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 Posted: Fri Mar 26th, 2010 12:23 pm
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IrishBrigade
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Hi,

 

Well it's getting close to the Summer so it's holiday planning time for me, I'm starting to look into going to Gettysburg, Chancellorsville and Fredricksburg(possibly Antietam as well). Should have about 10 days, I'm already reading Jeff Shaara's Civil war battlefields but that doesn't cover stuff like places to stay, best way of getting there etc.

Most likely I'd fly into Washingon DC or New York, I know Gettysburg has zero public transport to it so it looks like I'll have to rent a car too.

Any tips or recommendation for any of the above and tours to go on and avoid are gratefully received.



 Posted: Fri Mar 26th, 2010 03:14 pm
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fedreb
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I can't tell you how much I envy you as I've just had to cancel this years trip. If you are planning on making this a Civil war themed holiday then I would suggest you fly to DC as it is a much shorter drive (Yes you will need a car) from there to Gettysburg and you can do Manassas on the way. At Gettysburg there are many many places to stay but the one I like best is the Quality Inn at General Lees' HQ which although it is a 5/10 minute drive from the new VC it is right next to the Seminary on the 1st days field and perfect for evening walks on Mcphersons Ridge or over to Oak Hill and it has a restaurant/bar/mini brewery next door. If you are staying a while (2 days are good, 3 better) make sure you hire a Licensed Battlefield Guide to take you through your favourite part of the battle, well worth the money.Drive south from Gettysburg on the Emmitsburg Road and stop at the tourist info place where you enter Maryland,they have ready printed directions on how to get to the Antietam battlefield, awesome place and not to be missed in my opinion, and of course you are then only a few miles from Harpers Ferry, another unmissable place. Many hotels/motels in the town ( we stayed at the Holiday Inn last time) and some good restaurants too.
It is some time since I was last at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, can't remember where we stayed but don't recollect any disappointments.
If you are going further south towards Richmond I would suggest going west to Front Royal and taking the Skyline Drive down the crest of the Blue Ridge, stunning drive and it is only a short drive to Appomattox when you get off.
Stick around, there are folks here on this board who know all the ropes. Whatever you do and wherever you go I just know you are going to have a great time,Enjoy,
fedreb



 Posted: Mon Mar 29th, 2010 11:07 am
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IrishBrigade
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Thanks, I didn't think of going to Appomattox and Harpers Ferry and Richmond, plenty to see there.

I was hoping for some American responses with regards to hotels, car hire companies, local hints and tips, what to avoid etc.

Does anyone know the costs of hiring battlefield guides for one on ones, I'll be travelling alone.



 Posted: Mon Mar 29th, 2010 02:12 pm
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19bama46
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Irish,
I will try to answer some of your questions. You will find guide seervice at Gettysburg and Antietam, but not Chancellorsville or Fredericksburg. Rates will be in the $40.00 to $60.00 range plus tips. At Frericksburg, the NPS will conduct a very good sunken road tour that will give you a great deal of information about Fredericksburg in 1862 as well as that part of the battle. I highly recommend it..and ther is no charge for that tour.
Car Rentals will depend on what vehicle, how long rented, one way rental or return and a host of other factors, not unlike what you probably deal with in Ireland. Avis, Hertz and a variey of other companies are represented at the DC airports. Reserve in advance!

Do your reading in advance, then buy maps and strike off on your own. Be prepared to do a LOT of walking...or you can buy CD's and listen to them as you drive around the battlefields.
I love the Inn at Gen Lee's Hdqtrs at Gettysburg. At Sharpsburg, I am unaware of overnite accomodations..Sharpsburg is a VERY small village. I have stayed in Frederick Md, as well as Hagerstown, Md. Of course, Harpers Ferry and Charles Town are also nice places to stay and yet close enough to drive where you want to go.
Ed



 Posted: Mon Mar 29th, 2010 07:23 pm
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ole
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Irish: America is somewhat different. At Gettysburg there are literally hundreds of small shops more than willing to take your money. At Sharpsburg, the last time I was there, there was nowhere to spend an overnight and, at the last visit, just a bar in town where you could get a weak Ameican beer and a hot sandwich.

Crapshoot. You can go here and be overwhelmed with facilities, and you can go there and find nothing.

But you have linked into a board wherein you can get up-to-date information on where to go, where to stay, and where to eat.

I do hope you learn to appreciate grits. I never have and may never, but ... if you don't sample grits somewhere in your tour, you have not actually sampled American cuisine. We fed that crap to the pigs. And. if you see scrapple on the menu, just go for the sausage and eggs and the pancakes. Culture shock can be overwhelming.

Do let us know how your plans prgress.

Ole



 Posted: Mon Mar 29th, 2010 08:09 pm
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19bama46
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ole wrote: Irish: America is somewhat different. At Gettysburg there are literally hundreds of small shops more than willing to take your money. At Sharpsburg, the last time I was there, there was nowhere to spend an overnight and, at the last visit, just a bar in town where you could get a weak Ameican beer and a hot sandwich.

Crapshoot. You can go here and be overwhelmed with facilities, and you can go there and find nothing.

But you have linked into a board wherein you can get up-to-date information on where to go, where to stay, and where to eat.

I do hope you learn to appreciate grits. I never have and may never, but ... if you don't sample grits somewhere in your tour, you have not actually sampled American cuisine. We fed that crap to the pigs. And. if you see scrapple on the menu, just go for the sausage and eggs and the pancakes. Culture shock can be overwhelming.

Do let us know how your plans prgress.

Ole
Hey... why you gotta pick on the true southern food? Grits did nothin to you, yankees don't understand them and we can't get enough of them:D...sorta like Guiness..:D



 Posted: Mon Mar 29th, 2010 11:40 pm
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Doc C
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Ole

My dear man. Grits are a gift from the gods. My favorite - Shrimp and Grits or if you're of an Italian persuasion, polenta. Sure grits have little flavor, but oh do they take up what ever taste is placed upon them. By themselves, sure I'd leave on the side of the road but with shrimp and a good spicey roux with audouille or ham they're incredible, at least mine are. Grilled polenta cakes are also quite tastey. Irish, being from Louisiana originally and extremely fond of food and drink, I would be happy to map out your culinary quest for you.

Doc C



 Posted: Tue Mar 30th, 2010 04:54 am
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susansweet3
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I love grits. Of course I grew up eating hominey .



 Posted: Tue Mar 30th, 2010 01:06 pm
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TimK
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I ate grits once. Once being the key word.

But back to travel. I really like to stay at the Sleep Inn in Frederick when I have the chance to visit. It is clean, not real expensive (I think about $100 a night), and directly across the street from Monocacy. Frederick is also like the hub with spokes that go to Gettysburg, another to South Mountain and Antietam, another to Harpers Ferry, another to Baltimore, and another to DC.

If time allows I like to drive down to Fredericksburg by way of Manassas, and then set up shop there for a few days. I have also travelled further south and spent some very informative and fascinating days in Petersburg. Both places have decent accommodations and places to eat. But honestly, when I do this without my family, I usually buy a few bottles of water, a bag of apples and a box of crackers and eat off that. I like to spend my time in the battlefields and not spend a lot of time looking for food. I can eat at home, but only have so many hours that I can stomp battlefields.



 Posted: Tue Mar 30th, 2010 10:25 pm
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Doc C
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As I've mentioned elsewhere, the Civil War Medicine Museum is excellent. In terms of food, there's a Chinese/Sushi/Mongolian buffet place in Frederick which was very good. I know, a buffet, but this place was exceptional.

Doc C



 Posted: Tue Mar 30th, 2010 11:50 pm
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Captain Crow
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Hey Irish! I've got five nights booked at the Marriott Courtyard in Gettysburg this June. I was planning to split the time between there and Antietam the move on to Manassas for a day, then head to Virginia Beach for a couple of nights before I head home. If our dates line up I would be happy to share my accommodations with you. Message me if you are interested. Regardless of that, have an amazing journey...and ignore ole's grits comment...his is a tainted Yankee palate LOL!



 Posted: Wed Mar 31st, 2010 12:45 am
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ole
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they're incredible
You misspelled inedibile.

:)



 Posted: Wed Mar 31st, 2010 02:38 am
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Doc C
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Ole

It's all in the eating not the spelling. Like gumbo, shrimp and grits varies with the individual making them.

Doc C



 Posted: Wed Mar 31st, 2010 10:23 am
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IrishBrigade
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Thanks for the pointers, I've next week off work so I'm going to try and nail down dates, June being the most likely, I'm going to try and see as much as I can so it might be up to 14 days with Washington being the most likely starting point. I've been to the US several times but have never drove on the other side of the road, something which always put me off, also your traffic police seem to be a lot more active then ours(wouldn't be hard).

I've found some very helpful websites which I'll post as soon as I amalgamate them all and have applied for a lot of the free guides that some of the touristy places will post for free. 

Car rental seems very reasonable, do you have to return it with a full tank? It seems to cost more to drop it off at an airport?  Is the speed limit 55 even on interstates? That's a shocking 20 mph's lower then here and speed limits are roundly ignored in this country.

I also have to determine my end point, quite possibly Richmond at the moment but that would mean a very non direct flight home where in Washington I can fly direct back to Dublin, big difference at the end of a couple of weeks hard sight seeing.

No problems with walking lots, I have two dogs and love to walk especially on holidays, last year I walked the Las Vegas strip from start to finish and back again in serious heat(for me anyway).

Attached is a nice map from Hallowed ground.org for starters.

 

PS Is sat nav a must or are the signposts etc reasonably easy to follow?

Attachment: jthg-map-2008-print-version.pdf (Downloaded 1 time)



 Posted: Wed Mar 31st, 2010 06:34 pm
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Old Blu
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Hello, Irish.  Here is a website that has furnished some maps to us from the Civil War Preservation Trust.

Hope this helps.

http://civilwar.org/maps/maps-listings.html?map_type=cwpt



 Posted: Wed Mar 31st, 2010 07:01 pm
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GeorgeM
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You might want to check out the free web site Trip Advisor.  It's a great travel site with input from travelers on hotels, restaurants, and places to visit.  I have contributed myself and wrote some travel tips for Gettysburg. 

As for rental cars, I always use Hertz and get a small car with unlimited milage.  Also, it is important to reserve your car in advance.  You will need a driver's license and a credit card to rent a car in the USA, and if your car insurance doesn't cover rental cars, you will need to get it from the car rental company.  

As for airports, you might want to consider Baltimore instead of Washington, D.C.  The traffic around D.C. is very heavy, fast, and you have to be on your toes driving in it.  I have relatives in the area and drive in it often.  If you still go to a DC airport, it would be good if you can avoid rush hour traffic.  Sometimes it backs up for miles and if there is a wreck, be sure to have your favorite CW book to read.  It might take awhile to clear the roads.

As for battlefields, try to work in Antietam/Sharpsburg if you can.  It is a good one and it doesn't have the urban impacts and visual intrusions like some of the other battlefields. 

Good luck with your trip.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

George

 

      



 Posted: Wed Mar 31st, 2010 08:35 pm
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javal1
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I suggest checking out Civil War Traveler - http://www.civilwartraveler.com/

D.C. has a great Metro subway system, so once you get there there's no reason to drive anywhere in DC.

You have a great trip ahead - Antietam, Fredericksburg, Harper's Ferry, Wilderness all within close proximity of each other. Just beware the evil Route 3 - traffic's every bit as bad as the DC Beltway.

Have a great time.



 Posted: Wed Mar 31st, 2010 11:21 pm
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Doc C
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If you're flying into the DC area, I agree BWI is the one. Avoid DC and Baltimore and shoot up 32 or up I-97. If you're going to the Burg you can't miss Antietam, my favorite over Gettysburg.

Doc C



 Posted: Thu Apr 1st, 2010 12:52 am
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ole
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Envy you, Irish. I haven't even been over there yet. But then, I can drive over there, and I'm quite familiar with driving on the right side of the road.

General rule is that you can get away with 5 mph over the posted limit on highways. Interstates, in congested areas, is 55 or less. In open country, it will be whatever the particular state wants it to be. Sixty-five is the norm in the crowded states. When you get west and it opens up, 80 can be the (hint, hint) max.

It varies, state by state. As you will be in the east, I can't help you with the locals. Over here, if you have Illinois plates, you tread lightly through Wisconsin as their Smokies really like to tag us.

You'll have to gather some advice from those who live over there. Best bet is to not turn right from the left lane, and to stay within a couple miles of the posted limit. And watch for the signs. Some states will have about four signs per mile. Some states will have about one sign per four miles. Stick close and you will have no trouble as long as you can remember to stay to your right.

When you drift left, use the winkers. Do not change lanes without your winkers. Sooner or later, you'll run across someone who needs to fill his quota of tickets. Don't worry if you get pulled over. Say yes sir and no sir and cooperate. Chances are, if you are nice, he/she will cut you some slack.

We're diverse, but if you get stopped, you keep your hands where they can be seen. You don't move them until you have to open the window. Then you do it slowly.

It's not really all that bad; almost everyone you'll run across will be very nice. But not everyone. So you play to the long bet.

For the best routes, I'll turn you back over to those who know the roads. If you were to come out west, I'd have some really good advice.

I'm about to get doused with driving in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania myself ... in middle or late June. If we cross paths, I still look much like my avatar except I don't wear glasses anymore.

Ole



 Posted: Thu Apr 1st, 2010 12:58 am
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ole
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And, whatever they tell you here. Grits still suck.

Ole



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