Wednesday, April 7, 2010

On the Road - to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

On 1 April Paul and I left Surfside Beach at 8:00 a.m. to start our return drive to Canada. We left behind a beautiful sunrise.

It was a very nice day for driving with sunshine, warm weather and lots of spring blossoms. The roads were not as busy as we had expected and this year we drove through Wilmington, North Carolina trying to avoid as much of I-95 as possible and we made the right decision.

While making a rest stop at the McDonald's in Centreville, Virginia, we saw these beautiful flowering trees in the parking lot.

This year on our return drive, we decided to take some time to visit historic Gettysburg. Paul has a great interest in USA history and the Civil War battles so this was a side trip he was looking forward to.

We started our morning at the new Museum and Visitor Center, where we viewed a short film, "A New Birth of Freedom", narrated by Morgan Freeman; saw the fully restored Gettysburg Cyclorama which is the dramatic depiction of Pickett's Charge; and then toured the museum. The Cyclorama to us was an experience that cannot be put into words, therefore, a must-see.

There are several options for touring the battlefields: bus tour, private ranger tour, power scooters and even horseback.

We opted for the self-guided auto tour and set off with our map. As you will see in the next photo, many other people chose the auto tour as well, so it was quite busy. There were 16 points of interest and we only saw six of them on the first day. There are many statues, monuments and plaques to read; you must allow time to take it all in.

At one sight Paul was fortunate to speak with a man who was a tour guide and visiting the area to prepare for an upcoming tour. Paul took this opportunity to ask questions and learn more details of the battles at Gettysburg.

Many cannons could be seen along the auto tour.

The scenery was so beautiful, it was difficult to imagine this area as a battlefield.

The area of Devil's Den and the Valley of Death were strategic areas during the battle of 2 July 1863. It was difficult to imagine how battles could take place on some of this terrain; and understandable how so many lives were lost.

The Pennsylvania Monument was the most impressive to us. There was a winding staircase inside that allowed you to walk up and come out at the bottom of the dome, to enjoy the view out over the battlefields.

Our last stop on our auto tour was the National Cemetery and the site of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address -"Four score and seven years ago...".

For Paul, Gettysburg was a historical trip which he will always remember, and hopes to do again. For me, I saw two sides of Gettysburg: the history of the battles of the Civil War and the beauty of the countryside, textures of the many fences and rock walls and the colourful red barns.

It was a great experience and one I enjoyed sharing with Paul as I know how much he enjoys reading about the events of Gettysburg.

No comments:

Post a Comment