Sunday, September 02, 2007

Discovering Gettysburg

Friday, August 31st 2007

We head north for a journey back into American history, back to the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg. It will be my first time visiting where one of my favorite books when I was younger, The Killer Angels, took place, and Brian's fourth or fifth time.

The long weekend traffic didn't help us on what should have been a short drive up, as well as having to find a store due to my forgetting to bring a compact flash card(!) I love living in a city environment, but I love taking trips to the countryside where everything moves slower and at least seems more simple.

Pennsylvania welcomes us, taken at 7:30pm

I enjoy the scenic drive as Brian takes us through what we will see the next day, seeing many statues and stone structures, cannons and such on our route to the our hotel, the Best Western - Gettysburg Hotel in Lincoln Square.

After being truly undecided on where to eat dinner, we opt for a lively looking place right across the street from the hotel, The Pub & Restaurant, where we enjoy a cup of New England Clam Chowder, a Cajun Burger, a 16 oz. Porterhouse steak, and two Hoegaardens. Unfortunately we couldn't quite enjoy the experience as much as we would have liked since it seemed there was unnecessary air-conditioning blowing from two different directions right on us. Before our entrees arrived, Brian stopped by a store next door to pick up some maps and a $5 book on Gettysburg to help plan out our sightseeing tomorrow.

Definitely needing to walk off some of the food, we venture around the square as well as some side streets. We passed a tempting ice cream shop but decided to skip the dessert in exchange for not feeling gross afterwards. It was cool walking around and being little tidbits of historical info here and there, describing what the town was like back in the 1860's.

An interesting if not unusual statue, and the Lincoln Diner:

Saturday, September 1st 2007: Happy 1st Anniversary, Elmer & Hoong-San!

We stop by a convenience store on the intersection of Steinwehr Avenue and Taneytown Road where there are cute little stores selling Civil War paraphernalia and souvenirs.

This is where we had breakfast, The Avenue Restaurant:

some very tasty french toast and overeasy eggs, before we headed off to the National Park Visitor Center to see the historic 30-foot square electronic map, which has 625 individual lights that turn on and off with the audio presentation describing the Battle of Gettysburg. This is the last season that the 1963 map will be used, with a 25-minute film replacing it when the new museum and visitor center open in 2008. So definitely drop by to see this outdated but nostalgic piece of history before it goes.

The museum has a very extensive and impressive collection of artifacts from the battle itself, including bullets that collided in the air. They said that nearly 7 million bullets were fired by more than 160,000 infantrymen at Gettysburg.

We then walked across the street to the National Cemetery and where Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address.

The start of our driving tour:

On our way to the Observation Tower
Our little Prius below

The battlefields below and Big Roung Top and Little Round Top

The infamous Devil's Den

Little Round Top behind us

If I had my sneakers on instead of my thin flip flops, I would have been all over these boulders...

Now on Little Round Top with Devil's Den in the background

General Meade...thank you General Meade.

The Pennsylvania Memorial
Cannons being fired in the distance

At High Water Mark (The Angle, Copse of Trees, and the Brian Barn), where Pickett's charge took place

Imagine, after a two-hour artillery bombardment, seeing 12,000 Confederates charging across the open field below. The stones in the photo are depicted in the painting.

After a busy morning and afternoon of sightseeing, we make our way to none other than KFC for what felt like a late lunch, around 2:45pm. We would have gone to the restaurant next door, but they were already removing the lunch buffet, getting ready for the dinner crowd, and we would have had to wait. Just couldn't wait.

Getting our greasy fill, we head over to Confederate Avenue, where the cannons were being fired earlier but looks like we missed the last firing. We did see some folks in Civil War costumes walking around.

Along this avenue, we saw just a few of the Confederate states' memorials, and they are markedly different from the Union's. This is Mississippi's rather violent portrayal of a Confederate beating a Union soldier.

And this is Louisiana's portraying victory (or rejoicement?) over a dead Union soldier.


More views of the battlefield. Love that poplar-like tree, and the opposite view of The Angle with people taking a tour in the center.

At Culp's Hill Observation Tower:

Making our way to the third and last observation tower

Views from the Oak Ridge Observation Tower:

Aah, what a beautiful day to soak up some history. It has been a long day, so off we go to the Gettysbrew Pub & Microbrewery for some sustenance.

Unfortunately, it had already closed for the season, and according to the sign, the owner is looking for a buyer, managing partner or merger. It looked like it hadn't been open for some time. And honestly, it is a bit far from the bustle of Gettysburg and on an isolated road to begin with.

So off we go back to the center of things and have some ice cream at Kilwin's Chocolate Fudge and Ice Cream Store back on Steinwehr Avenue.

We do some window shopping before driving back home.

Click on the map for more details on the area:

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