Our day started bright and early around 7 AM. Before leaving the campground, we grabbed a bagel sandwich, breakfast potatoes, and two coffees at the KOA ($10). Dad donned his Beards of Gettysburg* t-shirt and we were off.
We were early to pick up our tour guide (Mike Strong) for the Gettysburg National Military Park 3-hour tour ($125 + tip). The tour guide was outstanding. This was his 18th season as a guide. It was amazing how much he shared about this 3 day battle in such a short time. He has a gift and a passion. My biggest learning was about why they fought the way they did. They used the formations and flags because smokeless gunpowder had not been invented yet, and it was exceptionally difficult to direct action and prevent friendly fire. (Gettysburg Tour Audio Clip)
After the tour, we checked out the Visitor Center. The battleground and Visitor Center of the Park are free; however, the Film, Cyclorama and Museum do charge admission ($36 for us with a AAA discount). The film was okay. The Cyclorama is an oil painting reaching 42’ high and 377’ in circumference, depicting the end of the 3-day battle. It was rather amazing and took 12 artists a year to complete.
The museum was okay. The best part of the museum and Gettysburg, in general, is they maintained the actual damage from the war. Below are the rafters that were damaged by a cannonball in a barn at the battle. They were removed from the barn and relocated to the museum. You can see this type of wall damage throughout the town.
After the Visitor Center, we rushed to Auto Tour stop 12 by the Pennsylvania Memorial to see and hear a cannon being fired. It was a blast (pun intended). We were able to talk to the team after the show.
YouTube video link: Cannon Demonstration
On the way to our next event, we had car issues as the Subaru lost its mind and thought it was running when it wasn’t. This was pretty stressful as we tried various solutions. We eventually got the problem fixed and were able to relax and enjoy the rest of our night.
We ate dinner at the Blue and Gray Bar and Grill. We sat outside since it was a beautiful night. Live musicians were playing and the food was great. We got the Philly Cheesesteak Waffle Fries and mustard-based coleslaw. For the entree, Dad got the General Warren and I got the General Archer burger.
We capped the night off by sharing a Reese’s Pieces Sundae at Friendly’s. While we were waiting in line, a trio of guys walked by and I commented about how I liked his Confederate hat. We got to talking and found out that he was a history teacher and had had the hat for 30 years. I told him I was there visiting with my dad, who is also a history nut. He gave me a replica Civil War bullet for Dad!
Back at the cabin, we played cards before going to sleep.
Lots of action for a single day.
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