Tim then drove the rest of the way, and we got to Gettysburg about 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. We had not made a hotel reservation because we figured it was out of the main tourist season. Unfortunately, we did not foresee homecoming for Gettysburg College and a dog show. Therefore, we made four stops before finding an open room in a old motel on the Emmitsburg Road south of the battlefield park. The room had very little heat and some very interesting colors of bathroom fixtures, but there were two beds that we got into around 2:00 a.m. and managed to get a pretty good nights sleep before waking at 8:00 am.
After packing up, we ventured north on the Emmitsburg Road to Friendly's and ate a hearty breakfast. We then headed over to the "new" Visitor's Center, which Tim had previously toured but which neither Austin or I had seen. We parked in the expansive parking lot and then headed into the Visitor's Center, but not before Tim snapped a few photos.
We decided to browse the bookstore (where we got our stamps; Austin too!), see the film, view the Cyclorama and then tour the museum before heading out onto the battlefield with a guide. Tim and I did not want to overwhelm Austin with the usual Stamp Guy level of detail on a battlefield, so we thought a four hour tour in the afternoon would be perfect. We approached the ticket counter and bought our tickets for the film & Cyclorama, and reserved a guide for a four hour tour starting at Noon.
Austin liked the film and enjoyed the presentation of the Cyclorama, especially the detailed expanded portions of the painting that you view after you walk out of the climate-controlled area that houses the painting. We all really enjoyed our time in the museum. The former museum at the old VC was overwhelming in the number of weapons, shells, harnesses etc that were presented. The new Museum is much more interesting in that it contains far fewer artifacts, but many have a story behind them (like the four chairs that General John Reynolds slept on the night before his death on July 1). We didn't have time to completely finish the museum before it was time to grab a quick bite to eat before our Noon appointment, so there is more to see next time we go.
|The impact site is in the distance between Austin and me.|
We left the Flight 93 Memorial and then angled southwest through the rolling Pennsylvania countryside to the Fort Necessity National Park. It was raining pretty hard when we got there, so Tim left his camera in the car (thus, no photos). We toured the modern Visitor's Center and watched the informative film about the defeat and surrender of British forces under the command of George Washington (an inexperienced 23 year old who built an indefensible fort in a ludicrous place), and then the role the area played in the retreat of Braddock's force (Braddock's gravesite is nearby). I toured the museum while Tim and Austin spent literally 15 minutes trying to buy some souvenirs from the incompetent desk clerk, who could not use a credit card, or take cash or seemingly breathe without an instruction manual. We then went outside in the rain, and took a quick tour of the fort site and read various wayside exhibits. however, because time was pressing and the weather was crappy, we decided to move on to our next stop: Friendship Hill, the home of Albert Gallatin, a Swiss immigrant who served as our third Secretary of the Treasury and various other diplomatic posts. Gallatin decided to try to build a model industrial community in the middle of the wilderness in southwest Pennsylvania shortly after the Revolutionary War, and the current sprawling home is the tangible evidence of his willingness to try to make this crazy dream a reality.
|Gallatin was mainly a banker, but obviously he liked surveying too.|