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Published: February 18th 2014
Yes, it was the site of one of the bloodiest battles in American history, but boy, this little town really is sweet. We only had a few hours in our first visit to Gettysburg, so we had to make it count. I must confess I hadn’t started the afternoon out with the savviest of civil war trivia, but I got there by the end. We didn’t want to tackle any educational paraphernalia on an empty stomach however, and so headed to Dobbin House Tavern for a good square meal. More than that, the servers kit themselves out in authentic costumes and the menu is a tongue-in-cheek throwback to hearty fare (minus the Hagen Daaz also available) of a quaint bygone era. I couldn’t resist ordering myself a Kahlua, even though somehow I doubt that particular Mexican import would have made it that far north in the 19th
The food was excellent; I had a salad that had cake on it. That’s my kind of salad. Sufficiently refreshed, we moseyed on down to Farnsworth House and the start of our guided ghost walk. Well, learning can still be fun right? Our guide was a strange juxtaposition of a dress that could have come straight out of a western and the spunky confident charm of modern America. She was a constant stream of trivia, observation and anecdote, not least of which involved the 50 or so Harley Davidsons that paraded down in front of the tour starting point, many of which were aglow with fairy lights. She handled their unscripted appearance with easy stalling banter.
Technically, I don’t believe in ghosts. I mean, it’s completely illogical, but as we walked those streets after dark, with our guide gesturing wildly and with increasing animation as the tour progressed, somewhere along the line I got pulled in. The sojourn into the playing field that was the site of a battle was particularly perturbing and I found myself unconsciously moving to the centre of the group lest some mischievous poltergeist snatch me away. I presume everyone made it back to their cars, but who’s counting?
The tour almost certainly went on for longer than it ought, as the streets were pretty much deserted by the time she stopped talking. Perhaps they leave the streets for the ghosts after sun-down in Gettysburg? We weren’t taking any chances, especially since our parking meter was running low. We didn’t feel too bad about driving straight home though as we’d managed to squeeze in visits to several of the monuments before pulling into town. Gettysburg was not what I had expected. I pictured an empty field, maybe a statue, a plaque. Not a bustling little town, souvenir shops, restaurants and a free motorbike parade. We simply had to go back another time, spend the day, soak up the atmos – plus, I’d spotted a sign for homemade ice cream on the way out.
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