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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

GETTYSBURG: BED, BREAKFAST & BATTLEFIELDS



WHERE TO STAY--Getting to Gettysburg, PA from San Diego takes some planning. What worked for us is taking Southwest Airlines and four hours later arrive at Baltimore/Washington Airport (BWI).
From the National car rental desk we drove I-83 toward Harrisburg PA, where we checked into the City House Bed & Breakfast, 915 North Front St., Harrisburg, PA, 717/903-2489. A young couple remodeled a fading Federalist style home into a classy, buttoned down B&B. This B&B is a cross between historic rustic inns and a modern hotel. I also wanted to see the wide Susquehanna River, which did its part in 1863 by stopping a Confederate raiding party intent on harassing Harrisburg, a major Union capitol.

A day before, the famed Battle of Gettysburg, a Union militia located in nearby Columbia, PA, burned the wooden bridge crossing the Susquehanna stopping a Rebel raiding party intent on reaching Harrisburg. The original pilings of that covered bridge remain in the river next to a new bridge.

The next morning we left Harrisburg and drove 45 minutes to Gettysburg, where we arrived in time to tour the town and take a remarkable personal guided tour of the Battlefield. More on that “must-take” tour in tomorrow’s blog.
That night, we had a choice of staying at the Gettysburg Hotel or a B&B in nearby Oxford, PA that was another Federalist style brick home. We chose to stay at the Barker House Bed & Breakfast, 10 Lincoln Way West, New Oxford, PA, 717/624-9066. Located seven miles from Gettysburg, the Inn is a comfortable alternative from the very touristy feel to modern day accommodations in Gettysburg.

Built in 1794, the Barker House is a freeze-frame of the d├ęcor so prominent in homes of antebellum America. It was a delightful stay. Now, that I was hooked by Civil War lore, I had to find the drawing room, where Confederate General John Gordon met with his officers prior to their march to the Susquehanna. Gordon troops were the ones halted by then torched the Susquehanna bridge.

New Oxford is quaint and has professional quality antique stores and well worth visit.
We spent the late afternoon and evening in Gettysburg, where we dined at the Dobbin House Tavern (www.dobbinhouse.com/), a fine Colonial period inn that I’ve added to my list of great steaks (others: Donovanssteakhouse.com, San Diego and Chicago’s
SmithandWollensky.com).

Gettysburg has excellent visitor support on the Internet, especially www.gettysburgfoundation.com, a comprehensive website that answered all our questions.

Images: Photos by Phyllis Shess. Interior view: Barker House B&B, New Oxford, PA; Exterior view: City House B&B, Harrisburg.

Upcoming:

Wednesday: Gar Phillips, Battlefield Tour Guide Extraordinaire

Thursday: Unsung Battlefield Heroes.

Friday: Homework Before you Go. Books and Websites that inspire.

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