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 Posted: Sat May 8th, 2010 06:47 am
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Michael F. Blake
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Hello!

I am going to Gettysburg soon.  First time.  We are staying 3 days in town. 

Been boning up on books, websites, etc.  I have some questions that hopefully can be answered & won't make the vets of the board roll their eyes.....remember, I am new here.:D

1) We want to have a personal guide.  Are there certain people to request (or avoid)? 

What we are interested in is a general overview of the place, with Pickett's charge area, Little Round Top & the Wheatfield (I'm interested in the Irish Brigade).

2) Can you actually walk the field where Pickett's charge happened?  You won't incur the wrath of the Park service?

3) In Gettysburg (we are staying 3 days in town), what are MUST SEE's?

4) What are the best places to eat at in Gettysburg?

5) Where is the BEST store to get Civil War books in Gettysburg? (i.e., best choices, knowledgable staff)

6) Any other stores in town we should hit?  I'm planning on Irish Brigade Store.  Would like to get something (toys, soldiers, etc) for the grandkids -- and maybe even me.;)

Lastly....is it worth a trip to Harrisburg to see the National Civil War Museum?

Thank you in advance!

Michael F. Blake

 



 Posted: Sat May 8th, 2010 03:05 pm
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Old Sorrel
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Hello Mike,

Hiring a battlefield guide is the best way to tour the battlefield. I've hired 3 and all 3 were great. No complaints on my end.

You sure can walk the fields of Pickett's Charge. There will be lots of parking at the Virginia Monument on the Confederate side of the battlefield. Its the very large monument with General Lee on his horse at the top of the monument. You cant miss it. You'll see the trail to left of lot. The trail will lead you to the union lines.

Places to see in town......well there are lots of shops to see. If ghost tours are your thing, you will find plenty to accommodate your entertainment. One of the best ghost tours I was on was at the Farnsworth House. At the end of the tour they take you to the attic where the Confederates used it as a sharpshooters post. Which brings me to my favorite place to eat....the Farnsworth house. Excellent food! The game pie is awesome. Heres the link to them http://www.farnsworthhouseinn.com/

Ernie's Texas Lunch is another great place to eat. The Texas hot dogs are one of the best I had and the prices are very reasonable. They are on Chambersburg St. up by the square.

Roman Inn Pizza & Sub Shoppe. Great subs and pizza! They're also on Chambersburg St.

I think the best place to find books is at American Civil War Museum Complex.....link.... http://www.gettysburgmuseum.com/ 

While there, take the time to visit the wax museum. Its pretty good. You will find so many shoppes you'll be pulling your hair out. lol. Enjoy and have fun.

Hope this helps. If I can think of anything else. I'll post it for ya.



 Posted: Sun May 9th, 2010 12:02 am
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pamc153PA
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Hi Mike,

I agree with Ole Sorrel--definitely get a guide. They will tailor their tours to what you are interested in, although most also have areas they specialize in. I've used at least a half dozen different ones, and they've all been great. Some of my favorites: Charlie Fennell, Clay Reber, Rich Kohr. To get a better feel for what guides are out there and their special areas of interest, check out the Gettysburg Daily website:

http://www.gettysburgdaily.com/

As far as what to see, you won't lack for entertainment or food. For good pizza: Tommy's Pizza or Mama Ventura's. For home cooking: The Avenue. For breakfast: Lincoln Diner.

There will be plenty to see at the new Visitor's Center. Don't miss the Cyclorama painting there, and the bookstore's book section is good. Also, the Farnsworth House has some good books. I haven't been there yet, but the Wills House, where Lincoln stayed before the Gettysburg Address, is right on the square (also called the Diamond) and is supposed to be pretty good. There are plenty of stores selling genuine CW antiques, tee shirts, studios by CW artists like Dale Gallon, ice cream, fries, more tees shirts, etc. on Steinwehr Avenue near the old VC entrance.

