6. Alexandria: American Revolution and Civil War Guided Tour
Walk around scenic Old Town of Alexandria, the colonial-era hometown of George Washington and Robert E. Lee, with an ex-"Tonight Show" writer and former presidential speechwriter who has authored 15 books on history, humor, science, and politics.
Start at the lodging of Marquis de Lafayette where the French hero stayed during his so-called "reunion tour" of America, then proceed past the mansion of a Confederate general who was nearly lynched on the night of Lincoln's assassination, but was saved by Union troops. Stop next at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution in the graveyard of the Old Presbyterian Meeting House dating from 1775.
Then, move on to the home of George Washington's physician who tragically mistreated his patient during the retired president's fatal illness. See the burnt remains of a rebel newspaper office where Union troops and Confederate sympathizers clashed and the tenement house that Washington bought on speculation for his wife Martha. Pass by the old prison and its evidence of attempted escapes by southern prisoners of war.
See the homes of Washington's beloved older brother Lawrence, and that of an officer who introduced him to Martha. Continue to the pharmacy and general store where George Washington and Robert E. Lee did their local shopping, and where the latter first heard of Fort Sumter. See the bank that hid Civil War funds used for the reconstruction of Mount Vernon, Washington's estate and the training grounds where he lost a fist fight.
Move towards the site of the first fatalities of the Civil War from bayonet and shotguns, and the dreaded dock where slaves were brought in chains from Africa. See the colonial mansion where a famed rebel spy ferreted secrets to the Confederacy, and where a youthful Washington helped plan the French and Indian War. Also, see several homes of the Underground Railroad that carried escaped slaves to the soil of free states.
Marvel at fine colonial and antebellum structures designed by the likes of Benjamin Latrobe, commonly known as “the father of American architecture,” and the banks and churches turned into Civil War hospitals. See also the Quaker library that witnessed the first civil rights sit-down protest and the taverns where the inaugural celebrations of the first six American presidents, including James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams were held. Pass by the meetinghouse where their colleague, George Mason, penned the Bill and Rights to the U.S. Constitution.
The final stretch of this remarkably detailed look into America's past will draw upon such sites as Washington's townhouse where he conducted his commercials affairs and the antebellum homes where Robert E. Lee was raised. Lastly, see the stunning church where both Washington and Lee were parishioners and that also includes the graves of figures from all eras of America's rich past.