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Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Civil War Trust recommends 5 historic sites for holiday travel

Tourists have plenty to celebrate over Christmastime at America’s Civil War sites, trust says

from the Civil War Trust:

WASHINGTON–Millions of Americans will hit the road this holiday season, and many will have the opportunity to visit historic sites that evoke the universal appeal of the season. During your travels, consider visiting one of the many Civil War sites hosting special programs in December to learn how our ancestors celebrated the holidays on the home front and in camp. The Civil War Trust recommends five Civil War sites to visit during the holidays:

19th Century Christmas at Ellwood Manor, Wilderness, Va. — On Saturday, December 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Ellwood Manor on Virginia’s Wilderness battlefield will host its 19th Century Christmas.  This family-friendly event will feature period decorations crafted by the Fawn Lake Garden Club, children’s crafts and games, plus the event’s highlight — a visit from the Victorian-era Santa Claus.  Interpreters will recount how Christmas was celebrated at the manor, read Christmas letters from Civil War soldiers and perform period music.

Ellwood Manor is located at 36380 Constitution Highway (Route 20), Locust Grove, Va.  For more information, visit:  www.fowb.org/events

Candlelight Christmas Tours, Gettysburg, Pa. — The Shriver House Museum in Gettysburg, Pa. will be hosting Candlelight Christmas Tours every Saturday through December 17. Guests will take an interpretive tour of the house, which will be adorned in 1860s Christmas decorations, while learning about how the Shriver family experienced the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War.

The Shriver House Museum is located at 309 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, Pa.  For more information, visit: www.shriverhouse.org/2011_Christmas_Tour.html

Annual Olde Tyme Christmas Holiday, Harpers Ferry, W.Va. — The Harpers Ferry historic downtown area will host holiday events throughout the weekends of December 2–4 and 9–10. The festivities will begin on Friday, December 2 with a yule log celebration. Activities include all day bake sales, breakfast with Santa, horse and wagon rides, children’s storytelling hour, and ornament making. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park will hold a special living history program, “Captain Flagg’s U.S. Quartermaster City,” depicting the experience of Union soldiers stationed in town at Christmas 1864.

Historic downtown Harpers Ferry is located off U.S. Route 340, in Jefferson County, W.Va.  For more information, visit: www.historicharpersferry.com/articles/old_tyme_christmas.php

Christmas Open House, Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, Prairie Grove, Ark. — On December 4–5, Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park will host a Civil War-themed Christmas Open House.  From 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., guests will be able to attend guided tours of the historic Latta and Morrow houses.  The event will also include demonstrations of period crafts, including lace making and spinning and weaving, with local artisans.

Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park is located at 506 East Douglas Street, Prairie Grove, Ark.  For more information, visit:  www.arkansasstateparks.com/prairiegrovebattlefield/events/park-events-details.aspx?id=43435

Annual Luminary Driving Tour, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Republic, Mo. — On Saturday, December 10, from 5:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield will host its eighth annual memorial luminary driving tour, featuring 2,539 individual lights representing those killed, wounded, or missing during the August 1861 battle. Vehicles will embark on a five-mile driving tour through the battlefield, with stops at the Ray House and the visitor center.  Visitors are encouraged to tour the Ray House and learn about the hardships faced by local families during the Civil War.  Music, refreshments, and information will be provided at the visitor center.

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield is located ten miles southwest of Springfield, Mo., at the intersection of Highway ZZ and Farm Road 182.  For more information, visit: www.nps.gov/wicr

The Civil War Discovery Trail, a network of more than 600 sites in 32 states, the District of Columbia and three international destinations, is an excellent resource in planning visits this holiday season and beyond.  Explore Civil War history and plan your next trip online at www.civilwardiscoverytrail.org.

The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States.  Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds.  To date, the Trust has preserved more than 30,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states.  Learn more at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.

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