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  • Writer's pictureJulia Fieldhammer


This summer, I went on the first trip that was just me and my parents. We went to Gettysburg to learn more about the Civil war. 

My parents are really into history; I am too, but not as much as them. I had never been to Gettysburg although, of course, I learned about it in school. 

We drove up Thursday and came back Sunday. My dad found a bed and breakfast that was handicapped accessible; it was  an old house with a log cabin feel. I realized, though, that I had to be extra careful driving my wheelchair. I didn’t want to bump into any of the walls or break anything that had been around for over 100 years. I’ve bumped into the walls, many times, in my own house and my parents aren’t too happy! 

The Bed and Breakfast was owned by an older woman and her son. There were about eight different guest rooms. Every morning we would gather in the dining room for breakfast. We had to go through the back door to get into the dining room,- the other entrance door wasn’t wide enough- so, in a way, I felt like a VIP. Every morning the son cooked a  delicious breakfast; we had a choice of French toast or an egg dish. Two days I had French toast, and one day I had an egg dish plus we always had fresh fruit and some sort of muffin.

The first night we got there, we walked around. Gettysburg is a very old town, which is good and bad. The history is very interesting, but the accessibility is not very good. There were quite a few stores that had steps to get into them. Despite the accessibility challenges my parents and I didn’t let my wheelchair hold us back. 

We brought my manual wheelchair to give us more freedom. So, we were able to go to lots of stores. My mom took me into a boutique to look around. I saw a necklace I really liked but I wanted to see if there was anything else I liked better, later I came back to get the necklace. When I got home I showed my sister.. turns out the necklace is a Celtic Knot and I had no idea. 

I also made two more purchases.. First I bought a sweatshirt (I like to buy a sweatshirt or a T-shirt from each place I visit as a keepsake). I also bought an old German toy. It was an animal on a chain like a slinky that bounces up and down. I got an adorable Pig! My sister and I have an inside joke about us being  pigs- so I had to get it! 

We went into this one shop that had all Civil War artifacts and my mom and I both learned something there. I was shocked that a cannon ball could cost  as much as $5,000, yes $5,000 dollars for a ball that does nothing… but to each their own. Since I couldn’t go into the store with my big wheelchair, my mom had to push me in my manual one. The store was very cramped, and my mom got a taste of what it’s like driving a wheelchair in tight spaces. (I really don’t like being in my manual wheelchair; it makes me feel like I don’t have the freedom to roam around by myself.)

Besides shopping, my parents and I explored the town. We went on two different tours, one was a walking tour and the other one was a horse drawn carriage. 

The walking tour guide was one guy who gave his own tours. We walked around the town and heard about what it was like to live in Gettysburg during the battle. Even though I liked learning about how people lived back then, I found this tour to be a little boring. The tour guide gave too many details. 

In my opinion, the horse drawn carriage tour was better. I really enjoyed exploring the battlefield in a carriage- it definitely took us back to the olden days. It was also neat to get around town the way people did long ago.

Our tour guide was really cool, his name was Chris. Chris was a descendant of someone who fought in the Battle Of Gettysburg and he knew a lot of history. Chris was fun to listen to! The tour had different stops around the battlefield where you could get out, but to make it easier, my mom and I just stayed in the carriage. The scenery was beautiful. I really enjoyed this ride and learning about the history of this important battle. I would definitely recommend this tour.

At night, there were also a lot of groups going on Ghost Tours. Some of the guides were even dressed up in Civil War era clothes. We didn’t take one of these tours, but I bet they are a lot of fun.

My parents and I also explored different parts of the town on our own. We saw some different statues of Lincoln, one of them had the Gettysburg Address on it, so I had to get a picture with it. We also took a walk on the path to the cemetery. The path was surrounded by natural beauty.  Lucky for me it was very handicapped accessible. Even though it made my wheels really muddy, it was worth it. 

One of the things I enjoy when we go on vacation is the food. The best meal we had in Gettysburg was on the first night. I had a hamburger, and my mom and dad had French onion soup that came with a soft pretzel. Apparently that is the German way to serve it. We all thought it was a super great meal. 

Ice cream and vacation go together, and the best is homemade ice cream! My parents and I tried a few ice cream shops while we were in Gettysburg. The one was right in town and the other was a little farther away. The one in town was better because of their creative flavors. I had Golden Oreo - basically vanilla ice cream filled with yellow Oreos. I loved it! 

Towards the end of the trip, my mom and I were kind of getting overdosed on history and hearing about all the people that had died in the battle. But my dad on the other hand… is still talking about it.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to see the town of Gettysburg and learn more about this historic battle! I would recommend visiting, especially if you like history.

and learn more about this historic battle! I would recommend visiting, especially if you like history.

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