Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – Big Trip 2019

 

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A battlefield in Gettysburg

Well it’s May 22nd and only 16-18 C but Sunny!  16 Celsius would be about 60 Fahrenheit.   We left at 9 in the morning and sadly we hit construction on I-81.  So slow.  Except for stopping for gas we headed straight to Gettysburg.  We stayed at Gettysburg Campground (Good Sam), site 221.  This is a nice park, very clean.  The owner told us this is the American Memorial  weekend coming up and he said lots of parks would be booked up.  We  were going to stay here 2 nights, leaving Friday but a bad idea with the long weekend coming up.  We have a nice spot, way at the back and private and quiet.  We set up, which takes about 20 minutes or less.  We have done this thousands of times and we have a routine now to unhook and set up everything.

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Home away from Home

After that, we went to Appalachian Brewing Co.   Clint had Cheddar Cheese Ale soup, so gross.  This soup, well I can’t even explain it.  It was like orange glue.  Your spoon would stand up in it and ………well I’ll end that as I’m making myself sick thinking about it lol !   I had a chicken cheese steak sandwich, also yucky and Clint had curry chicken.  Beer was ok,  Thank God.  We shared 8 different types on a sampler tray.  I made notes on my phone about the beer, but then I lost them so I can’t remember what we had.  But after the food, the beer had to be good.  Right?

We left and parked downtown Gettysburg and booked a double decker bus tour for Friday of the Battlegrounds.  On to the Visitor Centre and we watched a movie and saw the Cyclorama.  I didn’t know what a Cyclorama was but it was beautiful, it was a large oil painting that went around the room, amazing.

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A small part of the Cyclorama

We will tour the rest of the museum tomorrow as they are closing soon.  We drove around some of the battlefields.

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It’s hard to imagine all the carnage that occurred here
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Such a beautiful area

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At the end of this day, we went home and watched the movie Gettysburg, very well done movie.

Thursday 23 May – Cool but sunny and up to 24 Celsius by late afternoon.  Did some drives on the NW side of Gettysburg.

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We went and parked in the old part of the town and walked around.  We saw David Wills house, the train station, some stores etc.

They have a big round-about in the middle of downtown, pretty sweet.

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Downtown Gettysburg
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Abraham Lincoln Statue

Then to Dobbins Tavern, the tavern is down in the basement of an old building that was built in the 1700’s.  It was the 1st, or one of the 1st, buildings built in Gettysburg.  Very cool place, we sat at the bar for lunch.  We had beer of course and for food, we had a spinach salad and  onion soup.  The food is  all good, should have ate here last night and the staff here is terrific.  We talked to a couple from New York at the bar.  Then we all toured their little museum.

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Dobbins Tavern
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Inside Dobbins Tavern

When we left, it was raining, we drove to the Visitor Museum, we spent about 3 hours there.  Big Place, built in 2008.  Drove around a few more battlefields.

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Friday 24 May – Sunny 25C  We did a 2 hour double decker bus tour of the battle areas with a guy speaking non-stop. He sure knew his stuff and it was very interesting.  We sat up top and it was really windy.   Plus we had to occasionally duck to avoid tree branches hitting us in the head lol.

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We met people on the bus who were in Alaska at the same time we were there, two years ago (2017).  We also stayed at the same RV parks at the same time no doubt walking by each other. Small world.  After the tour ended, we walked across the road to the cemetery.

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Cemetery

 

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Clint standing by General James Longstreet’s monument

In the United States and the United Kingdom, there is an urban legend about horse statues.  Apparently, if the horse is rearing both front legs up, then the rider died in or from a battle; one front leg up, the rider was wounded in battle; and lastly, if all four hooves are on the ground, the rider died outside of battle.  I find this interesting.

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A monument for one of the Regiments, I believe it is Irish

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Clint on the Lookout

 

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Unique perspective
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I love the old fences

We stopped at General Lee’s  headquarters, a small brick house and the troops would have had their tents all around it on the property.

