Set Sail on the American Rover!
Harborfest – Norfolk, VA
Friday – June 8
Norfolk’s 42nd Annual Harborfest is the largest, longest-running Maritime Festival in the Nation! It is also one of SignaTours most popular summer tours.
The Harborfest celebrates nautical history through a host of events that begin with the incredible . . . Parade of Sails. An assortment of visiting Tall Ships, military vessels, tug boats, and skipjacks join a regatta of private yachts sailing down the Elizabeth River into downtown Norfolk.
We have a treat in store for you – as you will be part of the Parade of Sails aboard the American Rover Tall Ship! Since 1986, the American Rover’s red “tan bark” sails have been one of the signature sights of the Hampton Roads area. She is 135 feet in length and is a three-masted topsail schooner. There is ample comfortable seating with shade topside. Below deck you will find two smartly appointed climate-controlled lounges, the ship’s store and bar, and clean, comfortable restrooms. Board in the morning, enjoy a continental breakfast served aboard and enjoy 3 hours out on the water viewing all the magnificent tall ships sailing into the harbor. After docking mid-day, choose from the many vendors for lunch on your own while you enjoy the afternoon’s festivities.
Flying Proms Air Show
Military Aviation Museum – Virginia Beach
Saturday – June 16
You have to see it to believe it! Not only does this tour include an impressive “Flying Proms” air show, it also includes live symphonic music as accompaniment! This thrilling open-air spectacular pair the soaring sounds of the Symphony with aaah-inspiring maneuvers of vintage aircraft, thrilling the audience all the way to its light-up-the-sky fireworks finale. It is a fascinating combination of music and aerial splendor. The day starts with an afternoon arrival at the Military Aviation Museum, home to one of the largest private collections of World War I and World War II-era military aircraft in the world. Each plane has been beautifully restored to its prior military condition with many being the last flight-ready aircraft of their time, and all of them being one of a kind. Enjoy a guided tour before a catered dinner by Mission BBQ. After dinner sit in reserved seats for the air show. The first half of the evening’s entertainment will feature aerial displays from the museum’s collection of historical aircraft, such as the De Havill Mosquito and Messerschmitt Bf – 109, accompanied by musical selections from popular aviation-themed movies. As dusk falls and the planes land, the second half of the performance will commence, featuring an assortment of patriotic and pop music. Festivities culminate with a fireworks finale! The Flying Proms offers guest a truly unique experience. Getting its roots from the United Kingdom’s traditional Proms (“Prom” is short from promenade concert or in this case a “flying” concert.) The Military Aviation Museum’s Flying Proms is the only event of its kind in North America. Don’t miss it!
Summer Spectacular Aboard the Schooner Alliance!
Tuesday – June 26
Four centuries ago, Captain John Smith explored the waters around Yorktown aboard a small sailing vessel while trading with the Powhatan Indians. Join him in spirit when you sail aboard the Yorktown Schooner Alliance past the Yorktown Battlefield where our country won its independence. Relive the golden age of sailing when young Americans clambered aboard vessels similar to the “Alliance” to find adventure.
The knowledgeable crew will blend past with present as you sight the Victory Monument along the banks of the York River, sight dolphins and osprey, sail by working watermen, or perhaps cruise past a naval warship or submarine.
You can lend a hand at setting sail or just listen to the sound of the wind as you glide along under a cloud of canvas.
Alliance is so much more than a sailing ship – it’s an opportunity to experience an exciting and unique time in America’s history! What makes this tour a “not to miss” is we’ve also included a visit to the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown (formally the Yorktown Victory Center) as well as a delicious crab cake (or chicken) lunch at Riverwalk Restaurant, located in the popular Riverwalk Landing area.
Virginia is for Oyster Lovers – Cape Charles, VA
Thursday – July 12
Virginia is quickly becoming known as the Oyster Capital of the East Coast and for good reason. It is the largest producer of farm-raised oysters in the country featuring the nuances of flavors, textures, and appearances. Growing in the world-famous Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, Virginia oysters thrive in eight different regions.
