7/28/16 to 8/01/16
Our second stop on our trip was Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. From Ohiopyle to Gettysburg is around 170 miles and we drove 90% of it in a heavy downpour. Probably took us around 4 hours. I try to keep my speed around 60 mph pulling the trailer. I called ahead and made reservations for 4 days at Artillery Ridge Camping Resort. I picked this place because it was the closest campground to the battlefields. The Gettysburg Visitors Center was 5 minutes from our trailer. Although it was crowded and the trailers were very close to each other it was a pretty nice place. It is also a stable so there were campers boarding their horses.
Friday 7/29/16 The next day we went to the visitors center. Very nice place. It was built in 2008 so it looked new. At the visitors center, you can walk through the museum, view a film, catch buses for different tours and even catch a free trolley to go downtown, to outlet stores and hotels. We ended up buying a combo ticket for the Museum, The Cyclorama, the film and a guided bus tour of the Battlefields. We spent all day doing those 4 activities. So much to see in the museum, we must have been in there for over 3 hours. The battlefield tour seemed rushed to me and the first time you see everything it's very confusing. There are 1,328 monuments, markers and memorials at Gettysburg National Military Park and the guide was rattling off different battles, names, and dates and I just couldn't keep up.
Saturday 7/30/16 The next day we went back to the visitors center and signed up for the George Spangler Farm Tour in the morning and the Eisenhower National Historic Site in the afternoon. The Spangler Farm was used as a field hospital during the war. They restored it to look like it did during the Civil War. Very interesting story. If you're interested in more click on the link above. During the war, The Union just took over Spanglers farm. The family was told they could leave or stay. They stayed and were forced to live in one room of their house. All Spangler's crops and animals were destroyed.
Although Eisenhower and the Civil War have nothing in common, he did buy a home/farm right next to the battlefields and lived there. In 1967, the Eisenhowers gifted their farm to the federal government, which designated it a National Historic Site that was then authorized by an act of Congress in 1969. The National Park Service opened the site to the public in 1980.
Sunday 7/31/16 The next day we parked at the visitors center and took the free trolley downtown. We ate at the Cannonball Malt Shop. Named because it still has a cannonball embedded in the wall over the door. Then we just had to visit the David Wills House. David Wills was a prominent attorney and resident of Gettysburg. After the Battle of Gettysburg, Wills helped tend the wounded and lobbied for compensation for farmers and field owners who suffered property loses. He also solicited help in caring for the dead from Pennsylvania Gov. Andrew Curtin, who designated Wills an agent of the state and delegated him to the task of properly burying the dead. The idea for creating a permanent national cemetery for the Union dead at Gettysburg was offered during a meeting at the Wills House. Gov. Curtin approved the idea and gave Wills the authority to manage the construction of what would become Soldiers' National Cemetery. Wills invited President Abraham Lincoln to speak at the dedication of the cemetery and hosted Lincoln at his home in November 1863.
We had planned to walk the streets in downtown Gettysburg but it started raining pretty hard so we headed back to the trailer.
Monday 8/01/16 The next day we decided to take the Auto Tour. They have a map at the visitors center that shows you where to go in your own car and stop at different numbered battle sites and monuments. You do this at your own pace and you can get a better understanding of how and where everything happened. What amazed me is how back in 1863 they kept such good records. They have markers that show the exact spot where the officers died in battle.We also visited the cemetery.
After that we saw a couple small touristy exhibits that the campground gave us free tickets to.
So much history at Gettysburg! It's a great place to visit. There are a lot of people that are really into Gettysburg history big time. A lot of the guides we met were retired teachers. It's amazing how they can remember all of the details. The next day we packed up and headed to Hershey, Pennsylvania.
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