History Tour, part 2 – Gettysburg, PA

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.

IMG_1652 memorialIMG_1646 memorialIMG_1643 Memorial IMG_1650 memorial IMG_1632 Picketts Charge IMG_1622 Memorial IMG_1618 Mike reads all signs IMG_1611 Civil War Monument

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.

IMG_3421 cyclorama IMG_3419 CycloramaIMG_3406 The Pub

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.

P1150303 Hersheys Chocolate WorldIMG_3432 hershey tourIMG_3468 Hershey Trolley works

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)!

P1150300 Pine Grove Furnace campsite

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.

14 thoughts on “History Tour, part 2 – Gettysburg, PA

  1. Hi guys! Got a chance to look at your blog today. Just got In from Bimini. We are in Lake Worth, FL right now. Sounds like you are having fun! We were wondering if you like it as much as cruising? I am sure it is great but different. I love Gettysburg! If you haven’t read the book Killer Angels which is all about Gettysburg you should get it. It really brings all the characters to life! We are live in Gloucester Point which is in the historic triangle of Yorktown, Jamestown and Williamsburg. You should come see us! Always wanted to see the hot air balloon festival. It sounds like a blast! Hugs to you both. Glad to hear all is going well.
    Cathie and Tom/INTERLUDE

    • Hi! I’ve been following your Facebook postings. It made me miss being there with you guys! We are enjoying the RV experience a lot, but still miss those beautiful anchorages and warm sunshine.

  2. Hi Guys,
    I know you are having a ball traveling around the good ole US of A, but we really miss the days when Aquila would sail into “our” world! We are looking forward to your visit (you promised — sort of) next summer!
    Frank & Patti

  3. Great tour and glad you are ahead of us and now we know what to do when in PA. I did memorize the Gettysburg address while in school but can only recite the first line.
    Reading your future route made me smile, we are right at your tail. Glad you are ahead of us.

  4. Glen & I arrived in Branson tonight for a week’s stay…it’s cold! But, it’s suppose to be in the 70’s tomorrow. Last time we were herewe stay in a nice RV campground on the lake. It was beautiful in the morning eith the fog on the water. I’ll have to research the name for you.

  5. Your first paragraph made me chuckle because history was not something that interested me much while in school but I loved spelling bees (hubby not so much). It seems since we starting traveling that history has piqued my interest more. Thanks for sharing this area with us. We plan to visit since we are settled into Ohio for the summer.

    • Funny how my interest level about past things and events changes as I age. I do enjoy learning more about the ‘why’ behind the history. But I must admit that it still feels like water under the bridge. At the end of the day, my passion and joy is still about the beauty of now, and the promise of tomorrow.

  6. you guys are having too much fun. I just work, getting a little travel in, just got back China and Malaysia, Tunis is next trip. take care and if you get a chance emaill ph. would be good to talk with you some time.


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