Duke and I are on a six week road trip through the U.S. and Canada. In my last post I was doing family history research in Cumberland, Maryland. From Cumberland we went to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It rained all day. I can see why the countryside is so lush and green.
As soon as we checked in to our hotel in the center of Gettysburg we drove out to the Gettysburg National Historic Park.
When we got there we decided first to take the tour of the Eisenhower National Historic Site. The only way to visit the site is to take the bus that leaves from Gettysburg. This is the farm that President and Mrs Eisenhower owned during and after his Presidency. Even though it was raining we explored the farm and the barns. We also toured the house. The Eisenhowers bought the farm in 1950. It looks just like it did when they lived there. It was fun to see a part of history that Duke and I remember.
After the tour of the Eisenhower Farm we explored the Gettysburg Museum and saw the film about the battle. The tickets also included the Gettysburg Cyclorama. I had no idea what a cyclorama is. It turns out that back in the late 1800s before the days of movies, painters sometimes created these life size depictions of a famous event and sell tickets to view it. The Cyclorama is a painting of Picket's Charge 377 feet by 42 feet painted by Paul Philippoteaux. It was painted in one year and completed in 1884.
It is displayed on the wall of a special very large round room. As part of viewing it you watch a special sound and light show. It is difficult to tell where the trees and guns in the foreground end and the painting begins. The effect is absolutely stunning!
The devastation and lives lost at Gettysburg is stunning. There were almost 8,000 killed and 27,000 wounded. The battle had the largest number of casualties of any battle in the civil war.
On Tuesday we left Gettysburg and headed east. My Banta ancestors who we looked for outside of Lexington, Kentucky lived in the area east of Gettysburg before they moved to Kentucky. We searched out the Low Dutch cemetery where some of them are buried. We also took a picture of the house they lived in starting in about 1747.
We made a short stop in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to check out the Pennsylvania State Capital.
Our next stop was Bethlehem Pennsylvania. For me Bethlehem conjures up visions of rusting steal mills and pollution. But it turns out that Bethlehem is a very pretty town. We had a nice dinner down town and visited a beautiful new casino that sits on the river where a steal mill used ot be.
The best part of our trip to Bethlehem though was the private tour we were given by a friend of my daughter. Just Born makes Peeps, Mike and Ikes, and Hot Tamales. We got to see how they are made and packaged. It was fascinating! and we got samples!