Your tour takes you over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel into Cape Charles, Virginia, for a tour at the Cherrystone Aqua Farm, one of the largest producers of clams and oysters in the U.S. On your tour, see the hatchery, learn about the life cycle of the oyster and take a tour through their packaging plant. Enjoy a plated lunch (oyster chowder soup to start) at The Oyster Farm at Kings Creek, a private beach resort, event and wedding venue and marina in Cape Charles.
Next, travel back to the Virginia Beach area for a visit to the Brock Environmental Center, one of the world’s greenest buildings! Operated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, it is committed to environmental education. Learn what is being done to keep Virginia’s waters clean so our oysters can continue to thrive.
End the day with a ½ dozen oysters (steamed or raw) or chicken wings if you would rather have that, overlooking the water at Dockside Restaurant.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game!
Washington’s National Park Sunday – July 22
Summer wouldn’t be summer without a hot dog and cracker jacks at a baseball game! We have Infield Box seats by third base (under the shade) reserved for you as the Atlanta Braves take on the Washington Nationals for what is sure to be a great game between these two National League team rivals.
An early arrival gives you plenty of time to grab that hot dog and watch your team warm up before the 1:30 p.m. game starts.
“A Chorus Line”
Riverside Theatre – Fredericksburg, VA
Wednesday – August 1
The Riverside Centre for the Performing Arts presents . . . “A Chorus Line.”
When Zach and his assistant Larry hold auditions for an upcoming Broadway show, a large, diverse group of dancers, all desperate to get a job, try out for a place in the chorus line. After the first cut, seventeen people remain. Zach then tells those auditioning that he wants to know more about each of them before making the final cut. Though they’re reluctant to share, the dancers are faced with the all-too-serious consequences of unemployment if they’re not selected, so each, in turn, sings about events that shaped their lives and their decisions to become dancers.
As their personal stories are revealed, the individuals gradually begin to become a cohesive group. When one of them is seriously injured during a tap sequence and is taken to the hospital, they all stand in shock and disbelief, realizing that their own careers could also end in an instant. Zach asks what they will do when they can no longer dance. Together they reply that whatever happens, they will be free of regret, having pursued their dancing aspirations in their own way.
This Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning musical, which also received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and became one of the longest-running shows on Broadway, is a “must see” for every theatre lover!
As always, great seats are reserved for you and a three-course plated lunch is served before the matinee begins.
Cruise to Tangier Island
Friday – August 17
Tangier Island, located in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay between Virginia’s Northern Neck and the Eastern Shore, is a small, largely unspoiled, fishing village lined with quaint narrow streets. It is considered the “soft crab capital” of the nation. Although modernization has come to the Island, it still has not lost its charm. The people of Tangier, who speak with a lingering trace of an Elizabethan accent, are warm, friendly and proud of their Island.
Arrive in Reedville and board the Chesapeake Breeze for a “Sightseeing Cruise” to Tangier Island. Once there, a short walk from the dock finds you at the Chesapeake House where you’ll enjoy a fantastic, family-style lunch (including crab cakes and oyster fritters) at this favorite island restaurant. Your “Island” visit is two and a half hours, allowing plenty of time to stroll along the small roads and to visit the unique gift shops. For a small fee, hop aboard one of the local resident’s golf carts and take your very own up close and personal tour around the island.
Virginia Icon Revealed!
Cavalier Hotel – Virginia Beach
Thursday – August 23
A Virginia Icon that has played host to 10 US Presidents, the Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach, reopens its doors in early 2018 after a massive $75 million restoration.
Inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and built in 1927, the newly re-imagined property is a member of Marriott’s distinguished Autograph Collections. Exterior details, including the portico with classical columns, have been meticulously restored. Inside, the original paneling, terrazzo flooring, and painted ceilings have been reconditioned to historical accuracy.
Enjoy a plated lunch followed by time to explore.
The afternoon will be spent on a local tour with an informative guide. Stops include Old Cape Henry Lighthouse, located on Fort Story Army Base on a bluff above the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This lighthouse was the first public building authorized by the new US Congress in 1789. It was also the first lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay and is a registered National Historic Landmark.
There will be great photo opportunities here and the ambitious can pay the small fee to go inside and climb the 191 steps to the top.
