Tauck Adds Historic Willard Hotel in Washington, DC to Civil War Tour

Three-Night Stay Kicks Off 11-Day Civil War Journey
Co-Designed With Filmmaker Ken Burns

NORWALK, CT (May 6, 2014)  Tauck has added another strong element of authentic period history to the Civil War tour it co-designed with award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns; guests traveling on the company’s 11-day “Most Hallowed Ground” itinerary will now spend the first three nights of their journey in Washington, DC’s historic InterContinental The Willard hotel.

Burns, whose landmark film “The Civil War” remains the highest rated and the most celebrated documentary in public television history, notes that the hotel popularly known as The Willard was a center of Washington political and social activity at the time of the Civil War.  Said Burns: “The writer Nathaniel Hawthorne observed during the Civil War that The Willard ‘may be much more justly called the center of Washington and the Union than either the Capitol, the White House, or the State Department.’  There is simply no more historic hotel in Washington, and no better place to begin an exploration of our nation’s greatest conflict, than The Willard.”

President-elect Abraham Lincoln enjoyed accommodations at The Willard prior to his first inauguration in 1861, and that same year abolitionist Julia Ward Howe wrote the stirring lyrics to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” at the hotel.  General Ulysses S. Grant also stayed at The Willard when he was summoned to Washington to accept command of all Union forces in early 1864.  (During his post-war presidency Grant would often relax at The Willard, where people hoping to secure his favor would gather in the lobby – ultimately prompting Grant to coin the term “lobbyist.”)  Almost a century later, when civil rights and not civil war roiled the U.S., Martin Luther King, Jr. completed his landmark “I Have A Dream” speech at The Willard the night before his historic March on Washington rally. 

“We’re thrilled to be including a three-night stay at The Willard as part of our ‘Most Hallowed Ground’ Civil War tour,” said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar.  “Its history and connection to the Civil War era add another layer of authenticity to our guests’ experience in Washington, but equally important, the hotel is entirely consistent with Tauck’s high standards for service, quality, décor and amenities.”  The Willard, Mahar went on to note, has been honored with awards from Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Forbes, AAA and a range of others.

“Tauck and Ken Burns are both widely noted for excellence in their respective fields, and we are delighted that they’ve included The Willard in their Civil War tour,” said Patrick Birchall, Regional Director of Operations Mid Atlantic & General Manager, Willard InterContinental. “We’re sure that our hotel's history, its incredible location near the White House and the National Mall, and our dedication to world-class service will combine to provide a truly memorable experience for Tauck’s guests.”

Designed by Tauck and filmmaker Ken Burns, the all-inclusive “Most Hallowed Ground” tour (from $4,390 per person, double occupancy, plus airfare) begins in Washington, DC before traveling through Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia to visit historic sites and Civil War battlefields including Gettysburg, Antietam, Petersburg and Appomattox.

The tour itinerary explores the war’s roots during guided visits to the National Archives in Washington, DC and Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello in Virginia.  Guests will also gain insights into the experiences of the combatants at the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Petersburg, Virginia, and they’ll discover the war’s impact on medical techniques and technology at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland.  A poignant visit to Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC will highlight the war’s end, and prompt a contemplation of how post-war Reconstruction might have been different had the nation continued under Abraham Lincoln’s leadership.

Throughout their journey, guests will benefit from Ken Burns’s personal insights as presented during a series of video vignettes that air aboard the Tauck motorcoach while en route to various sites.  These exclusive short features include never-before-seen interview footage with Burns, as well as special highlights from his groundbreaking series “The Civil War.”

About “Ken Burns American Journeys.”  Through its “Ken Burns American Journeys” partnership, Tauck works with award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns and his longtime collaborator Dayton Duncan to craft travel experiences that incorporate and explore the themes of Burns’s films, including (among others) Baseball, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, The Civil War, Prohibition and Jazz.

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