Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is one of the United States’ most iconic historic destinations – as both the site of the most tragic battle of the American Civil War, and the place where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address.
But Gettysburg isn’t just a place where something happened long, long ago. It’s a place where visitors from around the world experience that history through state-of-the-art museums, engaging tours of the majestic battlefield and culture rarely found in a town of its size.
Gettysburg, which is located within close proximity of Washington, Philadelphia and New York City, welcomes 3.5 million visitors annually. Visitors are drawn by the rich history, but enthralled by the small-town hospitality, the beautiful scenery and the abundance of local shops, restaurants, wineries, farmers markets and attractions that commemorate the Civil War and beyond.
In July 1863, more than 165,000 soldiers converged on this town of only 2,400 residents to wage the largest battle of the American Civil War. The battle didn’t end the four-year war, but became the turning point and will be forever revered as a place where sacrifice was symbolic of unifying the divided nation – none more so than through the words of the United States’ 16th President Abraham Lincoln through his immortal Gettysburg Address.
Today, visitors are riding horses on the Gettysburg battlefield just as Union and Confederate cavalry did more than 150 years earlier. Travellers are finding that great food isn’t just for big cities through the Savor Gettysburg Food Tour and emerging hard cider industry. Visitors are realizing that the history doesn’t stop at the entrance to the battlefield – history is found throughout the town in the inns, taverns and buildings that line the streets of this charming town.
And history doesn’t stop at the Civil War. The 34th President of the United States (and famed World War II general) – Dwight Eisenhower, along with his wife, Mamie, lived in Gettysburg and their home and farm are open to visitors year-round.
Gettysburg boasts a variety of ways to tour the Gettysburg National Military Park – by bicycle, horse, Segway, on foot, by car, carriage and bus – each led by the destination’s renowned Licensed Battlefield Guides, celebrating 100 years in 2015. Battlefield tours are personal and engaging – aimed not only to educate travellers, but to be thought-provoking and inspiring.
This history is told through tracing the footsteps of Lincoln during his short, but monumental, trip to Gettysburg just four months after the battle. Today, travellers from around the world visit such places as the Historic Gettysburg Railroad Station where Lincoln arrived and walking to the cemetery where he delivered those famous words, “Four Score and Seven Years Ago…”.
Gettysburg is a destination that has embraced its heritage. As international travellers seek to understand the beginnings of America’s history in Philadelphia, or marvel at the nation’s heritage in Washington, D.C., Gettysburg has become an iconic place to grasp the magnitude of the United States’ most trying time and where a president – in just two minutes – set the stage for a unified country.