This October 22nd, Karrie and I will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. We decided that we would take the weekend before and go to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania together in celebration. Karrie's parents graciously agreed to watch both boys so it really was a couple of days to ourselves, which we really, really needed.
We wanted to stay in a Bed and Breakfast very close to the center of town so that we would be able to walk to nearly anyplace we wanted to. Karrie managed to talk the inn keeper at The Inn At Lincoln Square into allowing us to book the Annie Danner Suite for Saturday night only; normally they have a two day minimum. I set about researching places to eat and drink as well as other activities we could enjoy while we where there. We dropped the boys off around 9:30am on Saturday morning and then we were off for the approximately one-hour drive to Gettysburg. Our first stop was for some breakfast at The Lincoln Diner. I can't remember the last time I ate at a diner but I hope its not as long until the next time. The food was delicious partially owed, I'm sure, to the fact that we were both starving. After breakfast we walked about a block and a half down to Breaktime Massage, where unbeknown to Karrie I had arranged for a one-hour couples massage so that we could begin our getaway relaxed.
After our massages we drove to the Appalachian Brewing Company for some drink and food, in that order. This was our best dining experience of the trip and we would have gone back for lunch on Sunday had they been open. We ordered a sampler consisting of eight, six ounce samples of their brews. We each had our favorite but all were pretty tasty as was the food. Following lunch we went to the bed and breakfast to check-in. The room was awesome and the pictures I took on my Droid X do not do it justice. The B&B was right on Lincoln Square, the heart of downtown Gettysburg. Literally, walked out the front door of the inn and we were in the square looking at Lincoln himself. After exploring the room we went for a walk downtown going into several shops and restaurants, noting the menus to aid in our decision on where to eat dinner. We did a wine tasting at the Adams County Winery wine shop and bought a couple of bottles, one for us and one for Karrie's parents as a way of saying thank you for watching the boys.
At around five-thirty we went back to the inn to decide on dinner. We called a few places to see what their wait was like because some of them already had waits when we popped in to look at menus in the previous hour. Based on wait time and first glance, we elected to eat at a little Italian place called Mamma Ventura. I've had great luck with little Italian restaurants in the past with great food and service, but on this day, my luck ran out. The service was slow and when it did come it was rushed. The food was mediocre at best and overall our dining experience was not great. Moreover, the slow service forced us to reschedule our 8pm ghost tour to 9:45pm. After dinner we again returned to the inn and just relaxed a bit before heading off for our ghost tour. I had made reservations with The Original Ghost Tours of Gettysburg although there were several to choose from. The walk to the start of the tour was about three blocks from the square. Along the way we stopped at a little french cafe named Cafe Saint-Amand for some hot chocolate with which to enjoy the schnapps that Karrie had brought along to keep us warm on the tour. The tour was entertaining if not a bit theatrical. I took plenty of pictures but alas, no paranormal activity was captured. The tour ended shortly after 11pm and since the previous night had been a rough one (Lucas did not sleep well at all) we elected to go back to the inn and sleep rather than bar hopping.
Sunday morning we slept in before packing up and checking out. We walked next door to the visitor's center and purchased an "auto tour" book and compact disc for the battleground and after grabbing lunch we set off to do it. The tour is pretty extensive and has its own roads and tons of monuments. Unfortunately we missed a turn on our way to stop one and as a result of the long stretch of one-way road we were on, we decided to skip the first three stops. Having not grown up in this area, this was my first time exploring the Gettysburg area, or any Civil War battleground for that matter. I was really taken aback by the history here. As Karrie and I stood at the Virginia monument and walked on the same fields as the men in Pickett's Charge toward high water mark, I couldn't help but think what it must have been like to be a Confederate soldier in that very moment; walking across an open field, arm-in-arm with your brothers in the face of cannon and gunfire. If someone in the line fell, you closed ranks and continued to move forward not knowing if you would be the next to fall. The amount of bravery and commitment to their beliefs was extraordinary and is non-existent in the in the vast majority of today's Americans. I wish I had been more interested in our country's great history when I was in school; we really do have an amazing history for such a short existence. Schools need to do a better job of teaching it to our children and instilling pride in who we are and where we came from. History class shouldn't be about memorizing dates, it should be about the human experience of the times. Make it interesting and perhaps our children won't take their liberties for granted.
We were unable to complete the tour but we do plan on going back and finishing it soon. The trip as a whole was great and a well need break and celebration for us both. If you have a chance to explore the battlefield in Gettysburg I highly recommend it.