In Crystal Adventures, Crystal Cruises®

(RE)LIVING AMERICAN HISTORY: WHAT TO KNOW

When Crystal Serenity sails from New York City to Fort Lauderdale on a luxurious two-week fall voyage, you’ll encounter much more than the spectacular New England fall foliage. The first week of the predominantly North American itinerary (three cheers for convenient domestic air travel!) centers on charming destinations that are not just steeped in American history, they created it.

As you sail along what was the first frontier of the United States, you’ll be hard pressed to avoid reliving some of those high school and college classes. Although, we’re fairly certain that, if history class had come with butler service, a salt-water pool and luxury spa, we would have paid much closer attention.

Mount Vernon, where George Washington lived for more than four decades before it became his final resting place, is a highlight of a Crystal Adventure.
Mount Vernon, where George Washington lived for more than four decades before it became his final resting place, is a highlight of a Crystal Adventure.

What’s definitely certain is that one need not travel far to encounter some of the most fascinating American historical sites, events, stories and facts that have shaped the last three centuries, particularly as we sail along in this presidential election year. Some tidbits to tide you over until October include:

George Washington never lived at the White House. America’s first president and Revolutionary War hero resided for 40 years at Mount Vernon, a designated National Historic Landmark on the Potomac River. Technically, he still resides there today, as the tombs of Washington and his wife, Martha, are located on the immaculately kept grounds. During his presidency, Washington chose to live in the markedly less palatial President’s House in Philadelphia, making John Adams the first president to occupy the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue address.

Explore Mount Vernon – as well as Old Town Alexandria, President Washington’s hometown and stomping grounds of Thomas Jefferson – during an immersive Crystal Adventure to the Eastern Seaboard.

The Jefferson Memorial, overlooking the Potomac River during the day's "Blue Hour," is one of the iconic sites visited on a Crystal Adventure to Washington D.C.
The Jefferson Memorial, overlooking the Potomac River during the day’s “Blue Hour,” is one of the iconic sites visited on a Crystal Adventure to Washington D.C.

The U.S. Capitol Building was designed and built several times, by several people. The First being William Thornton, who was a late winner of a design competition held by then Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. Thornton won $500 and the architectural contract for the original Capitol in 1793, being the one American submitter whose plans were acceptable. Since that time, various areas of what is arguably America’s most symbolic building have been redesigned and rebuilt many times.

Walk the hallowed halls of the Senate and House of Representatives, where statesmen and women have deliberated for more than 200 years, during a comprehensive Crystal Adventure to Washington D.C.’s iconic sites.

The Civil War’s first battle saw nearly no bloodshed at all. On April 12, 1861 at 4:30 a.m., Confederate guns commenced a firefight at Charleston’s Fort Sumter, which would officially start the Civil War. After 33 hours of the two sides trading shells and musket rounds, not one person on either side had been killed, making it an ironically tame beginning to America’s bloodiest war.

Charleston’s Battery, once a charming neighborhood that was fortified as a defensive seawall during the Civil War, is again today a bustling, beloved heartbeat of the city. From its “high point,” you’ll enjoy expansive views of Fort Sumter, as well as several other significant sites of Charleston’s Civil War history.

A cannon overlooks the battlefield at the Gettysburg National Military Park
A cannon overlooks the battlefield at the Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg was chosen for…convenience. By contrast, the Battle of Gettysburg, famously the most deadly of the Civil War conflict and considered its turning point to Union favor, saw more than 180,000 casualties. The site of this savage, three-day mêlée was chosen mostly because it was easy for soldiers to find and access, as there were ten roads that led into town.

A brand new 2016 Crystal Adventure offers an insightful and moving visit to the Gettysburg National Military Park and the actual battlefield. Your expert – and, notably, specially licensed – guide will share with you perspectives of the battle that shaped American history, and the lasting effects it still has on the charming town.

The “Colonial Charms & Idyllic Isles” sailing embarks October 25 and disembarks on November 8, Election Day. Following your ultra-luxurious history lesson, you’ll visit some of the most picturesque islands in the Caribbean before returning stateside in time to vote.

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