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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ice Cream and Gettysburg

Remember the other day when I was excited to report our temperature was 68 degrees? Well, this morning it was a cool 60 degrees!  I actually had to turn on the fireplace to knock off the chill in the rig upon getting up. The high today was 83! Loving this weather.
         We have found a local (Mennonite I think) farm that specializes in selling diary products and their "special specialty" is ice cream!  I tell you, this ice cream is to die for!  All the ingredients are grown on their farm and they have their own creamery as well. They even make their own waffle cones right in front of you! This farm only raises Guernsey cattle whose milk has a higher cream content and is one of the reasons their ice cream is better than average. Most other farms in this area raise Holstein cattle, which produce more milk but not as much cream. The name of this farm is Lapp Valley Farm, about 3 miles from us.
            We arose early this morning for our trip to Gettysburg, which is about a 90 minute drive to our west. The first half of the trip was smooth sailing on a four lane highway, but the last half was stop and go with heavy traffic through some smaller communities. After reaching the park, all the closer parking lots were full so I dropped off Crickett and Bailey at the front entrance and parked in lot 3, about a five minute walk back. The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center is a large facility that is owned and operated by the Gettysburg Foundation  and is relatively new.  At some point, the facility is supposed to revert back to the National Park Service. We decided to view the film " A New Birth of Freedom" narrated by Morgan Freeman that explained events leading to the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg. After the film, we went to the Cyclorama, a  large round dome on the top floor. The walls of the Cyclorama are adorned with a huge painting of the Battle of Gettysburg. The painting covers the entire 360 degrees of the inside wall of the structure. The painting was done by French artist Paul Phillippoteaux in 1882 and took a year and half to complete. The painting depicts in detail the fierce fighting and agony in the battle of Gettysburg. It was restored to it's original condition when moved to the Cyclorama. The presentation included light and sound effects to increase the realism. Our next area was the museum, where many scenes and artifacts were presented in displays that were very impressive and were inter-active displays as well. From there, our next stop was the bookstore where we enjoyed looking at  the books and merchandise pertaining to the area. Of course, we had to buy a T shirt, refrigerator magnet, and a few other goodies. The bookstore also sells a self guided CD you can play in your car and let it guide you through the prominent points in the city and battlefield.  We opted to hire a private guide employed by the Foundation that was recommended to us by friends that had been here before. Our guide was Mr Clay Rebert, a very courteous and extremely knowledgeable fellow who is the senior guide at the facility with over 30 years experience. There seemed to be no limit to his knowledge and was very friendly and helpful in our tour. Our tour lasted a little over two hours with Clay painting such a realistic description of the events making it seem like we were actually a part of history. Clay drove my truck so I could take in all the views without having to watch the road. I highly recommend anyone going to Gettysburg to consider hiring an individual guide. The cost of the self guided CD was $31 and the individual guide was $63, well worth the difference.
          At the moment, our plan is to explore Philadelphia historical areas Monday. The rest of our time here will be spent visiting local farms, shops, shows, etc. Looks like we might be heading to upstate Western New York from here.

Lapp Valley Farms ice cream shop and creamery. There's a nice porch to the left where we sat and enjoyed our ice cream. We've actually been here twice!

Sign outside ice cream shop.

There are two large bull dogs on the property that are designated guard dogs. If you aren't careful, they'll lick you to death! This one is guarding the front door.

This is the other one guarding the porch!

Petting area with young calves.

Needless to say, Bailey loved this part!

There are two families living on the farm. This is the yard of one of them.

And, their lovely home.

This dog pen was on the road into the property. Not sure what breed they are, but the pups were sure cute.

I counted eight of them.

Part of their garden.

Here is where they make their waffle cones.

Of course, we brought some back!

Crickett And I in front of main entrance to Museum and Visitor Center

Crickett and Bailey with Honest Abe.
Plaque of the Gettysburg Address

View of front entrance to Museum and Visitor's center. The round red part of the building is the outside of the Cyclorama

Inside theater

Small section of the painting inside the Cyclorama

Museum Display of Confederate gear

Museum display of Union gear

Main lobby area

Carrie Sheads House that was used as a hospital during the battle, as most houses and churches were. If you look closely, you can see a red flag on the upper porch signifying it was a hospital and not to be fired upon. This flag was the forerunner of the Red Cross flag we know today. Look at the dot to the left of the topmost window and see the closeup of it in the next picture.

Actual artillery shell that hit the house during one of the battles. There are four other structures in the Town of Gettysburg with imbedded shells still in the walls.

One of several North Carolina markers in the park. Clay informed us there are over 1300 markers in the park and said the NPS has placed a moratorium on no more being placed due to the tremendous maintenance expense to maintain them.

Front View of North Carolina Monument.

Our wonderful guide, Clay Rebert

Our gang!

One of many, many cannon batteries all around the park.

This Lutheran Seminary was in place during the battle and is still active today. One of the battle areas was called seminary ridge, referring to this area.

Virginia monument with Robert E Lee on his horse, Traveller. Clay told us on statues with mounted horseman, If the horse had two feet off the ground, the individual was killed at that spot. If the horse had one foot off the ground, it signified he was wounded there. If all four feet were on the ground, he was unhurt. Now that would be a good trivia question, huh!

Lower section of Virginia Monument.



  1. Thanks for the history,and real good picture's also
    looks like you three are having a great time.

  2. From Betty: We loved Gettysburg - twice! Second time was a horseback tour & a private guide in our car. Loved those 2!
    Wish we had found the ice cream farm!
    As we headed north, we drove thru PA's Susquehanna River Valley. Beautiful area. There's a canyon in northers part - west a little way from our hwy. beautiful place to spend a coupla hrs. In NY state, highly recommend spending some time in Watkins Glen. Used to have Grand Prix raced thru the town. This is the theme throughout the town. It's a town that time has forgotten.

  3. Two useful things I should point out.

    1) There are more than 4 structures in town with shells embedded in the walls. There are something like 9, with an additional 4 or so with just bulletholes. Also, none of the shells can absolutely be 100% confirmed as the actual one(s) from the battle, or whether the spot(s) that they are located now are the original impact points.

    B) The story of the horse hoofs is a myth, a strange and obnoxiously persistent myth that is difficult to kill. Many guides will tell you this, although some prefer to perpetuate the myth for a better story....and maybe even for a bigger tip from unsuspecting tourists. (yes that's right, believe -it-or-not guiding doesn't pay that we'll and one cannot sustain a full time career out of it. Therefore tips are VERY welcome ;-) )