I don’t know about you but when I think about Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, I immediately envision Civil War reenactors and battlefields – a history buff’s paradise! While these attributes may ring true to the area, we quickly discovered that there is more to Gettysburg than meets the eye – especially in the cold winter months! Here is how my boyfriend Brandon and I enjoyed our Gettysburg Getaway on a cold January weekend.
Gettysburg Heritage Center
297 Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg, PA 17325
We started our adventure at the new Gettysburg Heritage Center. The Heritage Center is a small museum that focuses on educating people about the war from the perspectives of locals living in town at the time. There are plaques filled with informational readings as well as authentic artifacts. We loved that many of the exhibits required the usage of 3-D glasses, supplied by the Heritage Center. If you are a visual learner (much like myself), this museum is a great way for you to better understand everything that took place during the war. There are videos displaying real photography, and some of it is rather graphic, but of course that was the reality of the war. My favorite part of the center was the theater on the way out. There is an educational video that explains the strategies used by the soldiers. The center of the theater displayed a mocked-up battlefield of fighting soldiers that lit up at times during the video.
The Gettysburg Museum of History
219 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
Perhaps one of my favorite discoveries was the Gettysburg Museum of History. We stumbled upon this gem while we were looking for open shops (many places don’t open until 11:00am or so in the winter) and this was one of the few that was open early. This tiny museum is free to the public and has been featured on a number of television shows such as American Pickers and Pawn Stars. They carry a large private collection of fascinating relics. You’ll see everything from Elvis Presley’s hair brush to writings by John F. Kennedy, and even ancient Egyptian mummy heads! For such a small museum, there is no shortage of amazing exhibits. This is a place you can’t miss during your next Gettysburg visit.
By the time we finished looking around the museum, we were ready for lunch. We headed to Café Saint-Amand, a little French inspired restaurant within minutes of the museum. This is a family friendly little bistro with great service and yummy food for every appetite. I tried the ham and cheese crepe and it was VERY good!
Reid’s Orchard & Winery
400 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
After lunch we made our way to Reid’s Orchard and Winery Tasting Room. I have to admit, I have been to Gettysburg quite a few times before and this is a place that I had never even noticed until this trip. The place was a bit busy when we arrived so there was only one person (Nick) behind the bar at the time. Apparently there is typically more help there but something came up that day, keeping staff a bit tight. Despite this, we were able to try some delicious wine and we learned about how Gettysburg is carving a pretty significant niche in the East Coast wine world. We learned a lot from Nick and he made some great wine suggestions to suit our tastes! I recommend the Abe’s Army Apple wine!
Our next stop was a great way to cap off the day – a trip to the Gettysburg Day Spa! We were greeted by very friendly and enthusiastic staff upon our arrival to this beautiful spa. Shortly after, 2 massage therapists escorted us to a quiet area in the back of the building (which is larger than it looks, by the way) and we were on our way to a relaxing couples massage. My massage therapist was very knowledgable and did a fabulous job.
We ate dinner at the Appalachian Brewing Company that evening. This bar/restaurant is tucked between a couple of hotels and a movie theater, making it a convenient hot spot for travelers staying nearby. This is the perfect place for the beer lover looking for a casual atmosphere! While we both opted not to drink (the wine earlier was plenty!) we heard many positive things about their popular beer sampler.
We eventually checked into the Swope Manor Bed & Breakfast for the night. It was a beautiful and elegant home in the heart of Gettysburg, just a short walk away from the square. We absolutely loved this place! Van and Bruce treat their guests like family and create a comfortable environment. Each room is unique and meticulously maintained. We stayed in Miss Dorothy’s Suite, a suite dedicated to the previous owner of the home, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the accommodations. We wouldn’t hesitate to go back!
The next morning we drove to Ski Liberty, which was about a 25 minute drive from Gettysburg. Even though we made it there around 10am, the parking lot for tubing was full. We had to find a place in the main lot and be shuttled up to the tubing part of the mountain. We waited a little while since time slots filled up incredibly fast, but we had a blast when we finally got to start tubing! If you go, be sure to get there a little early to ensure you get a good time slot. Take a peek at the video below I took using my GoPro Hero 3 Silver. You can practically experience it for yourself…..
Adam’s County Winery was probably my favorite stop on this weekend adventure. When we arrived, the manager Dan was kind enough to give us a tour of the facility and some background on how the machinery works. We were then taken into a room where they were holding their first Sweet Sunday event of the month. In this particular event, they were pairing wine with dessert. We could choose from 3 kinds of cakes and a variety of wines on the list. I tried the coconut cake and Moscato, which was a delicious pairing. We then sampled a few of their other wines. Dan was extremely knowledgable about wine, and it turned out to be an educational experience for us (Since we are hardly wine connoisseurs!) There wasn’t a single “bad” wine that we tried. I may even go as far as saying that they had some of the best wines I’ve ever tasted. Particularly, if you are a fan of sweet wines, you have to try some of theirs! I highly recommend trying Tears of Gettysburg, one of their popular award-winning white wines.
Our last stop before departing back to Baltimore was the Ragged Edge. This was not our first visit to the Ragged Edge, but we hadn’t been there in a while. We’ve always enjoyed stopping in there. It is a super artsy coffee-house with great coffee choices and a cozy atmosphere. It has 2 floors, a warm fireplace, books to read, and a piano upstairs. It’s also a great place to watch local musicians play.
Bran and I had a GREAT trip that weekend. You could also say it was very eye-opening, as it included things we may not typically consider while visiting Gettysburg. We found it to be a fun winter destination for couples, families and solo adventurers alike. When you’re considering your next winter trip, consider visiting Gettysburg. Now is the perfect time because there are many specials and packages being offered. Click here to see the specials that you could enjoy this weekend!