Archive for National Park

Photo of the Week – Skyline Drive

One of the many scenic views from Skyline Drive
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

View from Skyline Drive in Shenandoah Valley

Photo of the Week – Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Washington, DC

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in DC

Photo of the Week – Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave, KY

Inside Mammoth Cave National Park

Sept. 26 – A Day in Gettysburg

Our plan for today was to visit Gettysburg National Military Park in the morning and then spend the afternoon in Lancaster, PA. I guess we should have done a little more research because it would have been impossible to spend less than a day here and still be able to claim that we visited Gettysburg.

The Battle of Gettysburg was a critical turning point in the Civil War and claimed more lives than any other battle. It also inspired the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speech and arguably the most famous presidential speech ever written. Gettysburg Address

Once we were in the Visitor’s Center, it was difficult to decide what to see first, so we started in the gift shop. We got our park passport cancellation and spent about 40 minutes just looking around. This is definitely the largest national park gift shop we have seen and is a must for any Civil War buff!

There are several options for touring Gettysburg but we decided to drive Lady T into the park and explore on our own. When we were reviewing the package options, we noticed the Eisenhower National Historical Site Shuttle. For a small fee, a shuttle takes you down to the private home and farm of President Dwight D. and Mamie Eisenhower. Visitors are able to tour the only permanent home that the Eisenhower’s ever owned, which was donated to the National Parks system while the late General and President was still alive.

According to the tour guide, many people to this day are not aware that the President and his wife lived in Gettysburg during his presidency. Many of their personal items are still in the home and it was quite amazing to step back in time and peek in on each of the rooms. President Eisenhower also owned several prize-winning Angus beef cattle and he stipulated that the farmland be used for that purpose after his death.

After the tour, we returned to Lady T for a light lunch and then drove to the battlefield. If you have never been here, it’s difficult to describe the feeling you get when you see it for the first time. There is a sense of reverence and sadness but also triumph. The grounds are massive and we followed the visitors guide to each of the stops. The self-guided auto tour will also take you through downtown Gettysburg, which is a nice little tourist town these days.

We thought we had hit the monument mother load in yesterday but DC’s got nothing on Gettysburg. There are 1,328 monuments and memorials in Gettysburg National Military park! The pics below represent just a fraction of them.

Lancaster will have to wait for another trip but we are so glad we spent the day in Gettysburg. We just settled in at our last Walmart in Hazel Township, PA and will be up bright and early tomorrow to begin the 6-hour journey home. Check in then for one last post from the Along the Way with J&J 2015 Road Trip!

Sept. 25 – Antietam & Washington DC

We continued our Civil War-themed tour of the National Parks system this morning by visiting Antietam Nation Battlefield in Maryland. Antietam was the bloodiest one-day battle in American history and the Confederate loss provided the opportunity for Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. It’s hard to imagine that something so horrible occurred is a place of such serene beauty.

Without a tow vehicle, we had to find somewhere close enough to DC to park Lady T for the night that was also close to public transportation. Cherry Hill Park is exactly what we were looking for! This full-service RV park in College Park, MD is less than 40 minutes from downtown DC and the shuttle bus to the subway stops directly across from the camp store.

After a quick shower and late lunch, we walked to the entrance of the park and arrived just as the shuttle was pulling in. You can either pay with cash or a SmartTrip card and the subway only accepts the SmartTrip cards, which can be purchased on site.

We’ve both been to Washington DC before but it was a long time ago. I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves but suffice it to say that we visited a LOT of monuments today, mostly in the National Mall. My favorite was the Lincoln Memorial, partly because Abraham Lincoln is my favorite president and partly because we are huge Forrest Gump fans! I couldn’t help but imagine that Jay was Forrest, standing on the steps facing the Washington Monument and I was Jenny, running through the reflecting pool calling his name. I’m glad that we were here together in our nation’s capital.

On the way back to the subway station, we ran into a few street performers who had quite a crowd gathered and put on a pretty decent show. We caught the last shuttle of the evening back to Cherry Hill and are now relaxing as we prepare ourselves for our last full day on the road before heading home.

Follow us tomorrow as we explore the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg National Military Park!