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General Lee’s HeadQuarters

Drove some more and stopped at the cannon where the 1st shot was fired by Beauregard.

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Devils Den was interesting, so many big rocks, a unique landscape.   Over 2,600 men were killed here.  Check out my link to read more of the story.

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Devil’s Den
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Trail at Devil’s Den

We stopped and got a photo with a guy dressed up as a Confederate, pretty cool.  He told us a high school student had fallen off the big Pennsylvania monument yesterday and was taken by helicopter to a hospital.  I have a photo of it near the beginning of this blog post.  It was quite high.

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Me and the Soldier

On to BattleWorks Brewery, tried 8 different beers, they were not for us.  We tried a Stout, IPA, ale, lager, cream, cherry cream and pale ale and something else.  Trum ended up drinking it for us.

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Trum drinking our beer we didn’t like 🙂
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Me, sad that I don’t like the beer, Trum is hanging around somewhere
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BattleWorks Brewery

Saturday 25 May – Sunny and got up to 29 Celsius.  We headed to Antietam to see the other battlefields.  It was $15 at the Visitor Centre to be able to tour around.  So we decided to buy an 80$ Annual National Parks pass.  Two years ago when we went through the USA to go to the Yukon and Alaska, we bought a pass, they are well worth the cost.  I’ll probably mention this several more times because I can’t get over what a great deal it is!

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Antietam Visitor Centre

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We listened to one of the National Parks guys talk about the battle here.  The talk took place in a big room with huge windows overlooking  part of the battlefield.  He did a terrific job, so knowledgeable.  The battle that took place here was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.  We left and went on our own on a driving tour to the 11 stops.  Including the Visitor Centre, you stop at Dunker Church, then on to the North Woods.

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North Edge of North Woods

Also, some of the stops were East Woods and the Cornfield, West Woods, and Mumma Farm.  
Mumma Farm was the only civilian property purposely destroyed during the battle.

Roulette Farm and The Bloody Lane were also stops.  The Bloody Lane, alone, saw 4 hours of fighting resulting in over 5,000 deaths.  It was such an innocuous looking place.

So according to our Park Ranger, this battle occurred over these spots on  September 17, 1862 showed more men killed or wounded that any other single day of the Civil War.  Federal losses were 12,410, Confederate losses totaled 10,700.  This was a turning point as General Lee was not able to carry the war into the North.  This caused Great Britain to change their position as they were going to recognize the Confederate government.

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Bloody Lane

We took quite a few  photos, this area is so beautiful and there is so much history here.  It’s such a surreal looking area and hard to imagine what happened here.

We stopped at Burnside Bridge and walked down to it and over to the other side.  Beautiful spot, it seems impossible to think of all the people that died here.  On the morning of September 17, 1862, the Union Ninth Corps, under the command of Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside,attacked Confederate infantry and artillery located on the far side of the Lower Bridge.  Burnside Bridge is the battlefield’s best-known landmark.

On a side note, did you know the term sideburns came from Maj Gen Ambrose Burnside?

It’s a 19th-century corruption of the original burnsides, named after him because he wore his facial hair in an unusual fashion.  His moustache connected to his thick sideburns, leaving his chin clean shaven. The word burnside was eventually renamed to sideburns.

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Burnside Bridge

On to Harper’s Ferry, on the way we spotted a sign saying Harper’s Ferry Brewery  so of course we stopped.  They had 12-16 different beers and we tried 4.  IPA, pale ale, brown and stout.  Pretty good and we got a growler of the IPA.  This place was huge and also had buses that would take you to the river where you could rent tubes and other water accessories.

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After the brewery, we left for the town of Harpers Ferry and drove through twice.  No parking anywhere.  Very quaint but a little bit of a tourist trap.  All the old buildings are stores of course.  Cool place though.

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Harper’s Ferry

We also drove through Fredrick’s, just around and around and again, more stores.

Sunday 26 May –  Sunny and then rainy in the afternoon, but a nice 26 Celsius.  We left in the morning to drive to Sachs Covered Bridge, 100 feet long and oldest covered bridge in PA. I just love old bridges like this.  Stunning.

