7 Things You Have To Experience In Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Before moving to South Florida, my husband was born and raised in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. His large family and many friends still live there and we love to escape the heat and visit them. We wish it could happen more often, but it’s traveling is expensive as a family of four! I love having him as a tour guide to be able to explore the town in between visiting the people we love!
We had a great time on our last trip to Gettysburg. We usually fly, but since breaking down and succumbing to the minivan that I never thought I would drive, we decided to turn on the movies and make the road trip! It was a long drive, but the kids did great, and my husband is the best copilot! The weather was just perfect and the leaves were changing! It was a nice change from 100 degree weather and palm trees!
I love the rich history of the area and learning about the things that once happened there. The Battle of Gettysburg and President Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” are named for the town. The old stone houses set back on acres upon acres are just breath-taking.
My husband’s family lives on 40 acres where both his parents and grandparents reside. His grandparent’s house is actually the same home that his great-grandfather owned and where his grandfather grew up. In the 90’s, my husband’s parents built their home on the same property. It has a large pond and lots of woods to explore by foot or four-wheeler. Both of my girls love riding around the property.
A little history of Gettysburg and my family: My husband asked me to be his wife at the top of the Jupiter Lighthouse at sunset, which is a beautiful centerpiece to the town I’m from Jupiter, Florida. I was totally surprised! But the meaning goes deeper. General Mead, who was a leading General in the Battle of Gettysburg, designed the lighthouse in my hometown. Two lives blended forever! (He’s a keeper!)
Since not everyone has a native tour guide, I thought I would share about our recent trip to Gettysburg! This would be a great trip for school aged kids learning about America’s history! I can’t wait to take my girls when they get older!
The Gettysburg National Battlefield in the Gettysburg National Military Park
The Battlefield is breathtaking! It’s overwhelming to stand on the same ground where so many people lost their lives. The National Park is HUGE! You can drive around for miles and stop along the way to read plaques and see monuments. This time, we went during the beginning of fall, and the changing leaves were gorgeous! Beautiful old homes are scattered around the battlefield, and I can’t imagine being in the midst of the battle! These homes were taken over for hospitals, meeting grounds for planning, and places to eat and sleep. The Battlefield is the heart of Gettysburg’s history and you would be doing a disservice to yourself by not taking a quick drive through! You can also take a guided tour! They do reenactments of the Civil War which would be pretty incredible to see!
Find their website here.
Gettysburg Visitor’s Center
I absolutely loved this! The Visitor’s Center is a brand new, state of the art building packed with history! You will find original uniforms, guns, ammo, personal items, and, my personal favorite, letters to and from soldiers while they were fighting in the Civil War. On the top floor is the Cyloramma, which is just amazing to see! As you walk around, beautiful artistry along the walls light up with explosions as you are told the tale of the Civil War at Gettysburg. This 100+ year old oil painting is longer than a football field, taller than a 2-story building and masterfully depicts a 360-degree view of Pickett’s Charge. This is a must do during your stay!
Find more information and buy tickets here.
The Square is where you will find restaurants, antiques, shops, and the Gettysburg Hotel. It’s a beautiful place to walk around! The David Wills house where President Lincoln stayed the night before delivering the Gettysburg Address is also on the Square. There was a great farmers market going on while we were there. We picked out some pumpkins (for a fraction of the price that we would have purchased them in South Florida, and they have so much more character!). We also tried fermented honey (which turns to alcohol! Who knew?), bought some home-made pasta, and enjoyed countless fruit, vegetable, and fresh-baked stands. Nothing gets you in the mood for fall like a farmers market!
Open since 1955, the Lincoln Diner is actually an old train car positioned right next to the Gettysburg Railroad. My Mother in Law has worked at the Lincoln Diner since she was 13! She has another job now, but loves the people she works with and the patrons and still works weekends there. Her name is Trudy. Say “hi” if you stop in! They have great diner food and serve scrapple as well! Bonus: They are open 24/7! It’s located on the corner of Carlile Street and W Railroad Street just off of Gettysburg Square.
Find their menu here.
Built in 1862, Gettysburg College is a part of the history and is just majestic to see! Fraternity and Sorority houses line the streets around the school. The college is composed of many beautiful buildings and has expanded to the surrounding homes where they have been converted into classrooms. Gettysburg college is a private school and costs around $60,000 per year for tuition, room, and board.
Find their website here.
Take a break from the history and have some retail therapy! There you will find stores such as Old Navy, Gap, Carters, Under Armor, American Eagle, and Bath and Body Works. Located right off I-15 (and oh so close to my in-laws home!) it’s a convenient place to stop. Living in South Florida, we always find great deals on “last season’s” clothing. And since it’s ALWAYS hot in South Florida, summer clothes are always in season! We left with two giant bags of kids cloths (and maybe a thing or two for Mommy), for less than $130! Like most malls, they have a food court where you can grab a sandwich from Subway, Pretzels and Lemonade from Aunt Annie’s, or pizza! Definitely worth the stop!
Find their website here.
After you explore the town, make sure you stop at Tommy’s Pizza. We pretty much plan our days around a Tommy’s stop. It’s really THAT good. My husband worked for Tommy’s Pizza in high school. Drew and Wade, the owners, do a great job running the business. I could eat pizza from there every day we are in Gettysburg. Actually, I have! The pizza is delicious! My husband loves the bacon cheeseburger sub. I’m all about the pizza, but definitely steal a bite (or two) of my husbands sandwich! It doesn’t matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong! They also serve an assortment of craft beer!
Read about their history and find their menu here.
I hope this post has encouraged you to make a trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania! It’s a small town with big history! Do yourself a favor and check it out! You won’t regret it!
Have you been to Gettysburg? Leave a comment with your favorite things to do!