A Morning in Gettysburg
Summer 2018 was a busy one for our family. We planned a huge 10 day road trip for the end of July and into August to explore some of the East Coast’s historic cities and sites. We are all about road trips and long vacations, but this was the longest, and most busy, trip to date!
We crammed as much as possible into this trip! It covered 10 days, we traveled through and visited 8 states plus Washington D.C., and did everything from touring historic houses, museums, monuments, and sites to hiking, swimming, and eating. We saw family, tried new things, and checked off a lot of bucket list places.
So, that being said, I thought I’d start at the beginning and share our trip one destination at a time!
As we go along, I’ll link back to previous stops for easy following along 🙂
First stop: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Gettysburg National Military Park & Battlefield
To be honest, Gettysburg was much different than we thought it was going to be. I don’t know what we necessarily thought it would be like, but it was different than it really was, haha! But, it was still a really cool stop, and we enjoyed exploring for a few hours.
We weren’t able to spend very much time in Gettysburg because we had more to do on Day 1, but for our family and for what we really wanted to see, it was a great amount of time!
When we got into town, we drove past cute historic homes and narrow streets straight to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center. We came mostly to see the battlefield, but figured the visitor center was a great place to start!
We hit the bathrooms (life with kids), then found some information about the park and the different monuments.
And, of course took a picture with Abe!!
We didn’t realize the park is HUGE! There are multiple options for tours and seeing the park. We decided on taking the self-guided auto tour which covers TWENTY-FOUR miles and includes 16 tour stops, along with some other points of interest. The guide brochure recommends at least 3 hours to complete this!
One, we didn’t have (or want to spend) that much time driving around, and two, half of our car’s occupants didn’t have that long of an attention span to get it done! Not saying it can’t be done, and I’m sure it would have been very interesting, but we opted for the quick version and only stopped where we really thought were interesting along the tour.
And that’s why we chose the self-guided option!
After driving around and stopping at some of the monuments and memorials, we parked for a visit into the National Cemetery. I was the most excited for this part of our tour. I love the feeling of history, reverence, and legacy that cemeteries hold, and I couldn’t wait to take a look around!
The cemetery was dedicated on November 19, 1863 and covers 17 acres for those that died in the three days of battle. We walked around the grounds until the kids couldn’t contain themselves and started running around like hooligans. That’s usually our cue it’s time to go!
But before we did, we found the spot where President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address on the day of the cemetery’s dedication.
Did you know, Lincoln’s speech was 272 words long and only took about 2 minutes to deliver???
Overall, 51,000 people were either killed, wounded, captured or missing during the three days of fighting that took place in Gettysburg.
We ended up spending just about 2 hours exploring Gettysburg before heading out. And although we didn’t spend a lot of time here, it was well worth the stop! Troy and I learned so many things about the area and the battles. It was interested and sobering.
The kids enjoyed walking around some of the monuments and were more interested in the history than I thought they were going to be. That’s why it’s so important to share these kinds of experiences with our kids, especially when they are young! You never know what they are soaking up and think is fascinating.
Gettysburg is very family and kid friendly! We recommend a visit, for how ever long of time you want to spend there. I guarantee you’ll leave educated and more appreciative.
Next stop on Day 1: Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania! Read all about it HERE!