- See also: American Civil War
|“||Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.||”|
—Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863
Gettysburg is a borough and the county seat of Adams County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. However, Gettysburg is famous for the Battle of Gettysburg that was fought July 1-3, 1863. The fighting started when Union and Confederate troops converged just north of the town of Gettysburg. Three bloody days of fighting ensued, with both sides suffering heavy casualties. The town is also the location where President Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address. The town hosts visitors to the Gettysburg National Battlefield in the Gettysburg National Military Park. The Battle is remembered both for Pickett's Charge and the "high water mark of the Confederacy" (the northernmost point a major Confederate Army ever reached) as well as the turning point of the war that the failure of said charge and the overall offensive ultimately meant.
Terrain and climate
Flat meadows surrounded by rocky hills, with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains looming in the distance. In the countryside north of Gettysburg is the "Fruit Belt" of Pennsylvania with thousands of acres of apple and peach orchards and vineyards.
Gettysburg has a humid continental climate, with hot, humid summers and cold moist winters. Spring and Fall are mild and pleasant. Heavy winter storms occasionally strike the area, but these are fairly rare. Heaviest snowfall occurs during February and early March. Severe thunderstorms may occasionally hit the region, mostly in July and August.
- Harrisburg International Airport (MDT IATA) is 47 miles from Gettysburg.
- Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI IATA) is 62 miles from Gettysburg.
- Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD IATA) is 78 miles from Gettysburg.
- Philadelphia International Airport (PHL IATA) is 148 miles from Gettysburg.
Rabbit Express runs buses to/from the Harrisburg Amtrak station and airport.
By far the best way to see the park is with your own vehicle. Roads wind extensively throughout the battlefields, and include many places to pull off and allow visitors to walk around. Use caution when using these roads, as there may be many people walking or bicycling on these roads. The speed limit throughout the park is 15 MPH. When in your car, you may navigate by map or purchase a CD at several locations throughout Gettysburg that will orientate you to the battlefield.
Guided tours on buses are available. There are several different types of bus tours: one is with licensed battlefield guides (Adults: $30; Children: $19) and one is with headphone narration (Adults: $26; Children: $15).
If you have the time and have an average level of fitness, bikes can be rented and can provide an enhanced experience in the park. Cycling the major sites of the July 1-3 campaign can be completed in one day and allow you to experience battle lines and topography in a much more realistic fashion than car or bus.
The battlefield features a couple horse trails where you can either bring your own horse or rent one from places around town, including Artillery Ridge Campground [dead link] and Hickory Hollow Horse Farm.
SegTours rents Segways and offers guided tours.
One of the best ways to tour the battlefield is by foot — either running, walking or hiking. There are 26 miles of roadway and several hiking trails, both flat and rugged.
- 1 Gettysburg National Military Park, 1195 Baltimore Pike, ☎ . 6AM-10PM. Gettysburg is the site of one of the most important battles of the American Civil War, and the largest land battle ever fought in North America. This National Park Service controls most of the area surrounding the small town and preserves the historic battle field. The museum and visitor center are run by the Gettysburg Foundation, a non-profit partner of the National Park Service at Gettysburg. The visitor center houses the museum collection as well as special exhibits from across the country and the fully restored Gettysburg Cyclorama, a must-see for any visit. You can also hire a very knowledgeable licensed battlefield guide here. You can also purchase tour tickets for the Eisenhower Farm. $12.50. The surrounding military park is free and open to the public.
- 2 Jennie Wade House, 548 Baltimore St, ☎ . 9AM-5PM. The only Gettysburg citizen killed during the Battle of Gettysburg was 20 year old Jennie Wade, fiancée of Corporal “Jack” Skelly. The old McClellan Home, now the Jennie Wade House and Museum, with but few minor changes and repairs, remains much as Jennie Wade must have known it more than 100 years ago. The walls of the old house, which lived through the Battle of Gettysburg and witnessed the tragic death of Jennie Wade, tell the story of the building and of those in it during the Great Battle.
- 3 The Gettysburg Heritage Center, 297 Steinwehr Ave, ☎ . Daily March—December 9am—5pm. Extended Spring & Summer hours 9am—7 pm. Last tour begins 45 minutes before closing.. Presents the entire story of the Civil War era and the Battle of Gettysburg with remarkable realism. Learn the causes, effects and significant personalities that shaped the Civil War and as a result, ultimately, American history. Throughout five hallways of scenes, the museum recreates history with life-sized dioramas of the Civil War. Visitors complete a self-guided museum tour that begins with the economical, social, and political causes of the war and ends with the untimely assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Following the self-guided tour, visitors enter into the internationally acclaimed, digitally enhanced Battleroom Auditorium. Amidst the sounds of thunderous battle cries and bullets, visitors will witness a life-sized recreation of the Battle of Gettysburg. Discover how a small town in rural Pennsylvania became known for one of the bloodiest battles in American history. An animated Abraham Lincoln delivering the immortal Gettysburg Address follows the battle recreation. $5.50 adults / $3 Youth (ages 6 — 17) / 5 & under FREE.
