Columbus Day weekend brought the most gorgeous weather here on the north east side of the country, and we took advantage of the 3-day holiday by taking a trip to Gettysburg.
I’d been wanting to go for a long time, so it seemed like a great opportunity before the winter descends upon us. I can’t believe I’ve been in this country since 2000 and have never made it there – especially since I spent my early years in Pennsylvania – 4 years in Philadelphia, to be specific.
Anyway, I certainly made up for it over the few days there!
We started off with a wander around the town itself, and after lunch and malt shakes for dessert, we took a walk on the wine side and headed to Reid’s winery at Jennie’s house. Jennie Wade used to live here back in Civil War times, and sadly she was the only civilian casualty of the battle in the town, falling prey to a sniper shooting.
Very nice wine nevertheless!
I’m sure you can imagine that there were heaps of ghost tours available in Gettysburg – we decided to take one around the town on our first evening, and it was a lot of fun. I love hearing all those creepy stories about historical events, as well as the ghostly occurrences that folk swear are still happening today. Very intriguing!
The Military Park itself is just amazing. They recommend at least two and a half hours to self-drive it, but to be honest, although yes, you can get around it and see a fair bit in this time – you’re really not doing it enough justice in anything less than about 4 hours minimum. Actually my advice for those of you who love history, military, photography (or any combination of the above) is to spend a couple of days there. I’d really love to visit again in the different seasons – I think the changing of the scenery would be so dramatic and would add so much to the surroundings.
One of the first stops, and one of my favorites, was the Eternal Light Peace Memorial – dedicated by FDR on July 3rd, 1938, marking the spirit of reconciliation & the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. A formidable sight and very poignant with its eternal flame burning up top.
The scenery everywhere for miles was just beautiful – especially in the bright sunshine, and with the lovely fall colors out to boot. I imagine it would look equally beautiful, although bleak, in the winter too.
Another area that I found quite mesmerizing was Little Round Top, as seen below. The view from there was just beautiful, and they had some monuments in this region too – here you can see the 155th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Monument.
And below is Gouverneur K. Warren who also stands tall at Little Round Top.
There were a number of historic farms on the park too, and this was my favorite – I’m a sucker for a red barn, so this was perfect for me! Klingle Farm, with the 120th New York Infantry Monument in the foreground.
Naturally it would be improper if the Pennsylvania Monument was anything but fabulous! I loved this one – absolutely enormous and standing with formidable presence.
And it wouldn’t have been right to visit Gettysburg without seeing some kind of reenactment! Although it was out of the main reenactment season, we did manage to catch a small group enjoying themselves and entertaining the masses near the Pennsylvania Monument.
Another beautiful region is Culp’s Hill.
This region is toward the end of the park, and they also have a big observatory tower that you can climb. The views from the top are very impressive!
The final stop you’ll make is Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Such a beautiful resting place, it looked so serene in the lovely sunshine.
The New York State Monument is also located in the cemetery, and has quite a dramatic presence.
All in all, a fantastic trip. I can’t wait to visit again so I can catch some of the things I didn’t see this time around. If you like this kind of stuff, plan to spend at least a day in the park. Even better though, do it over two days so you can take it at a leisurely pace. It’s worth it.
It’s Veterans Day today. Thanks to all our military for what you do.
Remember to thank a servicemember today if you get the chance.