Blackbeard and the Pirates of the Chesapeake – June 1-4, 2011

Wednesday, June 1 (7:30 PM) thru Saturday, June 4 (5 PM)
Headquartered in Chesapeake, VA and Beaufort, NC
Led by John V. Quarstei
Registration Fee: $619.00 (double occupancy) – $645.00 (single occupancy)

Unquestionably, Edward Teach, better known as “Blackbeard” was one of the most notorious pirates who ever sailed the Seven Seas. Myriad legends surround the Blackbeard mystique, but the real story of this 18th century scoundrel is even more riveting. Teach and others roamed the Atlantic coast during the “Golden Age of Piracy” from 1680 to 1720. Our Blackbeard and the Pirates of the Chesapeake tour will explore the adventures of Teach and many of his other bloodthirsty comrades in crime.

Our first day will take us from the Hampton Roads area to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The ride along the Outer Banks will provide a great venue for our historian, John Quarstein to regale us with salty pirate yarns as well fill us in on the area’s little known Civil War history. He’ll also develop the background of colonial piracy from its inception near Jamestown, Virginia to the Anglo-Dutch Naval Wars of the mid-17th century and then to the 18th century swashbuckling activities of Blackbeard and his partner in crime, Major Stede Bonnet. We’ll cross on a ferry to Ocracoke Island where we’ll have lunch. While on the island we’ll visit Teach’s Hole’s, Blackbeard’s favorite anchorage where his pirates hid awaiting their water-borne prey. It was off Teach’s Hole that British Lt. Robert Maynard attacked and defeated the infamous pirate, bringing Blackbeard’s head back to Hampton. We’ll also visit Springer’s Point, also known as “Blackbeard’s Plantation” and reputed to be the pirate’s favorite haunt. [Read more…]

Fredericksburg: A Comprehensive Walking Tour – June 22-25, 2011

Wednesday, June 22 (7:30 PM) thru Saturday, June 25 (5 PM)
Headquartered in Fredericksburg, VA
Led by Frank O’Reilly
Registration Fee: $425.00 

Pushed by President Abraham Lincoln to win a decisive victory for the Union, Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside attempted to cross the Rappahannock River in December 1862 to please his commander-in-chief. Burnside successfully forced a crossing, but the result was a major Federal debacle at Fredericksburg. Our comprehensive tour of the Fredericksburg campaign will be conducted by the nationally recognized expert on the battle, Frank O’Reilly.

We will stop at all the major sites associated with the battle and some places that perhaps you have not seen. We’ll get to understand this campaign as a far more complex operation than just a frontal assault by Blue-coated infantrymen on the entrenched positions of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia which stretched eight miles along ridges west of Fredericksburg. Our tour will include a stop at Chatham, a magnificent plantation home used by Union Maj. Gen. Edwin “Bull” Sumner as his headquarters and later as a field hospital. We’ll walk thru part of the old town where Confederate Brig. Gen. William Barksdale’s sharpshooters held off Union troops for twelve hours as they attempted to pontoon the river. Of course, we’ll follow the heroic charge of the Irish Brigade on the stone-lined Sunken Road below Marye’s Heights which was held by units under Lt. Gen. James Longstreet. [Read more…]

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