Revolutionary War

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We shall be ready to sacrifice our estates and everything dear in life, Yea & life itself, in support of the common cause.

– Reverend Jonas Clarke, Lexington, Massachusetts, December 13, 1775

A special  2021 version of this tour is on!  We’ll be staying inside the US this year, then offering Boston to Quebec in 2022. Please note that the downloadable itinerary is for the Boston to Quebec version of the war.  

Boston. The birthplace of the American Revolution. In this bustling port city, angry colonists risked their lives to protest taxation without representation and set out to mount an audacious rebellion. Dramatic events such as the Stamp Act Riots, the Boston Massacre, and the Boston Tea Party moved America relentlessly closer to Revolution.

Simmering conflict boiled over into open warfare in the spring of 1775, with skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, and ferocious fighting at Bunker Hill. Two weeks later, a 43-year-old Virginia planter named George Washington rode into Cambridge, Massachusetts, to take over the newly formed Continental Army.

For the first two and half years of war, the rugged country of the Northern Theaterwitnessed a dozen battles – including some of the bloodiest engagements of the Revolution. At last, the stunning American victory at Saratoga in 1777 brought about the surrender of an entire British Army corps and the entry of France into the war on America’s side.

Our Revolutionary War Tour: Boston to Saratoga explores the origins of the conflict, the battles that raged across the northern theater and the key players in that drama. They involved Patriots, Loyalists, Redcoats and Native Americans. We’ll walk battlefields where ragtag rebel forces clashed with one of the most feared armies in the world. We’ll meet the famous, the infamous, and the villainous figures who played out the dramatic struggle to forge a new nation. 

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  • Boston’s Freedom Trail: Legendary historic sites offer a time machine back to 1775. Special Access: behind the scenes glimpse of the hidden spaces of Old North Church.
  • Lexington, Concord and the Battle Road: The scene of action on April 19, 1775, Day One of the American Revolution. Stand in the tap-room where Lexington militia spent a long night awaiting the arrival of British troops.
  • Museum of Fine Art: Special Access: Private dinner at the museum and an exclusive curated presentation of their colonial art collection, including portraits of patriots by John Singleton Copley.
  • The US Constitution and the Battle of Bunker Hill: In Charlestown, Massachusetts, we visit the U.S. Navy’s most historic ship, as well as the site of the war’s first great battle. This bloody contest revealed that this war might prove more costly than the English generals first believed. Plus we’ll lunch in an historic tavern built in 1780. 
  • Saratoga and Bennington Battlefields: The Saratoga Campaign of 1777 changed the course of the Revolution. Special Access: A moving living history presentation at the Marshall House: The Baroness’s Ordeal, a window into harrowing experiences of Baroness Frederika Charlotte Riedesel.
  • Fort Stanwyx and the Battle of Oriskany: Surprising revelations at rarely visited sites in New York’s Mohawk Valley where American determination (and trickery) helped seal the fate of Burgoyne at Saratoga.
  • Fort Ticonderoga: This beautifully restored fort overlooking Lake Champlain saw pivotal battles in both the French & Indian War and the American Revolution. Special Access: Presentations on Ticonderoga’s artifacts and history as well as a cocktail cruise on the lake to take in the breathtaking terrain and explore the naval aspect of Ticonderoga's famous campaigns. We’ll end with a group dinner onsite.
  • Battle of Valcour Island/Lake Champlain: Board a replica of the gunboat Philadelphia, Benedict Arnold’s diminutive Lake Champlain flagship. Discover how he built a fleet of warships and then took them into battle to thwart a British advance.

Day-By-Day Itinerary

DAY 1 Boston

Guests organize travel to Boston. Opening night reception at the historic Parker House hotel, followed by dinner in Boston’s Old City Hall.

DAY 2 Boston, Lexington and Concord

The flame of liberty burned fiercely in Boston during the run-up to rebellion. This morning we walk the Freedom Trail and learn about the first stirrings of Independence.

