Civil War History Tour of Old Town, Alexandria

Ed Moser led us on a trip into Alexandria’s complicated and exciting past.

Sunday night, a small group of history enthusiasts gathered at the Lyceum in downtown Alexandria, Virginia for a tour of that storied city’s Civil War sites. It began in the shadow of Alexandria’s Appomattox statue, a statue which epitomizes the city’s complicated place in America’s bloodiest conflict.

As a thriving trade and manufacturing city at Washington, DC’s doorstep, Alexandria was a prized possession for both North and South. The Union controlled it for almost the entire war, but it teemed with Confederate sympathizers and spies. It was also the site of the first Union casualty of the Civil War.

Our tour guide, Ed Moser, an author and former writer for the Tonight Show and speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush, highlighted many contradictions that characterized Alexandria’s role in the Civil War. This included the story of an enslaved woman who had a common law marriage with a Confederate officer. She escaped during the war and founded a school for other escaped slaves.

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Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, Vermont

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield originally started their ice cream business in the late 1970s, built a national brand, and then sold it to a European corporation called Unilever in 2000. Throughout their history, they re-invested their profits into left-wing social causes, which was part of the brand’s appeal among its fans.

As for me, a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, Vermont seemed like a fun detour on a recent trip through the Green Mountain State. The 30-minute guided factory tour was somewhat underwhelming; I expected something a little more impressive for an international ice cream company.

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Star Trek Original Series Set Tour

The Star Trek Original Series Set Tour is one of the most unique things I’ve seen while traveling, and I nearly stumbled on it by mistake. I was visiting Fort Ticonderoga, when on a whim I decided to check Roadside America for tips on other places to see in the area.

The listing seemed too good to be true. A replica of the original Star Trek set, built by an Elvis impersonator in an old grocery store? Crazy! It also just opened that summer, in August 2016. I didn’t realize I was among the first to get a look inside.

James Cawley and friends began building a faithful reconstruction of the set in 1997 after receiving copies of the original blueprints. They reproduced everything in meticulous detail. What wasn’t in the blueprints, they took from photographs and screen stills.

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Video from Plymouth Twilight Lantern Ghost Tour

This paranormal-themed walking tour in Plymouth, Massachusetts is a fun, “spirited” way to learn a little about Plymouth history. The Twilight Lantern Ghost Tour takes you to lesser-known locations, and tells the story of some of the town’s less fortunate residents. For an additional fee, the tour continues inside two historic buildings near the oldest street in America. Check out some video below and then read my review!

Plymouth Twilight Lantern Ghost Tour

This paranormal-themed walking tour in Plymouth, Massachusetts is a fun, “spirited” way to learn a little about Plymouth history. While we’re all familiar with the pilgrims’ story, Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower, etc., the Twilight Lantern Ghost Tour takes you to lesser-known locations, and tells the story of some of the town’s less fortunate residents. For an additional fee, the tour continues inside two historic buildings near the oldest street in America.

The tour begins at dusk, 7pm, outside Plymouth Rock. Each participant gets a small oil lantern, which must make an interesting sight in large groups. I took the tour on a cold night in April, with only two others on the tour. Our guide, Jan Williams, runs it with her husband, who spent most of the tour taking pictures, hoping to show us where the ghosts were.

Anomalous photos featured prominently in the tour. Our guide not only encouraged photography, but showed us several pictures sent to her by former attendees that purportedly showed ghostly figures. Many of the photos featured full-bodied apparitions, as opposed to the “orbs” and smudges typically passed off as “ghosts.”

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Video from Fort Myers Haunted History Tour

I had the opportunity to go to Fort Myers, Florida around Christmas last year and decided to take the local ghost tour. I have to say, it was one of the best I’ve ever been on–and I’ve gone on ghost tours and haunted walks all over the country (even one in Canada). The Haunted History Tour is part of Fort Myers’ True Tours. Check out some video below and then read my review!

Fort Myers Haunted History Tour

I’ve gone on over a dozen ghost tours all around the country, and even Canada, but for some reason I never thought to review one until now. The Haunted History Tour of Fort Myers, Florida was one of the best. Our tour guide, Lauri, was upbeat and enthusiastic. I learned a lot about the history of Fort Myers as well as its legends.

I had the opportunity to go to Fort Myers around Christmas last year and decided to do something fun one evening. From talking with locals, I learned downtown Fort Myers has gone through a renaissance in recent years. In 1985, it served as a shooting location for George Romero’s Day of the Dead. The abandoned downtown seemed like the perfect locale for a zombie film. Today, it is beautiful, with brick streets, plenty of lighting, bars, shops, and restaurants. I spent some time at a trendy art bar, Space 39, and a cool 1920s themed bar called The 86 Room.

The Haunted History Tour is part of Fort Myers’ True Tours. It’s easy to see their commitment to quality. Its founder, Gina Taylor, was the first director of the Murphy-Burroughs Home, former director of the Southwest Florida Museum of History, a founding member and vice president of the Lee County Trust for Historic Preservation, Board member of the River District Alliance and of the Matlacha Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Southwest Florida Attractions Association.

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