Definitely do walk the field: there are usually a couple mowed paths from in front of the Virginia Monument on Seminary Ridge across Pickett's Charge, across Emitsburg Road and all the way to the Angle on Cemetery Ridge. LRT can get busy with tours (hard to park), but the view is great, especially with the new tree clearing in the Valley of Death; if you can, give climbing the trail up Big Round Top a try. Good view on the back side of it. There really isn't any part of the battlefield you SHOULDN'T walk, and that's the best way to see it.

Word warning: use the restrooms before you leave the VC. They just removed the bathrooms in Devil's Den, and there aren't any convenient ones close once you are on the field. And take your bug spray along, and do a deer tick check afterward: lots of deer, lots of ticks, and Lyme disease is no fun!

I haven't been to the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg for a few years. It had been great when it opened about 10 years ago but then went through a slump; lately, I've heard the museum's adminstrators have been trying to "juice it up." It's not hard to get to from Gettysburg, though, so it might be worth it.


Enjoy your trip, and let us know how it went!

Pam

Last edited on Sun May 9th, 2010 12:04 am by pamc153PA



 Posted: Tue May 11th, 2010 01:56 pm
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wanderson
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Hi.  Yes, get a battlefield guide!

I also recommend taking the tour of Gettysburg (the town) itself.  It's fascinating.  You learn a lot about how the Union was pushed back through the town.

Our licensed guide for the town tour was Joe Mieczkowki.  He was fantastic!  He's also a licensed battlefield guide.  According to his business card, he is Badge#226.  Phone 717-642-9351.  Email:  josephmieczkowski@yahoo.com

Enjoy your trip!



 Posted: Thu May 13th, 2010 02:24 pm
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historydork
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In terms of guides, James Hessler is an excellent guide also. He is the author of Sickles at Gettysburg.

The Farnsworth House does have great food, but it reminds me of an upgraded Cracker Barrel in terms of what they offer. That sort of food. It does get busy and I'm not sure if you can make reservations, but it can be a bit of a wait.

I would definitely venture to Harrisburg to visit The National Civil War Museum. It might be best to visit here first, as it provides a great overview of the war - from both perspectives. Check their website for special events. I know they tend to have a lot going on during summer weekends in terms of living history and speakers. They also just opened this new permanent exhibit on Lincoln (I was just there for the opening celebration), which is fantastic. It's an interactive one that you can ask Lincoln questions and he responds on a large screen.

In terms of books, if you are venturing to Harrisburg, I think it would be worthwhile to stop in Mechanicsburg on your way to Gettysburg. There's a great book store there - Civil War and More. The owner, Jim Schmick is a wealth of knowledge and it's a neat little store. For that matter, I think Jim keeps the books stocked at the Harrisburg Museum.



 Posted: Fri May 14th, 2010 06:11 pm
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j harold 587
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Michael,

 Harrisburg museum is a well balanced child and adult friendly place. It has many original pieces to please th hard cores like me, and a well presented and balanced presentation of the Civil war that does not require a hard core campaigner to be enjoyed. It is not far and is easy to access from Gettys burg.

Go to the visitor center, see the movie and the cyclorama. You may wish to join the friends of Gettysburg. You can do it there. If you join admission to the museum, movie, and cyclorama are free.

Then you may wish to do the driving guide using a CD purchased at the visitor center.

 Then get a guide. They are all very knowledegable and can give tours specific to your intrest. That could be units, actions or specific locations. They will drive your vehicle and if you want to walk or ride you will not be sisapointed.   

 I would avoid the large tour buses.  



 Posted: Sun May 16th, 2010 12:44 pm
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Barlow
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I have reserved a ticket for an event at the Cyclorama called "An Evening with the Picture".  Anyone know what that is about or has anyone else attended?  and, has anyone ever had dinner at the Cashtown Inn?



 Posted: Sun May 16th, 2010 01:45 pm
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Old Sorrel
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Yes I've had dinner at the Cashtown Inn........and it was terrible. Way over priced for the food you get. We had a party of 8 and no body came out with anything nice to say. We paid a ton of money and still came out hungry. My advice......save the gas money and eat in town.

