Fly to Savannah to embark Yorktown. Overnight aboard ship.
Georgia’s oldest city Savannah was founded by James Oglethorpe in 1733, on a bluff overlooking the Savannah River. Today the fine avenues and open spaces that Oglethorpe planned form the cornerstone of the three square-mile historic district, which features over 1,000 Federal and Regency buildings and 21 verdant squares brimming with azaleas, gardenias, cabbage palmettos, English yews, giant oaks, and other lush vegetation. Explore the renowned Historic District, the largest in the country, and also enjoy time at leisure to explore the lovely streets and squares, including verdant Forsyth Park and its famed White Fountain. Savannah’s first park, its style was influenced by the urban renewal prevalent in the 19th century.
South Carolina’s Lowcountry flourished on the cotton trade, making Beaufort one of the wealthiest cities in the country after Independence. Tour elegant Beaufort, with its magnificent antebellum homes and gardens.
Arrive today in Charleston, one of the East Coast’s loveliest cities. A prosperous, cosmopolitan seaport from colonial times, Charleston has meticulously restored its historic district. Tour the Heyward-Washington House, an 18th-century structure which features a separate kitchen house and enchanting formal garden, and other sites. During your stay, also visit Middleton Place Plantation, a carefully preserved 18th-century plantation that is a National Historic Landmark. Situated on the Ashley River, the property includes the House Museum, built in 1755 as the gentleman’s guest quarters, various bird species, and 65 acres of magnificent gardens, with rhododendrons, magnolias, and dogwoods blooming during April. Also visit Drayton Hall, a National Historic Landmark and National Trust Historic Site and one of the oldest surviving examples of Georgian Palladian architecture in the United States.
Founded in 1739, Wilmington flourished on maritime trade, made possible by its deep water port. By 1860, Wilmington was North Carolina’s largest city. From this port, drive to Airlie Gardens, established in 1901, and purchased and restored in 1999 by New Hanover County. The garden boasts 67 acres of formal woodland gardens that will be flourishing at the time of our visit. Enjoy a walking tour to explore its many gardens, including the spring garden, historic structures and sculptures, and a majestic oak. Return to Wilmington and tour its historic district, a veritable open air museum of 19th-century architecture. Visit the Georgian Burgwin-Wright House & Gardens. Built in 1770, it was once home to Lord Cornwallis and was purchased in 1937 by the The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America. The beautifully restored home is adorned with seven unique walled gardens, its architectural structures carefully preserved, and includes a formal or parterre garden, a terraced garden, and an orchard.
From Morehead City, drive through Croatan National Forest to historic New Bern (settled in 1710), to visit the jewel among New Bern’s sites, Tryon Palace and Gardens. Completed in 1770, the Georgian mansion served as the first permanent capitol of North Carolina, home to Governor Tryon and his family, and hosted a dinner in honor of George Washington in 1791. Destroyed by fire in 1798, it was restored and reopened in 1959. Tour the palace and its elegant gardens. Designed by landscape architect Morley Jeffers Williams in the 1950s, the gardens represent the style of the Victorian era, and offer three centuries of gardening history. Its spring display includes tulips and azaleas as well as perennials.
Relax aboard and attend lectures as Yorktown navigates the Intracoastal Waterway en route to Virginia.
Take an excursion to historic Colonial Williamsburg. The capital of the Virginia colony from 1699 to 1780, Williamsburg is the nation’s premier living museum, offering visitors a glimpse of life as it was in the 17th and 18th centuries. A guided tour leads along the Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg’s main thoroughfare, past the Capitol, the courthouse, the Governor’s Palace, and Bruton Parish Church, which has held Episcopal services since 1715. Enjoy time at leisure to explore the museums and side streets, which are filled with taverns, bakeries, and the restored houses of wheelwrights, coopers, apothecaries, and other tradesmen.
Visit historic Berkeley Plantation, site of the first official Thanksgiving in 1619, and built by Benjamin Harrison in 1726, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and father of William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States. It is also the location where "Taps" was composed by Daniel Butterfield in 1862. Its rooms are furnished with a superb collection of 18th century antiques. Set on a pastoral landscape and atop a hill that overlooks the historic James River, the mansion is surrounded by five terraced gardens that were dug prior to the Revolutionary War and lead to the river. Tour the mansion and stroll through the boxwood gardens, surrounded by dogwoods, azaleas, and other flowering plants. Also visit the Shirley Plantation, founded in 1613 by Edward Hill and the oldest working plantation in North America, which is still occupied by 11 generations of the Hill Family. Explore the Great House and its original furnishings, portraits and silver. Alternately, tour Richmond. Visit the historic Virginia State Capitol Building, designed by Thomas Jefferson, and nearby Marshall House, built for the Great Chief Justice John Marshall in 1790 and filled with original furnishings.
Disembark in Alexandria in the morning.