- 1 Victorian Photography Studio, 76 Steinwher Ave, ☎ . 10AM-8PM. As seen on the Real World on MTV! Get a family photograph in period dress!
- 2 Lincoln's Lost Treasure, 53 East Middle St, toll-free: . Sun Noon-4PM. Part Theatre, Part Adventure, Part Mystery. The streets of Gettysburg serve as a backdrop for a unique story, told with elements of improv theatre and scavenger hunt. Lincoln’s Lost Treasure is a live two and a half hour adventure across the streets of historic Downtown Gettysburg. Groups of 6 or 8 people are sent to uncover a lost secret sparked by President Lincoln’s final breath. Aided by a few historical artifacts, you are sent off to piece together hidden clues and traverse the city’s famous streets, hidden shops and historical landmarks. $38.
- 3 Land of Little Horses Farm Park, 125 Glennwood Dr, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Performing animal theme park. $15.95.
Cinema and theatre
- 4 Gettysburg Majestic Theater, 25 Carlisle St, ☎ . For those who need a break from the Battlefield, there the Majestic, a theater in downtown Gettysburg renovated to its original 1925 Colonial Revival glory. There is a theater for live performances, as well as a cinema which plays the highest quality art films, including American independent films, foreign language films, documentaries, short subjects, and film festival prize winners.
- 5 Gateway Theater 8, 20 Presidential Circle (US 15 & US 30 at Gateway Gettysburg), ☎ . The state-of-the-art Gateway Theaters is one of the most technologically advanced movie theaters in the region.
- 1 Lord Nelson's Gallery, 27 1/2 Chambersburg St (one half block off of downtown Lincoln Square), ☎ . M—Sa: 9:30AM—6PM, Su: Noon—4PM. Established in 1990, the gallery specializes in wildlife, nostalgic, Eastern Frontier/American Indian and Colonial art, sculpture, fine handcrafts and related historical books.
- 2 Gettysburg Bicycle & Fitness, 307 York St, ☎ . Sells excellent American Bikes (Specialized, Trek, ..) in all price ranges. You will get excellent advises, perfect service and good prices. The shop also lends Bikes for tours on the battle field and organizes a yearly Mountainbike race called "Maximus" in Michaux State Forest.
- 3 Bluebrick Gallery, 18 North Washington St (1 block W of the square), ☎ . Seven artists and friends come together to exhibit an eclectic mix of artwork in a variety of mediums.
- 4 Hollabaugh Brothers, 545 Carlisle Rd, Biglerville, PA 17307 (9 miles north of the square in Gettysburg on Rt. 34), ☎ . M-Th: 9-6, F-Sa: 9-5, Su: 12-5. Hollabaugh Brothers is a third generation, family farm with a retail farm market offering fresh fruits, vegetables, gifts, jarred goods, home-style baked goods, and fruit gift baskets. The Hollabaugh family also provides scheduled educational orchard tours. Hollabaugh Brothers is a 500 acre working, family farm. Buses welcome, adequate free parking.
- The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg, 1863 Gettysburg Village Dr (US 15 & Baltimore St (PA 97)), ☎ .
- Gallery 30. A fine art gallery.
Restaurants abound throughout the town, from nationally known chains, to local Mom & Pop diners.
- 2 [dead link] Blue Parrot Bistro, 35 Chambersburg St, ☎ . International food in a house from the 1850s.
- 3 Ernie's Texas Lunch, 58 Chambersburg St, ☎ . Old-time lunch counter with a few booths. Famous for their "Texas wieners" and home made soup.
- 6 Gettysburg Eddie's, 217 Steinwehr Ave, ☎ . American restaurant and sports bar dedicated to local baseball hall of fame member Eddie Plank. 7 televisions that show baseball games.
- 8 Lincoln Diner, 32 Carlisle St (Just north of Lincoln Sq), ☎ . 24 hours. Classic diner.
- 9 O'Rorkes Family Eatery, 44 Steinwehr Ave. Casual American and Irish food downtown. Huge menu and good beer selection.
- 10 Dobbin House Tavern, 89 Steinwehr Ave. Casual and fine dining. Due to its historic ambiance (Revolutionary War to Civil War) and reasonable prices, the Dobbin House is well worth visiting. For budget and casual dining with the same historical charm, there is the Springhouse Tavern room downstairs. During the battle of Gettysburg the tavern saw some action as a hospital, giving it historic significance.
