Traveling through history…

On Thursday, my family and I left for our trip through Pennsylvania. Our expedition included stops at Gettysburg, Intercourse (in the Amish countryside), and finally, Philadelphia. Right now, I am sitting in our hotel in Philly, our last stop, but we have until Wednesday to enjoy the beautiful sites of this historic city. But to start at the beginning…

Our flight on Thursday was an interesting fiasco. I was playing russian roulette with my airplane flights this whole summer, and as it turns out, this last one – my fifth flight – was the winner. It ended up being delayed for about two hours, and it was only a three hour flight. Not only was the cabin filled with unhappy passengers (including the mother with two little girls next to me who was going to miss her connecting flight), but it was filled with warm stuffy air as we sat on the runway for what seemed like forever. When we finally arrived in the Philadelphia airport, th city was dreary from a recent rain. 

 We rented a car – a Chrysler 300! – and we drove to Gettysburg. When we arrived, we checked into the Gettysburg  Hotel, established in 1797, and  went for dinner at a local restaurant. Friday morning, we ate at the Lioncoln Diner, which was across the street from the historic train station that Lincoln arrived at for his Gettysburg address.

We took a tour of the Gettysburg National Military Park with a guide who showed us all of the significant areas of the park where the battle was fought. It was hard to imagine the mass carnage that occurred on July 1, 2 and 3 1863. There were numerous monuments that were created by the surviving soldiers and their families that stand in significant places throughout the park. Each monument was dedicated to a specific state’s regiment or battalion and was placed at the spot where they fought during the battle. The vastness of the battlefield was astounding, especially since the fighting reached into the city itself, and many historic buildings still show the scars of the fighting. We looked around the museum inside the visitor’s center and saw an amazing cyclorama painting that recreates one of the days of the battle.

That night, we ate at the Farnsworth House Inn restaurant, which was set in a historic 1800’s atmosphere with the servers dressed in period clothing. We then walked around some shopes and took pictures before it was time to meet up for our ghost tour back at the Farnsworth House. The tour was very interesting, and split into two parts. We first walked down to one area of the battlefield on the edge of town called the grove, where we heard stories about confederate soldiers who still walk among the land where their bodies still rest without a proper burial. Then, we were taken into the basement of the Farnsworth House to hear about the spirits who still linger from the trauma of the war. The house was actually commandeered by the confederates when the fighting was brought into the city. Sharpshooters occupied the attic to take out Union fighters while other soldiers strategically used the rest of the house for cover. Dead bodies and dying men scattered the house throughout the battle, and many of the spirits supposedly never left. One of the walls of the house still shows hundreds of bullet holes from the daily battles. Also, another friendlier but mischievious spirit remains behind in the house known as Jeremy, the 8-year-old boy. He was trampled outside the house by a horse carriage  and loves to mess with people and their electronics. The tour was exciting, creepy and funny, and I used my digital voice recorder throughout the experience. Hopefully, I may find that I caught some otherworldly sounds on my recorder to prove that Gettysburg truely is one of the most haunted places on Earth.

On Saturday, we took some last minute pictures at the graveyards where soldiers from the civil war to World War II rest in peace. Then, we began our journey to the town of Intercourse in the Amish country. We checked in again, and headed out to a delicious restaurant inside a former Amish home. It was all-you-can-eat country food that ended with shoefly pie.

On Sunday, we drove around the town of Intercourse where we browsed homemade quilt shops, knick-knack stores and other local specialty shops. To my surprise, in one of the “one person’s junk is another person’s treasure” stores, I found a Star Trek: Voyager collector’s cards deck among other Star Trek memorabilia. But that isn’t even the best part! I was inspired by my Star Trek find, and after looking through more old-school TV memorabilia stuff, I found a Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual written as if you were the cadet in the Star Fleet Academy!!! Although it was written from the Original Series’ viewpoint, it had Academy rules, regulations, layouts of ships, weapons and uniforms. It even had transporter and warp field technical information. I couldn’t believe that I had found this in a random knick-knack store in the Amish country!

After some more shopping and pictures, we finally drove to our last destination – Philadelphia. We checked into the Omni Hotel, and walked around the city a bit after our dinner at an Italian restaurant. Since then, I’ve been uploading my pictures to the computer and writing my blog. *I hope to upload my pictures to the blog in the next couple days*

Tomorrow, we are planning to check out Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Betsy Ross house among other historical things. I hope to have another blog entry about our upcoming adventures along with pictures from the trip very soon! Until then…goodnight from Philly!

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~ by friedlichewelt on June 14, 2009.

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