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Historic Day Trips in Virginia and Maryland

Drive along Route 15 from the VA/MD border to Aldie to find several interesting and important historic locations.

Cemetary at Ball's Bluff.  Photo Credit:  The Journey Through Hallowed Ground.
Cemetary at Ball's Bluff. Photo Credit: The Journey Through Hallowed Ground.

Written by Karen Graham

Driving on Route 15 from the Virginia/Maryland border, through Leesburg to Aldie will take you past several interesting and important historic locations. "Route 15 has been designated a National Scenic Byway," said Shuan Butcher, spokesman for The Journey Through Hallowed Ground. The best part? You can get to all these destinations on one tank of gas (or less).


Morven Park

17263 Southern Planter Ln.

Leesburg

 (703) 777-2414

Why Go? For 40 years, Morven Park was the home of Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis. The home and grounds have been preserved and there are events every season.

Insider Tip: Check out the Museum of Hounds and Hunting in the north wing.

Must Do: "The grounds are not to be missed," said Teresa Davenport, assistant director of development and communications at Morven Park. "We have 1,000 acres to explore and this is such a great time to be outdoors," Davenport added.

Fine Print: Open for tours every half hour Thursday-Monday. Hours are 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. The last tour starts at 3 p.m.


Ball's Bluff Civil War Battlefield Regional Park

Ball's Bluff Road 

Leesburg, VA

Why Go? This year is the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, and Ball's Bluff played an important role in its history. "It is the site at which Colonel and Senator Edward D. Baker of Oregon, President Lincoln's best friend, was killed," said Jim Morgan, president of Friends of Ball's Bluff. "Baker is the only U.S. senator ever killed in battle."  

Insider Tip: "The park also is the site of America's third smallest national cemetery, where the partial remains of 54 Union soldiers are interred in 25 graves," Morgan said.

Must Do: Download a free audio tour here.

The Fine Print: The one to two-hour tours include about one mile of walking on woodland trails that require moderate ability.  


Oatlands Historic Mansion

20850 Oatlands Plantation Ln.

Leesburg


(703) 777-3174

Why Go? A National Trust Historic Site, Oatlands was established in the early 19th century by George Carter.

Insider Tip: December is a busy month at Oatlands, filled with activities such as an art show, holiday-themed afternoon teas, holiday house tours, children's theater, wreath-making and more.

Must Do: "Be sure to reserve soon for one of our holiday teas, as they often sell out," said Andrea McGimsey, director of Oatlands. The next holiday teas are Dec. 27-29.

The Fine Print: Oatlands is located on Rt. 15, six miles south of Leesburg.  


Harpers Ferry

171 Shoreline Dr.

Harpers Ferry, West Virgina

Why Go? Harpers Ferry is a historic town and is an important place in African- American history. It was the location of John Brown's 1859 raid and the founding of the Niagara Movement in 1906.  

Insider Tip: The Harpers Ferry National Historic Park provides visitors with tours, museums, hiking and biking trails year-round. "Go when they have people in costume doing demonstrations," said visitor Barbara Maistros. "Bring a picnic lunch if you want to eat at the Visitors Center."  

Must Do: It is possible to walk a portion of the Appalachian Trail and stand in three states.  

Fine Print: Visit the website for directions and more information about the National Park and history in Harpers Ferry.

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