Advice for my second US trip, please

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livia

Private
Joined
Aug 11, 2014
Location
London
Hi all

It's been sometime since I've been on the forum but delving back in as I've just booked my second solo trip to the US ( live in London), which will take place in March/April next year. Although I'm away for over 2 weeks I'll be taking a cruise in the second half ( it goes to Charleston so how could I resist) and have one week to explore - want to do as much civil war related activity as possible.

My main constraint is that I don't drive which is a problem when wanting to get to battlefields and more out of the way places. In my first trip two years ago, I spent 4 nights at Gettysburg ( got their via Amtrak and the 15N bus from Harrisburg) and 2 nights in Fredericksburg. In addition was able to do civil war related stuff in Boston, NYC and DC.

This time round the call of Gettysburg is still strong but would like to see some new things. I'm flying into NYC so basically have a week before heading to Baltimore. I can get to Harpers Ferry via train but is it feasible to use taxis or hire a guide with their own transport to go to Antietam and or Monocacy battlefields? I can't see anything which has an organised excursion or tour to either of these places.

My other option is to spend time going down via Amtrak to Richmond and staying there for a few nights. That way I will have direct access to the city based sights and maybe a side trip to Williamsburg/Jamestown. I suspect Petersburg will be too far away as it would involve another train trip and then the actual battlefield sites are quite far from the station. Even within Richmond I can't find any public transport routes that go out near the richmond battlefield sites or Appomattox direction but perhaps I'm missing something.

Does anyone have any insight into these options or is the following my only realistic option:

3 nights in Gettysburg and do it in more depth followed by 3 nights in Philly before going to Baltimore.
or
go straight down to Richmond - stay a few nights and then a few nights in DC to perhaps explore Manassas.

Any help would be appreciated.
 

connecticut yankee

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 2, 2017
Hi all

It's been sometime since I've been on the forum but delving back in as I've just booked my second solo trip to the US ( live in London), which will take place in March/April next year. Although I'm away for over 2 weeks I'll be taking a cruise in the second half ( it goes to Charleston so how could I resist) and have one week to explore - want to do as much civil war related activity as possible.

My main constraint is that I don't drive which is a problem when wanting to get to battlefields and more out of the way places. In my first trip two years ago, I spent 4 nights at Gettysburg ( got their via Amtrak and the 15N bus from Harrisburg) and 2 nights in Fredericksburg. In addition was able to do civil war related stuff in Boston, NYC and DC.

This time round the call of Gettysburg is still strong but would like to see some new things. I'm flying into NYC so basically have a week before heading to Baltimore. I can get to Harpers Ferry via train but is it feasible to use taxis or hire a guide with their own transport to go to Antietam and or Monocacy battlefields? I can't see anything which has an organised excursion or tour to either of these places.

My other option is to spend time going down via Amtrak to Richmond and staying there for a few nights. That way I will have direct access to the city based sights and maybe a side trip to Williamsburg/Jamestown. I suspect Petersburg will be too far away as it would involve another train trip and then the actual battlefield sites are quite far from the station. Even within Richmond I can't find any public transport routes that go out near the richmond battlefield sites or Appomattox direction but perhaps I'm missing something.

Does anyone have any insight into these options or is the following my only realistic option:

3 nights in Gettysburg and do it in more depth followed by 3 nights in Philly before going to Baltimore.
or
go straight down to Richmond - stay a few nights and then a few nights in DC to perhaps explore Manassas.

Any help would be appreciated.
I would suggest you put Washington D.C. on your list of possible cities. There are many Civil War related sites to visit in D.C. including, the Smithsonian, Ford's Theatre, the Capital, the White House and numerous existing C.W. forts, to name just a few places. Tours across the Potomac to visit Arlington National Cemetery are readily available. The cherry blossoms in bloom in April are reason enough to consider D.C. Good luck on your trip!
 

livia

Private
Joined
Aug 11, 2014
Location
London
Hi
Thanks for the reply. Was lucky to cover most of these on my previous visit (apart from the forts) and enjoyed the Ford Theatre and the civil war exhibition ( I think it was at the Museum of American History) - but DC would be so central that it may be worth heading out to Manassas for a day perhaps - I may also see if there are any 1 day bus trips up to Gettysburg from DC ( if I decide not to stay there for a few nights and concentrate on Virginia instead).
 
