Celebrate military history and Virginia’s International Tattoo with charm and pageantry. Experience the Virginia International Tattoo, a true patriotic display of military splendor, with a cast of over 1,500 performers from drill teams to pipe and drum corps.
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Throughout history, field musicians have been vital to commanders as the sole means of relaying orders during battle. For marching, the bands kept the company or regiment in proper cadence, and served to beat the daily duty calls and ceremonies such as Reveille, Taps, the General, the Assembly and the Retreat. The distinctive and colorful uniforms were necessary to distinguish them easily on the battlefields, and were often the reverse color of those worn by the line soldiers.
The term “tattoo” derives from the cries of the 17th and 18th century Dutch innkeepers, who, as the fifes and drums of the local regiment signaled a return to quarters would cry, “Doe den tap toe!” -“Turn off the taps!” The sound of the “taps” caused the innkeeper’s customers to depart and return to their barracks. The word “tattoo” evolved over time, and refers to what developed as a ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands today.
Prince William County and Manassas, Virginia
Arrive early afternoon for your first stop to Quantico National Cemetery, where our nation’s veterans are remembered. Have the honor of helping the Missing In America Project, an organization that aims to find, identify and inter unclaimed remains of fallen veterans. Experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by participating in placing flags on the graves of these previously forgotten heroes. Travel down the street to experience the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Uncover the history of the Marine Corps., test your skills as a Marine, and get insight into the lives of our nation’s heroes. Step in to the quaint town of Historic Occoquan for a memorable dinner. This riverfront community welcomes visitors with southern hospitality and plenty of dining options to choose from.
Prince William and Manassas, Virginia
Start off the morning with a visit to a Civil War hospital at the Ben Lomond Historic Site. Soldiers were taken here after the Battle of First Manassas to care for their wounds and left their signatures on the walls to prove it. Learn about 19th century medicine used to care for the injured soldiers. Enjoy lunch in charming Historic Downtown Manassas. Sample Cajun cuisine at Okra’s, taste Portuguese and Italian fare at Carmelo’s or savor authentic Mediterranean food at Katerina’s Greek Cuisine. After lunch, explore the Freedom Museum at Manassas Regional Airport where you can watch planes take off during your guided tour. Your veteran guide will focus on the U.S. military’s involvement in 20th-century wars through memorabilia, interactive displays and photographs.
Next, let a Civil War guide dressed in his military uniform lead you to Manassas National Battlefield Park. There, watch the film, “Manassas: End of Innocence” narrated by Richard Dreyfuss, discover the artifacts uncovered from the battlefield and walk the hallowed ground where two major Civil War battles unfolded. Have a classic American dinner at the Silver Diner, serving comfort food.
Prince William and Manassas and Norfolk, Virginia
In the morning travel to Norfolk to see the awe-inspiring Virginia International Tattoo performances. Heart-thumping, colorful, awe-inspiring performers from around the world take your breath away with a show like you’ve never before seen – or ever dreamed of!
Arrive to Norfolk by 11:30am to tour Nauticus, Hampton Roads Naval Museum and Battleship Wisconsin. Nauticus is a fun and exciting interactive science and technology center exploring the power of the sea. It features more than 150 exhibits, films and exotic aquatic life. The Hampton Roads Naval Museum, located inside of Nauticus introduces you to over 200 years of naval history in Hampton Roads. Located next to Nauticus, discover the Battleship Wisconsin, the largest and last battleship ever built by the US Navy. Enjoy lunch on own inside the café.
Then head over to Scope Arena for the matinee performance of the Virginia International Tattoo which is part parade and part performance, featuring top military bands, precision drill teams, massed pipes and drums with over 1,500 performers. Enjoy dinner and dancing aboard the Spirit of Norfolk. Savor freshly prepared food in a nautical setting with dynamic professional live entertainment, as you cruise along the Elizabeth River with the Norfolk skyline as your backdrop.
Visit the world’s largest naval installation, Naval Station Norfolk. A knowledgeable, active duty Navy guide will narrate a tour of the base.
Make a quick stop for ice cream and discover where and how the waffle cone was invented at Doumar’s. Spend the rest of the afternoon cruising aboard the Victory Rover Naval Base Cruise. Enjoy a delightful two-hour cruise touring the world’s largest naval base by water.
The music and great food doesn’t stop! End the night with dinner at Norfolk’s newest entertainment venue The Waterside District, adjacent to Town Point Park. It will feature the best of national, local and regional restaurants and will offer live music, festivals, and more.
Before you head for home discover one of the largest collections of azaleas, camellias, roses and rhododendrons on the East Coast at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. Experience 155 glorious acres of gardens with guided tours on foot, tram or by boat. The azaleas are in full bloom so do not miss such an important part of this annual festival!
Whatever your reason for traveling – Culture, Art, Gardens, Faith, or discovering new destinations – we create group tours that set each program apart from the ordinary.
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