hello from gettysburg!
as i mentioned in my last post, we are currently on the east coast! i am with my parents, and we decided to spend sunday + monday up in gettysburg, pennsylvania. none of us had been before and it was such an amazing experience.
the national military park is absolutely massive and breathtakingly beautiful (especially in the fall) but it’s also a bit haunting, too, when you reflect on the magnitude of exactly what took place here. there is so much history, and driving along and exploring the battlefield makes everything that much more real and moving.
we did not just explore the park and battlefield. former president Eisenhower’s home is on the park, so we toured that as well (hence the photos of me - no disrespect!). we also went into town and toured a few houses. a few tips for anyone looking to visit:
- we spent two days here and i think it was enough for us. visiting in october was perfect because it was slightly chilly and not crowded at ALL. i can’t imagine having to navigate the park in the middle of summer.
- we started off with a driving tour (not the bus) of the battlefield and listened to the field guide (available in the bookstore) as we went. this was perfect because we were able to go at our own pace, as there are also observation towers you can climb along the way. the field guide CD and narration was really good, too (not super animated or long-winded; another CD had animal noises and i don’t think i said “no thank you!” fast enough). this took about 3 hours going at a leisurely pace. for anyone curious, we started around 3pm.
- on our second day, we toured the Eisenhower home (you get there via bus), as well as the Jennie Wade and David Wills houses, which are further into town. there is also the Shriver home which depicts how Gettysburg impacted civilian life, and a museum both on the park and in the town. keep an eye on your maps since they are all pretty close. the Jennie Wade house is closest to the park, but the Wills home is closer to the town roundabout. if you are looking to eat in town first, start at the Wills home. we ate at One Lincoln and it was yummy, but the Pub was a lot more crowded so that might be a better pick.
- to be completely honest with you, the Eisenhower home was absolutely lovely (go see it!), but.. it looked exactly like my grandparents’ home. i guess this is a “duh” moment since he was a modern-era president, but it made me feel old! there was still a lot to see the grounds were so pretty to walk around. i was very happy to see lots of woolly bears (see below), which come out in the fall. woolly bears is the name the tour guide gave us, so if they are actually called something else, tell Alyce.
this is the exterior of jennie wade’s sister’s home. jennie was the only civilian killed during the civil war; a bullet grazed through two doors and hit her in the kitchen. you can still see the bullet holes throughout the inside and outside of the home today.
so! there are many, many ghost tours located on and around gettysburg, and the park ranger in the information center let us know of a few stops on the auto tour that are known to be haunted.
we did not do any ghost tours - while i love anything spooky and scary, the idea of touring a battlefield where there may still be unsettled soldiers hundreds of years later just did not feel right to me. the Jennie Wade home also offers evening tours geared towards that, but we opted out for the same reason.
this is a picture of Devil’s Den, which is said to be haunted. i walked here from a different stop on the auto tour, and while i did not see or feel anything, i did smell smoke. take that as you wish 🤷🏻♀️
“my dearest friends that dwell above, i now have gone to see all my friends in christ below. will soon come after me.”
written on the tall grave, second from the right
i received this news update on my phone while we were still in the park. it is absolutely crazy to think slavery is still a topic of discussion in this way. crazy isn’t even the right word for it.. but ugh.
the civil war began in 1861.
“someday” is now.