Here’s an insight into Hubby’s priorities when it comes to scheduling our stops. We had a nice pastoral campsite in Northern Virginia, relaxing and enjoying the historical sights and visits with family and friends. We were planning on moving to Gettysburg for the weekend, spending three nights and seeing the Military Park. Hubby checked his sports schedule and realized that we would be missing a day of the British Open while traveling, so why not leave a day sooner, get settled at our new site and see the whole tournament? Fine by me, all it takes is a phone call to make sure we can get in early, part of the flexibiilty of our travel planning.
Gettysburg’s Artillery Ridge is a unique campground. They have a stable so you can bring your horses camping with you. If you don’t happen to travel with horses they also offer guided rides. It was a special treat to sit outside the RV and watch the riders go by on their way to and from the many trails through the Military Park. What a great way to see it.
Our first stop is always the Visitors Center to see what there is to see. As with all the major parks there are ranger programs, bus tours, movies and museums, something for every taste and budget. We did a CD self guided tour when at Chicamauga in Tennessee and it worked well, but this Park is so much bigger we thought the bus tour would be better. It was. The movie before the tour gave us a good overview of the battles and set the stage for what we would see. We toured the whole park and stopped at a few key places with an expert telling us the historical importance. Since neither Hubby nor I are Civil War buffs, having someone along who knew something more than us was a real help. Once we had the overview we were able to drive back and spend more time at some of the special places we found.
The Cyclorama was an unexpected highlight. It is 377 foot painting in-the-round, created in 1884 by Paul Philippoteaux, that re-creates Pickett’s charge. These Cycloramas were state-of-the-art entertainment at the time and toured the country. This one had to be fully restored since years of traveling, being folded and hung, had taken its toll. With the skyline, the three dimensional diorama, and the sound and light program, it was pretty impressive. They said the artist also did one of Jerusalem that is in Quebec. Maybe we’ll find it when we get up that way.
In between visits to the Park we did get to watch the British open. We also played a round at a local course, drove to a farm stand for for some peaches and vegetables, and explored some of the local galleries and shops. We were glad we had the extra day in the area. We were also very happy we had decided to take some time to stop and explore the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and Gettysburg, instead of whizzing by them on the Interstate on our way north or south.