Gettysburg National Military Park commemorates the bloodiest and most decisive battle of the Civil War. The battlefield area is extensive and requires driving in and around the town of Gettysburg to fully appreciate the drama. There are also monuments for the various states and militia which took part in the battle. Head for the Visitor Center first and obtain an orientation map and self-guiding auto tour. Also check out the special events scheduled for the day and attempt to include some in your visit.
Be sure to view the Cyclorama Sound and Light Show which highlights the major events of the battle, using a circular painting.
While in the area, travel north to Hershey, Pennsylvania, famous, of course, for the production of chocolate. The town celebrates chocolate in various ways, including streetlamps which look like Hershey Kisses. Hershey’s Chocolate World explains the entire process of making chocolate. There is also a musical program called “Hershey’s Really Big 3-D Show” as well as shops.
Also, in the vicinity, is Hershey Park, an amusement park popular with families.
A lengthy excursion, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) west of Gettysburg is Fallingwater, one of well-known architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s signature and most famous homes. It is located in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania, in the town of Ohiopyle. The home is constructed of stone and concrete and is dramatically cantilevered over a waterfall. A trip to this fairly isolated location is probably best accomplished as an overnight.
1. At Gettysburg, take a personally guided tour with a licensed battlefield guide. It is worth the cost because it is so difficult to appreciate the scale and timeline of the battle without an expert.
2. Also, it is helpful to either see the movie, “Gettysburg” or read the book, “Killer Angels”, by Shaara, prior to a visit so that the events of the battle are fresh in the mind.