What we did at Gettysburg

We are staying at the Gettysburg Campground about 3 miles from town. We have found this to be a convenient location. It’s somewhat overwhelming when you first get to the area since there’s so much to see and do. We followed everyone’s advice and started at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitors Center. We received a booklet of programs run by the National Park and a list of things going on this weekend. We plunked down the big bucks and bought a combo ticket for the movie, cyclorama, museum and bus tour – $36 a piece. We really enjoyed the movie and the cyclorama was amazing considering it was 120 years old.

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The Cyclorama

You could spend hours in the museum (which we did). We found the whole center very well done and even enjoyed our lunch there. You don’t have to take the bus tour the same day, so we scheduled that for Monday. The campground is packed. We should know better than getting to a campground on a weekend. Our neighbors are literally only feet away. It’s pricey too. All the campgrounds in the area are about the same price.

Sunday we took the auto tour of Gettysburg. We started out at the Pennsylvania monument and saw a reenactment by the 1st PA Artillery Battery F of cannon firing. Then we followed the auto tour station by station. We found this fascinating and took hours doing it. We felt we got a lot better understanding of the battle and the lay of the land.

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Monday we attended a presentation by a Ranger at the National Cemetery and really enjoyed learning about the burials and dedication by President Lincoln. After that we ate lunch at the Dobbin House in town. Yummy French Onion soup, salad, and Tom had a chicken sandwich. We had tickets for the 1:30 bus tour which more than exceeded our expectations. The guide was amazing, you could almost imagine Pickett’s charge from his description.

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We drove to York about a half hour away on Wednesday. York is the ‘factory tour capital of the world’. Hmmm right. But we did enjoy touring the Harley-Davidson plant and Utz and Snyder’s of Hanover’s snack factories and free samples (unfortunately no free samples at Harley).

 

Gettysburg Thoughts

We didn’t expect this.

We were looking at the map and the route from Cincinnati to Berks County, Pennsylvania where we hope to do some genealogy research.

Why don’t we stop in Gettysburg?

Sure, everyone has heard of Gettysburg – Civil war battle, Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. Could be interesting.

 

It wasn’t until we became immersed in what is truly Gettysburg, that we started to ‘get it’. This is sacred ground. So many dead, both north and south. The intensity of the fighting. The pivotal nature of the battle in the outcome of the war. If it hadn’t been for Gettysburg, life as we know it and the country as we know it would be quite different. Walking the battlefields, reading the monuments, taking in the geography and it slowly sinks in.

And we are in awe. We are starting to appreciate the sacrifice, the enormity of the death here, the total dedication of the men who fought here, both Yank and Reb, and their commitment to their causes.

These fields and rocks were literally covered in bodies. The lucky ones died immediately, the not so lucky left wounded and dying. We can almost imagine what it looked like. We can never imagine what it actually felt like.

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Over a few days, we realize this isn’t so much a singular place on a map, but a turning point in what makes this country what it is.

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So the war continued, for another agonizing 2 years. The union was secured. It would take a much, much longer time for the country to heal.

Over 150 years later, this crossroads in Pennsylvania continues to instill patriotism in two visitors on their way to Berks County.

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Barkcamp State Park Belmont, OH

Barkcamp State Park – 65330 Barkcamp Park Road – Belmont, Ohio

I-70 exit 208 not too far from the expressway. Used my Golden Buckeye number for half price and got a site for $10.50. They also take passport America but only Sunday through Wednesday. Pam, at the desk, gave us site 95 in B loop. Loops A and B allow pets. B loop looked more level. Sites 71, 73, 76, 95, 96, 97 are the longest. Non-reservable pet sites are A2, 3, 4, 5 and in B 69, 70, 76. There’s 50-amp service but no water or sewer. There is a dump station close to the check-in. There is a bathhouse but no flush toilets. The pads are narrow but there’s nice spacing between sites.

