80 comments on yesterday’s blog. WOW. I love it!
As promised, here’s more on my trip:
On Day 1 (before the sprained ankle), Jenni and I met with Gary and Marsha Roche, mentioned yesterday, at breakfast in the restaurant next door to the Gettysburg Hotel, where we stayed. (Here, the blog was interrupted by an insistent Yorkie wanting a walk out to the barn and back, with lots of dallying in between. ) Gary and Marsha took us for a fascinating overview of the battlefield and many of the monuments. After that, we went to the Gettysburg Visitor’s Center (best gift shop on the Civil War circuit, in my opinion), where we watched a film about Lincoln’s visit four months after the battle, then took a look at the fabulous Cyclorama–an ENORMOUS painting of the battle, displayed in the round, with lifesize figures. Honestly, this painting looks almost three dimensional, so real that one could get lost in it!
On Day 2, as you know, I promptly sprained my left ankle while visiting the North Carolina monument. Later, we visited the famous Shriver House, our tour being led by Nancie Gudmestad, owner and director of this amazing structure. (Trust me, all those stairs were a challenge, but I wouldn’t have missed a second of this experience.) Some of the original furnishings remain in the house, and Nancie and her husband have done a marvelous job restoring the place to its original grandeur. In July of 1863, the home was taken over by Confederate troops, as were many other homes and farms in the area; here, sharpshooters occupied the attic, firing on Union soldiers as they entered the town. A few years ago, Nancie had a modern forensic scentist come in, and he used luminol, that substance the police employ to show hidden bloodstains under black light. According to Nancie, the light revealed great swathes of blood, proof that the boys in blue fired back, though it’s hard to imagine how they could have been so accurate, since there was only one small window and a couple of rife holes about eight to ten inches in diameter.
Later, we met with Deb Novotny, who, like Gary, is a Licensed Battlefield Guide. (This is no small accomplishment, since official guides have to pass rigorous exams.) Deb, who lives in a Civil War era house with eight soldiers buried out back, showed us around the National Cemetry, where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, and the ajoining Evergreen Cemetery, which is for civilians. I was limping a lot, so I didn’t see as much as I’d have liked, but Deb’s stories fascinated me.
In the afternoon, I spent some time with Sandy Pennesse and her aunt, Janet. Despite my battlefield injury, we managed to hike around to a number of Gettysburg’s wonderful shops, and then Sandy and Janet treated me to supper at the Dobbin House, a true landmark. (If you go there, be sure to try the baked sweet potato. :)) I had crab cakes that were, excuse the expression, to die for. If all that wasn’t enough, my friends showered me with gifts!
Day 3, I’m still pretty darn gimpy, as you can imagine. Fortunately, that day’s presentations were indoors, at Destination Gettysburg, where I was delighted to find these words on the reader-board by the entrance: Desintation Gettysburg Welcomes Linda Lael Miller. I got SUCH a kick out of that. Marsha brought in delicious sandwiches and cookies (look the other way, Weight Watchers) and Gary gave his fabulous presentation about the Medal of Honor and his very illustrious ancestor, as I mentioned yesterday. After lunch, John Fitzpatrick, also an LBG*, gave a wonderful Powerpoint talk on Lincoln at Gettysburg. Meeting John was very helpful for many reasons–including his expertise on the Irish Brigade, since one of my main characters is an Irish immigrant.