I wasn’t the greatest student in my history class when I was in school. There were many names, dates and places that just didn’t get me excited. I never enjoyed history. Mike, on the other hand, loves history. All of it. It has always amazed me how much historical data is stored in his brain. I would never want Mike on my spelling bee team, but if the game is trivial pursuit he’s your ringer.
Since our retirement over 8 years ago, we have been traveling the world and now the United States. I am constantly impressed with Mike’s knowledge of the areas we visit and his desire to learn more about them. While I desire to simply embrace the natural beauty around me, Mike feels the history. And Gettysburg is ALL about the history. The Museum at Gettysburg National Military Park is fascinating (and really sad). The tour of the Civil War Battlefields, with many, many memorials and stories behind them, brought this piece of our history to life for me as I tried to make any sense of it.
The Cyclorama is a 360 degree famous painting of the Civil War brought to life with lights and sound as you learn about the significance of and experience the battle at Gettysburg from the center of the theater.
A fun little day trip was spent in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Mike is a total ‘chocoholic’, so this place was a must-see on the list. The history of Milton Hershey was soooo much more interesting than I expected! We took a tour of Hershey’s Chocolate World factory, which was more like a child’s ride at Disneyland. Fun to see how the chocolate is made and watch the various candies produced into the familiar products we love right before our eyes. Then we took a narrated trolley tour of Hershey’s town, including the entertainment complex, amusement park, golf course, corporate offices, and employee housing. The Hershey Trust Company still owns a large part of the town which also supports The Milton Hershey Schools (K-12) and housing for 1,900 underpriveleged children. It was originally established in 1909 as an industrial school and home for orphaned boys. The story is impressive.
We stayed at the Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Gardner, PA, following our GPS to get there. I usually double check the recommended route using different resources before we head out. This time I didn’t do that and we ended up deep in the woods on a road that got smaller and smaller. Then the narrow road turned to dirt and started to look more like a trail, twisting up and around with the trees brushing our topsides. Then we saw a sign prohibiting our weight AND the name of the road changed to Snowmobile Rd. We could not turn around, so we just kept going and finally got back to a real road. OMG! I will never forget to doublecheck my route in the future! Anyway, once we found the campground and got settled in, we were very happy. Other than the cold weather that kept us bundled up all week, it was a great site. The campground was busy on the weekend, but it was all ours during the week. We scavenged the empty campsites for any left over fire wood and built cozy campfires each evening with all that free firewood. And I ate a s’more each evening (with our Hershey chocolate, of course)!
We missed seeing a good friend when we passed through Washington DC. Just so we don’t miss an opportunity to connect with other old friends, following is our travel plan for the next few months. If you’re going to be anywhere near where we’re going to be, please give us a shout. At the beginning of May, we’ll be in New Jersey and Rhode Island. By mid-May, we’ll be in the Boston area. Then at the end of May/beginning of June, we’ll be in Maine. In June we’ll head to Niagara Falls and turn south again. It gets pretty fuzzy at this point, but we want to visit the Mammoth Caverns and the Wild Turkey Distillery in Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; Branson, Missouri; Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills, South Dakota; Durango, Colorado (Sept); then Albuquerque, AZ for the hot air balloon festival in October. I know it looks like a big zig-zag up and down, but we’ll see what actually happens.