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.
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).
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.