Saturday, July 8, 2017

Explore America Series: Lancaster and Gettysburg Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania- I have to say, is incredibly beautiful!  The forests, the flowers, the farms- everything is so green!  We are home now, and it is hard getting used to so much brown, dry countryside!  On the other hand- the humidity was daunting!  We were always wet:-).  The local news has terms for humidity from "tolerable" to "over-bearing"  LOL.  After each morning walk, I would take my shirt off to dry- even my shorts were wet.  But the beauty was incredible!

In planning our time in Lancaster, I wanted to visit many Amish-oriented sites.  I thought a weekend would be perfect!  But if I had given it any real thought, I would have realised the Amish are a religious group, and Sunday is observed for no working.  The day I had scheduled for Amish-watching?  Sunday- LOL.  Luckily on Monday on our way to the airport, we did see Amish riding their horse and buggy's.

But what to do? Gettysburg!  National Park (another stamp for my passport:-)) and a cute town- score!  From school, I knew Abraham Lincoln gave an address there, and a civil war battle was fought.  So much more!  Turns out it was a deciding battle for the civil war because the south tried to take northern territory, and the north turned them back- through chance, not strategy.  The death toll- horrible.  Anytime I hear the word "Gettysburg" from this day forward, a tear will form in my eye- it was horrible:-(: Casualties at Gettysburg totaled 23,049 for the Union (3,155 dead, 14,529 wounded, 5,365 missing). Confederate casualties were 28,063 (3,903 dead, 18,735 injured, and 5,425 missing), more than a third of Lee's army.  (

Lancaster town and County
Lancaster and the surrounding area is so beautiful!  On my morning walks, there were farms and farm animals just around the corner from our hotel.  We also went to a cute little town- Lititz Pensylvania, considered one of the cutest towns in America.

Lititz- cutest town!

A mural became the perfect canvas:

Gettysburg- the town is very cute and very tourist-oriented.  We spent very little time in it, as the National Park consumed most of the day.  Their website says 2 to 3 hours- we spent about 6.  First stop, the visitors center- probably one of the most extensive visitors centers we have gone to, although over=all, the National Park Service has done an outstanding job of putting together visitors centers in the National Parks.  This center is very extensive!  one of the must-see sites in the center is the film on Gettysburg- it is about 15 minutes long and tells the story, then, for a fee, the Gettysburg Cyclorama (,  a 360 degree mural, with props creating a 3-D effect, a story is told, and areas of the cyclorama light up, showing the battles.  It is fantastic!  It really brought the battles to life! Then you are lead to a museum, which we spent about 2 hours walking through!  It talks about individuals, both officers and soldiers, living conditions, medical care they received (hint- almost none), has actual uniforms, weapons, flags, films, interviews, written materials- all about this battle and the war.

 The park itself is huge!  Memorials are placed, with explanatory plaques, at every site- more memorials than I have ever seen in one place!  You must drive it because it is so large, or take a tour.

a statue of Lincoln sitting is just outside the visitors center

Us in the cyclorama

The various cyclorama's around the world

The spot of the Gettysburg Address

The grave yard is sadly large- reminded me of Arlington in Washington DC

Each state who provided soldiers for the civil war erected statues to
 memorialize their participation.
This is Minnesota's

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