Monday, August 24, 2009

Gettysburg

From Kristie

It may be cliche to say Gettysburg, but I have to. Gettysburg was my introduction to the Civil War. I was 13 and did all the tourist-y stuff -- rode the trolley, went into the Wax Museum, put my finger into the bullet hole on the door of the Jennie Wade House. But somehow, something stuck with me. It made me delve deeper, want to find out what really happened there and why. In turn, that led me to pick up my pen and write about it. I fell in love with all of the nooks and crannies in Gettysburg, all those "off the beaten path" places. I've gone back dozens of times, even moved to the area for a time. Although by now, I've visited many more Civil War sites, and even taught Civil War studies courses, become a published author and historian, and have two blogs of my own, Gettysburg always means home to me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Favorite Food: Spicy Hot Dogs

From L.M. German, Richmond VA

A couple of great ideas for hot dog addicts visiting Civil War sites:

After checking out Lynchburg VA and heading toward Appomattox, stop at Moore's Country Store on US 460 just a couple miles east of the US 29 Lynchburg bypass. It's on the right at the bottom of a hill. Unpretentious is a superlative -- there is a huge tree growing virtually through the roof -- and the dogs will literally light you up if you choose their wonderful signature slow burn chili. Eat in or take out in delightful individual Styrofoam boxes. Of course, the same stop works headed in the opposite direction. Moore's has been around since 1926.

Another good choice is Bill's Hot Dogs in Washington NC. Very conveniently located at 109 Gladden St., just a couple of blocks east of Route 17 in the middle of the charming downtown. It's dogs, chips and bottled drinks -- period!! Order at the counter and you will have them in less than a minute. Condiment choices include mustard, onions and a zippy chili. Very limited indoor seating. Bill's has been there since 1928 and is well worth the stop.

Favorite Site: Guinea Station

From John Grim, Alexandria VA

I've had many interesting experiences over the years as an historian and reenactor and tour guide. One of my favorite spots always has been the "caretakers building" at Guinea Station just south of Fredericksburg. There Gen. Stonewall Jackson said, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees." The bed, blanket and clock on the mantle are supposed to have been there when he died. The main plantation house burned many years ago, but the cottage still exists right beside the train track that would have carried Jackson to Richmond had Union cavalry gotten close.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Favorite Site: Harpers Ferry - Sheer Beauty

From Don Cassidy
Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada

A longtime dream of mine was to travel to Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and stand on the battlefields where a nation faced its greatest challenge. A friend and I toured July 14-21 in whirlwind fashion.... Some days, 12-13 hours....

The surprise for me was Harpers Ferry. I hadn't read a lot about its significance. Well, aside from the history and connection to George Washington, John Brown and Thomas Jefferson, the sheer beauty of the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers left me in wonderment.

To imagine Stonewall Jackson's men placing cannons in impossible places, and then standing on Bolivar Heights to witness cannon and musket fire demonstrated by reenactors from New Jersey -- what an experience.

I truly appreciate the care and commitment made by Americans to preserve this turbulent time in history. I am glad I was able to share that experience, and I walk away, having a better insight into a nation. I look forward to more travels to Virginia as the Shenandoah river valley beckons. I can't wait.