A Birthday in Gettysburg

For the past 3 years that I've asked my husband what he has wanted to do for his birthday, he has told me, "I want to go to Gettysburg". For one reason or another, we has never made the trip. Until this year. 

I love history but get this... the one part of American history that I despise just so happens to be the Civil War. Guess what Brandon is fascinated with? The Civil War. In school, I got bogged down with all the different battles and generals' names that I gave up instead of remembering them. Plus, we learned about the Civil War in middle school where my mind was already preoccupied on a million different other things like if everyone hated me or not (don't all middle schoolers think they're a weirdo freak with no friends? Just me? Awesome...) 

So we headed to Gettysburg in the late morning as it's only about an hour drive from us. We wandered around the town when we first got there-- of course, making time to stop at the local comic book shop. I didn't take very many pictures of the town because I was super hangry at the time. We wound up stopping El Costeno, a hole in the wall Mexican joint cause Mexican food is the easiest way to eat vegan on the road! 

We sat outside and ate 3 baskets of chips, 2 plates of rice, a bowl of salsa and a bowl of guacamole + a Mexican coke. We believe in carb-o-loading and man, oh, man...did this fill us up! Plus, it was only $15 for the both of us. (If this isn't convincing you to go vegan, check out my 100 reasons to go vegan post HERE ;) 

After our meal, we headed to the Gettysburg National Cemetery. I had been to Gettysburg before, but I had never been here before. I have to say, this place is breathtaking. This is where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address and where more than 3,500 Union soldiers who died in the Battle of Gettysburg are buried. 

This may sound totally dumb, but I had no clue how huge and important and devastating the Battle of Gettysburg alone was. In just this ONE battle, over 10,000 soldiers died and over 30,000 were injured. In just this ONE battle. I can't imagine living back then. It must have been such a scary time. Plus, this battle was completely impromptu so the little town of Gettysburg was not ready to handle such a devastating event. 

Visiting the cemetery really brought it home for me. Seeing a whole section of cemetery dedicated to soldiers from Maryland made me think hard. What if there is one of my relatives buried here? So crazy to think about. 

The cemetery was gorgeous. We were there on a beautiful day and it's just so quiet and beautiful. We sat on a bench and just watched the clouds rolled by. It was so somber and peaceful. 

Next, we headed to Big Round Top. The geography of this land is breathtaking. I think everyone should visit Gettysburg in their lifetime. The nature alone will shock and surprise and delight you. The rock strewn hill was amazing and it looks as if it was left untouched by time. There are monuments everywhere, honoring this battle or that person. It's crazy how much went into this war. I loved walking up the observation tower. It reminded me of a castle and I love that some of the monuments are so interactive. 

Next, we headed to Devil's Den. This is another part of Gettysburg's nature that just takes my breath away. You can climb all over these rocks and it's amazing that something that was once used to hide soldiers during battle is now a place where families can come to enjoy the sunshine and play. They were fighting for our freedom and now, it's so cool to see people exercising that freedom in the very place the battle was fought. 

Finally, we headed to the National Historic Gettysburg Battlefield. There were tents and reenactors on the field, and it was so cool to literally step back in time and see things the way these soldiers did. They were whistling, singing songs, and cooking corn on a campfire. We were able to look inside their tents and see the things they carried in their bags and the types of clothing they wore.  

Lastly, we headed to the huge monument at the battlefield and it was so amazing. I loved that you could climb the stairs and walk to the top for the most gorgeous view of the battlefields at the top. 

I know Brandon had such a fun day and I am so excited that we finally got to do something he wanted to do for such a long time! After we left the battlefield, we headed back into town and decided to eat at one of the amazing Irish pubs in town, Gerryowen. Did you know that there was a huge Irish population in Gettysburg? 

If you've never been, you absolutely need to visit. Definitely stay longer than a day- there is SO much to do and so many cute bed and breakfasts! 

P.S. Brandon told me that it's rude to take selfies on such a sacred piece of American history. Hence, the very serious, very somber faces.