Armed with directions from mapquest.com and my fellow traveler’s trusty iPhone, we made our way to Gettysburg for a day of sight-seeing and Colonial costumes. We parked near the train station (which we later learned was the very train station Lincoln used before making his popular speech, “Four score…”). Beside the station we stumbled upon a Visitor’s Center and a most helpful Bonnie manning the front desk.
Seriously, the only way to ride is in your own private trolley!
With an enormous obviously-we’re-visitors-sized map, we walked up to the main square’s roundabout. Flowers streamed out of hanging baskets, from light posts and created quite a old-town-feel visual. Walking down the streets connected to the roundabout we came across charming cafes, stunning architecture from another era altogether, stores featuring Civil War attire, and even a little container of dog treats with the note, “Treats for Good Puppies!” Who does that?! Gettysburg, that’s who! I realize it was only late morning, but we felt completely safe walking around, gawking at the skinny townhouse-style homes and businesses.
Wanting to see the actual battlefields, we hopped on the trolley (which was easier to navigate than I thought) in front of the Visitor’s Center. For an all-day pass we paid $3 each and somehow we were the only ones on the trolley each time we rode. We considered the driver our personal chauffeur after a while. He even made stops for us that weren’t on the map. What a nice guy! As hot as the day was, though, walking around the battlefields was not the best idea. So we changed our plans, hopped back on the trolley, had lunch, and then took the car for a long ride.
The Historic Dobbin House Restaurant & Tavern was more than I expected! I had been to taverns in Historic Williamsburg and loved them, but this had even more intrigue. First of all, we had to hike
Lunch at the Dobbin House
several stairs down, almost into a basement level. The air was much cooler, candles lit each table (so we had to be careful about jostling around), the servers were in traditional Colonial apparel (which made me thankful for shorts and t-shirts in that day’s heat), and the wood beams throughout created an old world ambiance. There was even a museum and small gift shop in the building. To my friend’s chagrin, I did snap a photo of my friend donning a felt pilgim hat in the shop; said photo will never make it to this blog, however, due to the fact that I would lose said friend. (Enough said?) Although I would love to say we both sampled a meal made for the 1700’s woman, sadly I cannot. We ate cheeseburgers. I’m sorry if that offends, but they were amazing and hearty and I wouldn’t take it back.
After eating until full, we checked out the museum on the upper level and walked back to the car, stopping to read every historical plaque along the walk. Some brick homes still had wounds from battle where bullet holes peppered the walls. There were also a surprising
The stately Pennsylvania monument (with spiral staircase to the overlook)
number of ghost tour and fortune telling businesses in the area. We spotted an old-fashioned ice cream shop that we tucked into our memory for later use.
Once in the car, we traversed theNational Cemeteryand battlefields. It was convenient to be able to stop where we wanted, when we wanted. And even better, it was all FREE! There were monuments around every bend, and some with steps we could climb for a better vantage point. The Pennsylvania monument was large and boasted a tight, but picturesque spiral staircase to the top. Another tower further in the park offered a vast expansive view, including much of the land Eisenhower and his wife retired to near the end of their lives. This climb, however, is not for those afraid of heights. Admittedly, I clung to the rails all the way up, on the top, and each step down.
After a few hours of touring around the park and stopping when we wanted to, we found ourselves back at the ice cream shop we remembered from earlier. It was delicious, to say the least! Creamy, smooth, and flavorful, just the way ice cream should be! And with that we pulled out the directions and headed back home. This all-day trip was well-worth the drive and all for about $40 (and that’s including the $20 in gas).
View of the battlefield from the top of the tower.
On the road again,