Homer's Travels: Installment #8: Gettysburg 2001

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Installment #8: Gettysburg 2001

In 2001 our summer vacation took us to the east coast of the United States. We flew into Baltimore, rented a car and drove down to Yorktown to meet up with the Godson, Matron-of-Honor, and Best Man (The Godson's parents). Our rental car had a Magellan GPS, my first experience with an GPS car navigation system. We punched in the address to our hotel in Yorktown , VA and we were on our way. Since we just have to name things, the GPS was soon nicknamed Maggie and she never led us astray. We played with the languages which resulted in Maggie saying something in Japanese that sounded a lot like "Keys F___ed up!" This resulted in all sorts of jocularity during our 10 day trip.

We arrived in Yorktown and met up with our family. The Godson was working as a docent at Yorktown and he took us on a private tour of the historical park. The next day we decided to head over to Pamplin Historical Park. The Godson thought he could get us there but, after driving around a little, we decided to ask Maggie for help. Turns out the Godson was close - we weren't too far from the park. The park was cool and we had a good time.

After our family visit, the wife and I went out on our own heading north and westward to Monticello. We had a great tour of Thomas Jefferson's little bungalow and gardens.

After Monticello we drove on to Harper's Ferry. We stayed at an ancient hotel up on a hill, the Hilltop House Hotel, overlooking the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. The views were beautiful, the floors creaked, and the doors barely closed as all the doorways were askew. We encountered some wicked insect lifeforms in our room but the wife took care of them with her tricky hairspray - stiff, but stylish, bugs. We turned off the light and hoped and prayed that nothing would crawl into our noses, ears, and hair. The next day we walked the Appalachian Trail that goes through the area and visited the historic sites in the area before driving on.

We passed through Antietam on the way to Emmitsburg where we visited an ancestor's grave. We ended the day in Gettysburg. Here we took a ghost tour, visited a house built by another of my ancestors, and took a guided driving tour of Gettysburg. The tour was terrific. We paid a guide (a history teacher) to drive us around in our car as he told us of the history and the events of the civil war battles. A great tour. Our guide even took us by the Gettysburg Historical Society and helped us make an appointment so I could do some research.

The next day we did some research and made some copies of genealogical information, visited some more houses built by even more civil war era kin, and made our way to Washington D.C.

In D.C. we took the Metrorail (a station was only two blocks from our hotel) to visited all the monuments. We returned the next day and visited the Holocaust Museum and the Smithsonian.

This ended our vacation. We drove back to Baltimore and flew home. It was a pretty good vacation full of history and stuff - Crazy Cool!

One more thing happened on this vacation. This was the last vacation we put Homer in the kennel. When we got back from our trip, Homer was so stressed out that he was sick and we ended up spending a couple hundred on vet bills. From that point on we have always hired a housesitter while we are away.

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