  • The Boston Massacre in 1770 fanned the flames of Revolution
  • Granary Burial Ground, final resting place for many notable patriots
  • Old South Meeting House, the starting point for the 1773 Boston Tea Party
  • Faneuil Hall, dubbed the “Cradle of Liberty”
  • Paul Revere’s House in the North End, preserved as the city grew and changed around it
  • Old North Church, where Revere arranged for the hanging of signal lanterns, “one if by land, two if by sea” on the fateful night of April 18, 1775
  • Copps Hill Burying Ground, famous both for who is buried there and for being the site of British artillery in the Battle of Bunker Hill

Dinner on your own in Boston. 

DAY 3 Lexington, Concord, and the Battle Road 

We proceed to Lexington and Concord to explore the earthshaking events of April 19, 1775. In Lexington, we will visit the tavern where the militia gathered the night before the battle, the town common where the early morning battle erupted, and the cemetery where the dead were laid. Then it’s on to Concord where the Americans scored their first victory at Old North Bridge.

The Colonists pummeled the Redcoats as they retreated back to Boston. We’ll see how at hotspots along the Battle Road including Meriam’s Corner and Parker’s Revenge.

Then on to Munroe Tavern in Lexington, where the British set up a field hospital to treat their growing number of wounded. The fighting reached a crescendo as the British column, led now by Lord Percy, passed through Menotomy (modern-day Arlington). Stopping there, we will learn the extraordinary story of the oldest man who fought that day – and why he is now the Massachusetts State Hero.

Dinner on your own in Boston.

DAY 4 Bunker Hill and George Washington

The Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775, was the first large-scale battle between Patriots and Redcoats. Colonials occupied a hilltop just outside Boston. The King’s Troops responded with a coldblooded show of force, bombarding Charlestown and sending three thousand soldiers charging up the hill. British troops eventually drove the colonials away, but at a terrible cost. This fight instilled in the British a sense of caution that haunted them for the rest of the war.

The day begins with a visit to the USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides,” the nation’s oldest Navy vessel, dating to 1797.

We’ll walk to the Bunker Hill Monument to trace the route of the brutal British attack led by Lord Howe. Is it true that the Americans fortified the wrong hilltop? After a visit to the monument and the nearby museum, we’ll have lunch in a tavern that was one of the first buildings rebuilt after the British bombarded the city.

Next, we head to Cambridge where Gen. George Washington took command of the Continental Army two weeks after Bunker Hill. On foot, we explore the spot where Washington assumed command, the church where he worshipped, the home he took as his headquarters, and see the beautiful Tory Row mansions where rich Loyalists resided until they fled for their lives.

In the evening, we will gather for a special dinner event at the Museum of Fine Arts/Boston. In the American Art wing, MFA will offer us a private presentation on their superlative Colonial collection, including famed portraits of Paul Revere and other colonial figures by John Singleton Copley.

DAY 5 Boston to Valcour Island

In March 1776, Washington placed artillery atop Dorchester Heights and bluffed the British into evacuating Boston. We’ll visit a little-known monument to that event.

Then we proceed north into New Hampshire and the beautiful Upper Valley of the Connecticut River. In Charlestown NH we visit Fort #4, a recreation of the fort that stood here during the French and Indian War and the Revolution. It was here that General John Stark gathered New Hampshire regiments that took part in the Battle of Bennington in 1777.

After lunch, we continue north to Plattsburgh NY, where we check into our hotel.

Then we head out on a late afternoon expedition to commence our study of the pivotal northern campaigns of 1776 and1777. The King’s Troops envisioned using Lake Champlain as a highway to push south from Quebec and drive a wedge between New England the rest of the colonies. Here at Valcour Island, Gen. Benedict Arnold built and commanded a Navy that played a crucial role in impeding that advance and giving American forces further south time to prepare.

Group dinner.

