Using his extensive knowledge of central Virginia history, owner/operator Rick Britton weaves for his visitors a wonderfully rich tapestry of colorful people, momentous events, and long-forgotten anecdotes. An experienced historical journalist—now serving as Editor of The Magazine of Albemarle County History—Rick Britton has published dozens of articles and essays on the Old Dominion's fascinating past. His book entitled Albemarle & Charlottesville: An Illustrated History of the First 150 Years, a publication of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, is slated to appear in April of 2006.
Listed below are Navigator's most popular excursions. All
of them can be tailored to your interests and time constraints.
Call us today for an estimate!
1. The Presidential Tour
2. Charlottesville & the University of Virginia
3. The University of Virginia Tour
4. Maplewood Cemetery Civil War Tour
5. University of Virginia Cemetery Tour
6. "Stonewall" Jackson's Valley Campaign
7. The Battle of New Market Tour
8. The James Madison Tour
9. The Gordonsville & Barboursville Tour
10. The Barboursville & Montpelier Tour
11. The Battle of Fredericksburg Tour
12. The First Battle of Manassas Tour
13. Sailor's Creek & Appomattox Tour
*Navigator provides a complete escort and guide service for
the following tours in and around Charlottesville–
Britton conducting a tour at First Manassas.
1) The Presidential Tour - Just outside
of Charlottesville, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello has been
an American Mecca for two centuries. On the "little mountain"
we'll visit Jefferson's self-designed architectural treasure and
learn about the nation's third president. From Monticello we'll
travel three miles to Ash Lawn-Highland, the home of fifth
president: James Monroe. (Time permitting we'll have a colonial
Virginia-style lunch at nearby Michie Tavern.)
2) Charlottesville & the University of
Virginia Tour - Charlottesville's Court Square has
a fascinating history. Three U.S. presidents practiced law at
the Albemarle County Courthouse, and here—during the American
Revolution—Daniel Boone and several other Virginia General
Assembly members were captured. From downtown we'll travel to
the original grounds of the University of Virginia, designed
by Thomas Jefferson and completed in 1826.
3) The University of Virginia Tour - During
this tour we'll take an in-depth look at the project Jefferson
called "the hobby" of his old age: the University
of Virginia. Visitors will learn about the University's creation,
see the various floors of the institution's world-famous Rotunda,
and tour the original grounds and gardens. Along the way your
guide will describe the people and events that comprise U.Va.'s
fascinating history, including Jefferson, James Madison, the Marquis
de Lafayette, Edgar Allan Poe, and William Holmes McGuffey (editor
of the famous Eclectic Readers).
4) Maplewood Cemetery Civil War Tour -
Established in 1827 as Charlottesville's first official burial
ground, Maplewood Cemetery is the final resting place for the
following Civil War notables: Col. John Bowie Strange, killed
at the Battle of Turner's Gap while leading the 19th Virginia
Infantry; Col. R. T. W. Duke, who led two different regiments
during his career and surrendered at Sailor's Creek; Gen. John
Marshall Jones, killed at the Wilderness on May 5, 1864; Gen.
Mosby Monroe Parsons, who led Missouri troops in numerous western
actions; and Gen. Armistead Lindsay Long, Robert E. Lee's military
5) University of Virginia Cemetery Tour
- First used soon after the University's opening in 1825, this
beautiful cemetery holds the remains of three of the institution's
presidents (Edwin Alderman, John Newcomb, and Edgar Shannon);
Charles Bonnycastle of the first faculty; William Holmes McGuffey,
editor of the popular Eclectic Readers; Confederate Brig.
Gen. Carnot Posey, who fought with distinction on a number of
fields; and Anna "Anastasia" Manahan, the most famous
pretender to the Russian royal family.
*The following tours below will take us into the lovely Shenandoah
Valley to the west of Charlottesville —
tour group at the New Market Battlefield.
