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American Heritage Historic Guides

American Heritage Historic Guides

American Heritage Historic Guides are filled with detailed travel and tourism information from past issues of American Heritage. We welcome you to download and save the guides to help plan your future vacations to enjoy our nation’s vast cultural and heritage destinations.

The fiery—and some say crazy—abolitionist John Brown sparked the Civil War with his bloody 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, just one of the colorful events in the Mountain State’s rich history. Whether you’re marveling at the Indian mounds left by a mysterious culture or touring the once top-secret bunker designed to hold the U.S. Congress in case of nuclear war, West Virginia holds surprises galore.

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Nearly five centuries have come and gone since Spain became the first European country to plant its flag on Florida’s soil. In that time, Florida has witnessed revolutions, Civil War battles, industrialization, and the dawning of the Space Age. While today Florida is known for sand beaches, tourist towns, and Disney World, a treasure trove of fascinating historic sites awaits the visitor: the Seminole Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, Spanish forts, the Flagler Museum, and Key West. No other state better encapsulates the wonder and breadth of our entire nation’s heritage.

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Sharp snow-covered peaks, wide grassy plains, deep canyons, and cool mountain streams define the spectacular landscape of the Centennial State, which has enjoyed a rich history beginning with the Ute Indians who hunted the area’s vast bison herds centuries before the arrival of Europeans. With its stunning cliff dwelling communities, Mesa Verde National Park embodies the rich, diverse, and complex heritage of the Puebloan and Navajo cultures.

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Bishop’s Palace, Casa Navarro State Historic Site, Fannin Battleground State Historic Site, and more.

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In celebration of the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s and Henry Hudson’s exploration of New York—and their encounters with Lenape and Iroquoian peoples—the editors of American Heritage have selected the top historic sites along the watercourses they gave their names to.

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No state offers more opportunities to visit and enjoy history than Virginia, which boasts, among other sites, the homes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the site of the first permanent English settlement, the location of North America's first Thanksgiving celebration (yes, it's earlier than Plymouth), and the battlefield where the Revolution ended. Virginia offers something for everybody: rich living history for families, such as wandering through a reconstructed Powhatan village or the streets of 18th-century Williamsburg; enjoying beautiful antiques and spectacular architectural details in plantations perched pleasantly along the James River; learning about the Civil War firsthand by walking into the crater left by Union soldiers who blew up the Confederate line at Petersburg but then got caught inside it and died in droves.

Here you'll find our list. We confess that it was a difficult task and some of our favorite sites were dropped for space. But we can guarantee you that each destination listed here is a certified gem. We broke the sites up into nine themed and geographic sections, each one ideal to use as a basis for a driving tour.

Remember to call ahead before visiting, hours and events often change seasonally. Click over to our history website, www.heritagesites.com for more information about Virginia sites — as well as for historic points of interest around the country.

Travel safely... and drop us a line to tell us about your adventures at

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The lure of white sand beaches, citrus groves, and the glitter of Disney World and Miami, has often diverted the spotlight from Florida’s rich historical heritage.

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