Inauguration along with the parade and events on the Mall.

The first President to be inaugurated at the Capitol was Thomas Jefferson in 1801. Jefferson was instrumental in the development of Washington’s capital and its design. He called Pierre Charles L’Enfant who surpassed the modest ambitions Jefferson had for the capital’s design. Today this grand design still holds up well. It is a fitting setting for the capital of the oldest democracy in the world.  The avenues are wide and there are great vantage points of the government buildings. There are height restrictions in the city to help it keep the government prominent. Some say the city evokes certain European cities like Paris in its concept.

The President will take the oath of office on the West front facing the Mall towards the Washington Monument. The Presidential Inauguration events from Andrew Jackson to Jimmy Carter were held on the East side. President Reagan was the first to take the oath on the West side.

The wording is specified in Article Two, Section One, Clause Eight:
– I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

This year is a great opportunity to combine a Washington DC trip with the Presidential Inauguration 2013 events.

Find out more here.

Presidential Inauguration 2013