We were headed to the Philadelphia area to stay with a good friend of mine. We wanted to see Gettysburg and decided that it would be most efficient to drive directly there and then go from there to the Philly area. We were hoping we would have time to see Valley Forge along the way as well.
We arrived at Gettysburg just before lunch time and headed to the Visitors' Center to find out exactly what we were supposed to do there. It turns out there are a number of options for touring the Battlefield. We decided that, with Stella in tow, it would be best to do the standard auto tour so we could go at our own pace. We stopped in the actual town of Gettysburg for gas and lunch and then it was on to the Battlefield.
In the Visitors' Center, they gave us a brochure with a map of the auto tour route. We followed the route and stopped at most of the stops. Each of the stops had plaques with lots more info about what exactly happened at that point on the battlefield. When Stella fell asleep, we took turns getting out of the car to see each stop. There were also monuments erected everywhere for the regiments that were involved. Tons of monuments = tons of men involved. It was cool to be there and to read about what happened there and to realize what an important battle it was.
We also paused to take a picture of Mr. Frisby standing directly in front of a cannon, contrary to Brian Regan's very sage advice.
Little and Big Round Tops.
When we stopped at Little Round Top, there was a guy there all decked out in Civil War attire. I don't know if he was a National Park employee or just some Civil War fanatic, but it was pretty cool nonetheless.
At the top of Little Round Top. At this point, it was close to the hottest part of the day and we were feeling it. I stupidly chose to wear denim capris that day because I thought, "we'll be in the car a lot, so I'll be in air conditioning". I didn't realize there would be so much getting out of the car to see the battlefield. Since it was so hot and we were wilting, we started hurrying things along a little after this point.
The "Copse of Trees" where Pickett's Charge, and subsequently the battle, ended.
At the end of the tour, we stopped at the Soldier's National Cemetery where Lincoln gave the famous Gettysburg Address.
All in all, we enjoyed the day at Gettysburg. Though, truthfully, we would have enjoyed it more if it was 10 or 15 degrees cooler. But, so goes life in Pennsylvania. After we finished at Gettysburg, we decided we would have time to stop and see Valley Forge on the way to the Philly area, so we headed that direction. One closed freeway, one hour of sitting in parking lot traffic on the freeway, and a very annoying detour later, we decided we would have to skip Valley Forge. We stopped for dinner when Stella started getting restless (and us, too). Then it was back on the road. Interestingly, as we were cruising along on the alternate route that Google Maps suggested since the main freeway had been closed on us, we saw an exit sign for Valley Forge. With the daylight fading fast, we decided to go for it and got off the freeway. The Visitors' Center and all the buildings were closed, but we quickly cruised around the park and checked out Washington's Headquarters by the light of our car headlights. We then drove across this cool covered bridge and that was it for Valley Forge. Someday we'll make it back there to see it in the daytime.