6) "Stonewall" Jackson's Valley
Campaign Tour - Just over the Blue Ridge Mountains, this excursion
takes in the two battles—Cross Keys and Port Republic—that
successfully topped-off Confederate Maj. Gen. T. J. "Stonewall"
Jackson's famous Shenandoah Valley Campaign. We'll see the actual
sites where the fighting took place. In many cases the surrounding
terrain remains virtually unchanged. (Time permitting, the tour
will visit the Port Republic Museum.)
7) The Battle of New Market Tour - One
hour northwest of Charlottesville, this tour concentrates on the
May 15, 1864, Battle of New Market, the action that briefly
spared the Shenandoah from Federal invasion. The fight featured
a stirring charge by the Virginia Military Institute Corps of
Cadets. (Time permitting, the tour group will visit the lovely
village of New Market and have lunch on Main Street.)
*These tours listed below lie to Charlottesville north and east —
8) The James Madison Tour - This tour
focuses on our fourth president, and the "Father of the Constitution":
James Madison. We'll visit beautiful Montpelier—the
estate he said was "a squirrel's jump from Heaven"—and
the nearby James Madison Museum, in the charming little
town of Orange. (Time permitting we'll have lunch in downtown
9) The Gordonsville & Barboursville Tour
- In quaint Gordonsville, Virginia—twenty miles northeast
of Charlottesville—the place to see is the wonderfully restored
Exchange Hotel & Civil War Museum. There we'll take
in their excellent Civil War displays and hear about the conflict
in central Virginia. But a few miles to the west, we'll visit
the ruins of Barboursville, a mansion designed by Thomas
Jefferson, now the setting for a well-respected winery and restaurant.
10) The Barboursville & Montpelier Tour
- First we'll visit Barboursville Vineyards, located on
the historic estate of James Barbour, Governor of Virginia during
the War of 1812. There we'll tour the impressive ruins of the
Governor's plantation house, Barboursville, designed by
his close friend Thomas Jefferson (and enjoy a wine-tasting if
desired). From Barboursville we'll journey to nearby Montpelier—the
home of James and Dolley Madison—and enjoy a house tour
provided by one of Montpelier's many knowledgeable guides.
Confederate battleline preparing for combat.
11) The Battle of Fredericksburg Tour
- During this Civil War tour we will take in the most heavily
contested plot of land on the entire battlefield: Marye's
(pronounced "Marie's") Heights and the Sunken
Road at its base. Visit includes a walk along the Sunken Road
itself—the Confederate position that proved almost impregnable—a
visit to the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center,
and time permitting, a walking tour of Fredericksburg National
Cemetery on Marye's Heights. (Note that travel time for this
tour is one hour in each direction. During travel time, if desired,
tour guide will discuss general Civil War topics and answer nuts-and-bolts
*The following Navigator Tours will take us further afield —
12) First Battle of Manassas Tour - This
all-day excursion takes us to the northern Virginia site of the
Civil War's first major engagement: the Battle of Manassas
or Bull Run. It was there, on Henry House Hill, that Confederate
Gen. Thomas Jonathan Jackson became the immortal "Stonewall."
From the Visitor Center we'll walk the original battlefield and
learn of the fateful events of July 21, 1861. Tour includes a
period-style battlefield map illustrated by Rick Britton. (During
travel time your guide will field nuts-and-bolts Civil War questions.)
13) Sailor's Creek & Appomattox Tour
- This all-day trip will takes us to the site of the last major
battle fought in Virginia: Sailor's Creek. It was there—on
April 6, 1865—that over 7,000 men from Robert E. Lee's Army
of Northern Virginia were surrounded and captured. Following lunch
in nearby Farmville, we'll journey west to Appomattox and learn
of Lee's surrender on Palm Sunday, April 9.
*Navigator can tailor your tour to your group size and time constraints.
Contact us today for an estimate:
or write him at:
3144 Ridgefield Road
Charlottesville, VA 22911