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.  Continue reading

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A Visit to Fort Mifflin

Recently featured on the TV show Ghost Hunters, Fort Mifflin always finds itself at the top of the list of most haunted places in Philadelphia.  Built in 1771, the fort was an important outpost during the Revolutionary War designed to defend Philadelphia from British ships.  During the Civil War, the fort was turned into a makeshift prison for captured Confederate soldiers, wayward Union soldiers, and unruly civilians.  Over the years it has served as a training ground and up until 1954 was the oldest fort in the nation in continuous use.  The venerable Fort Mifflin has weathered the passing of time as it lies between the Philadelphia Shipping Yards and the International Airport along the Delaware River while many claim some of its past residents refuse to leave. 

I recently paid these hallowed grounds a visit one dreary spring afternoon with a friend looking for ghosts.  Maybe it was the gloom of the light rain falling, or the meditative drone of the airplanes flying so low overhead, or the toxic smells wafting over the marshlands, or the perfectly staged lighting or lack thereof in each and every passageway and tunnel, or the fact that I hit my head on one of the lowly arched doorways in the festering bowels of the ancient fort, but there was certainly a feel to the place that could only be described as creepy.  Here are the photos I captured while exploring Fort Mifflin: Continue reading