Northern Virginia offers numerous ways to explore early American history. There are plenty of old homes, museums and other landmarks to tour across the several counties that make up the region of what is affectionately called "Nova".
One interesting way to discover the past is to take a walk through history by embarking on one of the several ghost tours offered in the area. Due to the area's rich history, especially linked to colonial times and the Civil War, Northern Virginia's tales of hauntings are aplenty.
The region is full of stories that relate to hauntings, ghostly and general paranormal activity. What many of the organizations are doing is tying these events to history and offering tours. Some of the ghostly activity has been officially documented and directly tied to historical events, others appear to be rumor, or speculation about citizens who once walked these towns.
Old Town Alexandria is in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C. It's a historical town that has plenty of stories to tell, dating back to the 1600s. The settlement was one of the earliest, and busiest, ports in colonial times and steadily grew in population. In Old Town Alexandria, Footsteps to the Past offers tours from a local historian group, one of which is a ghost tour. The tour is a terrific one, every guide gives a different experience, so visitors can easily take the same tour twice and learn something new.
Gadby's Tavern, the place where George Washington celebrated his birthday. There are a few haunted tales associated with this building (You can see the scaffolds, Gadsby's suffered some damage in this past summer's earthquake)
The Ghosts of Fredericksburg is a fascinating journey through the past in the historic district of Fredericksburg. Visitors taking the walking tour are taken through the streets of Fredericksburg, which is an area that saw some of the bloodiest action of the Civil War.
An evening shot of the Rising Sun Tavern (built in 1760, turned tavern in 1792) Fredericksburg, Va. One of the former owners reportedly still lives in this building and shows himself occasionally.
When visiting the nearby Chatham Manor I'd felt a strange sensation when visiting one of the rooms, I kept staring at the floor thinking about what had transpired when the home was used as a hospital. Later that evening, on the ghost tour the guide mentioned that many visitors feel a strong sense of blood when visiting a certain room. This took me slightly aback since what she described was exactly what I'd experienced in the same room she talked about.
Chatham Manor - the current back entrance of the house. This home was used as a hospital during the Civil War.
Hopping over the border to Harpers Ferry, West Va., is another ghost tour that links to history. Harpers Ferry has an interesting story to tell, most particularly during the Civil War era, and the tour's website appears to indicate there are lots of interesting tales to be heard. Harper's Ferry is a fascinating area to tour, but I haven't taken the ghost tour - yet.
There are a few other tours across the region as well, such as Leesburg and a second one in Alexandria.
Most of these tours are seasonal running from approximately April to November (some end on Halloween) so they are just about wrapping up for this year; I think we probably caught one of the last nights this past weekend. However if you're in the area come 2012 and looking to dig a little into history, a ghost tour is an interesting way to learn tidbits you might not see in brochures or through other means.
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