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Washington, D.C. with Gettysburg and Lancaster County

Washington, D.C. with Gettysburg and Lancaster County

Start in the marble halls of our Capitol.  Then explore our national museums.  Pay tribute at grand memorials.  Then, after walking through one of America's most famous Civil War battlefields end your visit in peaceful Lancaster County with its large  Amish community.  A visit to this famous Amish settlement will give your students a lesson in religious freedom.  The Underground Railroad history and the Sight and Sound Theater with stunning Christian productions are also found here.

  • Program Highlights

    Almost all American Christian Tours Education Programs to Washington, D.C., Gettysburg, and Lancaster County will typically include:
    • United States Capitol Building
    • Supreme Court
    • Library of Congress
    • Night Illumination Tour of the national monuments and memorials (Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR, MLK, Jr., World War II, Vietnam and Korean War)
    • Smithsonian Museums
    • Ford's Theater and the Petersen House
    • Gettysburg National Historical Park
    • Gettysburg National Historical Park Visitors Center
    • Guided Battlefied Tour
    • Cyclorama
    • Arlington National Cemetery
    • Amish Countryside Tour
    • Amish Farm Stop
    • The Amish Experience - theater
    • Amish family-style meal
    • Amish House Tour
    • Sight and Sound Theater - based on ticket price/availability

    Trips of moderate length will also typically include:
    • The National Archives
    • George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate
    • White House Photo Stop
    Trips of optimal length might also add the following:
    • Full visit of the Holocaust Museum or the International Spy Museum
    • White House Tour - (dependent on approval of request)
    • National Cathedral Tour
  • Climate

    Washington, D.C. climate varies greatly.  In the winter it is cold and bitter - temperatures rarely go above freezing.  In the summer it is hot and extremely humid.  The best time to visit is in the spring and fall when the air is clear and the weather mild.
    It is almost impossible to miss rain on a trip to Washington.  The heaviest rain is in the summer - between May and August.  However the rain usually does not stay long.
    Fall and spring are mild and the most pleasant seasons in Pennsylvania.
    Summers tend to be hot and often muggy, the humidity tending to be highest during July and August. The rainfall pattern is generally spread throughout the year, with between six and nine wet days in every month.
    Winters are cold, but seldom does the mercury drop below freezing. Snow is unpredictable, some winters experiencing little and others characterized by continual snowstorms.
  • Geography

    Washington is surrounded by the states of Virginia (on its southwest side, and a small part of its northwest one) and Maryland (on its southeast and northeast sides, and most of its northwest one).  It interrupts those states' common border, which is the Potomac River both upstream and downstream from the District.  The land ceded from Virginia was returned by Congress in 1846, so what remains of the modern District was all once part of Maryland.

    The District has three natural flowing bodies of water: the Potomac River,  the Anacostia River, and Rock Creek.  Both Anacostia River and Rock Creek are tributaries of the Potomac.  The famous Tidal Basin was actually man-made in the early 1900's.
    Gettysburg is located in a portion of southeastern Pennsylvania known as the Piedmont plateau.  The region features rolling hills and small mountains.  To the northwest, there is a series of low, parallel ridges.  Seminary Ridge, closest to Gettysburg, is named for the Lutheran Theological Seminary on its crest. Farther out is South Mountain, the beginning of the Blue Ridge portion of the Appalachian Mountain chain.  Dominating the landscape are the Round Tops to the south. Little Round Top is a hill with a rugged, steep slope 130 feet above nearby Plum Run strewn with large boulders; to its southwest, the area with the most significant boulders - some the size of living rooms - is known as Devil's Den.  The valley formed by Plum Run between the Round Tops and Devil's Den earned the name Valley of Death during the Battle of Gettysburg.
    Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is found in the south central portion of the state of Pennsylvania, in the beautiful Susquehanna Valley.  The land is mostly flat, with mild rolling hills, lending itself to farming. The farmland of Lancaster County is considered to be among the most fertile non-irrigated farmland in the world. Popular crops include tobacco, soybeans, and corn. There are a large number of dairy and chicken farms as well.
  • Essentials