Here's an idea.........if you like good barbecue.......head on down RT. 15 into Maryland......a few miles down on the left (Old Frederick RD ) is a place called Chubbies.....It looks like a dive, but dont let that fool you.......they have one of the best ribs I've eaten. I think its a good place. My wife loves their burgers. If your looking for a more elegant place to eat........the Farnsworth House is great.........and so is the Dobbin House. They're both in town.

Hope this helps.

Cheers

http://chubbysbbq.com/

http://www.dobbinhouse.com/

http://www.farnsworthhouseinn.com/farnsworthhousegettysburg_014.htm

 

 

Last edited on Sun May 16th, 2010 01:46 pm by Old Sorrel



 Posted: Mon May 17th, 2010 01:54 am
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bolaman1975
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wow Ernies hot Texas weiner lunch is a on the list of the things NOT to miss...i lived in Gettysburg for awhile...Mama Ventura's is awesome...the Blue Parrot is good too....they are both on chambersburg pike....if you like coffee there is a coffes place right next to Ernies. also the Lincoln diner isn't bad that is right across from the railroad station.



 Posted: Mon May 17th, 2010 06:00 pm
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j harold 587
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If you enjoy seeing how things eally work you will enjoy an evening with the painting. you will attend a lecture and slide show about the restoration of this painting and it's history. You will also learn about how the cyclorama was actually produced. There is a section that will be pointed out that faces were penciled in along a fence line that was not painted.

Then you will actually go under the viewing platform and view the merging of the diodrama with the painting.  



 Posted: Mon May 17th, 2010 07:38 pm
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Barlow
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Here is the website for all of the Guides. 

http://www.gettysburgtourguides.org/roster.html

 Perhaps the ALBG or Gettysburg Daily could list "specialties"?  Although, as an ironwoker, I wouldn't want to be limited to being a welder or a rebar tier, or high iron connector.  I would merely want to be called a journeyman and be able to do it all.  All of the Guides have tested out because they know alot about everything Gettysburg.  I wonder how Gettysburg Daily chooses their speakers and if having a specific tour played out leads to more business?  Is there competition for work? I know Deb Novotny is an expert on Evergreen Cemetary, Stu Dempsey the 11th Corps, Dave Weaver an expert on Thaddeus Stevens foundary, and there is a good expert on Arlington Cemetary and Lincoln Assassination and Booth Routes.  I just think the Guides are the kind of people you can spend alot of time talking to over pizza and a beer.  Down to earth folks who love the grounds and what it stands for.

Thanks Sorrel for the restaurant rec's.



 Posted: Wed May 19th, 2010 03:18 am
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civilwar6165
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Hi Mike,

All the guides are great, 2 i enjoy the most are Jim Hessler and Paul Bauserman.

Yes, you can walk Pickett's charge.

David Wills Home, The new museum on Baltimore Pike near the Shriver house, Just walk the town in any direction from the square and there are many things to see.

I like this steak house on rt 30 near the Walmart Called Hoss's, very reasonable prices.

Great bookstore in the visitor center, corner of Baltimore and Steinwier Ave has a gem called The American History Store. Forget the Farnsworth House Bookstore, More into the paranormal tourists now, practically no bookstore left.

The Harrisburg Museum is also very good to visit.

Oh yeah, while on the battlefield dont forget to visit Culps Hill. Its an awsum area of the battlefield and if your a student of the battle you no what would have happened If Gen. Green couldnt have held....

Enjoy your trip and if ya need any specific info just get back to me and ill be more than glad to help



 Posted: Wed May 19th, 2010 03:39 pm
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IrishBrigade
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When you say you're interested in the Irish brigade, which ones? There were quite a few on both sides. I have a book that focuses on Irish regiments during the civil war so I'll have a look at the Gettysburg section and revert but off the top of my head the Fr. Corby memorial would be a good place to start and the 69th PA(or quite possibly NY) were just about at the angle during Pickett's charge.

I never realised there was an Irish Brigade store, thanks!



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