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David Moore

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Location
Washington, DC
You probably will need a car to really visit the battlefields in depth. There is limited public transportation to Manassas, Fredericksburg and Richmond but remember the stations are in the city center while the battlefields are several miles outside them. You could try a combination of transit and Uber/Lyft.
Grayline Tours of DC does have a one day Gettysburg tour. There is a guide service for Harpers Ferry and Antietam. You could contact one of the guides and perhaps they could provide transportation. Antietamguides.com
Getting to those places is the problem. Most of the transport is geared to coming into Washington in the morning and leaving in the evening which is the opposite of what you probably need.

You might also contact the Fredericksburg and Richmond National Battlefield Parks and see what advice they can give you.
(On your third trip you should visit sites in the western (Tennessee, Mississippi,Georgia) theater where many think the war was really won.)
 

livia

Private
Joined
Aug 11, 2014
Location
London
You probably will need a car to really visit the battlefields in depth. There is limited public transportation to Manassas, Fredericksburg and Richmond but remember the stations are in the city center while the battlefields are several miles outside them. You could try a combination of transit and Uber/Lyft.
Grayline Tours of DC does have a one day Gettysburg tour. There is a guide service for Harpers Ferry and Antietam. You could contact one of the guides and perhaps they could provide transportation. Antietamguides.com
Getting to those places is the problem. Most of the transport is geared to coming into Washington in the morning and leaving in the evening which is the opposite of what you probably need.

You might also contact the Fredericksburg and Richmond National Battlefield Parks and see what advice they can give you.
(On your third trip you should visit sites in the western (Tennessee, Mississippi,Georgia) theater where many think the war was really won.)
Thanks for this advice. Will definitely check out the link for Antietam and will research the uber situation in and around Harper's ferry - although think having a base at Frederick may be better in terms of getting an uber/taxi service as it's bigger.

And I did do a bit of research into exploring Tennessee ( was thinking of a Chicago to New Orleans train journey with a stop off at Memphis and then out to Nashville and Chatanooga. Nashville had day trip to the Battle of Franklin site.) so maybe next time :smile:
 

David Moore

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Location
Washington, DC
Thanks for this advice. Will definitely check out the link for Antietam and will research the uber situation in and around Harper's ferry - although think having a base at Frederick may be better in terms of getting an uber/taxi service as it's bigger.

And I did do a bit of research into exploring Tennessee ( was thinking of a Chicago to New Orleans train journey with a stop off at Memphis and then out to Nashville and Chatanooga. Nashville had day trip to the Battle of Franklin site.) so maybe next time :smile:
Remember Frederick and Fredericksburg are two different places. Harpers Ferry can be visited on foot even the battlefield sites are a manageable hike from downtown. Harpers Ferry is near Antietam so a guide might be able to provide transport there. The commuter trains from HF are all inbound to DC. There is an Amtrak (long distance) train that leaves DC in the afternoon but arrives in HF in the late afternoon as do the commuter trains from DC. You could overnight in HF.
https://www.harpersferryhistory.org/certified-guide-tours
 
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livia

Private
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Aug 11, 2014
Location
London
Yes - would definitely consider 2 nights in HF if staying in DC for the other nights - would make it a manageable two centre stay and would mean I'd see new areas rather than just revisiting Gettysburg and/or Fredericksburg ( was just able to manage the sites in town and Chatham Manor last time - as couldn't get out to Chancellorsville etc).
Good to know there are definite options to explore.
 

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
I think you are on the right track in thinking of Richmond.

There are numerous sites to visit in the city center. I think you can easily spend 2-3 full days seeing the downtown sites/museums without ever getting in a car.

There are tours of all kinds for out-of-town visitors -- http://www.richmondgov.com/Visitors/Tours.aspx

And Uber should get you easily to any of the nearby Richmond battlefield sites, or to Petersburg.

I think your biggest problem is going to be fitting everything in to the time you have available.
 
