Drizzle, fog, and spray from other vehicles would characterize the weather for this morning as I made my drive to Gettysburg, PA, but I was delighted that my route home was missing the I-81 through Maryland. I didn’t enjoy that on the way down. It has a higher speed limit which may appeal to some but it also has a higher instance of accidents. Traffic northbound when I was heading south was backed up for at least 10 miles — mostly transport trucks which made me wonder if there had been a protest of some kind in DC — but it turned out there had been an accident. I actually drove through W. Virginia for about 20 minutes today and although the weather was not great, this was one of the shortest drives I’ve had on the whole trip.
The day actually started with a pleasant surprise: what had been described as a “continental breakfast”, from which I took there would only be cold food, turned out to have scrambled eggs and bacon the gentle smell of which teased me the minute I stepped into the hall to head down for breakfast. It was wonderful, plus there were better than usual muffins that I can’t even describe. It was very, very good.
The rain had all but stopped when I reached the Gettysburg Battlefield and there was a map available at the Visitor’s Centre (which was actually just a building with washrooms) and an auto route to follow through the various areas. There are many markers and monuments along the route paying tribute to the various cavalry and infantry divisions from both sides of the war with plaques explaining how the battle proceeded. There was an observation tower that in nicer weather might have been nice to climb to see the whole area of the more than 1,000 acres of batttlefield.
One of the highlights for me was the Eternal Light Peace Memorial built on the hill where the Confederates under Major Gen. Rodes attacked the Union soldiers on the first day of the battle. It was built 75 years later and dedicated by more than 1,800 Civil War veterans. I also liked the statue of General Lee on his horse Traveller. They are actually buried in Lexington, Virginia but the statue is very nice and includes statues at its base of the different positions of the men serving under him. I also enjoyed some of the buildings that are special to the area including the field hospital and the chapel and other buildings on Seminary Ridge. I didn’t actually get to the Soldiers’ National Cemetery where Lincoln gave his brief Gettysburg Address although it is on the map it was in a different area. The whole tour would take about 3 hrs but with the weather I chose to leave out some parts. The Cemetery doesn’t allow cars and what with the rain . . .
I looked through a few of the stores in town but parking was not easy to find and while I might have enjoyed eating (again) in a period pub, I ended up at the Perkins’ Restaurant near my hotel. It was very good and I think I may head there for breakfast in the morning as well. I enjoyed a steak and pepper skillet dinner and the first hot tea with lemon I’ve had since I left home.
I’ve booked a place for tomorrow night in Syracuse, N.Y. and the drive should take a bit under 5 hours, weather permitting. So for now, Cheers from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania!