In yesterday’s post I mentioned that the battle at Antietam was the bloodiest of the Civil War because is was the worst one-day casualty count. Today I learned that Gettysburg was the deadliest conflict, lasting for three days.
This was our last day of visiting national parks. It has been hot all week until today. Today it was cold and raw with a wind that was as times quite brisk.
The weather suited the subject and despite the grayness I still got some nice photos. We spent most of the day touring the battlefield.
There are more than 300 memorials erected in honor of those who fought there. Each state’s contributions are listed by the number lost, wounded and missing in action.
The memorials run from formal and classic, using stone and brass to modern and artistic, oversized and bold.
We finished up the day at one of the ranger-led discussions about a soldier’s life. It was great; both informative and entertaining.
Back on the road tomorrow.
I learned a lot of interesting things about President Eisenhower today; including that the farm he retired to was the first home he and Mamie ever owned, and being a military family they moved almost 40 times.
He was a success as a show farmer with a herd of prize cattle.
I loved the home because it was like walking around on the set of a movie from the 1950’s.
There was an old sewing machine, the same one I have (LOL) and old TV sets and rotary phones.
I have to admit though, being a NH reporter and having my share of interactions with Secret Service, I was most interested to see their state-of-the-art command center, complete with back up power, radios, a coffee pot and an ashtray.
There was also a pair of mirrored sunglasses on the desk.
Once again Google found another gem of a restaurant. The place was called Hunts Battlfield Fries in Gettysburg… a great burger, excellent fries and so cute inside. The walls are covered with replicas of vintage signs and other fun stuff.
After lunch, we toured the battlefields of Antietam and I learned that an artist from Vermont, named James Hope was there and recorded the images in his sketch book. Later he painted an incredible series of five large paintings (each weighing over 200 pounds) which were nearly lost to neglect.
They were rescued, restored and now offer a view of America’s bloodiest battle from one who was there.
We began the day at Fort Necessity National Battlefield. It is there that George Washington suffered his first defeat. The battle would spark the French and Indian War and despite the 22-year old’s mistakes in Farmington, P.A. in 1754, he would go on the lead the colonies to victory in the Revolutionary War, twenty-odd years later.
The fort is a reconstruction but well done and the film shown a the visitor’s center is well worth watching. Check out the Washington Tavern, too.
About a half-hour away is Friendship Hill, the country estate of Albert Gallatin, the treasury secretary under Thomas Jefferson.
I really wanted to check out this park as it is stop #1 of 30 in the National Park system that related to the journey of Lewis and Clark.
Gallatin financed the expedition and he was also responsible for the Louisiana Territory Purchase.
On this particular weekend Friendship Hill hosts and annual event called FestiFall, where period crafts, entertainment and food are all done by re-enactors.
We learned of the park and the event from a ranger at the Flight 93 Memorial. It was a great reccomendation we have old-fashioned cookies, roast beef sandwiches and saw a number of talented craftspeople at work.
The house was really interesting, very large with a variety of additions, construction styles and lots of period detail.
Harpers Ferry is a large park with a lot to see. There are several exhibit buildings covering the important battles, the story of John Brown and and the floods that destroyed much of town on more than one occassion.
Althought the civil war history is probably the most significant, there were battles fought during other wars as well.
It was also interesting to learn about John Brown in more detail, especially after just having vistited Uncle Tom’s Cabin in August.
There is even a connection to the Lewis and Clark expedition – my favorite of all of the Florentine Films productions.
On Saturday we head back toward Johnstown to check out Friendship Hill, there is a very important connection to Lewis and Clark -but more on that tomorrow.
We began the day at Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wrights most well known works. It was designed in 1935 and remained in the same family until it became a preservation site. As the guides explained, the home was designed to encourage interaction with nature and the views are incredible.
The furnishings and the family’s art collections are still there, including two Picassos and two pieces by Diego Rivera.
They have a strict no picture policy so all I have are some exterior shots and some postcards -so I took a rather grainy photo of the postcard picture of the living room.
We also visited the Flight 93 Memorial which, once you reach this remote corning of Pennsylvania there is a 2.5 mile drive to get from the entrance of the park to the site. It is very remote and somehow the long drive in seems to set a fitting tone.
We also went to the memorial to the Johnstown Floods. A dam breach in 1889 killed more than 2,200 people. Close to 100 families were wiped out, and everyone lost someone.
I left Dover at about 7 and with a few pit stops along they way, I arrived at the KOA at 4 p.m. as planned and about 15 minutes after Jackie arrived with the camper.
This was also my first time using Waze. What a handy app. .. “caution roadkill ahead, caution car stopped on shoulder… but the best part was knowing the speed limit. I never seem to see the speed limit signs and the app puts them right on the screen, along with your speed…very handy.
It is a nice campground as are all the KOA’s we stayed at over the years. In fact, five years ago I learned that the KOA and Cracker Barrel are like a secret society for the mobile RV crowd. By mobile I mean folks who just need a base of operation and are not necessarily going to hang about all day. KOA offers late check-in, where you pull in, plug in, fill out your paperwork and drop it the box. In the morning there is a receipt on your windshield. Cracker Barrel has RV parking, I never noticed it until we needed it and now I realize how few places offer RV parking. Not that I mind because the macaroni and cheese and biscuits are always a highlight. We unpacked, or at least I did, Jackie put her stuff in the camper before hitting the road. Then we headed out for mac & cheese. Our itninerary for tomorrow is Falling Water, the Flight 93 Memorial and the Johnstown Floods Memorial sites.
We have stayed friends all these years and always gotten together.
Each year for the past five we have traveled to different parts of the country in her camper and visited National Parks in the region. This year we are headed to the Gettysburg region and I hope to post each day with some pictures and reflections on our stops.
I have assembled all of the necessary equipment for the trip I’ve picked up maps at Triple-A I’ve installed the Waze app on my phone and I’ve located the macaroni and cheese and biscuits map aka the Cracker Barrel map.