16 Oct A Gettysburg Getaway: Beyond the Battlefield
When I say the word “Gettysburg,” what’s the very first thing that comes to mind? I’d be willing to wager that for around 95% of you, you’d say “the battlefield.”
And indeed, the battlefield is a big part of Gettysburg—over 6,000 acres to be exact. However, this charming destination has a lot to offer that goes far beyond the battlefield.
This guide aims to hit all of Gettysburg’s historical highlights, while also taking you on some unexpected turns as well. Enjoy this Gettysburg Getaway!
WHAT TO DO:
Bike the Battlefield
The battlefield is vast and it will literally surround you throughout your visit. So, touring it first gives you both your bearing and historical context for the rest of your visit.
The battlefield can be explored in many ways—by car, by scooter, by bus, by carriage, even by horse! But my preference? Without a doubt…by bike. With GettysBike Tours, you can rent bikes ($10/ hour or $30/ day) for a DIY-tour, but I would completely, utterly, whole-heartedly recommend you sign up for one of their guided tours with a certified guide.
The 3-hour Family Tour is a perfect primer—a 7-mile route that concentrates on the major attacks of the 2nd half of the battle, including Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, Wheatfield, the Peach Orchard and Cemetery Ridge. ($61. Note: they do not operate tours on Sundays.)
Window Shop in Historic Lincoln Square
Wander the blocks surrounding Lincoln Square, the heart of downtown Gettysburg. Picture-picture boutiques, 16 restaurants and even a winery will keep you entertained for an hour (or two!)
- Lark: An Anthropologie-esque home furnishings and accessories store. Trust me, you will love ALL THE THINGS.
- For the Historian: A military bookstore featuring tomes about military history and strategy dating back to the Romans… and an incredible miniature battle display!
- Gallery 30: A welcoming gallery with handcrafted art and craft pieces by American artists, like decorative dried gourds, pottery, jewelry and more.
TIP: While you’re window-shopping, be sure stop by the Lincoln Railroad Station, where President Lincoln arrived to deliver the famous Gettysburg Address.
Savor Gettysburg Food Tour
To experience Lincoln Square with a foodie twist, check out Savor Gettysburg Food Tours, which offers a delectable 3-hour food tasting experience. Enjoy samples at 7 local eateries throughout this historic part of town, Thursday-Sunday at 10:45 am. ($59.) Also available are the Comfort Food tour, Wine, Cider & Dine tour and the Farmer’s Market Tour & Cooking Class… so fun!
Explore the Local Farm Markets
If you happen to be in Gettysburg on a Thursday afternoon or Saturday morning (May through October), you’ll find the Adams County Farmers Market. It’s a producers-only market featuring locally-sourced produce grown primarily within 10-15 miles of Gettysburg. And the best part? It’s super centrally-located, right in the heart of Lincoln Square.
Just 15 minutes outside of Gettysburg are two farm markets worthy of a drive. First, Hollabaugh Bros., a family-owned farm with a huge farm market and lots to do. From cooking classes, pick your own apples, a honey bee education room and the cute-as-a-button Fairy Tale Trail (and more!), I guarantee you are going to love it.
Then, there’s the Round Barn Farm Market, a beautiful historic round barn with produce, jams and other wares which wind around the circular structure. (And soon the Hoppy Farmer brewery will be opening right across the street!)
See one of USA Today’s Top 10 Covered Bridges
The 100 foot-long Sachs Covered Bridge was built in 1854, and is one of Pennsylvania’s most historic covered bridges. With it’s vivid crimson exterior, town-truss design and scenic position above Marsh Creek, it’s a popular spot for photographers. But don’t linger after dark… it was used during the Civil War and today it’s thought to be haunted by the spirits of Confederate soldiers.
Climb a Tower at Sunset
Sunsets in Gettysburg are something to marvel at. The way the amber light hits the grassy battlefield and its 1300 monuments is something that is a bit hard to describe. Let’s just say that it had me going “WOW” both evenings during my visit. If you’re up for a climb, the 75-foot Longstreet Observation Tower is a great (and free!) way to experience Gettysburg at sunset. It offers expansive views of key landmarks like the Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield, Little Round Top and the Eisenhower Farm.
Though to be honest, enjoying the sunset on the battlefield isn’t too shabby, either!
Get Thrills and Chills with a Ghost Tour
Over 50,000 soldiers lost their lives during Gettysburg’s 3-day battle, so you better believe that the town has become a popular destination for ghost-hunters. Gettysburg Ghost Tours offers 10 different types of tours, from the tame (a 1-hour candlelight walking tour) to the extreme (nightly ghost hunts complete with photo and EVP investigations.) Civil war buffs and thrill seekers alike will get a kick out of these experiences… and maybe even have an ghostly experience of your own!
WHERE TO EAT:
- Food 101: A neighborhood BYOB featuring artisan pizzas, salads and sandwiches in a contemporary atmosphere.
- One Lincoln: A popular spot in the Gettysburg Hotel, featuring a classic American menu with some creative twists.
- Fidler & Co. Craft Kitchen: A Biglerville BYOB restaurant featuring scratch-made cuisine that’s so good you’ll feel like you’re in a big-city hot spot.
- Dobbin House Tavern: A traditional dining experience in Gettysburg’s oldest house is one of the most fun, complete with candlelight, moody atmosphere and an of-the time menu.
WHERE TO DRINK:
New to the Gettysburg scene is Mason Dixon Distillery, a hip, small batch distillery offering spirits made with locally-sourced grains. Currently on offer are vodka and rum, but rye whiskey and bourbon are in the works. Come for a tasting or a cocktail, and don’t miss the creative food menu, too!
All of these Adams County apples means… CIDER! For some of the area’s best, visit Hauser Estate Winery for tastings and pints of their Jack’s Hard Cider. (Over 10 different varieties!) Cider not your thing? No worries! Hauser’s also offers their wine and local Pennsylvania beers on tap… and one of the prettiest views of the local countryside.
WHERE TO STAY:
History-lovers will go crazy for the Battlefield Bed and Breakfast, a quaint 12-room B&B located in an 1835 farmhouse right on the edge of the Gettysburg National Military Park. The rooms are uniquely themed, clean and very comfortable—sure to give you a nice night of R&R. But don’t get too comfortable… you will want to make sure you’re up early for the daily 8 am history presentation followed by an incredible gourmet breakfast. (Rooms start at around $149/ night)
If B&B’s aren’t your thing, check out the centrally-located Gettysburg Hotel, right in the heart of the dining and shopping scene of Lincoln Square. (Rooms start at around $100/ night)
Just for a little fun, here’s a video featuring highlights from my Gettysburg Insta-story adventure!
I hope you enjoyed this Gettysburg Getaway! Let me know what you think in the comments below.
**DISCLAIMER: Many of my meals, accommodations and activities for this trip were provided by Destination Gettysburg. As always, all recommendations and opinions are completely my own.**