Gettysburg is much like the rest of Central PA, yet very different. For me, hearing “Gettysburg” makes me think of a variety of things.
Part of Route 30 that is typically well below the speed limit.
Traffic to be avoided during bike week and reenactment week.
Parking meters and the traffic circle at the square (both uncommon in the region).
Antiques priced substantially higher than they would be 30 minutes in either direction.
The most delicious macaroni and cheese with blue cheese and bacon bits, home brewed birch beer, and microbrews at Appalachian Brewing Company.
Not being able to get the aforementioned lunch at 3 pm because it turned out to be the day of the Remembrance Day parade (oops).
The Land of Little Horses.
Produce stands on the drive there.
A winery that has much improved in the last few years, and another that caters to local tastes – high residual sugars – that aren’t my style.
The Christmas tree farms a few miles away.
Herds of boy scout troops. Herds of tourists on Segways. Really, herds of tourists in general.
Nifty zig zagging log fences.
Civil War enthusiasts in period costumes.
Wait – back to that last one. The Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg – the turning point of a war that greatly impacted our nation.
That’s what Gettysburg is really all about, isn’t it?
A lot of blood was shed on these rocky fields. Many lives were lost, many families’ lives changed as a direct result of this battle. These were people – not just characters in some history lesson, some book, some movie. Living, breathing people whose lives were altered forever.
Not to mention those impacted by the results of the war. Communities that had been devastated. Economic impacts. Those who were freed from an impoverished and precarious existence, only to be thrown into another precarious existence – but a free one.
Standing at Little Round Top, you can see many of the southern Gettysburg battlefields. It’s a beautiful view from an outcrop of rocks. Rolling, rocky fields, South Mountain in the distance. I can’t quite comprehend the importance of this place, and the devastation that occurred here.
What do you think of when you hear “Gettysburg”?