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Podad

First Sergeant
Joined
Dec 18, 2009
Location
NE Georgia
Check into the driver services called Uber and Lyft as a way to see some out of the way locations.
 

livia

Private
Joined
Aug 11, 2014
Location
London
Yes - almost at the point of going for Gettysburg for three/four nights and taking an uber or Lyft to Antietam and back. Then go to Philly for another few days. ( with a trip to the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg too.)

But will try to work on an itinerary which abandons Gettysburg entirely ( hard) and see what is feasible to do along the Washington/Richmond/Petersburg route.
 

mofederal

Captain
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Location
Southeast Missouri
Richmond has a lot to offer. It is worth the trip. I used to live close to there in Petersburg. So much to see, battlefields, and museums and other sites, Hollywood Cemetery, the White House of the Confederacy. You wouldn't be disappointed.
 
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livia

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Aug 11, 2014
Location
London
Finally sorted out my final itinerary - booked my hotels and as they are pre paid, that makes my plans "set in stone".

In the end I decided to take the train from DC to Richmond and stay 3 nights. That should give me a chance to explore, not only Richmond, but also aiming for Williamsburg and potentially Petersburg. As I'm dependant on public transport and my feet, I've got to plan accordingly. But will use Uber as well.
After going backwards and forwards, I decided to stay in Frederick itself for three nights, rather than Harpers Ferry. That will give me a chance to do Antietam and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. I may plan a visit to Monocacy too.

Decided to not run myself into the ground and am not attempting to fit a trip to Manassas in there - but it was tempting.

As I'd done Gettysburg, Fredericksburg and DC two years ago- I'm going to all new places. Exciting - just 74 days to do :smile:
 

bdtex

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Finally sorted out my final itinerary - booked my hotels and as they are pre paid, that makes my plans "set in stone".

In the end I decided to take the train from DC to Richmond and stay 3 nights. That should give me a chance to explore, not only Richmond, but also aiming for Williamsburg and potentially Petersburg. As I'm dependant on public transport and my feet, I've got to plan accordingly. But will use Uber as well.
After going backwards and forwards, I decided to stay in Frederick itself for three nights, rather than Harpers Ferry. That will give me a chance to do Antietam and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. I may plan a visit to Monocacy too.

Decided to not run myself into the ground and am not attempting to fit a trip to Manassas in there - but it was tempting.

As I'd done Gettysburg, Fredericksburg and DC two years ago- I'm going to all new places. Exciting - just 74 days to do :smile:
I visited Richmond/Petersburg in January 2016. Was there for other stuff besides CW sightseeing but had 1 full day and 3 half days for it. Visited Five Forks, Petersburg,Cold Harbor and Gaines' Mill battlefields, Museum Of The Confederacy, Confederate White House, Tredagar Iron Works, Hollywood Cemetery,Monument Avenue and Cold Harbor National Cemetery. Poplar Grove National Cemetery,the Siege Museum and Pamplin Park were closed while I was there.
 
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livia

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Aug 11, 2014
Location
London
Crikey - you saw a lot! Really tempted by the Petersburg area but realise I won't have time to do that and a day trip out to Williamsburg which has a lot going for it as well. Decisions, decisions!
 

bdtex

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Crikey - you saw a lot! Really tempted by the Petersburg area but realise I won't have time to do that and a day trip out to Williamsburg which has a lot going for it as well. Decisions, decisions!
Went to Williamsburg in June 2014. I was mostly visiting friends and didn't really know what all was there. Learned more about it since then and I wanna go back. I flew in and out of Newport News and went to the Mariners' Museum there before I left.
 
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livia

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Aug 11, 2014
Location
London
Definitely doing Antietam - if you like, it's the centrepoint of this second trip, where Gettysburg was the centrepoint last time.
Will look into the Mariners Museum - seems to be a wealth of history at Williamsburg.
 

dlavin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Location
North Balt Co., MD
You really cant go wrong in the Gettysburg - Frederick - Antietam - DC - Fredericksburg - Richmond corridor. Its loaded with things to do, see, eat. The question becomes how exhausted do you want to be every night with trying to see a lot?
 
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