The Journey through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide trek from Gettysburg to Monticello, encompassing nine presidential homes and places, 18 national and state parks, and thousands of small and large historical sites.
Dozens and dozens of these sites and related museums are short ride from just about everywhere in Loudoun County. And, four of them – Dodona Manor, Rokeby, The National Sporting Library & Museum, and the Manassas National Battlefield Park — can be visited in one busy day or a more leisurely weekend. Maybe one will catch the eye of family or friends you might be entertaining as you enjoy the last bits of summer and the start of fall.
Have Coffee with George Marshall: This property, known as Dodona Manor, was the home of Gen. George C. Marshall, who lived here while serving as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army during WWII. Marshall was the architect of the Marshall Plan, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953. Beautiful old oak trees and more grace the property. In fact, Marshall and his wife Elizabeth named the property Dodona after the Greek oracle Dodona, who was said to speak from the top of the same kind of oak trees. (www.georgecmarshall.org, 703-777-1301)
Enjoy Lunch at Rokeby: Grab a sandwich or pack up a homemade lunch for your family, and head to Rokeby. Rokeby is a grand mansion house just south of Leesburg that historians identify as the best example of Georgian architecture in all of Loudoun County. Built is 1765, this wonderful property was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The house was used as a secret depository for some of our nation’s most precious documents during the War of 1812. While Washington burned, Rokeby’s cellar protected the Declaration of independence and other irreplaceable bits of our early history. (Visitor information on Facebook.)
Soak Up the Beauty and Books at The National Sporting Library & Museum: NSLM was founded by George L. Ohrstrom, Sr. and Alexander MacKay-Smith in 1954 to share the literature and associated culture of equestrian, angling, and field sports. Today it is a full-fledged library, museum, and art showcase serving scholars, visitors, and all of those who cherish and support these unique ways of life. With a rich stable of rotating exhibits, the museum is worth visiting again and again. Snacking, shopping, and walking opportunities are also within reach in Middleburg, where the library and museum are located. (www.nationalsporting.org, 540-687-6542)
Take in the Sunset at Manassas National Battlefield Park: The Civil War was launched on these sacred grounds. And, although subdivisions bump up against its borders, and nearby highways buzz with traffic, this place holds a special serenity, a humble sense of calm. Special anniversary programs include a series of sunset tours at the park’s Chinn Ridge, Matthews Hill, Brawner Farm Interpretive Center, and Henry Hill Visitor Center areas. (www.nps.gov, 703-361-1339)