Search This Blog

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I talked on the phone to a dear friend from home this morning. I wanted to wish her happy birthday and managed to catch her before she went to bed! She knows me really well and asked how my knitting projects are going especially a throw I’m working on for a raffle prize mid to late May. I have bought the yarns here in the US and have been working on the throw in the evenings when I’m not too tired. The throw is just under 2 ft long at the moment and has just under 200 stitches on the circular needles. Lots of knitting still to go! I have completed 3 scarves also in this time but am now concentrating on the throw.

Last Saturday we arrived late in the day in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately we realised too late that we were not going to be able to look through shops etc the next day. We had been told previously on the phone by the reception clerk at our Lancaster hotel, that the shops would be open on the Sunday...wrong! Nothing is open we later found, except the churches. When we set off from the motel to check out if anything was opened DH set the GPS for the town of Intercourse and we went off and drove along idyllic country roads with beautiful farming country on either side of the road. It was so lovely until the red light for the petrol gauge came on. Poor DH...he is always so punctilious about having the fuel tank filled but he had forgotten and do you think I would remember??? Suddenly all I could think of was running out of petrol on near empty roads and old memories of home when petrol stations had weekend rosters of which ones were open!
We got to Intercourse, and the little service station was much petro did we have left as we’d driven 15 miles with the light on? We asked a couple who had been bike riding if they knew where the nearest ‘servo’ was and they didn’t know. Then DH saw a family getting into a car in a nearby yard. We drove up and asked them and the woman directed us to one about 4 miles away. We made it but it was quite nerve-racking.
So later on Sunday morning we drove to Gettysburg to visit the civil war battlefields. We went on an organised tour of the fields. It was pretty extensive as the 3 days (July 1-3, 1863) of the battle took place over a large area of land; land that was mainly farm land then. There were divisions of soldiers from quite a number of states who were involved in this battle. The loss of life was horrific. The area is still basically open country and is a national park. There are memorials to those killed dotted all around the battlefields. Each state honoured its dead by placing a memorial. Some states had up to 5 memorials. I think the worst thing I learned about that battle was that many bodies were buried without being identified. There are also mass graves on the fields as well as those buried in the cemetery. The carnage was just so high; it is estimated that there were 46000 killed in the 3 days!!

A collection of old firearms in the centre

My fuzzy photo looks like 2 ghostly figures walking through the gift shop!

The front of the complex

The site of the first day's battle; it was farmland and woods in 1863

Looking towards Seminary Hill (note the spire on the right hand side)

A gun and a monument

Our tour bus

Some more monuments

A house in the main street with bullet marks

Some tours had guides dressed in clothing befitting 1863

I've learned so much about this man since coming to the east coast!

There are also old guns on gun carriages, beautifully restored and dotted around the fields. (they must not have a vandal problem) There is a huge centre with a museum, facilities etc where you can book tours and where we saw a film and then went into a presentation called ‘The Cyclarama’ based on a painting of the battle scenes which was quite confronting. The tour also went through the town of Gettyburg and we saw bullet marks on brick houses and the tour guide told us that at one stage the Confederates took over the row of houses in the main street and smashed a way through the houses so they could move down the street without going outside, all the time firing on the Union soldiers. We also saw the railway station where Abraham Lincoln arrived from Washington DC to give his famous Gettysburg address. We also saw the cemetery where he gave this address. We spent many hours at the centre as well as on the tour. It must have been terrible to have lived through that horrible war and those who were left without a father, son, fiancĂ© they must have grieved!

Another part of the battle field. This area had been mainly peach orchards and the national parks are re- planting peach trees in some of this area
For more details of the battle try this site:

The Americans love their dogs! Sure enough I met this gorgeous guy at a lookout point on the battlefield!

No comments: