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Sunday, 20 August 2017

USA 2017 - Laura starts her roadtrip

It was time to leave the Washington area and start exploring.  We hired a car, loaded up our bags, took one last look at the swimming pools and headed out on Route 66 (it wasn't the route Karen would have taken from the hotel to her home but our GPS in the car directed us that way).

Last look at the two swimming pools

The hotel lobby restaurant, sadly with no other Sasha collectors in sight anymore

Travelling on Route 66

Just over an hour later we arrived at the home of Karen W, one of the three organisers of the festival, to collect my daughter's lost and found Festival souvenir.  We had a lovely chat with Karen as she gave us tea and snacks. I saw the two sewing machines in her dining room where she had done that epic amount of sewing for all 100 souvenir outfits.  On the table was a Sasha baby to welcome us.  Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of Laura meeting the baby or thanking Karen for looking after her missing bathrobe.  Thank you Karen for being so kind and providing a very welcome break in our journey.

After saying goodbye to Karen, we drove north through Virginia, Maryland and into Pennsylvania.  Our next stop was the historic town of Gettysburg which I had long wanted to explore as it was the sight of a devastating battle during the civil war in July 1863 and later that year the place where Lincoln gave his historic address. 

After leaving all the rest of the Sasha family at the hotel in the late afternoon, Laura travelled in her doll bag as we explored the central part of the town, we parked beside the information centre at the south end of the town and walked up to the central square as we were not only looking at the story of the battle but also for a restaurant!

Looking north up Baltimore street, Gettysburg

Reading about Tillie Pierce, a 15 year witness of the battle

Viewing memorials outside the Stoever-Schick Building on the square, which was a general store at the time of the battle

One of the many information boards in the town, this was explained about the arrival of Confederate soldiers in the town a few days before the battle

Map of Gettysburg at the north end of the square

Reading about the Gettysburg Hotel on Lincoln Square
which has hosted many famous visitors over the years

The Gettysburg Hotel

The David Wills House, where the Gettysburg address was written by Lincoln

Sign about the Wills House

Laura looking up at 'Return Visit' the statue of Lincoln with a modern day man in Lincoln Square

The information about 'Return Visit' - the statue of Lincoln meeting the modern day man

In a shop window was this display of Civil war artefacts, Laura was surprised to see that the cannon was quite small

Laura was interested to read about individual acts of heroism and compassion during the war, such as that of The Compiler newspaper man who asked a Confederate surgeon to operate on an injured Union soldier and was accused of helping the enemy 'capture' the Union solder

The Compiler newspaper building today

Laura was pleased to find that the town has a beautiful Library building and that another statue of President Lincoln was outside the library, standing upon a plinth with an inscription of his Gettysburg address.

Laura with President Lincoln outside the Library building
Laura liked the information notices in some windows of houses in the street which told about the 'Women Behind These Walls' providing female witness accounts of the Battle of Gettysburg.

A woman behind these walls: Agnes Barr was one of the many women who helped in the makeshift hospitals which sprang up in the town during and after the battle

Many buildings in the town carry this sign - Civil War Building, July 1863
Laura discovered one of the saddest stories of the battle, that of the only civilian to be killed, young Jenny (Jennie) Wade.

Jennie Wade was born in a house in Baltimore Street, the house where she died only 20 years later was not much further south along the same road

The Women Behind these Walls information about Jennie Wade in the window of the house where she was born

Jennie Wade's birthplace
Laura was astonished by the cannon ball lodged in the wall of this house - it didn't appear to have damaged the house much and has been left there ever since.

Cannon ball in the wall of a house

The Jennie Wade House, where Jennie, was killed by a stray bullet. Laura could see a statue of Jennie outside the house but could not go in as it was evening, after museum closing time.
The following morning Laura visited the Gettysburg National Military Park - first stop was at the museum and visitor center.

The Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Centre
In the museum was a restored Cyclorama, a huge circular painting which was toured to show people something of what the Battle of Gettysburg was like, in the days before cinema.  Laura saw a film about the war and the battle then went to see the Cyclorama which was recently restored.

There was so much detail in the cyclorama painting, which was suspended around a purpose built room as it would have been when it was a travelling exhibit

The story of the battle was portrayed with a commentary, spotlights and sound effects

Laura thought that standing in the middle of a huge 'animated' painting all around her was quite overwhelming

Around the base of the painting the foreground was built up with real artefacts like a stage set, so it was quite hard to see where the real things finished and the painting began
In the museum there were many things to look at and read, Laura was pleased to see the military band instruments, especially the flutes!  It reminded her of a Sasha friend who plays the flute.

Military band instruments of the Civil War
Laura was interested to see the differences between the Union soldier uniform (Billy Yank) and the Confederate soldier uniform (Johnny Reb).

Billy Yank

Johnny Reb

There was so much to see and so little time as Laura had an appointment to keep further north, so only a quick tour of part of the battlefield was possible.

The battle route is lined with cannons, this was along the Confederate lines

The cannons pointing towards Gettysburg

Laura's one stop on the battle route was at Little Round Top, which gives a hill top view of the battle field

The information board about Little Round Top

Laura stood beside the monument at Little Round Top and looked out over the battlefield

Laura could see Devil's Den, a rocky outcrop in the battlefield where so many soldiers had died in July 1863

Devil's Den from Little Round Top
Laura wanted to explore further but there was no more time available to spend in Gettysburg as there was a 2 hour car journey to her next appointment which was a musical one.  She hoped that one day it would be possible to return to learn more about this historic place.


Serenata said...

Such an amazing and educational road trip. I hope your daughter gets to share this with her school to show them just what she was doing during the summer holidays, I bet it will beat any of the holidays children may have had in terms of both interest and education!

Kendal said...

How sad you looked to be leaving the Festival hotel... although it now looked rather empty after all that Sasha hustle and bustle of the previous few days.
So pleased that you were able to stop on route to pick up Laura's missing towelling festival gift robe.
So much to see and learn on this first part of your tour.