The Journey Through Hallowed Ground: Experience 400 Years on One Tank of Gas

Staying around this summer doesn’t have to mean staying put. Get out and explore The Journey Through Hallowed Ground® (JTHG) National Heritage Area, where you can you experience 400 years of history on one tank of gas.

Take a tour of presidential homes, including Eisenhower’s Farm, Teddy Roosevelt’s Pine Knot, and Hoover’s hunting cabin. Enjoy a scenic country drive through some of our nation’s most picturesque landscapes in the region known as Where America Happened, stopping at orchards, charming villages, and wineries. Explore over 100 sites telling the stories of those who believed in human rights, civil rights, and religious freedom through the African American tour. There is so much to do right here at home.

The JTHG region offers an immersive experience where visitors can take a vacation through American history along the 180-mile-long, 75-mile-wide Route 15 corridor from Gettysburg, PA to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello outside Charlottesville, Virginia.

It includes nine presidential homes & sites, 18 national & state parks, 100 scenic rivers, 57 historic towns & villages, 21 historic homes, 100s of Civil War battlefields, and thousands of historical sites, stretching from the very founding of our country, through Revolutionary and Civil War times, to more modern days.

Living Legacy Tree Planting Project.  Photo by Shuan Butcher. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership was founded ten years ago by Cate Magennis Wyatt as a non-profit, four-state partnership dedicated to raising awareness of the unparalleled American heritage found here. It is recognized by Congress as a National Heritage Area, and is also designated a National Scenic Byway.

“You have every generation who placed life and livelihood on the line to create this country. And to walk now, and see how it looked to them is truly inspiring,” Wyatt said. “We took a national poll of heritage travelers and what we found humbling is how others outside this region find this to be an inspirational trip. They viscerally feel every American should do the Journey.”

The Journey’s website,, lists itineraries based on various interests including African American Heritage, A Presidential Journey, Orchards and Highlands Loop, Catoctin Scenic Loop, Potomac Legacy Loop, Loudoun-Clarke, and Route 231. Each itinerary offers distinctive stops at places like museums, shops, restaurants, monuments, historic sites and homes, battlefields, wineries, inns, cooking schools, scenic views, farms and orchards. The JTHG will be glad to create a customized itinerary as well.

Leave a Living Legacy

Kicked off in 2012, the JTHG Living Legacy Tree Planting Project will create the first 180-mile landscaped allée in the world. It commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War by proposing to plant one tree for each of the 620,000 soldiers who died during this defining period in American history. For only $100, anyone can donate a tree.

Each donated tree is geotagged with the name of a fallen soldier through a program with and The History Channel. People can pinpoint a particular tree and learn the soldier’s name, where he was born and died, or read entries from his diary or letters home, for example. You can create your own dedication for a Civil War soldier from your own family tree.

On May 7-8, 2015 almost 500 tourism volunteers will arrive from around the U.S. to plant 1000 trees along the frontage of James Monroe’s home, Oak Hill, in Loudoun County. Check the JTHG calendar for upcoming events throughout the region, or to explore volunteer or donation opportunities.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Become a  JTHG Certified Tourism Ambassador

An exciting way to get involved is to become a JTHG Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) yourself. You’ll be given extensive reference materials on the JTHG region, and must take a half-day interactive class and pass an open book exam to qualify.

The CTA program is designed to create Tourism Ambassadors for the JTHG region. The nationally-recognized CTAs can help point friends, family and visitors to interesting places to visit or great restaurants to try to ensure they have a great time here. In addition, CTAs receive incentives such as free or discounted admission and discounts to businesses along the Journey.

Many JTHG partner sites require their staff to earn this certification, but it’s open to anyone interested in being a Certified Tourism Ambassador. “This area is a leading economic engine for this region, yet people didn’t see it as a destination,” Wyatt said. “We’re trying to change that.”

Take the Journey and embrace the adventure. A list of participating sites, itineraries, and free maps are available from the JTHG website.

Some Most-Frequented JTHG Attractions in Northern Virginia

  • Aldie: Aldie Mill; Mt. Zion Old School Baptist Church
  • Barboursville: Barboursville Ruins; Barboursville Winery
  • Haymarket: Ewell’s Chapel Civil War Trails Site, Winery at La Grange
  • Leesburg: Ball’s Bluff Battlefield & National Cemetery; Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park; Dodona Manor; Morven Park
  • Manassas: Battle of Kettle Run, Ben Lomond; Blackburn’s Ford; Chapman’s Mill; Freedom Museum; Manassas Museum; Liberia Plantation
  • Middleburg: Goose Creek Bridge; Mosby Heritage Area, Red Fox Inn
  • Orange: 1859 Orange Courthouse; James Madison Museum, Mayhurst Inn
  • Sterling: Claude Moore Park/Lanesville Heritage Area; Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum
  • Waterford: Waterford Historic District

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground

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