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Gettysburg Day Trip

This is the last of three blog posts about our Winter Weekend Getaway in Shippensburg, PA.  We used the Best Western Shippensburg as a home base.  We visited the Thurmont, MD area on Saturday, January 2.  We visited Gettysburg, PA on Sunday, January 3.

Gettysburg National Park Service Museum and Visitor Center

We arrived at the National Park Service Museum and Visitor Center in time for the 9:00 am showing of the film “A New Birth of Freedom”, narrated by Morgan Freeman.The film places the monumental events of the Battle of Gettysburg into the larger context of the Civil War and American history.

After watching the 20-minute film, we viewed the Gettysburg Cyclorama program, which immerses the viewer into the fury of Pickett’s Charge during the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg. We stood on a viewing platform that placed us with a line of sight that was level with the horizon.

One scene from the Gettysburg Cyclorama painting

We were fortunate that we viewed the Cyclorama program at a time when it was not crowded. We were able to see the action at other parts of the painting because the few other visitors standing around the viewing platform were not blocking the view. What an amazing, realistic presentation!

The museum features relics of the Battle of Gettysburg and personalities who served in the Civil War, interactive exhibits, and multi-media presentations that cover the conflict from beginning to end.

One of the museum exhibits

The cost of admission to the film, Cyclorama and museum was $11.50 each, including a AAA discount.  We spent almost 2 hours at the Visitor Center, after which we embarked on a tour of Gettysburg National Military Park to see the ground on which the Battle of Gettysburg took place. There are several guided tours you can do for various prices; however, we opted to do a 24-mile self-guided auto tour of the park.  The auto tour starts at the visitor center and includes 16 tour stops.  The route traces the three-day battle in chronological order.  We stopped at most of the stops depicted on the auto tour map.

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Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #1
McPherson Ridge

McPherson Barn
The Battle of Gettysburg began about 8:00 am on July 1, 1863 to the west beyond the McPherson barn,
as Union cavalry confronted Confederate infantry advancing east along Chambersburg Pike.

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Self-Guiding Auto Tour Stop #2
Eternal Light Peace Memorial

If you look closely, you will see the eternal flame in both of these photographs.

 

 

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Self-Guiding Auto Tour Stop #4
North Carolina Memorial

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Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #5
Virginia Memorial

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Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #8
Little Round Top

 

 

 

 

 

From Little Round Top we drove down to the Valley of Death.

Looking up to Little Round Top from the Valley of Death

Devil’s Den

 

 

Bob took this picture of me at the Valley of Death.
In the background is Little Round Top.

Bob says there isn’t much support for that big boulder.

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Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #10
The Peach Orchard

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Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #12
Pennsylvania Memorial

 

Bob climbed the northwest corner tower.
Do you see Bob waving at me?

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Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #14
East Cemetery Hill

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Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #15
High Water Mark

 

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Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #16
Soldiers’ National Cemetery
This cemetery is the final resting place of the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg.
It is also where President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address.

 

Soldiers’ National Monument
(near the site of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address)

New York State Monument

 

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This was both my and Bob’s first visit to Gettysburg.  The Gettysburg National Military Park is immense.  We spent at least 3 hours driving through the battlefield.  We could have easily spent many more hours there.  The grounds are peaceful and hauntingly beautiful when you think about the lives lost and the blood spilled there.

 

We ate a late lunch at the Appalachian Brewing Company. We both ordered fish and chips. For dessert we shared a slice of peanut butter pie.   The food, service and atmosphere were excellent.

Our last stop in Gettysburg was at Sachs Covered Bridge.

 

 

We returned to our hotel in Shippensburg, PA around 5:00 pm.  Our trip back home was the next day on Monday, January 4.  This blog post concludes our Shippensburg Winter Weekend Getaway.

 

Frederick County, MD Covered Bridges and a Waterfall

This is the second of three blog posts about our Winter Weekend Getaway in Shippensburg, PA.

Saturday, January 2, activities included a driving tour of three covered bridges in Frederick County, MD; hiking to Cunningham Falls near Thurmont, MD once in the morning and another time in the afternoon; and lunch at Mountain Gate Family Restaurant in Thurmont, MD. The three covered bridges that we saw were: Utica Mills Covered Bridge, Loy’s Station Park and Roddy Road Covered Bridge.

We began the tour of the covered bridges north of Frederick at the junction of US15 (Catoctin Mountain Highway) and Old Frederick Road. We turned right onto Old Frederick Road, which we followed for 1.5 miles.  We made a left onto Utica Road and arrived at Utica Mills Covered Bridge.

Utica Mills Covered Bridge

We returned to Old Frederick Road and make a left turn. We drove 3.9 miles to a stop sign, located in Creagerstown.  At the stop sign we turned left onto MD550. We drove 0.4 miles and made a right onto Old Frederick Road. We traveled an additional 2 miles and made a left into the parking lot of Loys Station Park.

