Trip to Pennsylvania - Part II

The day after visiting Philadelphia was a quieter day. The kids and some of the adults took a hike, while I visited a gem of a fabric store, the Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet in Harrisburg. (Check it out if you’re ever in the area!) Then we all met up at an Amish buffet restaurant for lunch and a little local shopping. Then it was back to the house for a little rest and relaxation, volleyball, dinner, and more s’mores.

The next day we visited Gettysburg!

When you visit Gettysburg, you start out at the beautiful visitor center, which is reminiscent of the lovely stone farmhouses that pepper the Pennsylvania countryside.

There you purchase a CD audio tour (or, if you’re smart, like our group leader was, you buy it off ebay before you go for a fraction of the cost). You pop the CD into your car and follow the driving tour road that winds through the battlefields, countryside, and town of Gettysburg. The CD narrates about the significance of various points along the route, and tells of the battles, personal stories of the participants, and has sound effects that help to bring it all to life.

Here are some scenes we saw along the way:

There are a few observation towers on the driving tour. We noticed, with some amusement, that any time there was something to climb or cannons to look at, the boys in the group wanted to stop and get out of the car to explore. One hundred twenty-one steps to the top of this one.

One view of the driving route from the top. All along the route are monuments and memorials to various infantry groups, specific generals, and more.

The “action” in this picture just makes me laugh.

Yes, that’s Colette. That sort of behavior comes from being completely comfortable with heights…lots of rock climbing with dad as a child. Oh dear. I just took the picture and tried not to scream, “Get DOWN from there!”

The monument to the soldiers from Pennsylvania is the largest in the park.

Max said that the visit to Gettysburg was his favorite of the trip. I asked why and he responded, “Because it was just so interesting!”

After leaving Gettysburg, we traveled back to the town in which we were staying and toured a pretzel factory.

But this is not just any pretzel factory! This is the nation’s oldest pretzel factory, founded by Julius Sturgis in 1861. It is still producing pretzels today, although sadly, no longer in these amazing brick ovens.

The company is still run today by the 4th, 5th and 6th generation descendants of its founder! We sampled the hard and soft pretzels in the shop. And then we got began our tour at the “twisting table”, where we were all given a bit of pretzel dough and instructed in the proper making of a pretzel.

The next day we all left Pennsylvania for home. The kids and I stopped in New York City for some fabric shopping. It was my first time driving in NYC…oh my…that’s an experience! But we survived! We left the fabric district and headed for our next destination in Brooklyn. The route chosen by the GPS took us right by the new World Trade Center! It is already the tallest building in NYC…quite impressive! (And, yes, that’s my rubber chicken on the dashboard.)

After getting lost for a bit, we finally arrived at the place that Colette had been most anticipating: The Chocolate Room!

It’s a small cafe in Brooklyn that specializes in all things chocolate. Yum! Every guest is given a small dish of complimentary chocolate sorbet when seated. Delicious!

Colette had their signature chocolate layer cake. Max had chocolate ice cream. And I had this chocolate pudding. It was a sweet end to a great trip!


  1. did get alot in your trip! Three of my children went to college 8 miles from there at Mt. St. Mary's which had connections to the battle of Gettysburg. And FEMA is near there also, which was owned by the Sisters of St. Joseph back then and where the battle was originally supposed to be fought. Mt. St. Mary's students sneaked over to the battlefield after it was fought, and were shocked at the bloodshed...very sad battle. love,andrea

  2. Yes, so sad the lives lost in this battle...51,000 casualties in three days. Hard to imagine.


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