    • Gazing at the ceiling of the Rotunda 180 feet above you underneath the dome of the United State's Capitol.
    • Watching the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.
    • Exploring the vast treasures of the Smithsonian Institution Museums.
    • Standing on top of Little Round Top and imagining the fields below filled with soldiers, cannon, horses, and smoke.
    • Reading the Gettysburg Address near the spot where Abraham Lincoln delivered his now immortal speech.
    • Watching Amish buggys clip along the narrow roads of Lancaster County while eating a fresh warm soft pretzel.
  • Get Prepared

    • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 1939, Columbia Pictures.
    • National Treasure,  2004, Touchstone Pictures.
    • Gettysburg, 1993, Turner Pictures.
    • Friendly Persuasion, 1956, Allied Artists - released on DVD 2000, Warner Studios. 
    • This movie is a story based on the Quakers during the Civil War.  Although the Quakers and Amish are different in beliefs - there are similarities in their style of plain living and pacifistic beliefs.  The idea here is that our country allows for different religious groups to practice their religion without persecution.

    • Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the United States Constitution.  This is where the Constitution establishes a district that will later be known as the District of Columbia - the capital of our nation.
    • Killer Angels, Michael Shaara; 1987, Ballantine Books
    • Memorize the Gettysburg Address.
    • The Riddle of Amish Culture, Donald Kraybill, 1989, ISBN 0-8018-3682-4
    • It answers many of those difficult questions about why the Amish do what they do.
    • The Amish in their Own Words, compiled by Brad Igou, 1999, Herald Press
    • Short readings and stories show the Amish as people; one of the few books actually written by the Amish themselves.
    • Patriotic marches;
    • President's Inaugural Addresses;
    • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" Speech;
    • Marian Anderson singing at the Lincoln Memorial.
    • Civil War music.
    • Listen to a sample of an Amish hymn being sung from the Ausbund, the Amish hymnal.
    • Listen to a sample of an Amish Bishop preaching
  • Senses

    • Being a capital city, Washington, D.C. is home to people from all over the world.  Be adventurous and try some ethnic food.
    • Also Washington is close to the Chesapeake Bay.  There is good seafood around Washington.  We recommend the clam chowder at the Fish Market in Alexandria.
    • Bake some Hardtack or some Southern Johnnie Cakes.
    • The Amish are wonderful cooks and bakers.  If you stop at an Amish bakeshop on your tour, we would recommend the whoopie pies - little cakes with icing between them.
    • Pretzels are another Amish Country favorite.  They come in many flavors with many types of dipping sauces.
    • If your tour is eating at one of the Amish family-style restaurants - be adventurous!  Try the dried corn or the shoo-fly pie.
    • The Amish enjoy birch beer (like root beer) and lemonade.
    • Water, of course.  Stay hydrated!
  • In A Word:

    • Washington, D.C. - Monumental.
    • Gettysburg - Sacrifice.
    • Lancaster County - Simple.
  • Surprises

    • The Capitol dome remains the tallest building in Washington, D.C., due to a rule within the building codes. The only exception to this rule is the Washington Monument, but this structure is not considered a building.
    • Seeing how large the memorials are in real life, especially the Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima).
    • Finding out that the Smithsonian Institution consists of 17 separate museums and one zoo in Washington, D.C. – plus two more museums in New York City!
    • Gettysburg became the home for President and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower after his term as President.
    • Of the over 51,000 casualties in the three day Battle of Gettysburg, only one civilian in the town of Gettysburg was killed - 20 year old Jenny Wade.
    • The Amish call all non-Amish - "English"
    • There are many different groups of Amish.  The Old Order Amish are the group that most Americans think of when they hear Amish.
    • The Amish broke off of the Mennonites in the late 1600's.

    • That thousands of slaves escaped using the "Underground Railroad" through Lancaster County.

  • Cities/Destinations Included

    • Washington, D.C.
    • Gettysburg
    • Lancaster County
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