Tuesday, July 2, 2013

10 Reasons To Visit Gettysburg

I am participating in 31 Days to a Better Blog at Yeah Write. Today's  challenge is to write a list post. Since this weekend is the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, I wanted to look at one of our country's finest historical attractions and why it is such a great place to visit.

1.)  It's family friendly. The various museums, tours and exhibits make it easy for kids to understand the battle. 

2.) Its one of the best preserved battle sites in the country, nearly 6000 acres of  land that is kept as close as possible to the way it was in July of 1863.

3.) The town itself is fun and quirky, with lots of interesting little museums and stores.

 4.) It's easy to get around.  You can walk, take a guided tour, or ride around on the free public transit.  You can also purchase a recorded tour of the battlefield that will guide you in your own car. There are even Segway tours.

 5,) The monuments are cool.  There are hundreds of them, some merely mark the location a group of men stood at, others honor whole states.  Many are moving works of art.


6. There's lodging for every price range. There are luxury motels, budget motels, and campgrounds.  If you have several families and lots of kids meeting up, the campgrounds are great. 
Family reunion
On the other hand, when my son and I went, we stayed at a motel right by the battlefield.  We could see the cemetery outside the window.
7) There are ghosts.  Well they say there are ghosts.  There are tours and a train ride and all sorts of books on the subject.  I am not a psychic person myself, but personally I think that if any place on earth is haunted, it would be Gettysburg.

Boarding the Ghost Train
8) There is plenty of material available to prepare for your trip.  There are books and documentaries and feature films.  If you got out of American History class without reading The Killer Angels, read it. Or watch Gettysburg, the film that was made of the book.  Or Ken Burns' Civil War. Or any of the many writers who treated the battle and the War at even greater length

9) You can stand where they stood,  There is something extremely moving about standing on Little Round Top or Culp's Hill (the ends of the Union Line) and picture yourself in the shoes of those young men who knew they had to stand their ground or all was lost. 
 And can one fully appreciate the courage it took for the men in Pickett's command to form a line a mile across and advance in full view against the Union center, without walking their walk?
And then, upon reaching the other end, to turn around and imagine what the men in blue had seen advancing towards them.
If you are lucky there will be demonstrations going on when you are there, and you can get a real feel for the noise and smoke and chaos.
10) You can stand where Lincoln stood, in November of 1863, and made that magnificent speech that in about 200 words defined the country and the war.  You realize that when Lincoln spoke of "These brave men, living and dead" and "The last full measure of devotion" he was looking out at newly dug graves.

Americans often have a reputation for being ignorant of their history, or unappreciative of the sacrifices made for them.  It's impossible to go to Gettysburg and still be that way.


  1. Well, I really want to go to Gettysburg now! Great descriptions and pictures to match.

    1. Thanks Mamarific, I have been there three times now and can't wait to go back again.


  2. Stopping by from YeahWrite 31dbbb.

    11- (A much less cool reason that grabs from pop culture) That's where they went on the show Homeland for the family trip.

    1. 12. The great scene in Remember the Titans.

      Even filmmakers know its a great place to visit.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I've never been to Gettysburg, so I enjoyed reading your reasons for why I should visit.

    1. Jyou should if you get a chance cynk, its an amazing place. Thank uou for stopping by.

  4. There are ghosts there?? I wish I could go someday...

    1. If you are interestedin the stories about possible hauntings and the like at Gettysburg check out the Ghosts of Gettysburg series by Mark Nesbitt, He has collected just about every account anyone has ever made of supernatural experiences related to Gettysburg.

  5. Great list, Meg! When we did Gettysburg we did the audio tour by car, took the ghost train, did a walking tour downtown, saw a reineactment and (my favorite, even though it has nothing to do with the history of the place) took a tour of Boyd's Bear Barn (which is so sorely missed I can't even put it into words). Still a great vacation, though.

    1. I didn't even know about Boyd's Bear Barn! The last time I went the Boy was spending a day on campus (He applied but didn't get in) which left me a lot of time to just walk around town and check out stores. We wanted to go the the Eddie Plank sports bar, but ran out of time. I would love to go up there for a whole week some time.