History Beyond the Battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg is more than just the Civil War battlefield, it’s a living, breathing, thriving town, and filled with family friendly activities.  On a previous trip we visited an elephant museum & candy emporium in addition to touring Gettysburg National Military Park.  This time it was classic cars, comfort food, and a ghost tour that kept us entertained.  Continue reading for another sampling of how Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is more than just a Civil War town.

Classic Car Show Gettysburg, PA

1927 Marmon roadster on display at Classic Car Show in Gettysburg, PA

Accommodations

This was a quick stop on a road-trip to Washington, DC picking my daughter up from college.  We only had one night, and stayed at the Wyndham in the Gateway Gettysburg complex.  In addition to the Wyndham, Gateway Gettysburg has one other family-friendly hotel (Courtyard Marriott), restaurants, and a state-of-the-art multiplex cinema.

Wyndham at Gateway Gettysburg

Wyndham at Gateway Gettysburg

Only in Gettysburg are you greeted by a cannon perched in the middle of a marble-lined hotel lobby.

Wyndham at Gateway Gettysburg

Wyndham at Gateway Gettysburg

As it was just my daughter and I on this trip, our double queen room was perfectly sized for our overnight stay.

Wyndham at Gateway Gettysburg

Wyndham at Gateway Gettysburg

Dining

Surrounded by fertile fields, Gettysburg is known for its farm-to-table cuisine.  We visited The Pub & Restaurant in Gettysburg’s historic Lincoln Square. I was charmed by the decor with its fairies, cherubs, and abundent use of Tiffany stained glass.  Certainly not what I was expecting for a brewpub.  The menu was hearty comfort food, and my daughter and I gorged on soft pretzels, hot sausage, and cheesesteak sandwiches.

The Pub & Restaurant in Gettysburg, PA

The Pub & Restaurant in Gettysburg, PA

Family Fun

On our previous visit to Gettysburg, we remembered scenic drives through the rural, bucolic countryside, dotted with picturesque covered bridges.  We made a point to stop at the 1850’s-era Sachs Covered Bridge for some photos.

Sachs Covered Bridge, Gettysburg, PA

Sachs Covered Bridge, Gettysburg, PA

Sachs Covered Bridge, Gettysburg, PA

Channeling Ichabod at Sachs Covered Bridge, Gettysburg, PA

After our covered bridge photoshoot, we were scheduled for Mark Nesbitt’s Ghosts of Gettysburg candlelight walking tour.

Ghost Walk, Gettysburg, PA

Mark Nesbitt’s Ghost Walk, Gettysburg, PA

Mark Nesbitt is a former Gettysburg National Military Park Ranger who experienced many strange events over the years.  As an official park ranger and licensed battlefield guide, Mark had the opportunity to live in multiple historic buildings on the battlefield itself.  During this time Mark encountered paranormal activity, and it encouraged him to conduct research and write up his findings.  Oh, and that covered bridge we just visited… Nesbitt mentioned it happens to be one of the most haunted sites in town serving as a crossing point for both the Confederate and Union armies.

Ghost Walk, Gettysburg, PA

Author Mark Nesbitt, Gettysburg, PA

Throughout the evening Ghost Walk, our guide Rich regaled us with stories of disembodied voices and hauntings in the Ghosts of Gettysburg headquarters house.  Over the next 80-90 minutes we walked up and down Baltimore Street to stop at churches, the courthouse, school house, and public library, and heard gruesome tales of the role the sites played during the Battle of Gettysburg and the strange occurrences afterwards.

Ghost Walk, Gettysburg, PA

Mark Nesbitt’s Ghost Walk, Gettysburg, PA

Of course I’m not suggesting to visit Gettysburg and not stop at Gettysburg National Military Park, it’s a humbling and moving site.  It’s just that there are other historical aspects of the town in addition to the battlefield. Many of the buildings were already in place during the Battle of Gettysburg and some have even hosted U.S. presidents such as Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower over the years.  There are plenty of events in Gettysburg throughout the year. In fact, the Wyndham Gettysburg was hosting a classic car show during our stay, and the Gateway Gettysburg campus was loaded with stunning antique automobiles.

Classic Car Show Gettysburg, PA

1927 Marmon roadster on display at Classic Car Show in Gettysburg, PA

Classic Car Show Gettysburg, PA

1927 Marmon roadster on display at Classic Car Show in Gettysburg, PA

Gettysburg hosts visitors from around the world to tour the hallowed grounds of the battlefield and the National Cemetery where President Lincoln delivered his address.  However, you don’t have to be a Civil War fanatic to appreciate the wealth of activities in town.

DISCLOSURE: Our family was hosted by the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau and received complimentary or discounted accommodations, meals, and admission.  However, all opinions expressed are those of the author.   For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagramtwitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.