From the Capitol dome to the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building, the work of architect and builder Montgomery Meigs is still part of our region’s landscape. Spend a day focused on Washington history and architecture to discover the many facets and achievements of the former Civil War officer who helped define and develop an enduring vision of the capital city. Lecturer in history, urban studies, and architecture Bill Keene leads the tour.
Visit Pittsburgh—a city of smokestacks and steel miraculously reborn as a cultural capital—for a three-day art-filled tour with art journalist Richard Selden that features the 58th Carnegie International exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Other exciting art venues and historic sites are also on the itinerary.
Discover the spring splendors of the Potomac Gorge, a 1,900-acre natural area spanning Maryland and Virginia, and one of the most geologically diverse places on Earth. Join naturalist and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley on a hike along one of the most scenic sections of the river, trekking north from Turkey Run Park along the Potomac Heritage Trail. Along the way, you can admire lush upland forests, view floodplains brilliantly decorated by Virginia bluebells, and keep an eye out for great blue herons and other native fauna.
Hop aboard a private charter of an early 20th-century self-propelled railcar called the Doodlebug and take in the spring sights along the historic Wilmington and Western Railroad line. As you ride, tour leader Joe Nevin, a railroad historian, covers the colorful background of the W&W and offers stories of the once-bustling industrial towns along the branch line.
Brooklyn offers plenty of delights for lovers of art, music, nature, and of course, food. On this two-day visit, arts journalist and former Brooklynite Richard Selden introduces you to several of the borough’s top attractions.
The timeline of America’s military history, marked by national and international conflicts and struggles, reaches beyond the founding of the United States and into the present. Much of this history is connected to the capital area—the backdrop for a day that explores three significant sites in a bus tour led by Brent Feito and Matt Seelinger of the Army Historical Foundation. The tour's itinerary includes Mount Vernon, Museum of the United States Army, and the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
Discover one of the finest and most personal museums in Washington in a private, small-group experience that invites you to spend a day exploring Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens, the former residence of businesswoman and collector Marjorie Merriweather Post. Stroll through themed gardens at their spring best and take in a mansion filled with stunning collections of French and Russian decorative arts (including Faberge eggs)—all reflections of the distinctive artistic focus Mrs. Post brought to transforming Hillwood into her own after purchasing the estate in 1955. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)
From the Revolution to the Civil War to the Great Depression and the postwar boom, Arlington County, Virginia, has been a canvas for American history. Get a close look at sites that reflect that fascinating heritage with historian Dakota Springston, who leads a bus tour through diverse neighborhoods in East Falls Church, Fostoria, Clarendon, Cherrydale, Fort Myer Heights, Glencarlyn, and Ballston—all originally commuter towns that sprang up along the route of the first rail line that connected Arlington with the District around the turn of the 20th century.
Abraham Lincoln spent 18 of his last 21 days of life not in Washington but in eastern Virginia, headquarters for Ulysses S. Grant’s campaign against Robert E. Lee, whose army was in the process of defending Richmond and Petersburg. Join Noah Andre Trudeau, author of Lincoln’s Greatest Journey: Sixteen Days That Changed a Presidency, March 24–April 8, 1865, as he leads a visit to sites in the region connected to that trip, undertaken at a pivotal moment that saw the Civil War approach its conclusion.
In the eyes of many Civil War scholars, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s greatest victory and Union General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker’s greatest lost opportunity can be found during the battle of Chancellorsville that raged in the Virginia Wilderness from May 1 to 4,1863. Career military intelligence officer Colonel Marc Thompson, USAF Retired, leads a visit to most of the significant locations associated with this epic Civil War battle. Thompson’s extensive experience in analyzing and assessing adversary operations, along with his intimate knowledge of the Chancellorsville battlefield, provide him with some unique perspectives on combat leadership and the fog of war that impacted the battle’s participants.
Frank Lloyd Wright left an indelible signature on the American Midwest: a legacy of buildings that trace the arc of his career as one of world’s most significant and innovative architects. A 5-day tour led by historian Bill Keene offers a one-of-kind opportunity for a close-up look at a wide range of Wright’s designs in Illinois and Wisconsin, as well as visits to seminal works by other architects of the early and mid-20th century. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)
Enjoy a spring morning walk on a natural oasis in the Potomac with Melanie Choukas-Bradley, the author of the book Finding Solace at Theodore Roosevelt Island. The nearly 2-mile path follows the island’s shore and moves deep into the swamp and tidal inlet along the boardwalk where willows, bald cypresses, and cattails frame views of Washington, D.C. She shares an overview of the landscape’s fascinating mix of trees, wildflowers, birds, and other wildlife and highlights the island’s history and the legacy of the naturalist and conservationist president it memorializes.
All aboard for an exciting rail journey through West Virginia’s breathtaking mountain scenery. Led by railroad historian Joe Nevin, this three-day tour features a trio of rail excursions, including a climb behind the geared steam locomotive of the Cass Scenic Railroad to the top of the second-highest point in the state.
High elevation and precipitation levels in the mountains of Garrett County, Maryland, create avian habitats that closely resemble those found hundreds of miles farther north—providing birdwatchers an opportunity to observe a myriad of nesting species typically found in New England and Canada. Join naturalists and birding leaders Matt Felperin and Joley Sullivan for a full day of exploration—and bird sightings—in the Maryland panhandle region bordering Pennsylvania and West Virginia.