Gettysburg in the Spring

Cannon at sunset

A few people have found me by searching on this topic and all I can say is: go go go!! I wish I could go back (I will, just not this year). We went for a couple of days last spring break and it was great.

It was not crowded, except at the visitor’s center at 10:00 but what visitor’s center isn’t crowded at that time? (Maybe Joshua Tree.) We only ate at family-friendly restaurants (read: Perkins) but they had Wilco on the radio…bizarre and exciting for the boys. The locals were nice and very willing to talk to tourists like us.

At Devil's Den

The view up Little Round Top from Devil's Den

And of course there are the battlefields. It’s truly astounding to see the land preserved exactly as it was during the Civil War. Despite how large it is, I still wish the park could buy back more of the area. You go over the hill back toward town and suddenly there’s a curio shop to your left. Not quite authentic, but just part of the beast I suppose.

(I remember driving toward the battlefields one morning and Lady Gaga came on the radio. We discussed how blessed we were that over 10,000 people died here so we could have Lady Gaga. Ah, America.)

I remember how many different places we visited in just a short couple of days. We covered almost the whole battle, and my husband the Civil War Buff was narrating the whole time (I would suggest taking a Civil War Buff with you. Or get the CD tour at the visitor’s center).

On Big Round Top

Can you spy the hawk?

There were forested hills where we climbed to the top and you could look out and imagine the lines advancing. Ghosthunters still come to some of the bloodiest parts of the battle, and I don’t doubt they can find something there. The feeling you get while standing on the fields is palpable.

You can also stand where Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address. There are lots of historical sites in the town with preserved buildings that even have cannon balls still lodged in their walls.

Oh wait, there’s a Cyclorama! I’d never heard of these before but they were big in the late 1800s, sort of like a viewing event before there were movies. That in itself is a pretty cool experience.

But do pay the extra for a nice hotel. Ours smelled weirdly like mold (we were trying to figure out if it was the industrial plant nearby) and the hot tub was out of order. Very bad news for parents who promised to go swimming with their kids and needed to warm up after a dip in a tepid “heated” pool.

I’m not sure how I turned tour guide today, but I did. Go to Gettysburg!!! And take a moment to think about why we are still sending young people into war. Please.


4 thoughts on “Gettysburg in the Spring

  1. I don’t think I found you by googling this topic … I think I found you when another blogger mentioned you (not sure which one). But I do enjoy history and in particular, Civil War history.

    I used to live in Philly and later, Washington DC. I’ve been to Gettysburg and some of the other battlefields in those areas. My childhood home was built on the site of the largest civil war hospital (torn down immediately following).

    We had a neighbor we called “digger” because he was constantly excavating the remains — the stones — of that old building in his back yard. He was a bit nuts, but when I figured out that the hospital was there it was kind of a revelation to make the connection to those heaps of stones …

    There must be something civil war in the air lately. I just read a bio of US Grant and posted about it this week. The 150th anniversary of the war is this year and as I commented on another blog yesterday … “The washington post is “tweeting the Civil War (daily) in the words of the people who lived it 150 years ago – from journals, letters, records and newspapers” Your husband might get a kick out of that.

    Civil War WaPo (CivilWarwp) on Twitter

    My bloggy friend Jessica is a published author of a book called Haunted North Alabama. She just posted yesterday about a bit of research for here next book. The post was about the haunted battlefield of Chickamauga.

    • Yeay – my first blogger-to-blogger comment! (Except from my friend Lynne Marie but without her I’d have no blog so she she’s different.) Thanks for finding me and reading! And for your stories and all the info. Too bad the hospital wasn’t preserved, or at least part of it. I didn’t write about him but we met a ghost hunter on a field one night and he scared my kids so we had to move on…but in a few years they’ll be begging to go back and do the hunting. Thanks again!

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