Richmond, VA – The Road to Revolution State Heritage Trail consortium, joined by state commerce and tourism officials and related hospitality industry, announced a major expansion of the Trail doubling the size and scope of the program. Trail sites include Mount Vernon, Gunston Hall, James Monroe’s Birthplace, Stratford Hall, Montpelier, Monticello, Ash Lawn-Highland, Scotchtown, Hanover County Courthouse, Hanover Tavern, Rural Plains, Polegreen Church, St. John’s Church, John Marshall House, Wilton, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, Hampden-Sydney College, and Red Hill-Patrick Henry National Memorial.
“We chose Valentine’s Day to announce this expansion because we are lovers of Virginia history and believe that tourism, as a major driver of economy, needs more tools to encourage visitation and the corresponding investment in Virginia,” said Delegate Chris Peace (R-Hanover), who founded the trail. “This project, which began in 2007, has exemplified what is possible when government and the private sector partner. With zero state dollars and small annual dues from members, this consortium has leveraged federal grants to establish the trail signage throughout the Commonwealth.”
During the 2012 General Assembly Session, Bottom of Formthe legislature passed HB 1185 expanding potential for sites on The Road to Revolution state heritage trail from those celebrating Patrick Henry and his role in liberating Virginia from Colonial rule to all those significant to men and women who played a role in liberating Virginia and establishing the United States of America. Governor Bob McDonnell, who has been a strong supporter of Heritage Tourism, approved the bill on March 7, 2012.
Delegate Mark Keam (D-Fairfax) said, “I’m very pleased to join my fellow co-chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Legislative Tourism Caucus — Delegate Chris Peace — in supporting the Road to Revolution Heritage Trail. It is a valuable resource for our Commonwealth, and you can be assured that our Caucus will use all of the new social media technology tools to promote this treasure. We look forward to bringing more people to one of the country’s most significant historical resources located right here in Virginia”
“Our nation’s independence is rooted in Virginia,” said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. “The Road to Revolution Trail tells a compelling story and makes it easy for visitors to follow in the footsteps of revolutionaries such as Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. The Road to Revolution is a great example of the rich history that draws visitors to Virginia.”
Carrie Roth, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Governor Bob McDonnell, stated “The expansion of the Road to Revolution State Heritage Trail will further enrich the personal experience in understanding the perseverance and struggles to set the path of individual liberty. Virginia is for history lovers – and we hope this expansion will encourage individuals to follow the trail and learn about what ignited the passion for the creation of America.”
The travel industry is the fifth largest non-farm employer in Virginia. In 2011, estimated traveler spending in Virginia was more than $20 billion. By a large margin, first-time visitors to Virginia come to see the historic sites, museums, battlefields, and cultural landscapes. Among repeat visitors, Virginia’s historic experiences still rank as the top attractions. Heritage tourists seek experiences that broaden and deepen understanding of diverse historical backgrounds. More than one-in-five travelers visit historic/heritage sites during a leisure trip to Virginia. According to the 2011 TNS Visitor profiles, heritage travelers spend more money during their stay in Virginia (Heritage traveler party spending $589; leisure traveler party spending $319). Heritage travelers spent an average of $164 per person, which is almost $50 higher than for leisure visitors representing an increase of 44%. These travelers spend their money on visiting historic sites, battlefields, cultural attractions, shopping, fine-dining and outdoor experiences. One-in-two travel parties stay at hotels and Bed and Breakfasts in Virginia, and they tend to stay longer during a trip.
Trail partners include but are not limited to Preservation Virginia, Richmond National Battlefield Park, Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Hanover County, Virginia Dept. Historic Resources, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and The Library of Virginia Foundation.
TEA-21 Federal Highway Enhancement Grant through the Virginia Department of Transportation provided 80/20 matching funds for existing trailblazers and brochure production.
The redesigned Trail brochure is courtesy of Communication Design which also designs the Civil War Trails materials. Lead designer is Bill Cullen and historic consulting services were provided by former Department of Historic Resources senior staffer John Salmon.
Social media links were established and maintained by the Trail Consortium Partners led by Hilliary Turner and Sarah Whiting, Executive Director of the St. John’s Church Foundation. The links are found at www.facebook.com/roadtorevolutionva and www.twitter.com/rdtorevolution.
The Trail website design is the product of Benjamin Knowles of Exit 118 Studios.
For more information about the Road to Revolution State Heritage Trail, visit http://www.roadtorevolution.com/.