It may not have been four score and seven years ago, but it has been quite a while since we visited Gettysburg with our three young children in tow, so we were more than ready to refresh our memories with a return getaway.
The history is timeless, that part has not changed, but there are certainly plenty of reasons for another visit, first and foremost being the National Military Park itself.
Of course the locations of the largest land battle ever fought in North America remain untouched, but there is a new Museum and Visitor Center since we last passed this way.
As home to the park’s massive collection of Civil War artifacts, and the fully restored Gettysburg Cyclorama, the center is a must for starting any exploration of the historic site.
We especially found the film A New Birth of Freedom, narrated by Morgan Freeman, to be an inspiring send off before heading out into the fields.
Like most folks, we chose to see the park by car (well, small RV) and follow the many roads that wind throughout the battlefields.
These have plenty of places to pull off and walk around for a closer look too.
For those who don’t feel like driving there are also guided bus tours available, or the more adventurous can explore by riding bikes or horses, or go modern on a Segway.
After an afternoon of experiencing those three turbulent days in July of 1863, we were ready to investigate our options for room and board.
Back in our younger days we sheltered the troops by bivouacking with the five of us piled into a tent, but those days of sleeping on the ground are well behind us now.
No problem, there are a myriad of accommodation options to choose from, budget to luxurious, modern to historic, and anything in between.
The same can also be said of the gastronomic choices around town. No cooking over a campfire this time.
There is everything from fast food to gourmet, but we couldn’t think of anything more fun than sitting down to sup at an authentic Revolutionary War era roadhouse.
The Dobbin House Tavern lays claim to be Gettysburg’s oldest and most historic home. The main house, which served as a hospital for wounded soldiers from both the North and the South, is now a fine dining restaurant that is accurately appointed with period pieces.
But for us the Springhouse Tavern, hidden away in a basement that was once a station for runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad, was a perfect choice. Along with the casual fare in a remarkable setting, the location put us only steps away from the National Cemetery and our evening’s entertainment.
With darkness falling, and the site of Lincoln’s immortalized address at the final resting place for over three thousand Union soldiers right across the street, we were feeling like there may have been some spirits from beyond in the vicinity.
Considering the history, it’s no wonder Gettysburg has an ample supply of ghost tours to choose from. Some focus more on the historic aspects of the town, while others concentrate their attention on the supernatural.
We were happy to have found one with a balance between the two, led by what we could call a happy medium.
Yikes! When I start breaking out the bad puns like that it must be time to wrap things up, so let me just add that for more information check out: DestinationGettysburg.com
Thanks to Destination Gettysburg for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are our own.