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Of course we had to drive to see the big mural on Hazel Alley, pretty cool.

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Mural was pretty cool.

 

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Up close and personal

On to Mason Dixon Distillery where Clint did a flight of vodka, white rum, corn whiskey, spiced rum, aged rum, cinnamon whiskey and one more.

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Mason Dixon Distillery
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Inside Mason Dixon Distillery

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On to the Civil War Cat Tails museum!  but it was closed. Boo, but we’ll come back!  I love miniature anything so this is the place for me.

Went to Biglerville to Thirsty Farmers Brew Works. We had a chocolate stout, 2 IPA’s, and a hazelnut brown ale; Clint liked his and I liked mine.

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Thirsty Farmer Brewery
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A Thirsty Clint Inside the Thirsty Farmer Brewery

It was raining when we left.  Back to Dobbin Tavern but it was very busy, reservations only so we walked to O’Rorke’s for a late lunch.  Food was okay, that’s all I will say.  Walked around a bit downtown and home about 430.

Side Note – Bartender said it was a 13 year old boy that fell off the monument, no word on his state.

Monday 27 May –  Sunny and 26 Celsius.  We decided to stay in Gettysburg 1 more night.  BECAUSE….. there is a parade happening today!  And I don’t want to miss it.  We drove in to Gettysburg in the morning and parked across from the Civil War Cat Tails Diorama.  $6.50 each to get into.  This place is fabulous and I really enjoyed it.  It was so cute, 8000-9000 little cat soldiers on all different battlefields.  Antietam, Meades HQ’s, Little Round Top, Cemetary Ridge, Pickett’s Charge,Monitor Ships, Fort Sumter, and so much more.  Twin sisters, 35-ish  handcrafted them all.  It just fascinated me all the work they put into these displays.  Quite something to see.  If I go to Gettysburg again, I will stop there as they are still creating and updating displays.

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Civil War Tails Museum
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On the Move
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Civil War Ship

 

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Then we walked down the street and talked to 2 street musicians who were hanging out and doing their thing.   As we were chatting with them, we noticed a winery right behind them and so of course, we thought we’d try it.  It was called Buddy Winery and they had Concord grape wine !  We’ll be back to get some.  We had some a few years ago when we were in Virginia and it’s very good.  My mom used to make grape jelly with Concord grapes and they are very tasty.

We stopped at Dobbins Tavern but they were full up, again.  It’s such a great old tavern.  Why do we keep coming back? lol  We will probably try again………………

We ended up at Farnsworth House.   Quite a big place inside but we sat in the little outdoor area right by the main street. The parade will go right by us.  There were 2 seats between the bar and the street.  We sat at a table with another couple, from Pennsylvania, Joyce and her husband.  When they left, another couple sat with us and her name was Joyce also !  So weird.  But they lived in Florida.

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I was so impressed with their costumes, they looked so great.
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Fellas dressed as Vietnam Vets
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The outfits were quite something.
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Nothing says parade like a helicopter!
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Jim and Allie are in kilts, they are fellow Canadians

Finally the parade.   People were dressed in Civil War costume, Vietnam era, Rosie the Riveter, WACs and more.  When the parade ended I noticed 2 people in kilts at the bar.  I went over to talk to them, don’t ask me why.  Okay I’ll tell ya…..for some reason I thought it was weird that we were in the States and people were dressed in kilts.  Don’t judge me lol   I’m sure lots of people in the States wear kilts.   Anyways, I was right!  They weren’t from the States,  they were from Hamilton, Ontario; Allie and Jim.  They come down every year to be in the parade.   The guy dressed as a Civil War Soldier is a real Vietnam Vet.  He was a very nice man and we had a great chat.  We were there a good 2 hours talking,  a great group of people.

Well, our time in Gettysburg has ended.  I would come back here again.  I find this area fascinating and I do like touring the battlefields and hearing the stories.  Maybe one day, we’ll  be back.

Tomorrow we are off to Washington, D.C.

 

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