Also included is a visit to First Landing Cross. Upon touching the shore of the New World on April 26, 1607 (13 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock) the first permanent English settlers from the London Company set up a cross on the newly named Cape Henry (after Henry, Prince of Wales) shore in gratitude to God and to affirm England’s claim to the site. These settlers later traveled up the James River to Jamestown. The present-day granite cross was erected in 1935 and is a national landmark.
Space on this tour will likely go quickly – don’t delay signing up!
Destination: 18th Century
Thursday – September 13
George Washington grew up in Fredericksburg, Virginia, one of America’s most historic and intriguing cities. Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and even Abraham Lincoln all lived or visited here.
New this year is a replica of the home Washington grew up in at Ferry Farm – which was built “suspended” over the original house location (it is still an active archeological site). Enjoy a guided tour of the home and time in the Visitor Center which gives fascinating insight into the site both in colonial times and during the Civil War. You are in for a luncheon treat at the Bavarian Chef followed by a tour of Kenmore, one of the most elegant colonial mansions in America. Kenmore was built by Fielding Lewis for his wife, Betty, the only sister of George Washington. A colonial “gentry” home, Kenmore is famous for its intricate plasterwork ceilings, some of the finest of the colonial period. Tours through Kenmore’s rooms highlight its elegant architecture and history. There will be time in the quaint downtown area for shopping and a not to be missed stop for some delicious Carl’s Ice Cream!
Virginia Beach Neptune Festival – Virginia Beach, VA
Saturday – September 29
2018 marks the 45th anniversary of the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival! Every year, hundreds of thousands of people celebrate the festival’s many offerings! You can enjoy the parade on Atlantic Avenue as a special treat before venturing to the boardwalk, where you can find over 250 artisans displaying handmade work from paintings and sculptures, to photography and glass-work. Mosey your way through the tents and displays and find a piece of the show to bring home with you! Enjoy a juried Art & Craft Show that has been ranked #22 out of 200 Fine Art and Design Shows across the country. Head out onto the beach to find 22 magnificent sand sculptures created by world-renowned international sculptors at Neptune’s International Sandsculpting Championship (ticket included).
“Beauty and the Beast”
Riverside Theatre – Fredericksburg, VA
Wednesday – October 3
The Riverside Centre for the Performing Arts presents . . . “Beauty and the Beast.” This musical, adapted from the Academy Award-winning Disney animated film, took Broadway by storm upon its debut in 1994 and became Broadway’s tenth longest-running show of all time. It’s the classic love story of Belle, a beautiful young woman from a small provincial town, and the fearsome Beast transformed from a haughty prince by an enchantress. Belle, trading her freedom for that of her father, becomes imprisoned in the castle of the Beast. She is then faced with the challenge of softening his ferocious ways so that he will not be doomed in beastly form for all eternity. Gradually a mutual attraction results and the Beast, after learning to love and be loved, experiences a re-transformation. The lush musical score sparkles with songs that have enthralled audiences worldwide: No Matter What, Be Our Guest, If I Can’t Love Her, Home, How Long Must This Go On?, and the unforgettable lyrics of the title song, “Tale as old as time, Song as old as rhyme – Beauty and the Beast.” Bring someone you love to this timeless, inspiring production! Enjoy great seats reserved for you and a three-course plated lunch served before the matinee.
Air Show Spectacular – Baltimore, Maryland
Saturday – October 6
The Thunderbirds, officially known as the US Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, perform for people all around the world, displaying the pride, precision, and professionalism of American Airmen. As the jets take to the skies and fly only a few feet from wingtip to wingtip, the crowd gets a glimpse of the awesome skills and capabilities that all fighter pilots must possess. The solo pilots integrate their own loud and proud routine, exhibiting some of the maximum capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon – the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter jet. What makes this tour unique is that we will be viewing the air show from the water – on a sightseeing boat that offers the best views for this amazing air show. The Thunderbirds are the signature event of Maryland Fleet Week, a weeklong celebration of the rich maritime traditions of the Chesapeake Bay and the contributions of Marylanders to the defense of the nation. Once arriving in Baltimore, enjoy a plated lunch at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Restaurant in the Inner Harbor. Next, spend the afternoon cruising the waters around Baltimore for sightseeing and the Thunderbird Air Show!
