Unless you’re living under a rock, there’s a good chance you may have heard about a little musical called Hamilton. Since its premier back in 2015, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work of art has garnered critical acclaim both within the USA and internationally. Not only does the show feature great music, memorable performances and a witty script, but it’s ignited a further interest in American history for many of its fans. With the recent release of the film version of the play, we have put together a quick guide with some of the most important places throughout the Eastern United States that shaped the country’s history but also played an important part in Hamilton’s story.
Visit the Schuyler Mansion in Albany, NY
The Schuyler sisters grew up in New York State’s capital Albany. Built between 1761 and 1765, the Schuyler Mansion is an impressive Georgian-style estate. The mansion mainly served as a center of military business during the American Revolution, but it was also the location where Eliza married Alexander! Her father, Philip Schuyler served in the New York State Senate for many years, losing his seat against Vice President Aaron Burr. Over the years, the Schuyler family welcomed notable guests to their mansion, like George and Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and the Marquis de Chastellux.
Check out Hamilton’s Old Stomping Grounds in New York City
When you’re not catching the show on Broadway, New York City is filled with Hamilton landmarks to discover. On Wall Street, stop by the original Federal Hall, built in the early 18th century as the first US Capitol. The place is mentioned during the song “Non-Stop” and it was also the place where George Washington was inaugurated in 1789.
Visitors to NYC can also check out the famous Fraunces Tavern, which is also the setting of the iconic songs from the play, “Aaron Burr, Sir” and “My Shot.” The tavern once had its roof crashed in retaliation after Hamilton stole cannons from the HMS Asia. Once the war ended, George Washington gave his farewell address in this very tavern.
The Hamilton Grange, once the stately home of the Hamiltons, was occupied by the family at the time when Philip, their eldest son, was killed in a tragic duel. Believe it or not, the house was built as a country home back when upper Manhattan was still farmland. The home was completed in 1802, just two years before Alexander’s death. Today, the home is open for tours as the Hamilton Grange National Memorial.
Just across the river, you can visit the Weehawken Dueling Grounds where Hamilton met his end in that fateful duel with Alexander Burr in 1804. These grounds were also where Hamilton’s 19-year old son Philip lost his life earlier in a tragic duel in 1801. You can travel here from the city via regional transportation.
Getting There: New York City is connected to cities throughout the country. Bus and flight connections are available from most cities.
Once You’re There:
Travel Back in Time in Colonial Williamsburg, VA
George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette and Hamilton worked together to form the Yorktown Campaign in Williamsburg, Virginia. Travelling to the settlement is like going back in time with cobbled streets and beautifully preserved colonial architecture all around. The whole area feels like a living museum with many residents dressed in 18th century garb posing as artisans, shop owners and notable historical figures. Sites worth seeing include the Colonial Garden, the Governor’s Palace, the Armoury Yard and the George Wythe Yard among others. We suggest playing the song “Guns & Ships” from the play while traveling there to get inspired as it recounts how Lafayette convinces Washington to offer Hamilton the command of the forces. Don’t forget to check out the campus at the College of William and Mary, the second-oldest university in the USA.
Getting There: Travel to Colonial Williamsburg from within Virginia or around the country.
Once You’re There:
Stroll Around the Grounds of George Washington’s Home
Just outside of the nation’s capital, Mount Vernon was the plantation home of George Washington. Built during the 1750s, the mansion served as Washington’s home for the remainder of his life and passed through generations of his family. Prior to the American Civil War, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association saved the house, so it avoided much of the damage many plantation houses faced during the war. In 1960, it became a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public as a museum. Other highlights include the grounds and gardens, Washington’s tomb, and the George Washington 1797 distillery.
Getting There: Travel to Springfield, VA and then take the Fairfax Connector regional transport to reach Mount Vernon.
Once You’re There:
Explore Philadelphia, a goldmine of historic landmarks
Philadelphia is a treasure trove when it comes to Revolutionary War landmarks. Perhaps the most notable are in the Independence National Historic Park. Here you can visit the Indepedence Hall, where the founding fathers drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, the iconic Liberty Bell as well as Franklin Court and City Tavern. Just a few blocks down from Independence Hall, you’ll find Christ Church, also known as “The nation’s Church,” where George Washington, John Adams, Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross all attended. According to rumors, Hamilton’s mistress, Maria Reynolds, was also a member.
Getting There: The City of Brotherly Love is easily accesible from most major cities throughout the country.
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