Rend Lake College and Presley Tours present “Our Country’s Treasures,” a sight-seeing adventure leading to our nation’s capital, from Oct. 1 through Oct. 8.
Participants will visit major new museums as well as monuments and memorials dedicated to those who came before us on the road to the capital. There will be an informational meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 25, in the Jimmy J. Fulks Aquatics Center lobby at the Ina campus. The tour guide will be present to discuss the trip and answer questions. Registration also can be completed at the meeting.
The tentative itinerary for the trip is:
Day One – Enjoy the scenery through Illinois and Indiana aboard a deluxe motor coach to the first overnight destination in Englewood, Ohio. Participants will have the evening to themselves for dinner and relaxation. (Hampton Inn)
Day Two – Appreciate the artistry and uniqueness of nature and man’s work as the trip continues through Ohio and into West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Lunch will be at Cabela’s near Wheeling, W. Va., where diners can order elk, caribou, ostrich, buffalo or wild boar as well as traditional fare. Participants will have the evening to themselves. (Holiday Inn Express)
Day Three – Travel into Maryland and on to Virginia, where the first stop will be the new Udvar-Hazy Center, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s newest facility, located near Dulles International Airport. The center boasts more than 100 aircraft and space artifacts, including the B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, the first Air France Concorde exhibited by a museum in the U.S., an SR0171 Blackbird super-spy craft and the Space Shuttle Enterprise. The main hanger, three football fields long, contains artifacts such as one of Amelia Earhart’s flight suits and the five-star flag of World War II Army Air Forces General “Hap” Arnold. Enjoy an IMAX show on flight before checking into the Comfort Inn for three nights.
Day Four – This will be the group’s first full day in Washington, D.C., including visits to the national memorials and monuments with time provided to appreciate their significance. The tour will be narrated by a local city guide. The magnificent World War II Memorial, dedicated in 2004, contains columns which represent states, districts and territories, and two towers, representing the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters, surrounding a fountain and pool. The memorial, located on 7.5 acres between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, contains 4,000 stars representing the more than 400,000 Americans who gave their lives in the war.
The group also will visit the Korean and Vietnam memorials, the stately Lincoln Memorial facing the United States Capitol, the Jefferson Memorial and the FDR Memorial, which is found directly across from the world-famous Tidal Basin. This park features granite walls, waterfalls and bronze sculptures that depict Roosevelt’s presidency from 1933 to 1945. The group will ride up to the observation floor of the 555.5-foot Washington Monument for an extraordinary view of the city and memorials, and will tour the National Cathedral, the second largest cathedral in the country. The day will end with dinner at a waterfront restaurant and a drive by the illuminated monuments.
Day Five – The first stop of the day will be Arlington National Cemetery. The group will take a tram tour through the cemetery, the final resting place for more than 200,000 American servicemen and other distinguished countrymen. Stops include the John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy and Robert Kennedy grave sites, plus the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where participants will watch the changing of the guards.
The group will visit the Iwo Jima statue before continuing on to the new national Museum of the American Indian, with lunch in a food court which offers foods typical of the American Indians. This museum preserves, presents and celebrates the native cultures of the Americas. Finally, the group will visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where special exhibits mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Day Six – The morning begins with a stop at the White House Visitor Center. The schedule for this day is flexible, but will include a tour of the U.S. Capitol. The group may visit the White House (subject to availability), where every American president since John Adams has lived. In the event the group cannot visit the White House, participants will visit another government building in Washington, D.C. In the afternoon, the group will leave the capital and continue into Virginia for an overnight at Harrisonburg. (Hampton Inn)
Day Seven – The foothills of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which connects the Shenandoah National Park to the north with the Great Smoky Mountain Park to the south, will provide a relaxing morning drive. Lunch will be at Tamarack, a shopping and dining experience featuring the best of West Virginia. The group will stop in Kentucky for the night. (Holiday Inn Express)
Day Eight – Participants will reminisce with their new friends about their journey on the drive through Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. Lunch will be at an Amish buffet in Indiana.
The cost of this amazing trip is based on the number of people per room: single – $1,365; double – $915; triple – $765; and quad – $690. Pickup points are Marion, Rend Lake College and Mt. Vernon. Additional pickups may be set at Nashville, Salem and Effingham.
For more information or to register, contact the Rend Lake College Community Education Department at (618) 437-5321, Ext. 1267 / 1367, or call toll-free (in-district only) at 1-800-369-5321, Ext. 1267 / 1367. Participants also can register at the May 25 informational meeting.