PENNSYLVANIA - History buffs or those just seeking an exciting day out in the country will love visiting Gettysburg National Battlefield in Pennsylvania. Over three days in July 1863, Confederate and Union forces engaged in one of America's most famous battles - over thousands of acres of hills, fields, and woods. Today the remaining monuments and markers tell the tale of this momentous conflict which profoundly affected how society functions today.
One can experience Gettysburg through its battlefield, but there are other fascinating ways to learn about this legendary battle and its surrounding town. From downtown Gettysburg to the battlefield, this region's rich history will capture your heart and stir your senses.
Start your day by visiting the visitor center and museum, offering an insight into everything that has shaped this region. There's no entrance fee; you'll get a battlefield map and details about ranger talks, reenactment events, and other programs offered there.
Once in Gettysburg, take a walk or drive to Soldiers' National Cemetery to remember Lincoln's iconic Gettysburg Address. Alternatively, shuttle over to Eisenhower National Historic Site, where President Dwight Eisenhower once lived, and then visit downtown Gettysburg to view David Wills House, where Lincoln spent the night before giving his address.
Take a guided tour of Shriver House, a meticulously restored 1860 home that once belonged to Lincoln's aunt. Here, you can walk through rooms with an experienced guide dressed in period attire and gain insight into everyday civilian life during the Civil War.
For an even more powerful and memorable experience, invest in a ticket to The Gettysburg Foundation's museum, cyclorama painting, and historic film. Those accessing a National Park Service exhibit can also ride for free.
Another option is a self-guided driving tour of the battlefield that's easy to follow with directional arrows and maps provided at the visitor center. The route includes stops at major sites that are easily accessible from there. However, you may need to make several detours due to traffic.
Experience the best battlefield view with a visit to Little Round Top, an area covered in boulders that were once the scene of fierce fighting. Standing atop this rocky vantage point allows you to take in stunning vistas from both sides of the conflict.
Don't miss Devil's Den, a small but dramatic ridge once home to sharpshooters and defensive soldiers from both sides of the conflict. This site is often used for battlefield walks or other memorable programs; inquire at the Visitor Center for details.
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