Four months after the battle, President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg to speak at the dedication of a Civil War cemetery. In the Wills House he put the finishing touches on the Gettysburg Address, a paean to national unity and tribute to the fallen that would become his best-known speech.
Touring Gettysburg, PennsylvaniaNearly 150 years after the battle, people still travel to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to learn about this period in history when brothers fought against brothers, to pay tribute to soldiers who gave their life, and to experience the laid-back charm of small-town America.
Its core is the Gettysburg National Military Park, which encompasses much of the battlefield, a museum, and Visitor Center with the world's largest collection of Civil War relics.
America's most-visited national park, Gettysburg is one of the country's largest war shrines, holding more than 1,300 battle monuments. Visitors can explore 40 miles of living history within the park, which continually works to rehabilitate battle grounds and return them to what they looked like in 1863.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Museums & AttractionsIn addition to the National Military Park, visitors can learn more about the era at museums and attractions that include:
- A. Lincoln Theater
- American Civil War Museum
- General Lee's Headquarters
- Gettysburg Battle Theater
- Hall of Presidents and First Ladies
- Jennie Wade House
- Lincoln Room Museum
- Lincoln Train Museum
- National Civil War Museum
- National Museum of Civil War Medicine
- Shriver House Museum
Ghostly Gettysburg, PennsylvaniaTens of thousands of young men died in the Battle of Gettysburg. Today many believe their spirits and restless souls continue to haunt the town. Ghost-watchers claim to have seen evidence in the form of cold spots and orbs, flashes of men in Civil War regalia who suddenly evanesce, and the unexplained movement of objects.
If you don't believe in ghosts, there are plenty of Gettysburg residents eager to change your mind. In some areas of Gettysburg, "Ghost Tours" led by citizens in period dress are as popular as T-shirt stores on Waikiki Beach.
There's more information on spirits, apparitions, haunted places, and the candlelight walking tours that can lead you to them, at Ghosts of Gettysburg.
For those who really thrive on tales of the no-longer-alive, Farnsworth House Inn features a re-constructed Victorian funeral parlor stocked with nineteenth-century mourning memorabilia. During an hourlong presentation, story tellers in period costume recount real characters who lived and died in Gettysburg and the restless spirits they may have left behind.
Gettysburg isn't Disney WorldIf you are considering visiting Gettysburg, don't go expecting it to be anything like a trip to Disney World. It is a reserved, hallowed place. Unlike many other historic spots that draw hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, Gettysburg has managed to remain fairly non-commercial.
There is not an overwhelming choice of lodgings. Farnsworth House Inn and the Historic Gettysburg Hotel both have advantages. Couples who prefer more modern and affordable lodgings can choose Holiday and Hampton inns with free wi-fi and a Hilton Garden inn, among other chain motels. There are also B&Bs and campgrounds in the vicinity.
Dining can also be a challenge. The Dobbin House, an historic stone structure, serves the best meals in town and they are quite good. After that, though, pickings are slim. If you really get desperate, there is a Giant (and they do mean giant) supermarket on the highway not too far from town.
Shopping in GettysburgIf you're one of those couples who don't believe a trip is complete unless you find a memento to bring home, you'll have plenty of places to find one. Gettysburg's Lincoln Square is surrounded by antiques shops that carry everything from historic memorabilia to 50s rhinestone jewelry. And if you're not careful, you'll come home with a kepi or dimity dress to re-enact your own history of visiting Gettysburg!
Is Gettysburg Right for Romantics?Be aware that Gettysburg attracts a huge number of bus tours filled with seniors as well as youngsters on field trips when school is in session.
Nonetheless, if the two of you are looking for a different kind of getaway, like learning about history, and appreciate the irony of taking a romantic vacation in a battlefield, you'll enjoy a brief visit to Gettysburg.