We had a wonderful weekend visiting Gettysburg, hiking and visiting Caroline at Dickinson College in Carlisle – and I would recommend Gettysburg to anyone looking for a Friday-Sunday getaway.
We flew in on Sunday to the Harrisburg International airport and surprise- car rentals are extremely cheap in this state! $75 for a 3 day rental? Yes please.
At this point, we headed straight to the trails and kept our luggage in the car. Pine Grove Furnace State Park is on the way to Gettysburg from the airport, but it’s a close enough drive that you could check in at your hotel and head to the park later that day or the next.
We hiked up Pole Steeple Trail (only .75 miles, but the views are the best of all the trails). This hike offers a steep option and a steep-less version (more like walking up a ramp rather than climbing rocks). The entrance to Pole Steeple Trail is right next to Laurel Lake, past the dam (the entrance road is on the same side and there will be a parking lot on the side of the entrance road).
There is an information building you can stop in for additional maps, trail info, etc. There are many other longer trails, such as the Appalachain trail (which Pole Steeple Trail connects to). **
Kings Gap is another nearby hiking spot, we did not make it there.
Off to Gettysburg!
Gettysburg had much more going on than I presumed. There is a town center that you can walk around, shop, eat, visit small museums and just enjoy the history of the old homes surrounding you. We had lunch at Garyowen Irish Pub and stopped in a bakery for a croissant/doughnut – a “Cronut”, both being delicious.
We also visited the Shriver House Museum, which was very interesting. They take you on a guided tour lasting about 45 minutes (they run ~hourly, $9 p/adult) throughout the Shriver family’s old home, which was taken over by confederate soldiers during the Civil War. The home has been preserved to help us understand how the family lived and what the family came home to when the war was over.
The famous battlefields and other larger museums are just outside the downtown area. The Gettysburg battlefield is sprawled out with a road winding through it. You can pay for a personal guide who will ride in your car, purchase an audio cd, hop on a guided tour bus or just drive through it without the information. If you want to drive through without purchasing a cd or guide, the entrance to the road is hidden. When you are leaving the downtown area towards Cemetary Hill, you pass Mr G’s ice cream. Turn here and continuing driving down the road towards the school. There will be a road on your right called Confederate Avenue, and this road will wind you through Gettysburg Battlefield and Cemetary Hill. You can park at any point to read the signs or walk around. The info center/museum is at the end of the drive.
The Cemetary is directly across the street, and is drive through as well.
The National Military Park (with a free shuttle to the Eisenhowever National Historic Site) is just down the road by making a right out of the Cemetary.
Sachs Covered Bridge is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Gettysburg, but definitely worth taking a ghost tour there at night if that’s up your alley.
Gettysburg has a lot to offer for families, young couples and older couples. There are bed and breakfasts and hotels, suiting everyone’s needs.
We also spent a day hanging out around Dickinson College since we were visiting family.
– We visited the first weekend in May and had 75 degree sun, and the trees and bushes were all in full bloom
– Parking in Gettysburg is primarily meter parking, unless you park in a free lot (25 cents and it goes a long way- but bring change)