Group Tour Itineraries
Spend a day in the heart of Virginia wine country with a trip to James Madison's Montpelier in the morning, and a vineyard or two in the afternoon.
Morning— The morning begins at Montpelier the home of President James Madison, Father of the Constitution, and Dolley Madison. Tour the mansion and learn about the fascinating lives of James and Dolley Madison, America's beloved "First Lady." Stroll the gardens, dive into hands-on activities, watch archaeologists work, gaze west towards the breath-taking mountain views, and be inspired!
Bring your own lunch and picnic on the beautiful property or grab a gourmet sandwich at Montpelier's Courtyard Café.
Afternoon— After lunch, the choices of outstanding Virginia wine are almost endless with many great vineyards nearby. Barboursville Vineyard is considered one of the best in the region, and you'll know why when you have a chance to sample their award-winning Octagon. Horton Vineyard is also in the town of Barboursville, while Keswick Vineyard is a gorgeous 20-minute drive down Route 231 South. Heading north, there are two vineyards well worth the short drive; the first stop is Early Mountain in Madison, and then on to Prince Michel Vineyard; both offer great wine tasting, shopping and tours.
For more information on Virginia Wine, go to www.virginiawine.org.
Civil War Itinerary
Morning— Arrive at Montpelier. Montpelier offers a "Civil War Trail and Confederate Encampment" tour that looks at the archaeological remains of the encampments where soldiers wintered at Montpelier in 1863–1864. The Montpelier mansion tour is included in this tour.
Bring your own lunch or grab a gourmet sandwich at Montpelier's Courtyard Café and picnic on Montpelier's beautiful grounds.
Or, head into Orange and have lunch at your choice of great local restaurants — Elmwood at Sparks, The Lightwell, or The Inn at Willow Grove can accommodate individuals and small traveling parties. The Silk Mill Grille and Stonefire Station can accommodate groups. Please call ahead to notify the restaurant of the number in your party.
Afternoon— After lunch, drive East on Route 20 to the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial, part of the National Park Service. The park commemorates four important Civil War battles in this area of 17 square miles: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House.
The Battle of the Wilderness area includes an exhibit shelter and self-guided trails that offer a glimpse into the first of many encounters between General Robert E. Lee and General Ulysses Grant. Be sure to pick up a Park Service map and follow the driving tour of this and all the other battlefields in the parks.
The Battle of Chancellorsville area has a visitor center where you can schedule a guided walking tour (offered during peak seasons). Be sure to catch the 22-minute orientation film and stroll through the Civil War museum.
The Battle of Fredericksburg includes battlefields, historic buildings and a visitor center. Be sure to see the park headquarters at Chatham Manor to learn more about this fascinating and historic area.
Finally, Battle of Spotsylvania Court House section of the park offers many sites on a self-guided basis, including an exhibit shelter, and the battlefield sites of Heth's Salient, Bloody Angle and Upton's Road.
Visit www.virignia.org for more information.
"Who are the Best Keepers of the People's Liberties? The people themselves. The sacred trust can be no where so safe as in the hands most interested in preserving it."
— James Madison, 1792