DAY 6 Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga

We follow the root of the British advance south along Lake Champlain. The trip includes visit a replica of Benedict Arnold’s flagship Philadelphia at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and the ruins of a British fort at Crown Point, where they staged their troops for the attack on Fort Ticonderoga, the impressive citadel on Lake Champlain

Ticonderoga was the site of battles in both the French & Indian War and the American Revolution. In 1758, the British hurled the famed “Black Watch” 42nd Regiment against the French-held fort, a legendary and bloody encounter.

During the Revolution, Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys (with the help of Benedict Arnold) took Fort Ti in 1775. Gen. Henry Knox transported cannons from the fort to Boston to aid George Washington in raising the siege of Boston. The British then retook the fort in 1777 on their march to Saratoga. Fort Ti is one of the jewels of this trip.

After exploring the completely restored Fort Ti, we cruise on Lake Champlain to view the impressive terrain from the water. Then, back to the Fort for a VIP presentation with artifacts from their impressive collection.

Group dinner at Fort Ticonderoga.

DAY 7 Ticonderoga To Saratoga Springs

We begin the day at the site of the Battle of Hubbardton, the only Revolutionary War battle fought in Vermont. Here, Redcoats under Gen. Simon Fraser engaged in hot pursuit of fleeing American troops the day after taking Ticonderoga.

Like the British, we’ll continue south, to Bennington Vermont, where Colonel Seth Warner rallied Vermont militia to meet the British advance. After lunch in Bennington we’ll visit a memorial to the battle with superb views of the beautiful landscape. Then it's a short trip to the actual battlefield, which is not in Bennington at all, but across the river in Hoosick Falls New York! We’ll discover why this tiny precursor to the Battle of Saratoga, fought on August 16, 1777, has such outsized importance.

Finally it is on to Saratoga Springs, our base for the next three days.

Group Dinner.

DAY 8 Mohawk Valley 

England’s 1777 campaign was a three-pronged attack designed to splinter the colonies. As Gen. Burgoyne bore down on Saratoga, another wing of the British Army led by Gen. Barry St. Leger advanced into the Mohawk Valley. We spend a day traversing this little-known field of action, with bloody fighting that preceded Saratoga. We’ll visit is the Oriskany Battlefield, one of the bloodiest conflicts of the war, where only Americans fought—Patriots and allied Oneidas vs. Loyalists and other Native tribes. Our journey also takes us to beautifully restored Fort Stanwyx, “the fort that never surrendered.” We’ll learn how Benedict Arnold used a crafty ruse to help break the British siege here. Then back to our hotel in Saratoga

Dinner on your own.  

DAY 9 Battle of Saratoga

The Battle of Saratoga, fought in September and October 1777, was in many ways THE turning point of the American Revolution. An American Army under Horatio “Granny” Gates won a decisive victory over “Gentleman” Johnny Burgoyne that led to French intervention on behalf of the rebels. The site is rich in gripping stories, stirring heroics and extraordinary characters. One of the most colorful is the hot-tempered general who had his finest hour here, and will be a major figure for the rest of the trip: Benedict Arnold. The monument commemorating his service at Saratoga is one of the most unusual you will ever see.

After a tour of the battlefield, we will visit the Marshall House, a British battle-day field hospital. We will be treated to a special re-enactment: the fascinating tale of Baroness Von Riedesel, spirited and courageous wife of Hessian Gen. Frederick Von Riedesel. Amidst the wounded, the dead, and the soon-to-be dead, she and her children sheltered themselves from withering American artillery fire. She left us a harrowing account of six days of bravery and terror.

Then, back to Saratoga for a Farewell group dinner at an inn that predates the battle itself.

DAY 10 Farewell

Bus to airport in Albany New York

Thank you for traveling with Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours. As we develop future chapters of our Revolutionary War tour, we will send you the information. Have a safe trip home!


Tour Dates

  • August 24 - September 2, 2021 Boston to Saratoga
  • August 22 - 31, 2022 Boston to Quebec
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TRIP COST $5,690

Price is per person based on double occupancy. For a single room add $1,450.

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