A Civil War Primer at Gettysburg

We discovered that Gettysburg National Military Museum and Battlegrounds was not quite 20 miles away from us at Gettysburg Farm RV Resort.

 

We decided to take the day and go see. We are not history scholars. Yes, we enjoy historical museums and find that the information usually does not completely match our schooling from our younger years. We have not previously taken the time to study history of the various parts of the USA over the past forty years.

Since we are now full-time travelers, it is time for us to try to fill in many blanks in our education on this subject.  This was a Civil War Primer for us.  We won’t try to explain or show our ignorance on the subject, but will share what we experienced. It was a fascinating stop.

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Gettysburg was and is a charming quiet place for such sadness of bloodshed

We had no idea of the vast area of the battlegrounds, nor the enormity of the casualties and that it was a 3-day battle at Gettysburg. This was a project that needed much more time than we had to give.  We were moved at what we saw and the solemnity of it all.

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We started as usual at the Visitor Center to try to get our bearings and make a plan for an afternoon. We were lucky to catch a showing of the intro film, narrated by Morgan Phillips within 10 minutes of our arrival. That gave us the background to understand the why’s and how’s behind the State’s succession and the extinct of the conflicts between the southern States and the Federal Government.

From there we went to the Cyclorama.  Which is a painting on canvas hung from the ceiling and goes 360 degrees around the room. It too is narrated and has tremendous sound and visual effects. We felt like we were in the middle of the fighting and looking for a place to hide from the battle cries, the cannon balls firing from all directions and the noise of the gunfire.   It was so frightening in simulation, that I can’t imagine what it must have been to live through or worse to be maimed or to die there on the fields.

After the cyclorama we took ourselves to the museum. It was a collection of time period artifacts and short films depicting the life of those who lived here during that time. There were slave shackles and invoices of sales, there were examples of Confederate and Northern uniforms, arms, supplies and displays of everyday life for a foot soldier as well as for the officers.

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We grabbed a bite to eat at the food service and headed out with a CD disc guided tour of the battlegrounds. This alone is over 2 hours to complete the tour at a minimum. However, it was so interesting and vast. The landscape is basically the same.

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Once a battlefield

The audio on the CD narrates the circumstances, the goals of each Commander or leader on each side, the struggles that the soldiers had to deal with and the outcome. How many casualties on each side and who won or lost.

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The stops along the way were of battles at each site and the regiments that fought on both sides.  There were statues, stones and other forms of artwork depicting the battle.  We were in awe as we solemnly drove through the various battlegrounds.

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Our final stop of the day was fitting.  It was the National Soldier’s Cemetery, where President Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address during a dedication of the cemetery.

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Graves with identities on the stones

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The enormity of unknown soldiers buried here

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President Lincoln dedicated this cemetery with his famous Gettysburg Address.

As we say over and over, we wish we had more time here to discover the many more aspects of this area.  Maybe next time…..

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I remember memorizing his Gettysburg Address in high school

Harley-Davidson Steel Toe Tour

We moved from Hershey, PA to Dover, PA so that we could meet our friends Laura and Cliff. We toured the Harley-Davidson motorcycle plant in York, PA.

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We were each impressed with the manufacturing process, the robotics and the beautiful machines that were completed in just a matter of hours.

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After touring the gift shop to pick up a memento of the day, we grabbed an early dinner downtown at the White Rose Bar and Grill and saw a bit of the city.

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It was great touching bases with friends and hearing of their adventures and sharing our own. Happy Trails until we meet again Cliff and Laura!_dsc0590reduced_2073

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A stay at a working farm RV Resort

We stayed at the Gettysburg Thousand Trails Resort, which is actually a working farm.

Barn and Silos

Barn and Silos\

It was a quiet park and gave us the time to catch up on a few regular chores before we explored the area.

We parked along the cornfields

We parked along the cornfields

Llamas were corralled but the goats roamed free...

Llamas were corralled but the goats roamed free…

Back in our sticks and brick house days, we had backyard chickens.  I always wanted a goat, but the city ordinance did not allow such folly.   We did enjoy our time here as the rooster announced the morning each day.

Plymouth Rock and Plimouth Plantation

This is Plymouth Rock.

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This is the Garden Center of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

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This is Plimouth Plantation.

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Visitor Center

Plimouth Plantation Visitor Center

The Plimouth versus the Plymouth spelling was explained right away at the Plimouth Plantation. In early America, written documents were written and words were spelled phonetically, often differently in the same document.

The Plimoth Plantation was built to commemorate the early lifestyle of the 17th Century English Village. They used the spelling of Plimouth to distinguish it apart from the city of Plymouth.

It is a well-organized 17th Century living museum that takes one back into time and dispels much of what I understood about the newly discovered New World. After our day I understood what was meant by the moto of the plantation:
“You can’t change history, but it could change you”.

Bees at the Visitor Center

Bees at the Visitor Center

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We were surprised to find these hives, but pleased. We love bees!

First we were given a map of the compound and led into a theater for a short clip of what to expect and a lesson on how to interact with the native and European characters. From the theater we followed the map as it directed and had a most informative day experiencing life as it was way back when……

Chidren's game leader and a tribal descendent

A member of the Wampanoag Tribe prepping for dinner

Dinner is slow coolid in clay pots over ashes. It looked delicious

Dinner was normally slow cooked in clay pots over ashes. A vegetable and squash stew with maybe a little rabbit.

