Tips for a Hamilton: An American Musical Inspired Trip
With the release of the musical Hamilton on Disney+, I wanted to take the time to relive my mini Hamilton inspired trip! While listening to the cast recording of the hit Broadway play, of course! I didn’t set out for this trip to be inspired by the musical Hamilton or the revolution. However, as it has been so prevalent in our society recently, it was hard to ignore Mr. Alexander Hamilton along the way.
The places I’ve listed below were part of a more extensive trip that took me through North Carolina to Virginia and then onto Washington, DC. However, even though that was the case, I’ll lay out an itinerary to the best of my ability. I went through this at a rather fast pace, doing Monticello and George Washington’s Mount Vernon in one day. Which, when I mentioned to locals, they found astonishing. So if you like to take your time, make sure to add more room than I did on my Alexander Hamilton musical itinerary here.
Not all of the places I’ll be listing have to do with the Hamilton musical directly. Some locations are in relation to other characters mentioned in the Broadway musical, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. I hope you enjoy my Alexander Hamilton musical inspired itinerary!
Day 1: George Washington at Tryon Palace
I’ve written about Tryon Palace before in reference to the Starz TV series Outlander. George Washington himself makes an appearance in the series, which is one of the truths of the popular historical drama. George Washington did indeed visit Tryon Palace in New Bern, North Carolina.
Originally built between 1767 and 1770, Tryon Palace was the first permanent capital of the Colony of North Carolina and home to the Royal Governor and his family. However, that didn’t last long as the American Revolution began with the Patriots making the Palace their capital. It also became home to the first sessions of the General Assembly, where they started designing a free and independent state.
The John Wright Stanly House
On the evening of April 21, 1791, Tryon Palace held a dinner and dance in honor of President George Washington who was exploring New Bern while on his Southern Tour. While in town, he stayed at the John Wright Stanly House, which is now located just across the street from Tryon Palace.
Named after former owner John Wright Stanly, who was a Revolutionary War veteran, the home had been moved twice before. The last move was in 1965 when it was restored as part of the Tryon Palace complex.
When George Washington was in New Bern, the John Wright Stanly House was empty. There’s a local legend that the people of New Bern realized what an elegant house it was, so they opened it up, cleaned, and put in their own furnishings inside for President Washington to use. George Washington later wrote in his diary that he had enjoyed “exceeding good lodgings.”
I would recommend a day in New Bern to do the Tryon Palace tours and the John Wright Stanly House. As New Bern is centrally located, it’s easy to walk around town and grab a bite to eat and such. It’s an excellent way to spend Day 1 of your Alexander Hamilton musical itinerary.
Day 2: American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
About a three and a half-hour drive north and you’ll find yourself at Yorktown, mentioned in the musical Hamilton! The American Revolution Museum provides an in-depth look at the story of the nation’s founding. While also hosting excellent exhibits, in-person presenters, and interactive environments and films.
You must go see “The Siege of Yorktown,” which is a 180-degree film experience. Featuring the likes of General Washington and Rochambeau, British General Cornwallis, and Alexander Hamilton in his first military role in the Continental Army with his famous words – “Rush On Boys!” Hamilton’s big moment in the revolution!
In their exhibits, you’ll see hundreds of artifacts such as military equipment, maps, paintings, engravings, furnishings, and personal effects. Primarily covering the colonial period to the Constitution, their galleries make the experience personal by showcasing objects made and used by people of the period.
“The British Empire and America” examines the relationship between America and Britain before the Revolution.
“The Changing Relationship – Britain and North America” showcases the growing rift between the American colonies and Britain. In 1774, the Patriots proclaimed that “our cause we leave to heaven and our rifles.”
“Revolution” follows the war, starting with the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775 to victory at Yorktown in 1781. Including an exhibit on the Declaration of Independence, which includes a very early printing of this document. As well as featuring stories of Patriots, Loyalists, women, enslaved and free African Americans – as they question, defy, or contribute to the Revolutionary War effort.
“The New Nation” shows the challenges faced by the United States in the 1780s. Including a weak government under the Articles of Confederation, an unstable postwar economy, and new social tensions which culminated in the creation of the Constitution.
“The American People” compares and contrasts America after the Revolution with America before the Revolution.
Alexander Hamilton in the Revolution
My favorite part of visiting the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown was a lecture on Alexander Hamilton. They had other notable figures I could have heard about as well, but of course, I chose the Hamilton one. They had a very knowledgable man there who gave an action-packed talk about