Members' Travel Tips

District 23 Travel Tips & Hints for Members by Members

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Barcelona
My wife, Lynda and I sailed into Barcelona from the Caribbean 9 years ago and have walked, biked and bused ourselves around this grand city. Lynda and I would be willing to help you get acquainted with our favorite city in the world. Just send us an e mail and we will try to help you in any way we can.
Don and Lynda Stewart ~ svglenfarr@yahoo.com

I travelled to Barcelona in the fall of 2008 and would be willing to share tips.


Meandering With Mike: Gettysburg at 150 – An Epic Struggle and Lincoln’s Legendary Speech
For:  RTO Newsletter
By: Mike Keenan
Photo credits: Mike Keenan & Gettysburg CVB

Pictures with labels (see end of this page):
1. Gettysburg National Park, 24th Michigan Regiment Memorial, photo by Mike Keenan
2. Gettysburg National Park, Little Round Top, Union General Warren statue, photo by Mike Keenan
3. Gettysburg Re-enactment, photo by Paul Witt
4. Lincoln Square, Lincoln Statue, photo by Mike Keenan
5. National Park, photo courtesy Gettysburg CVB
6. Visitors Center, Abraham Lincoln and friend
7. Visitors Center, Gen. George Meade, photo by Mike Keenan
8. Visitors Center, Robert E. Lee, photo by Mike Keenan

The scope is truly epic. Inside Gettysburg National Military Park, there are 371 cannons, most with their original barrels, (the carriages are reproductions) and 1,328 monuments, markers and memorials. The three-day bloody battle in 1863 led to the ultimate Confederate defeat in America’s Civil War. (1861 – 1865)

The park is a vast battlefield of close to 24,281square km (6,000 acres), so it’s a bit strange that guide, Paul Marhevka, starts the automobile tour at the 24th Michigan monument, a small marker set back in the woods. He explains that thousands of Canadians fought in the Civil War and that two dozen fought with this Union regiment. He wonders if we have seen the monument in Kincardine dedicated to Solomon Secord, a field surgeon in the Confederate 20th Georgia Volunteers.  Niagara’s Laura Secord was his great aunt!

In July, Gettysburg celebrates the 150th anniversary of the famous battle, and the festivities might well outdo our War of 1812 ceremonies.

In David Spielberg’s recent, award-winning movie, Lincoln rides solemnly through Civil War carnage. Here, the tiny town of 2,400 residents contended with 7,058 corpses (3,155 Union, 3,903 Confederate), another 33,264 wounded (14,529 Union, 18,735 Confederate), amputated limbs literally in heaps and 5,000 dead horses and mules, creating a stench that permeated for weeks.

Here, General George G. Meade’s Union Army of 97,000 met Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of 75,000 by chance. Because the Confederates were running out of food in the south, Lee chose south central Pennsylvania where it was plentiful. They aimed to attack Harrisburg, the state capital.

From the Gettysburg Visitors Center museum displays, I learn interesting facts:

  • More than in both World Wars (405,399), 622, 511 died in the American Civil War, 66% from disease and 33% from wounds.  At Gettysburg, 32,000 were wounded of which, 8,000 died. 94% of the casualties were caused by bullets, less than 1% from bayonets and about 5% from cannon.
  • The Virginia monument, one of most famous in the world, depicts Robert E. Lee on his horse, “Traveler,” the only statue of a southern general in the park.
  • Most soldiers used muzzle-loading muskets with mini balls that were lethal at 182 metres (200 yards) and effective at 914 metres (a thousand yards). The cavalry used smaller guns called carbines, efficient at 457 metres (500 yards).
  • Union General Butterfield was General Meade's chief of staff.  He didn't like the last bugle call at night, so he whistled a tune and asked the bugler to perform it, to become known as “taps” or reveille.
  • 90,000 horses were employed at Gettysburg.
  • In the Union army, 200,000 soldiers were under the age of 16 while 300 were not yet 13.
  • The Pennsylvania monument (1910) is the largest in the park. One-third of those fighting (34,900) were from Pennsylvania, with all of their names recorded.

From July 4-7, there will be 2-3 battles reenacted per day here with “living history” taught throughout the encampments as re-enactors answer questions from visitors. Organized along the same lines as the two armies, the logistics involve 18,000 soldiers and 8,000 civilians, the whole operation rigidly controlled.

A word of warning – Adams County has 2,600 hotel rooms. 170,000 visitors are expected to arrive during the 10-day anniversary with ceremonies, programs, re-enactments and the opening of the Seminary Ridge Museum, ranging from June 28 through July 7, 2013.  Federal Pointe Inn owner, Peter Monahan, tells me he was sold out well before my November stay. Whitehead suggests tourists make Gettysburg a year-long visit. A second large wave will arrive for the November 19th 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and it’s a good bet that President Obama will be invited to speak of his hero.

Side bar: If you go
The Gettysburg Re-enactment: www.gettysburgreenactment.com
Calendar of Events: www.gettysburg.travel/event.asp
Gettysburg’s 150th Anniversary Commemoration: www.gettysburgcivilwar150.com
Gettysburg National Military Park: www.nps.gov/gett
Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau: www.gettysburg.travel
Read: Michael Shaara was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975 for his The Killer Angels an historical work that describes the battle.

Mike writes for Sun Media & is reached at: www.whattravelwriterssay.com; where you can visit the Niagara Blog at http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/wtwsblog2.html and his St. Catharines Standard humour column at: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/indexseniorhumour.html
Mike Keenan, Member: SATW  
Writer, Columnist: Sun Media, Toronto Star, RTO (Retired Teachers of Ontario) Newsletters (11)
Editor/Publisher: What Travel Writers Say: www.whattravelwriterssay.com: 329,081 page views  
E-mail: mkeenan1@cogeco.ca

Blogs by Mike Keenan:
Niagara Blog: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/wtwsblog2.html
Poetry of Place Blog: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/poetryofplace.html
Seniors Blog: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/indexseniorhumour.html

Photos:

 

1. Gettysburg National Park, 24th Michigan Regiment Memorial, photo by Mike Keenan
2. Gettysburg National Park, Little Round Top, Union General Warren statue, photo by Mike Keenan
3. Gettysburg Re-enactment, photo by Paul Witt
4. Lincoln Square, Lincoln Statue, photo by Mike Keenan


5. National Park, photo courtesy Gettysburg CVB
6. Visitors Center, Abraham Lincoln and friend
7. Visitors Center, Gen. George Meade, photo by Mike Keenan
8. Visitors Center, Robert E. Lee, photo by Mike Keenan