First living museum stop was the Wampanoag Home site where we met descendants of the native population who gave wonderful presentations of what their life was like back then. They spoke of the plentiful versatile food supplies which included ample natural grown herbs, fruits and vegetables and the fish that they dried to supplement the winter hunting meats. This particular village was one family’s home which probably supported about 8 people. The wooden hut belonged to the wife and usually was home to her mother and father, her children and her husband. She would hand it down to her oldest daughter at the end of her time.

Home to a family o 8

Home to a family of 8

We saw demonstrations of children’s toys and games, cooking and a presentation of how a hut was built and how the air flow was controlled to keep it warm and smoke free or cooled with air circulation. It was a hot day, but the hut was much cooler even with a crowd of tourists inside.

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We saw the native gardens full of corn, fruited bushes, herbs and such. They made teas and medicines from all sorts of native plants. They were so proud of their lifestyle and freedoms that they had back then.

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This was their summer home, they retreated inland during the winter. It is cooler near the ocean with the breezes that blow across the water.

I was pleased at how the characters reacted to questions of how it felt to be invaded and subjected to the Europeans illnesses and encroachments.  Our guide was careful, kind and explained that the two villages lived in peace for some time before friction became an issue.  That each village (the English and the Native) learned from one another and continue to work together today to evolve into one country.

Entrance to the Village

Entrance to the Village

Our next path took us to the English Village where we met both groups of passengers that survived the ocean trip and the first dire winter on land.  Most of the settlers were not hunters or farmers prior to arriving.  It was a rush to set up housing for shelter and wood for warmth.  The first year was severe.

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Cannons brought from England transported to the village for protection

Cannons brought from England transported to the
village for protection

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They talked about the trials that they lived through, how they helped one another and how they better prepared themselves for the next winter.  Even after the first year they found that a late spring could cause food shortages.  They may have used their food stores, the flying game had not returned yet and the ground game had retreated inland.

Each family brought their own seeds for gardening

Each family brought their own seeds for gardening

The gardens provided vegetables, herbs and fruit.  The women made teas and medical concoctions from the herbs that they brought until they found which native herbs would do.

Children learned songs and games from long ago, heard a few fabled stories told, and chased the chickens and walked the livestock corrals.

Plymouth Rock Hen. W had 3!

Plymouth Rock Hen. We had 3!

Brought from England for hardiness

Brought from England for hardiness

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Garden rake

 

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The Designated Bread Oven

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Firewood chopped and ready

Homes were cozy

Homes were cozy

Life is still tiring in the village

Life is still tiring in the village

Family Time in Pennsylvania

We did a quick detour to Wilkes-Barre area to visit a special niece. We hadn’t seen one-another for many years, but it was if we saw one-another yesterday. We were so comfortable.

She and I love flea markets and we did our best to do justice to the merchants by admiring and often buying wonderful bargains in their sale booths.

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Then it was off to a local restaurant for breakfast. Phil and I seek out the local food cafes. It gives us a sense of the community. It is amazing the things that you can learn at a local eatery._dsc0562reduced_1938

My niece likes to give gifts, I love to receive and she is good at it!
We will have another visiting opportunity in a couple of days. They will be coming to our house on wheels for a cookout. I love having people over and am so glad that our rig gives us that space and the park gives us a fire pit with ambiance.

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This is a wonderful family and I am so glad to see them!

Our Excursion to Cape Cod

We took a day trip to the Cape Cod Peninsula. Driving to the tip where Provincetown plays hosts to many summertime tourists. The drive was beautiful with some beach shoreline views.  The rest of the drive was over roads lined with tree greenery. The small towns along the way seemed to connect to one another. The traffic on the way to Provincetown was easy.

Happy wader looking doing a little beach combing

Happy wader looking doing a little beach combing

Along the  way, we made several stops to enjoy the landscape, sea views and quirky little seaside towns.

Underwater life in Sand

Underwater life in Sand

Lobster Boat returning to shore

Lobster Boat returning to shore

Sandy Neck Light House

Sandy Neck Lighthouse

Beautiful home on the coast

Beautiful home on the coast

Not sure if we would every try to camp on the beach, but it is enticing.

With a sand parking permit, one can camp close to the ocean

With a sand parking permit, one can camp close to the ocean

We ended up at the Cape Cod National Seashore on Race Point Beach with a pod of whales not far out in the ocean. We gathered with others to watch them arch in the waves and blow spray high into the air. There must have been 5 or more. The tour boats gathered about as well. Something like this is such a natural marvel. We always feel so blessed when this happens.  They were visible to us, but too far away to catch a good photograph.

Race Point Beach

Race Point Beach

Sun bathers on Race Beach

Sun bathers on Race Beach

On the return trip, we caught the timing wrong and it took twice as long to return to our starting point.

Once we came to the end of the day and before we crossed the bridge back toward our current parking location, we needed nourishment. We picked the closest restaurant listed on the GPS and took the back roads to a busy and obviously popular eatery called The Lobster Trap. Valets parked our car and we were told to  expect to wait in line for a table.  This was a fine dining experience with us filling our dinner plates with lobster, steamers, linguica sausage, and corn.   Linguica Sausage is a Portuguese addition to the seafood combo.  It is a tribute to the Portuguese sailors of the seaport’s history.

A feast to finish a long but delightful day.

What a feast!

What a wonderful way to end the day of our adventure.

Ancestors in Stonington, CT

We needed a stop along our way to Pennsylvania and Stonington, Connecticut  fit into our schedule.   I did call ahead to see if we could access a burial ground for one Privateer and learned of a walking tour of the original borough.  I signed us up for the tour and made reservations at an RV park in nearby Mystic.

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Robinson Burial Ground Stonington CT

We arrived at the Continue reading