Holiday. Experience. Excellence.

Lighthouses in Coastal Virginia

1st Day: We will travel to the Chesapeake Bay Area of Virginia to begin our Lighthouse journey. This afternoon we’ll visit our first lighthouse - the Stingray Point LighthouseStingray Point Lighthouse was built in 1858 at the entrance to the Rappahannock River near Deltaville, Virginia. It was a hexagonal screw pile lighthouse. The lighthouse was automated just prior to being dismantled in 1965. Sections of the lighthouse were sold to Gilbert Purcell, a boatyard owner who hoped to rebuild the lighthouse on land but never did. It was replaced with a steel skeletal tower built on the original foundation. Stingray Point received its name from Captain John Smith, founder of Jamestown, Virginia. It is said that a stingray stung him while fishing near the point.  Lodging tonight in the Hampton, VA area.

2nd Day: Included this morning is a short visit to The Mariners’ Museum, connecting people to the world’s waters, because through the waters we are connected to one another. The Museum is filled with fascinating stories, captured in priceless artifacts that celebrate the spirit of the open sea. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive maritime museums in the world. We depart the museum and head to the Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center and Casemate Museum. The Casemate Museum is located within the walls of the largest masonry fort constructed in the United States. The museum chronicles over 400 years of history of Point Comfort and Fort Monroe where many decisions were made that impact the foundation and future of the United States. Housed inside the original casemates where several of the fort’s large guns remain in place, exhibits and dioramas explain the construction of the fort, what daily life was like through the ages and tell the stories of the many famous, an infamous, people who were here.  Next we head to Old Point Comfort Lighthouse for a photo stop.  Strategically situated at the mouths of the James, Nansemond, and Elizabeth Rivers, Old Point Comfort Lighthouse marks the entrance to historic Hampton Roads. Some historians believe that Native Americans kept wood fires burning at the point for Spanish ships during the 16th century.  Our next stop is Cape Henry Lighthouse. Cape Henry was the first federally funded public works project of the newly formed United States government. It was authorized by George Washington and overseen by Alexander Hamilton. The Lighthouse is situated near the “First Landing” site where English settlers first set foot on their way to settle in Jamestown. Built with the same Aquia sandstone as much of Washington, D.C, the lighthouse guided sea travelers to safety for almost 100 years. The distinctive black and white striped “New” Cape Henry Lighthouse was built in 1881 but remains closed to the public.  Enjoy dinner on your own in the Waterside district after checking into our hotel for the evening. (CB)

3rd Day: This morning we’ll visit the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum and the Lightship Portsmouth Museum. Like lighthouses and buoys, lightships were navigational aids. The lights atop their masts were similar to those in lighthouses, but their portability made them much more versatile. Now a museum, the ship’s quarters are fitted out realistically and filled with fascinating artifacts, uniforms, photographs, models, and more. The Naval Shipyard Museum offers a unique perspective on U.S. history, from Colonial to Civil War times and beyond. You’ll find beautiful ship models, uniforms, military artifacts and exhibits portraying life in 18th, 19th and 20th century Portsmouth.  We'll take a ferry to Waterside Market where you can have lunch on your own.  After lunch, we'll continue on to Chincoteague for a Pony Express Sunset Nature CruiseWild horses, dolphins, birdwatching, spectacular scenery, and wildlife in Virginia. Assateague Explorer's U.S. Coast Guard Certified tour boat "Misty" departs from Chincoteague Island, Virginia, by the beautiful southern part of Assateague. Traveling by boat is the ultimate way to see wild ponies, eagles, shorebirds, marine life and spectacular views. Led by an experienced captain with local knowledge, cruise along the backside of Assateague for the best chance to see the wildlife.  After the cruise we'll check into our hotel for the evening followed by dinner on your own in the area. (CB)

4th Day: Today we'll start out with a photo stop at the Assateague Lighthouse.  The lighthouse is located on Assateague Island at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. It was first built in 1833 and rebuilt in 1866. The tower stands 145 feet tall and the top of the lighthouse is accessible to the public. The U.S. Coast guard still maintains the light as an active navigational aid due to the treacherous shoals that lie off the barrier islands. It is still operational and one of the most impressive landmarks in Virginia. We will depart the area after our visit and begin our journey back home. Arriving back approximately 9:00 PM. (CB)

Special Notice: Balance is due 30 days prior to departure. Cancellation within 30 days of departure will result in payment forfeiture.