As a quick trip before school starts, my husband and I took our 6 yr old to Gettysburg. (that’s why my Topic Tuesday is late, again.) My husband and I have been here before and enjoy the area. There is an enormous amount of history, learning opportunities, shopping, and dining.
Here are some of the places that we visited this time around that are worth repeating:
1. The Upper Crust. A casual dining place with huge wood fired pizza ovens, full bar, and free games in the back. Pizza, Bloody Mary, air hockey and shuffle puck were in my sites! There is also foosball, pool, basketball, skee ball, and big screen tvs to watch a game.
2. Garry Owen Pub. This pub has become a staple in any trip that we have to the Gettysburg area, or even if we are passing through. Authentic Irish atmosphere, especially in the bar area. My son says that they have the best chicken strips, and that’s important when traveling with kids! I understand that there is live Irish music on Sundays, but we have not had the pleasure of experiencing it yet. Fantastic food, well poured Guinness, casual atmosphere … it’s the perfect place to relax in and to digest not only the amazing food and drink, but the history and lessons of Gettysburg.
3. Gallery 30. Fantastic shop right off of the traffic circle with plenty of items for your house to remind you of your trip to Gettysburg. I love to peruse the handcrafted jewelry, artwork, book, and accessories. My favorite is the gourdes! Locally grown, dried, and designed gourdes made to look like snowmen, ghosts, bunnies, pumpkins, Santa’s, turkeys, and more! Everything made in the USA!
4. Blue and Grey Gift Shop. This is THE place to purchase your Gettysburg souvenirs. Cap guns, artwork, t-shirts, hoodies, snow globes, mugs. You name it, they probably have it. And at an affordable price!
5. Sweney Tavern at Farnsworth House. Outdoor or inside dining in an incredibly historic, and reportedly haunted, establishment. It housed Confederate sharpshooters during the battle, which were lethal to the Union troops. There are visible bullet holes in the side of the brick building that are apparently from the battle. When the film Gettysburg was filmed, many of the ‘officer’ actors visited the tavern. They also donated memorabilia from the set to be displayed inside the Inn. We ate outside and it was incredibly relaxing. Completely covered by tree branches, vines and a canopy with a creek running through it. There is an area that is pet friendly if you are traveling with your furry friend and want to stop for a bit to eat or have a drink. I had the chicken pot pie, which was a little greasy, but delicious. If you order an appetizer before dinner, share it with your table. The portions are large! This is another must visit place!
6. Gettysburg Military Park Museum and Visitors Center. Beautiful museum, but would not recommend the cyclorama for kids with loud noise issues. (We didn’t see it with our 6 year old, but look forward to a future visit that we could.) The bookstore/gift shop is extensive and is where we
discovered the self-guided audio tour of the battlefield. We bought the book, downloaded the app, but couldn’t get the GPS feature to work, so I as the passenger had to hit play for each section, which I didn’t mind. So many beautiful monuments for so much death and destruction. I could not help but to be affected by the words of the audio tour, especially on Little Round Top. You can feel the sadness that hangs in the air, and almost the desperation each side must have felt trying to either defend or climb Little Round Top. I cannot imagine what the soldiers felt, especially those defending the hill after watching Devil’s Den (right across the valley known as The Slaughter Pen) fall to the Confederates. There is nothing I can say to describe how impactful this tour is. But I would say pack the car with a cooler, get out and hike the trails, spend the day at this incredible and vast park.
7. The Wills House. See the place that Abraham Lincoln visited when he came to the Gettysburg battlefield to deliver his famous Gettysburg Address. Right in the traffic circle, easy to access and enjoy, hard to not be impressed! Save this one for after Seminary Ridge and the Battlefield tour.
8. Codori’s Gifts. Located next to the traffic circle, near Gallery 30, this little shop sells jewelry, ornaments, and other figurines. I enjoy this store mostly because of the collection of semi precious stone jewelry and especially the collection of Byers Choice Carolers. This year I added a Union Soldier to our collection.
9. Seminary Ridge Museum. An impactful museum located in the Lutheran Seminary which served as a hospital during the battle at Gettysburg. Three floors of artifacts, videos, displays, and audio recordings, with a small gift shop on the first floor, depicting what it was like there during the battle and the following months as men recovered from their wounds. This is a must see museum and I highly recommend visiting this one first.
10. Mr. G’s. Located right across the street from Sweney Tavern. Best ice cream in PA! Don’t get your dessert in the restaurant … get it at Mr. G’s!
Gettysburg is a history rich area that is easy on the wallet. No matter what you choose to do or visit in the area, you
will leave with more knowledge of the Civil War and the battle at Gettysburg than you had when you arrived. The town does seem to shut down after the winter holidays until April. So, I recommend checking out some of the tourist location’s websites before you visit off season. Staying right in the borough is very convenient, but there are plenty of hotels just outside of town that a quick drive in.