Via our friends at Belle Grove, notice of a special trip in the works to Germany to visit the homeland of some of Winchester’s earliest settlers, the Hite family. 12 participants are necessary for this tour to take place, but 16 would be ideal. The deadline for sign-up is December 1, 2015. If you are interested, email Kristen Laise at email@example.com.
When: Departure date no earlier than May 20 and no later than June 1, 2016
How long: 10 days—9 nights in Germany at 4-star small hotels
Where: German states of Baden Wuerttemberg and Bavaria (detail below)
For whom: Not only Jost Hite descendants, but anyone interested in travel in Germany! Travelers need not be young, but they must be able-bodied, as there is walking that includes hilly cobblestone streets and steps.
Who is guiding: Board member Katharine Brown and her husband Madison, German speakers who have led 13 group tours to this part of Germany for the Germanna Foundation since 2003.
What is the cost: $4,300 per person with shared double rooms. Includes round-trip airfare from Washington/Dulles via Icelandair; ground transportation by van in Germany; 9 nights at 4-star hotels in Germany; all meals except one lunch on your own in Rothenburg, wine or beer with dinner each night; all admissions to sites and museums we visit; and a tax-deductible donation to Belle Grove.
Additional Details: The guides have found competitive prices on Icelandair and the flight will have a layover there. Should you wish to travel to Iceland on your own before or after the group trip in Germany, your airline ticket can be arranged accordingly.
Some Itinerary Details
After arrival in Frankfurt, the group will travel in two 9-passenger vans south along the Rhine River to Ladenburg. A stop at UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lorsch Abbey, one of the finest surviving Carolingian buildings in Europe for a tour and refreshments en route. Ladenburg, near the confluence of the Neckar River with the Rhine dates to Celtic times and was an important Roman settlement that also has a rich Renaissance and Baroque history. We will spend the night here and tour the town the next morning.
From there we will go to the spa town of Bad Wimpfen, a medieval town on the Neckar that was the seat of the powerful Hohenstaufen rulers in the 12th century. We will stay 4 nights at a fine hotel in town. This is our base for visiting the charming nearby Hite villages of Bonfeld, with its church and the Hite house; Jagstfeld, where Jost Hite’s parents married in 1679 and is now part of the town of Bad Friedrichshall at the confluence of the Jagst and Kocher rivers with the Neckar; then to Heinsheim, the town where his mother lived with her first husband and where Jost’s sisters were born, where we will dine at the luxurious castle hotel. We will visit Bad Rappenau, another spa town, which incorporates the Zimmerhof, a one-time farm cluster where Jost Hite’s mother grew up. We will also visit Kirchheim am Neckar, a village south of Heilbronn, where Jost Hite’s father was born in 1654 and take the walking tour. We will take a Neckar River excursion boat ride. We will also visit Eppingen, a medieval town with fine timberframe buildings including the Baumannisches Haus where George Bowman grew up, featured on a German postage stamp, and where we will have dinner in its cellar restaurant. We will visit the fine Auto and Transportation Museum in Sinsheim and lunch at Steinsberg Castle.
Our next stop will be the historic city of Schwäbisch Hall. We will tour the town and its outdoor museum of farmhouses from Swabia, the region from which Paul Froman emigrated. From there we will drive to the walled medieval city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, one of Germany’s premier tourist destinations. We will spend two nights here, allowing ample time for touring and for shopping—the best opportunity to shop on the tour.
The final two nights will be in Würzburg in northern Bavaria, a handsome Baroque city on the Main River. The Residence Palace here, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Europe’s finest. St. Kilian’s Cathedral, named for the Irish saint who Christianized the pagan German tribes, is splendid and has a fine museum. We will do a wine tasting of the famous Franconian Bocksbeutel wine, and enjoy a glass on the historic river bridge before dinner at the old mill.