- 12 Appalachian Brewing Company, 401 Buford Ave (Seminary Ridge, across the road from the Lutheran Seminary and directly next door to General Robert E. Lee's HQ), ☎ . Outstanding cheeseburgers and personal pizzas accentuate the wonderful selection of micro-brews.
- 13 Rita's Italian Ice, 523 Baltimore St, ☎ . Regional chain. Italian ice and custard. Only open March to September.
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the park at any time.
- 1 Garryowen Irish Pub, 126 Chambersburg St, ☎ . Good Irish pub with great music entertainment on special days like St. Patricks. It's traditional Irish menu is very tasty.
- 2 The Pub, 20-22 Lincoln Sq (Southeast corner of The Square), ☎ . Monday: 8AM - 10PM Tuesday & Wednesday: 11AM - 10PM Thursday: 8AM - 10PM Friday & Saturday: 8AM - 11PM Sunday: 8AM - 9PM (Closed on Sundays December thru January - Closed on Five Major Holidays). Casual dining with an extensive menu. Plenty of vegetarian options.
- 5 Ragged Edge Roasting Company, 110 Chambesburg St, ☎ . The Ragged Edge serves breakfast, sandwiches, salads and coffee. They offer a free wireless connection. The local products, beautiful gardens, and in house art gallery all add up to an award winning experience.
Camping and backcountry
There are seven campgrounds in Gettysburg: Artillery Ridge Campground, Drummer Boy Campground, Gettysburg Campground, Gettysburg KOA, Round Top Campground, Granite Hill Campground, Gettysburg Battlefield Resort (Membership)
Hiking, camping, and grilling can be done at nearby Caledonia State Park, located approximately 25 miles west of Gettysburg on US Rt 30. Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve in nearby Fairfield, Pa., has more than 600 acres and miles of trails for hiking as well.
- 2 Antrim 1844, 30 Trevanion Rd Taneytown, MD, ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Nestled at the foot of the rolling Catoctin Mountains in Central Maryland. Built in 1844, Antrim was once a thriving plantation and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Owners Dorothy and Richard Mollett have restored the mansion and the estate buildings on this 24-acre site. Located 15 minutes from Historic Gettysburg 160-400.
- 4 Bluebrick Place, 18 North Washington St (one block W of square, across from 7-eleven), ☎ . Check-in: Su after 2PM, check-out: Su by 11AM. A weekly vacation rental for two. Modernized room with fully equipped kitchen, eating area and sleeping accommodations. $400-550/week.
- 5 Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, 1857 Gettysburg Village Dr (At the intersection of Routes 97 and 15 on the site of The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg), ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM.
- 7 Gettysburg Hotel, One Lincoln Sq, ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. The Gettysburg Hotel has a tradition of hospitality that dates to 1797, when James Scott first opened his tavern. The hotel existed during the Battle of Gettysburg. President Lincoln honed the immortal words of his Gettysburg Address at the Wills House, just steps away from the hotel. Nearly a century later, at the height of the Cold War, the hotel served as President Dwight Eisenhower's national operations center while he recuperated from a heart attack at his nearby farm. The Gettysburg Hotel consists of 122 spacious non-smoking guest rooms and suites, each beautifully appointed with dark wood bedsteads and other elegant period furnishings. Roof top seasonal swimming pool, business center, fitness center. Restaurant Centuries on the Square and pub McClellan's Tavern are located on the premises.
- 9 James Gettys Hotel, 27 Chambersburg St (One half block west of downtown Lincoln Square), ☎ . Check-in: 3PM — 8PM, check-out: 11AM. An elegant 12 room suite hotel in historic downtown Gettysburg. Every suite is individually styled and has kitchenette, bedroom and private bath. Home baked continental breakfast served in room, free on-site private parking $140-$250.
- 10 Quality Inn & Suites, 871 York Rd (Route 15 N. to York Road), ☎ . All rooms include free continental breakfast, wireless internet, 24 hour business center, indoor pool with jacuzzi, in room irons and ironing boards, in room safes, hair dryers.
- 11 Wyndham Gettysburg, 95 Presidential Circle (US 15 & US 30 at Gateway Gettysburg), ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM. Upscale hotel with fitness center, business center, 1863 Restaurant, and within walking distance of Gateway Theaters. $99 — $199.
Gettysburg is very safe. However, it can get very crowded during the summer, and especially on summer weekends. If large crowds are not pleasing to you, especially avoid the anniversary dates of July 1-3.
- Harrisburg - The capital of Pennsylvania.
- Hershey - Chocolate country.
- Lancaster (Pennsylvania) - Amish country.
- York (Pennsylvania) - Central Pennsylvania country.
- Baltimore - Including the National Aquarium.
- Washington, DC - The nation's capital, about an hour and a half away.
|Routes through Gettysburg|
|Pittsburgh ← Chambersburg ←||W E||→ York → Lancaster|