Loys Station Covered Bridge

Loys Station Park would be a great place for a picnic.  The park includes picnic tables, grills, playground, covered shelters and portable bathroom facilities.

From the parking lot of Loys Station Park, we turned left and drove through the bridge. We drove 0.3 miles to a stop sign, where we made a left turn onto Rocky Ridge Road (MD77). We drove 2.7 miles on Rocky Ridge Road and turned right onto Apples Church Road in Thurmont. We followed Apples Church Road for 1.6 miles to the Roddy Road Covered Bridge.

Roddy Road Covered Bridge

I would like to thank Eileen, author of the Viewing Nature with Eileen blog, who gave me the heads up regarding these three covered bridges.  Thank you, Eileen!  We enjoyed visiting each of these covered bridges!

From the Roddy Road Covered Bridge we drove to Cunningham Falls State Park (William Houck Area entrance), where we followed the Lower Falls Trail to Cunningham Falls.

Lower Falls Trail to Cunningham Falls

The Lower Falls Trail is the shortest and easiest access to Cunningham Falls.  The trail over rolling terrain is 0.5 miles long and terminates at a platform observation deck that provides a view of Cunningham Falls.

Cunningham Falls

Located nearby, but not accessible, was another platform observation deck. We wondered how to access the other observation deck, as it appeared to provide a better vantage point from which to see Cunningham Falls.

Cunningham Falls is not the only attraction at Cunningham Falls State Park.  Hunting Creek Lake is located in the park’s William Houck Area as well.

Hunting Creek Lake

After taking a couple pictures of the lake, we left Cunningham Falls State Park to go to lunch. We ate lunch at the Mountain Gate Family Restaurant, which was suggested to me by Eileen, the same person who gave me the heads up regarding the covered bridges.  Bob and I each ordered the buffet lunch. There were several foods to select from. We enjoyed our respective meals.

While at lunch I discovered that there was a nature trail from the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center to Cunningham Falls, to the other observation platform that we had seen in the morning. The trail was 2.8 miles round trip. We decided to hike this trail. Oh my! What a hike! The hike was mostly uphill. We climbed over tree roots and rocks.

Catoctin Mountain Nature Trail to Cunningham Falls
I drew an arrow on both photographs to show part of the trail.

I was very happy, when we reached the boardwalk to the falls.

Bob is on the boardwalk leading to Cunningham Falls.

Cunningham Falls

The view of the falls was nice, but I didn’t feel the view was any better than what we had seen in the morning. You can see the other viewing platform in the photograph displayed above.

Bob left me at the falls, and he took the nature trail back to the Catoctin Mountain Visitor Center. Bob said that I would have had trouble making the return trip on the trail, as it was downhill most of the way and a steep descent in places. Bob drove our car to the handicap parking lot next to the boardwalk and picked me up.

We returned to the hotel around 4:45 pm, where we remained for rest of the day.

Warren, PA to Shippensburg, PA

We began the new year with a road trip to Shippensburg, PA.  This is the first of three blog posts about our Winter Weekend Getaway in Shippensburg, PA.

We departed our home in Warren, PA shortly before 8:00 am on New Year’s Day.  We ate breakfast at the Dutch Pantry in Clearfield. Bob ordered a Western Omelet with rye toast and fruit. I ordered the senior breakfast: 2 eggs, bacon, wheat toast and hot tea. Bob’s breakfast included a hot apple fritter, which he gave to me. Breakfast was filling and tasted delicious. We were back on the road at 10:40 am, after about an hour spent at breakfast.

We arrived at our hotel, the Best Western Shippensburg, around 1:30 pm.  The map shown below shows our route from Warren to Shippensburg.

Part of our drive is worth mention.  State Route 641 between Shade Gap, PA and Roxbury, PA is a very nice road with lots of twists, turns, ups and down and great scenery.  Our entire drive from Warren to Shippensburg would be a great ride on the motorcycle.  This is especially true for SR 641!

Around 3:30 pm we went in search of Ramp Covered Bridge. According to the hotel’s guest directory, Ramp Covered Bridge was located less than 10 miles from our hotel. From the intersection of King and Earl Streets we turned north on Earl Street, which we followed for 5.2 miles. We turned right (east) onto East Creek Road and drove about 1.7 miles. At a t-intersection, we turned left and then left again onto Covered Bridge Road. We quickly arrived at the covered bridge.

Ramp Covered Bridge

Ramp Covered Bridge, which was constructed in 1870, crosses the Conodoguinet Creek and is 130 feet long.  It is the last covered bridge still in use in Cumberland County.

On our way back to our hotel we stopped at Wendy’s for dinner, where we each ordered a chicken salad.

We stayed three nights in Shippensburg, using Best Western reward points to pay for our 3-night stay.  We visited the Thurmont, MD area on Saturday, and we visited Gettysburg, PA on Sunday.   We returned home on Monday, January 4.  Look for additional blog posts about our Shippensburg weekend getaway in the near future!

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