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Experience living history in Gettysburg | Travel Smart

As gas prices continue to rise, consider staying local by traveling to Gettysburg, which is rich in history, small shops, and restaurants.

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Stubborn inflation has been driving the price of nearly everything in recent weeks and months, travel included. 

A recent survey conducted by Forbes showed more than half of Americans were considering changing summer travel plans due to the cost of a trip being too high. That's why we're showing you destinations in your own back yard - that you can get to with a tank of gas or less.

This week our destination is Gettysburg, a town rich with history and endless activity. Gettysburg is best known as the site of a turning point battle in the American Civil War, resulting in a Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee's second and most ambitious invasion of the North. Today, the battlefields are a national park, scattered with monuments remembering the fighting that took place nearly 160 years ago.

“There's over 1,300 markers, tablets, and memorials and statues out on the battlefield so you can spend days just looking and studying and walking the battlefield,” says Wayne Motts, the President and CEO of the Gettysburg Foundation. 

With over 6,000 acres of outdoor space, the now peaceful battlefield feels calm and quiet on even the busiest of summer days. Whether you're a history enthusiast or just looking to learn something new, guided tours of the battlefield offer a unique opportunity to step onto the hallowed ground and connect with stories of the past.

The knowledgeable guides are the best of the best. “There's actually a code of federal regulations setting up a licensed battlefield guide service here all the way back to 1915,” says Mott, “so all the battlefield guides that you get here at the Gettysburg National Military Park are licensed and tested by the United States Federal Government to do what they do - and they've been doing it for over a century here.” 

No visit to the park is complete without a stop in the Gettysburg Museum, which houses one of the largest collections of civil war relics in the world. You can also take in the fantastic Cyclorama painting, a 360 degree landscape that brings the fury of the final Confederate assault on July 3, 1863 to life. Outside, the historic battlefield looks much like it did in 1863 thanks to preservation efforts, but just down the road you'll find a bustling downtown filled with unique shops, exciting attraction, and fine dining options.

“There are not very many chain restaurants, it's almost all independent restaurants. A lot of farm to table food, family friendly dining - really something for everyone,” says Karl Pietrzak, the President and CEO of Destination Gettysburg.

While in town, you can look up and admire some of the Civil War era buildings or peek into storefronts that offer haunted candle light tours. You can also partake in the Adams County Pour Tour, where you can hop around to more than 30 different breweries and wineries sampling some of the tastiest craft beverages.

There's so much to choose from in Gettysburg that it becomes easy to miss out on some of the hidden gems.

“There's really so much to do,” says Pietrzak, “obviously we're known for history but there's so much beyond the history. The shopping, the dining, there's lots of attractions that aren't history related that are a lot of family fun and affordable.”

Gettysburg has plenty of events for you to check out this summer. The National Parks Service offers everything from hiking programs to special site visits. The city itself also has a summer concert series and will be putting on a reenactment of the historic battle on July 2nd and 3rd to commemorate the 159th anniversary of the battle.

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