Monday, June 1, 2009



Did you know that there are more American history sites in a single 240 mile swath of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia than in any other sector of the United States? Did you know that many of these were obscure and nearly lost to all but a few historians? Sad, isn't it?

Local Chambers of Commerce along Route 15/20 here in the PA/MD/VA corridor have proudly clung to their individual bits of that rich, essential history, though much of it was marked by little more than a brass placard set along a ragged roadside, a mention in the local town history, and old stories passed along to new generations by fewer and fewer who remembered. But a few years ago, someone had an idea to take these precious bits of history that were, in and of themselves, not sufficient to draw tourists, and combine them together to create a rich driving tour--a journey through history--a Journey Through Hallowed Ground.

About a year ago, a member of the local Chamber of Commerce invited me to a dinner meeting with two board members of the JTHG project. They knew I would be interested. My Free Men and Dreamers series is set during the War of 1812 and chronicles events that occurred across portions of this very swath of hallowed land when the British and American armies clashed in Bladensburg on their way to Washington.

We sat down in a local diner over meatloaf platters and discussed the need to mark and preserve sites where pivotal meetings took place, and where historical figures lived. So many of these are already gone, replaced by development of every kind. But those places that still remain are being marked in more notable ways, and catalogued into a guide so families can tour them on day trips, and tell the stories to their children as they stop, take in the tales, and let gratitude and awe distill inside them once again.

With gas prices rising again, and with budgets stretched, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground provides a meaningful vacation alternative to people who want more than to merely be entertained. If you're far from Maryland or Pennsylvania, make a plan to tack a day on to your next trip east and take the tour.

Visit the link above for more information. I'll be sharing more details about this project as we go along, and we'll take some virtual vacations on upcoming Mondays.

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