47th Annual Shenandoah Fall Art Show
Saturday – October 13
This fall treat yourself to an invigorating getaway to beautiful Waynesboro, Virginia, where nature inspires artists and artists inspire community. For this one weekend, the downtown area is transformed into this impressive outdoor fine arts festival. Showcasing their works, 150 artists, and artisans, hand selected by the festival’s standard committee, bring high-quality arts and crafts to this festival. Their works include painting, printmaking, wood, pottery, glass, jewelry, sculpture and more. While there, don’t forget to visit the P. Buckley Moss Gallery (good chance she will be there to sign prints.) The festival also features gourmet food trucks, craft beer, and great local music. (Lunch is on your own.) From street art to woodwork, this year’s art festivals are sure to bring color and spunk to your autumn! We’ve also added a few other fun stops to round out the day including The Cheese Shop in Stuarts Draft as well as Chile’s Peach Orchard in Crozet featuring apples of the season.
Carry Me Back to Ole Virginny – Nelson County, VA
Tuesday – October 23
Pharsalia is a place where History never gets old. Step back in history when you walk through the doors. It was built in 1814 in the Tye River Valley and sits on the shoulder of DePreist Mountain in Nelson County, Virginia. The fall color should be perfect at this time! At its height, Pharsalia’s working farm was part of a family owned tract in excess of 10,000 acres. Descendants of the original owners still own the home and work hard to preserve this historic house. Enjoy a tour of the home and grounds by the owner – a special treat since it is only open to groups and for special events. While here enjoy a catered lunch consisting of such items as quiche, homemade soup, and chicken salad on a croissant. Next, travel a short distance to Oak Ridge Estate, a 5,000-acre plantation estate first built in 1802 and acquired at the turn of the 20th century by Thomas Fortune Ryan, who had become one of the 10 wealthiest men in the nation. He made impressive alterations to the building and grounds-adding a formal Italian garden, rotunda greenhouse, and railroad station, among other features. Also included is a stop at a favorite Apple Orchard in this area, Drumhellers Orchard,… plan to bring some delicious apples home with you!
Annual Fall Foliage Spectacular – Peaks of Otter Lodge
Saturday – October 27
Back by Popular Demand . . . travel southwest towards Bedford and the Blue Ridge Mountains for one of the most popular fall lunch and tour destination in the State of Virginia – Peaks of Otter Lodge! Enjoy their special “Octoberfest” Buffet – featuring several hot entrees, vegetables, and sweet desserts. Enjoy incredible fall scenery as we travel. A visit to this part of Virginia is not complete without a stop at a local Orchard Farm for fresh picked “Grown in Virginia” apples, homemade cider, apple butter, jams, and jellies. Spend the afternoon at the Appomattox Court House National Historic Park. On April 9, 1865, the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia in the McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia, signaled the end of the nation’s largest war. Two important questions about its future were answered. Could the nation survive a civil war intact, and would that nation exist without slavery? The answer to both was yes and a new nation was born. See the McLean House and the impressive visitor center and take part in a Ranger Talk.
Christmas at the White House – Washington, DC
December 4, 5 or 6, 2018
Visiting the White House in Washington, D.C. is a time-honored and treasured holiday tradition. The custom of placing a decorated tree in the White House began in 1889 on Christmas morning during the Presidency of Benjamin Harrison. What began as a family gathering has become a national tradition. Stroll through America’s most prestigious and honored house and experience firsthand, the beautiful trees and decorations of this holiday season. After a morning at the White House andWhite House Visitor Center, lunch will be included at a popular area restaurant as well as an additional attraction in the afternoon. Details will be announced once the date is finalized. $160
PLEASE NOTE: For the best chance of seeing the White House, we recommend signing up immediately. $75 of tour cost is non-refundable if canceled after names have been submitted to the White House at the end of August. Once names are submitted there are no substitutions, additions or changes. Please, No Phone Calls. SignaTours will notify you immediately upon notification by the White House in late November. Again, Do Not Call for Dates. The White House makes all decisions on appointments. SignaTours has no say in the decision-making process. THIS IS NOT A GUARANTEED TOUR. You will receive a full refund if our request is not approved. (Departure and Return Times Depend on the White House Appointment Schedule.)P