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We walked to the camp store, which is in a log cabin, and the interpretive trail, which was in need of some TLC. We drove to the beach and it also was a little sad. The putt-putt looked nice. There’s even an archery range. There’s a separate equine camping area with a horse wash. It’s a big park. The park gets its unusual name from Barkcamp Creek, the former site of a logging camp where logs were stripped of their bark in preparation for delivery to the mill. The satellite wouldn’t work, but we got 2 OTA channels.

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RViewToday – on the interpretive walk

Cincinnati by a native

Since we are back in Cincinnati for a few days, we would like to tell you about our city of birth.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, we probably have taken our native city for granted. This is salt-of-the-earth, hardworking, conservative territory, but not without its quirky side. Cincinnati was settled in 1788, and pretty much taken over by German immigrants in the mid 1800’s. We both are about as close to 100% German as you can get and both our families immigrated directly from Germany to Cincinnati. This German influx heavily influenced this town. Even to this day, Cincy has a neighborhood called Over the Rhine. Over the Rhine (OTR) is the area of town roughly bounded by Liberty Street to the North, Central Parkway to the South and West, and Main Street to the East.

 Speaking of Over the Rhine, let’s start there with our recommendations:

Taste of Belgium – 1133 Vine Street – in this heavily German town, it seems ironic that one of the best restaurants is Belgium. But one bite of these luscious, crunchy, sweet waffles and you’ll understand the need for peaceful coexistence. Try the Chicken and Waffles made with the authentic leige waffle recipe.

Holtman Donuts – down the street at 1332 Vine – simply the best donuts in town as evidenced by the line out the door some mornings.

The Eagle – continuing on Vine Street at 1342 – the best fried chicken in town.

Stop in Art beyond Boundaries Gallery – 1410 Main – and say hello to our friend Jymi the curator.

Visit Rhinegeist Brewery at 1910 Elm Street – for great local beer.

Findley Market – 1801 Race – this historic market offers an eclectic selection of food booths. Visit Madison’s.

There’s a fine line between Over the Rhine and Downtown. Our recommendations for downtown:

#1 on the list is the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center at 50 E. Freedom Way n the Riverfront. This is a truly moving experience where you can learn about Cincinnati’s part in the Underground Railroad, see a slave pen, and learn about slavery’s past and present.

Catch a Reds’ or Bengals’ game. Cincinnati is filled with long-suffering fanatic sports fans.

Walk across the mighty Ohio on the Purple People Bridge a 2,670 span between Cincinnati and its neighbor Newport, Kentucky.

Have a drink at Arnolds – the oldest saloon in town 210 E 8th Street or at Moerlein Lager House – 115 Joe Nuxhall Way for great local beer and German food and a great view of the river.

 Other areas of town worth a visit in our opinion:

Visit one of the great Hamilton County Parks – our favorite Sharon Woods with its great golf course, lake and walking trails located in the northern suburb of Sharonville.

Cincinnati draws the big name entertainment at Riverbend. This is where Jimmy Buffet invented the term Parrot heads, and he still sells out the joint every year.

For camping, another Hamilton County Park – Winton Woods has a decent campground or FMCA members can stay at the campground on Round Bottom Road.

 And last but not least, try our local cuisine:

No visit would be complete without tasting Cincinnati Chili, an exotic chili mixture with a hint of chocolate and cinnamon served over spaghetti with cheese (a three way) add onions and/or beans (four way / five way). Available at various locations in various chain and independent restaurants. Our favorite -Skyline 5 way with a cheese Coney.

Graeter’s Ice Cream is a must-have when visiting!  Various locations around town. Tom’s Fav is Raspberry Chocolate Chip. French pot method makes it the yummiest.

Montgomery Inn with locations in Montgomery suburb north of town or at the boat house on the river serves up world famous ribs and Saratoga chips.

Try some Goetta while you’re here. This is a curious mix of oats, meat, onions and spices cooked, cooled, sliced and fried. It has its origins with the thrifty Germans looking for a way to stretch their meat supply, but no one in Germany has ever heard of it. Serve it up with fried eggs. It is sold in the local supermarkets. Gliers is our favorite. There’s even an annual Goettafest in town. Goetta ice cream anyone?

 So there you have it. We submit this for your consideration. And, if you try anything, let us know what you think.