Four score and nine years ago, the War Between the States brought the fight to a rural town just north of the Mason Dixon line. The battle that ensued here changed the course of the war and set the tone for the future of the town. Gettysburg is currently a living memorial to one of the most important times this country has endured. It’s also an extremely popular tourist destination boasting history, culture and amenities aplenty.
Located 125 miles west of Philadelphia in south central Pennsylvania, Gettysburg usually can be reached in fewer than six hours by car from Hartford. The majority of the trip will be on I-84. Scenery is terrific anytime of the year, especially the portion that passes through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Once in the Keystone State, more than 10 major roadways converge upon Gettysburg, which leaves a great deal of flexibility to head through the state capital or the City of Brotherly Love.
Gettysburg National Military Park
1195 Baltimore Pike
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This town owes its eternal place in the history books and tourism guides to three bloody days in 1863 and the subsequent speech commemorating those who perished here. The upcoming sesquicentennial anniversary makes this an even more special time to visit this living piece of history. Roughly 6,000 acres within the park are preserved to resemble the appearance of the park on the day of the battle. Several choices for tours, including ranger-led groups and self-directed options, are available. While the battlefield is awe-inspiring, the cemetery provides a sobering reality of the staggering number of lives lost here.
The Majestic Theater
25 Carlisle Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325
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While Civil War history is what this town is famous for, it is not the only game in town. Those who favor the arts will fall in love with the Majestic Theater. With two movie cinemas and a performing arts theater, this relic from the roaring ’20s has something for everyone. From musicals to comedies, concerts to ballet, the performances promise to be dynamic and intriguing.
A Sentimental Journey Bed and Breakfast
433 Baltimore Street
Price: $79 to $129 per night
This quaint boarding house not only provides easy access to many of the historic gems this town has to offer, it is a landmark itself. The stories of this property’s past are quite fascinating, including its role in the war. It also offers a short walk to local attractions such as the Hall of Presidents, the Shriver House Museum, the Jennie Wade House and the Majestic Theater.
Related: Family Day Tripping to New Haven
The Gettysburg Hotel
One Lincoln Square
Price: $124 to $210
The Gettysburg Hotel predates the Civil War by close to 70 years and has been the anchor of the downtown area for more than two centuries. Step through the front entrance and be transported back in time, immersed in old-world charm and elegance. The hotel also contains McClellan’s Tavern and boasts one of the area’s finest dining establishments, Centuries on the Square. Diners do not have to sacrifice their preferred ambiance for menu choice either, as all of its tantalizing fare is offered in both rooms.
61 Steinwehr Ave
A trip to Pennsylvania is not complete without sampling a cheese steak. The best place in town to sample the unofficial state sandwich is Hunt’s. Famous for its fresh-cut Battlefield Fries and warm hospitality, this restaurant is a local comfort food haven and the perfect location for lunch or coffee on the go. The cozy eatery also offers a gift shop with all of the requisite souvenirs.
Charles Daniels grew up in Connecticut and after several years working and traveling around the country and world he has returned home for good. He lives in Hebron with his wife and daughter. While he wears many hats, he considers “part-time stay-at-home dad” his primary and favorite job title. His work can be found at Examiner.com.