A trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is a tour through history. Attractions at this Civil War battlefield are many and diverse.
A trip to this place etched in history will never be a disappointment. Settled just a few miles from the Mason-Dixon line in Adams County, Pennsylvania, Gettysburg offers much to do for visitors.
The Visitor Center on Steinwehr Avenue is home to a museum collection of Civil War artifacts as well as a good starting point for a trip. The Visitor Center building is also where tickets are obtained for a tour of the Eisenhower National Historic Site, home and farm of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Mamie.
A tour of the battlefield is always an enjoyable, if rather sober experience. Cassette tapes may be bought or rented to guide the way, Park Service guides can be hired to drive you in your vehicle, or a bus tour complete with sound effects is available.
The battlefield is covered with monuments that pay tribute to those Union and Confederate soldiers who fought valiantly and died on this hallowed ground. The auto tour ends at the National Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln give his now infamous speech. Row upon row of markers for unknown occupants of the gravesites stand as a haunting reminder of what happened in this quiet little town in 1863. 51,000 casualties were claimed in three short days of this bloody battle.
Other attractions in town are many. Often there are encampments and costumes can be rented for your stay. The Battle Theatre has films, a 50’ Diorama and other things to see that explain the battle more thoroughly.
Places of interest to visit all within a few blocks include General Lee’s Headquarters, which is also a museum and open to the public; Gettysburg National Military Park Cyclorama Center is a 356’ x 26’ canvas of Pickett’s Charge and has a sound and light presentation. The Cyclorama Center also has many paintings of the battle on display and offers a number of programs and walks for participation.
See President Lincoln’s bedroom where the Gettysburg Address was completed at the Lincoln Room Museum. This is located at the David Wills House on Lincoln Square.
The Hall of Presidents and First Ladies is a display of wax figures of all the U.S. Presidents, each telling his own story. Wax figures of the First Ladies display their inaugural gowns. This is found on Baltimore Street, as is the Soldier’s National Museum.
Very near the Hall of Presidents is the Jennie Wade House. Jennie Wade was the only known civilian to die in the battle. She was baking bread for the hungry soldiers and a sharp-shooter’s bullet entered through two doors. The bullet holes that took the life of this 20 year old heroine as she kneaded the dough are still visible in this restored home.
Two other attractions on Steinwehr Avenue are the Lincoln Train Museum and the National Civil War Wax Museum.
For recreation not necessarily battle related, there is the Gettysburg Family Fun Center with all kinds of things to do including batting cages, arcade, and mini-golf. Mulligan MacDuffer Adventure Golf is a beautiful mini-golf course and found on Baltimore Street.
Gettysburg is filled with quaint shops and galleries and eateries. There are buffets, fast-foods, and fine dining establishments.
Since Gettysburg is often called the most haunted place in America, tourists are offered various candlelight ghost walking tours. If you’d rather not walk around with costumed guides looking for ghosts, perhaps one of the horse and carriage rides that are offered each evening would better suit the visitor.
Whether a full vacation, or simply a weekend getaway, Gettysburg offers so many attractions that boredom will never be a problem.