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Lake Champlain

Battleground for Empire and Independence

September 29–October 5, 2013
Historian Guide: Frank Ackerman

At the dawn of the 18th century, French colonies extended from the St. Lawrence River to the Great Lakes. British colonies extended west from the Atlantic seaboard, and both sought to expand into the territory between. After the Treaty of Paris ended French imperial claims in North America, the British Empire found its authority challenged by rebellious American colonists.

Waterways were then the transportation arteries, and nowhere else in North America are there more 18th-century forts and battlefields than in the Upper Hudson River and Lake Champlain valleys. This corridor, from Albany through Lake Champlain to Canada, witnessed key battles in both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. At Fort Ticonderoga, France achieved its greatest victory, repulsing a much larger British army in the bloodiest battle on North American soil until the Civil War. To end rebellion in the American colonies, British General John Burgoyne considered the Lake Champlain-Hudson River Valley "precisely the route an army ought to take" to invade New York. He expected to isolate New England and then focus on crushing that seat of discontent. However, the Americans forced Burgoyne's army to surrender at the Battle of Saratoga, a crucial victory that renewed Patriots' hopes, secured essential foreign recognition, and forever changed the face of the world.

Historian Frank Ackerman will guide you through the crucible of North American wars for an exciting, in-depth look at independence from an empire.

7 Days / 6 Nights

Cost: $2,725 Single Occupancy, $2,325 Double Occupancy

Click to request a 2013 printed Travel Guide.


Sunday, September 29
Gather in Albany, New York for a briefing and welcome dinner hosted by Frank Ackerman and HistoryAmerica TOURS.

Monday, September 30
After a brief stop at the Phillip Schuyler Mansion, we will board Amtrak's Adirondack for a three-hour trip north from the Hudson River and along the west shore of Lake Champlain. This is regarded as one of the most scenic train rides in North America, with plenty of mountain scenery and many historic sites — including Fort Ticonderoga — visible from our windows. Our bus meets us in Plattsburgh and takes us to the Vermont side of Lake Champlain. Overnight in South Burlington.

Tuesday, October 1
We will spend the morning aboard the Amtrak Vermonter, traversing river valleys into the heart of the Green Mountains. We detrain at Windsor and tour the house where the Vermont Constitution was adopted in 1777. This was America's first Constitution that prohibited slavery, allowed men to vote without owning property, and created public schools. We continue by motor coach to Charlestown, New Hampshire, where we tour the reconstructed Fort at No. 4. Established in 1740 on land granted by the Royal Governor of Massachusetts, this fort was the northernmost outpost of Britain's New England colonies.

Wednesday, October 2
We begin the day by retracing the route of the Crown Point Military Road, started in 1759 by General Jeffery Amherst to connect His Majesty's Fort at Crown Point, New York, with the Fort at No. 4. Later we see reconstructed 18th-century vessels at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. After lunch in Middlebury, we visit the fort at Crown Point before our tour of reconstructed Fort Ticonderoga, a strategic spot in the American Revolution, as well as in the French and Indian War. Overnight in Rutland.

Thursday, October 3
Today we tour the two major Revolutionary War sites in Vermont. Directly opposite Fort Ticonderoga, Mount Independence was, with 12,000 American soldiers, one of the largest communities in North America in 1776. A year later British General Burgoyne easily captured it from a much-depleted garrison, which withdrew to Hubbardton, Vermont, to stand its ground. Overnight again in Rutland.

Friday, October 4
This morning we travel to Bennington. From the top of the Bennington Battle Monument, Vermont's tallest structure, we'll have an elevated view of the terrain where American General John Stark defeated Burgoyne's men in the Battle of Bennington. This afternoon we tour the Saratoga National Historical Park. General Burgoyne's defeat at Saratoga in autumn 1777 turned the tide of the American Revolution. Return to Albany for our farewell dinner and final overnight.

Saturday, October 5
Depart at your leisure following breakfast.

© 2013 HistoryAmerica TOURS
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(800) 628-8542 • (605) 348-2250 • Fax (605) 342-8471
Updated on 4 November, 2012