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Road Trip to #Gettysburg Part Two

Admittedly this post is a little delayed, but that shouldn’t take anything away from it.

On our second full-day at Gettysburg, and I mean full too, we accomplished A LOT.

We started off at the Gettysburg National Military Park visitor centre and attended a fantastic lecture (complimentary too) put on by one of the fantastic NPS park rangers. This one was an overview of the whole battle and was made all the better since we had driven it the day before. We highly recommend attending one of their talks, or more.

We then did the video, the cyclorama and museum on-site… and some shopping afterwards of course. I thought the cyclorama was simply a painting, but wow, it was that and so much more. An interactive telling of Pickett’s charge from Cemetery Ridge where you are ‘in’ the line, we were very impressed.

The museum took you from beginning to end and showcased many of the poignant stories from the battle along with a history of the period. The one that touched me was the story of a Union soldier who was identified post-mortem by the sweet picture of his children he was clutching when he passed.

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After our adventures at the visitor centre we headed to the Jennie Wade House for a tour. Jennie was the sole civilian killed during the battle and seeing the actual spot where she was killed and the actual bullet hole was very moving. This tour is another must. She was a young girl who was only at this house to help her sister Georgia who had just given birth to a baby and was killed while making bread and biscuits for the Union soldiers.

Where Jennie was killed

Where Jennie was killed

Myself and Jennie's statue

Myself and Jennie’s statue

That evening we enjoyed another fantastic meal, this time at The Farnsworth House.

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The food was period fare and included a starter of Jennie Wade bread (which I’m trying to find the recipe to) and a delectable menu. The Farnsworth House also offers haunted ghost walks. I was all over that. Our guide was Tom and he was fantastic. The house itself is said to be occupied by spirits and when we were in the attic the door did slam by itself. Tom said that was the spirit of a little boy named Jeremy who likes to play. We also saw the window from which snipers took their shots during the battle and in fact, it is strongly suspected that the shot that killed poor Jennie Wade came from here.

The window where the sniper shot likely came from

The window where the sniper shot likely came from

Our guide Tom

Our guide Tom

Tom took us up the road and showed and told us more stories, and just the history alone makes these tours so great, and we ended on a road where there are said to be a lot of spirits. I of course took out my camera and got a couple of ‘interesting’ pictures. Judge for yourself, but I know what I see ;).

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All I know is, we’re counting down until we can go back… and I will have my camera ready again too ;).

Summer Roadtrippin’ to #Gettysburg Part 1

Recently my darling hubby and I snuck off for a mini-break to historic (and beautiful I might add) Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

A trip that has been on our bucket list for some time now, we finally managed to finagle a couple of days when we could get there and enjoy.

We love to drive when we can to places. On our trips to the Southwest even, we rent cars and hit the open road, it’s what we do. Trusty Garmin in-car, we punch in where we’re heading and go!

Hubby and I are both big fans of history and learning in general. We are avid documentary watchers and Gettysburg has been calling to us for quite some time. We acquiesced this time.

I lucked out and got us a lovely hotel literally next to Cemetery Ridge, also down the road from several ice cream parlours (but I digress). Our first evening we went for a walk up the main drag and even did a little bit of Cemetery Ridge.

General Meade Gettysburg

General Meade’s Statue looking over Cemetery Ridge

However, our first stop was for a lovely birthday dinner for my darling hubby at The Dobbin House. We ate in the tavern cellar and were served by staff in period costumes. It was lovely! And oh-so-yummy! A definite must. A tip: it gets crowded and is first-come-first-served. We lucked out and got a spot right away.

Day Two was our big tour of the Battlefield. It is surreal how this was the actual ground that the actual battles took place on. It hit me hardest on Culp’s Hill the sheer reality of what the soldiers on both sides faced and the conditions they fought in.

Our first stop was the Gettysburg Diorama. This had been recommended to us as a great intro and overview of the battle. I admit, it was very well done, and refreshed my understanding of events in a great way. I cannot get over the detail on it either, wow. The show goes through the entire battle and shows you on the diorama itself how the three days played out. We really enjoyed it. Downstairs from it is Spirits of Gettysburg. A new attraction, it tells the perspectives of General Lee, Jennie Wade and you even walk through Pickett’s Charge. The special effects were well done, and we really enjoyed it too. Being able to hear the different perspectives of those involved definitely aides in the overall experience.

Gettysburg Diorama

Our third stop was the fairly new (it was pristine, very impressed) Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center to decide how best to see the sights. Options were bountiful, but we chose the self-guided driving tour, the long-version…but not the long-EST one. It was fantastic. And it allowed us to pace our way as we tend to get out and wander as much as possible.  We decided to do the museum the next day as the weather would be iffy and we wanted to be outside on the beautiful day if we could.

The tour was easy-to-follow and the book that accompanied the narrated CD’s held a bevy of bonus information. It was also great since it could be custom-tailored to how much detail you wanted by which stops to make and not make by the skip of a track. We did them all. We’re thorough ;). We also took about 2 1/2 hours longer than the book and CD’s indicated…again, we’re thorough.

To be continued…..

McPherson Ridge, where it began.

McPherson Ridge, where it began.

General Lee looking across where Pickett's Charge would run on July 3rd, 1863.

General Lee looking across where Pickett’s Charge would run on July 3rd, 1863.

Looking out from Little Round Top to Devil's Den

Looking out from Little Round Top to Devil’s Den

The Pennsylvania Monument

The Pennsylvania Monument

The watermark site on Cemetery Ridge

The  high watermark site on Cemetery Ridge

General Meade on Cemetery Ridge

IMG_2358Memorial to  Major Reynolds, the first casualty

Road Trip to Gettysburg Planning

For me, the moment the furnace goes off, I go into summer-mode. As soon as I don my sandals for the first time, I stay in them. Frankly, after that winter, my feet deserve it too ;).
For a lot of us, holidays are limited in length so need to be maximized, myself included. That’s why this year hubby and are re-capturing a bit of my youth at least, and doing a couple road trip getaways over long or extended weekends.
First up, one that has been on our bucket list for sure: Gettysburg!
We can hardly wait and are even staying across the street from the battlefield! Can we say ‘Nonmom is totally on the lookout for ghosts’? Cause I totally will be!
We share a love of history and this is truly a significant site worth visiting.
How do we begin our planning?
We have been poring over the visitor guides and websites and are picking and choosing what our top ‘must-see-and-do’s’ are (I’m voting for a ghost walk let me tell you).
Dare I let hubby convince me, who has never ridden a horse, to tour the battlefield on horseback? 😉
And I must say, all of the specials on Netflix and History Channel are certainly helping too. The Jennie Wade house is a must because of those for sure!
We also use good ‘ol Google to find ideas and of course search out blog posts and other social media outlets.
The countdown has begun…and the excitement is ramping up!
Bring on the open road!