Navigator Tours—Based in central Virginia, in Charlottesville, Navigator takes visitors on guided tours of all the region's fabulous historic sites.
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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 Tour
3. The University of Virginia Tour
4. Maplewood Cemetery Civil War Tour
5. University of Virginia Cemetery Tour
6. "Stonewall" Jackson's Valley Campaign Tour
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–
Rick 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 secretary.

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 —
A 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 Orange, Virginia.)

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.

A 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 questions.)

*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:

e-mail (
phone 434-923-0786

or write him at:
Rick Britton
3144 Ridgefield Road
Charlottesville, VA 22911

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