A Visit to Gettysburg

Late spring is the perfect time of year to visit Gettysburg as the tourist and reenactment season has yet to begin and the stinking heat of summer has yet to enshroud the bucolic Pennsylvania hamlet.  The popular destination can easily be reached in less than three hours from South Jersey or any point in the greater Philadelphia area.  While Civil War buffs and professional ghost hunters could easily make a long weekend of it, we found that one day is perfect for a leisurely self-guided auto tour of the sprawling, picturesque and monument laden battlefield followed by a stroll through the quaint downtown area full of bed-and-breakfast establishments, restaurants, souvenir shops and haunted houses.

What struck me most about the battlefield was not only its size and scope (give yourself at least two hours for the free self-guided auto tour if you plan to make the appropriate stops) but also the meditative peacefulness that now enraptures the place where so much violence once conquered.  It’s a true marvel just for the scenery let alone the history.  One of the most interesting aspects is a small residential strip of majestic country homes smack dab in the middle of the battlefield, among which is the charming Double Day Inn Bed & Breakfast, no doubt a dream stay for history lovers and ghosts.  In town, after a bite to eat at the popular Pub Restaurant in Gettysburg Square, we stopped at the store for the local Hauser Estate Winery for a wine tasting.  Walking out with a few bottles of their signature Jennie Wade White Wine, we naturally made our way down Baltimore Street to the infamous Jennie Wade House where a stray bullet claimed the life of young Jennie, the poor girl now immortalized as the one and only civilian casualty in the battle that claimed over 50,000 lives.  Apparently at nighttime on most weekends a myriad of candle-lit walks, ghost tours and seances are available for visitors to partake in, but the Jennie Wade House is one of the few authentic haunted spots open by day.  The thought of being in town late at night or staying at a place like the Double Day Inn are intriguing enough to make this first-time visitor hope to return soon for a longer stay.

Below is a selection of photos I took on the battlefield and at the Jennie Wade House Museum.

Written and photographed by David H. Schleicher

_____________________________________________________________________________

Points of interest in Gettysburg mentioned here:

Gettysburg National Military Park

The Doubleday Inn, Gettysburg

The Hauser Estate Winery

The Jennie Wade House

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3 comments on “A Visit to Gettysburg

  1. Rebecca says:

    wow. Looks like a fun trip. So much history out there. Thanks for sharing!
    Rebecca~

    Definitely a great place for a weekend getaway, Rebecca…between all the history and ghost stuff, you would have to be a real stiff not to find enough interesting things to do there. –DHS

  2. Michelle says:

    Love the Doubleday Inn! The walk from their front door to the Eternal Light Peace Memorial and around the loop is one of the best ways to view the first day of battle. Great spot — glad you had the chance to enjoy it!

    Michelle, it would be my number one choice for an overnight stay for sure. –DHS

  3. BookSellerNJ says:

    Viewing your photos prompted me to read and remember Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address …

    Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

    Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

    We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

    But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

    It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.

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