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Couple to share knowledge of area

December 06, 2006

Potomac Heritage Storytelling tour guides Dr. Robert B. Wilhelm and Dr. Mary Jo Kelly Wilhelm will lead a special Presidents Week Tour on Feb. 17-22.

The tour is designed as a way to reflect on our heritage by visiting local hallowed grounds and learning more about them. The tour begins with a trip to Boteler's Ford at Shepherdstown, W.Va., to step back into Native American times. Other stops on the tour include Harpers Ferry W.Va.; Sharpsburg; Gettysburg, Pa.; Frederick, Md.; and Boonsboro; and Big Pool.

The Wilhelms will discuss the French and Indian War period, the Abolitionist movement, travel on the C&O Canal, and the American Revolution. They will also speak about local ties to the "Star-Spangled Banner" and the original Washington Monument.

"When we moved to Washington County 15 years ago, we were leading storytelling tours to Europe - Ireland, Italy, England, Spain and Scotland in that year alone," said Dr. Robert Wilhelm. "Little did we expect to be drawn into the rich history and storytelling traditions of Washington County. But we fell in love with our new home and began giving informal tours to our family and friends. We learned so many stories, and discovered so many places, that we decided to apply our skills and experience of 25 years of tour guiding in Europe to our home here in Washington County."

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The tour will be limited to 20 people. The cost is $975 per person. Participants will need to provide their own transportation, lodging and meals. The tour is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day except for Sunday which is noon to 4 p.m.

A special pre-program event in honor of Lincoln's birthday will be held in Hagerstown on the evening of Feb. 12. Details will be announced soon.

The Wilhelms offer guided tours and talks for groups year-round. Dr. Mary Jo Kelly Wilhelm is editor of the book "Working Women: First in their Field in Washington County" and an adjunct faculty member at Shepherd University and Hagerstown Community College. She received her doctorate degree from the University of Maryland and serves as a docent at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. Dr. Robert B. Wilhelm has been a lecturer and tour guide around the globe. He founded the Annual Apprenticeship Program in Storytelling in Frederick County, Md., and has been the featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival. Dr. Wilhelm received his doctorate degree from the GTU at Berkeley, Calif.

For more information about the special Presidents Week Tour or Potomac Heritage Storytelling Tours, visit www.potomacheritagetours.com or call 301-791-9133 or e-mail rbwilhelm@mac.com.

Potomac Heritage Storytelling Tours is a member of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, for more information, see: www.marylandmemories.com.

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