Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What is a FAM tour? A Walk Through Local Civil War History

FAM tour stop at White's Ferry, VA
I've lived here 20 years and can tell you where many of the battlefields are, but didn’t know much about the Civil War events in the county. Does a buyer's agent need to know about the Civil War? Apparently so. Enter, the FAM tour.
Monocacy Battlefield, Frederick MD
Twice a year the Tourism Council of Frederick County sponsors an all day, familiarization (FAM) tour of nearby Civil War battlefields, museums and towns. The purpose of the tour is to give people in "front line" jobs, those involving interaction with visitors and locals who want to know more about our part in the Civil War, a broad overview of the region's historical sites.  The tour began at 9:00 am in Frederick and ended at 4:30 pm. Tourism provided a box lunch at a picnic site at the Washington Monument State Park on South Mountain.
Participants board a comfortable coach and receive a packet of information and maps which out line the day. The tour begins at White's Ferry and ends at Harper's Ferry. Participants alight at several Civil War sites for a brief talk. The main purpose of the tour is to give an overview of historical events, point out where and when the events occurred, and give participants a better idea of the locations, activities, museums, and events available to visitors.
Pry House Field Hospital Museum, Keedysville, MD 

The tour was lead by John Fieseler, executive director of the Tourism Council. At day's end, I conclude that what John doesn't know about the Civil War in this region is probably not worth knowing. He provided commentary on the many sites, battles, intrigues, and details of the progress of the Civil War- especially as it relates to the counties surrounding Frederick. John's talk was supplemented by key guests on the tour who provided interesting details about historical events and museums in their particular areas including Peggy Erickson for Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County,  and Betsy DeVore from the Washington County Convention &Visitors Bureau.
Newcomer House Museum, Sharpsburg, MD
Frederick County played a key role in the Civil War and the details of the history draw you in. Several people on the tour encouraged me to see the Memorial Illumination at Antietam National Battlefield on the first Saturday of December each year.  I may have to watch the Ken Burn's Civil War again.