Split trip- Gettysburg

In the run around whirl that is a life with three teens it is sometimes hard to stop and smell the roses. On any given day we are usually driving at least one teen to and from some activity. Last weekend it was a soccer tournament. It was being held in Gettysburg. PA – one of my favorotie places…but for 2 days of a long weekend? Blah!

My to do list at the farmstead was piling up. And another weekend away was not on my radar. It turns out I must have jinxed myself bc we got a reprieve and didn’t have to go on the first day of the tourney. But that was because my husband, Kevin, was getting over a terrible stomach flu that he had for a week and he ended up in the ER one stormy evening. On Saturday, he was still not feeling up to spending all day watching soccer- there were 4 games that ran all day. I got Luke a ride (thanks Coach!) and we stayed home and tried to tackle a few things on the long to do list despite my husband not be quite recovered. Half a day in and we reached our limit of outdoor work and decided to relax on the deck or nap. Even though we didn’t get much done it was nice to just do nothing for a bit. ALL the kids were out doing something – it was so quiet at home. I had a tiny bit of guilt that I didn’t watch the soccer games- but Luke broke his arm and is in a cast so I wasn’t sure how much playing time he would get – so skipping it for the day seemed ok.

But on Sunday we got up and packed the car and Kevin and I, and our two boys(my daughter opted out), headed out to Gettysburg College. There were swarms of soccer players and fans out there. I was shocked at the number. Gettysburg College is a beautiful college. I looked up online the cost to go there (hey I have three teens- gotta consider these things) and WHOA! It was pricey! Well – kids enjoy it today or get a scholarship! Of course the 14 year old boys were not as taken as we were. To them college is 100 years away. The homes surrounding the college are gorgeous. We would get excited seeing the greek letters on the outside of some of the homes. My boys werent a bit excited. Well they acted a tiny bit excited when asked -“Do you see that building? There’s the quad…look at the dorms”… I would get a slight peak of interest but not much. Oh well  – Kevin and I had fun.


Luke and the soccer ball


We watched about 2 hours of soccer – the games had a huge break in between so we decided to grab Luke and head over to the battlefield. (stopping to smell the roses- get it?) Again the interest from the boys wasn’t quite there. They did enjoy the cannons and Ozzy seemed to like looking at the grave markers in the cemetery. The cemetery is my favorite place. I feel so calm there and I love that Lincoln stood there and gave the Gettysburg address. It gives me chills.

Site of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Site of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

I am not a Civil War buff – but I do find the entire place interesting.  The history of that place (51,000 casualties in that 3 day battle) and what those battles meant can’t be lost even on the least interested in civil war history. Driving along the battlefield is cool but can get a little tedious if you aren’t into every detail of the battle.The views are worth it though. I pictured in my head what it must have been like for the soldiers on those fields way back in July of 1863. It is quite overwhelming. The rock formations of Devil’s Den are so awesome. So much fun to climb on. We did not have time this trip to do the battlefield drive nor did we do a Devils Den visit.-which may have been a smart thing to skip when you have a kid in a cast that needs to play another soccer game!

Devils Den

Devil’s Den Gettysburg, PA

The old Battle Map – it has been moved to Hanover PA

I know my fondness for Gettysburg began as a kid. I remember taking field trips with school and coming up with family. Way back when I recall a room where there was a giant map that lit up as a man talked about the battle. That map was moved in 2012 to Hanover, PA in York County. More info on that here. The Battlefield visitors center now is huge and modern. It houses a great museum that we toured a few years ago with all three kids. I hope to get back soon and tour it when there is more time.

The one thing you notice when you are in Gettysburg is it is so clean. Everywhere is clean. It reminds me of being in Disney and how you never saw a piece of trash- it was like little hands would come up out of the ground to swipe even the tiniest wrappers away…how did they do that?  The town itself is so inviting. Lots of fun shops and restaurants. Years ago Kevin and I stayed at a lovely B&B in town called the Brickhouse Inn. This place was great and still boasts great reviews I see. This time it was just a day trip as we are only about an hours drive from Gettysburg…but I fell in love with The Gettysburg Hotel and I hope to get back there for a night with Kevin maybe in the fall. This hotel is old but is renovated to add modern touches. If you want truly authentic old places stick to the B&Bs. There are many to choose from.

We dropped Luke off to get ready for his late afternoon game and we headed over to town to grab some lunch. We ate at the Pub Restaurant. It was really good. It was hopping too. Games on in the bar, seats filled indoors and out. A gorgeous Sunday will get the tourists and shoppers alike out and about I guess. The food was very good. Kevin and I opted for the same thing- a turkey club on pretzel bread. I had leftovers – it was pretty big. Ozzy had a burger which by the sheer fact he inhaled I know he enjoyed (or maybe he was just starving as it was a late lunch!) I think it was both. It was nice to get such good service and good food with a place that was so busy.

Because I take photos of the games, I brought my heavy Canon because it has the longest lens. When we decided to walk from the visitors center to the cemetery and back I was a bit bummed I brought the heavy one. I wish I had thought to put my Fitbit on so I knew how far we walked that day. It was a good clip. I did end up getting some nice photos from the camera. I am drawn to nature and kept stopping on the path through the woods that leads to the

IMG_6596cemetery to take pictures of tree bark and wildflowers. The boys were very patient! On the way I heard a man complaining about not having the right lens and Kevin looked at me and said “every photographers complaint”. Yes it is (he has heard me say this many times), unless you lug all your gear or two(or more) cameras with different size lenses with you. I too had my complaints wishing for a shorter lens in some places and a wide angle in others.  I had my phone with me too which I used a bit.  I could have taken my second camera but with a bad shoulder I may have been pressing my luck. My lovely sons and hubby did carry things for me though. Had I known that they would do this so willingly I may have added that second camera to my arsenal.


Somehow the last two times I have been in Gettysburg it has been on Memorial Day weekend. The flags marking each grave are really something.


We watched a little more soccer(we won the last game-consolation game but its a win!) then headed to get some ice cream. We happened on a Mr. G’s home made ice cream shop right across from a beer garden and next to a wine garden…hello are we in heaven? I know where I am headed next time we come to town- hint they serve sangria…yes you know!

Line for the ice cream! You know its good stuff when there is a line out the door!


Artists along the street… and wine garden on the other side of the fence!























I have to say trying to do stuff soccer and a visit to some of the historic sites in Gettysburg is a lot to take in a day – but it was fun. I hope my sons got a little something out of it. It is hard to impress a teen unless there is food or money dangling in front of them- but I enjoyed spending time with them and I enjoyed being in such a cool town. Gettysburg, PA is definitely worth a trip to see. There is a lot to do. You wont be bored – I promise (ok I cannot say this when it come to teens but the rest of you wont be bored…).

I created a photo gallery of the day (no soccer pics). You can find that here. ( a couple photo credits go to Kevin and Luke!)

Thanks for reading….


Beer garden and restaurant..


I loved the trees in the cemetery…






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