Best Civil War Sites
Courtesy of the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau
Don’t let those Abe Lincoln bobbleheads or other gift shop kitsch distract you from the meaning of those three historic days in July 1863. Focus on the battle, the turning point of a war that had up until then been the Confederates’ to win. After a quick orientation at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, set out with an NPS-licensed battlefield guide for a two-hour drive around the park (book in advance, $65). Such a historian will make vivid sense of all the advances and retreats, the personalities, and the mayhem. The park frequently hosts “living history” weekends, when volunteers, in full costume, re-create skirmishes—check the NPS site for the current calendar.
Don’t Miss: The 250-year-old Fairfield Inn, eight miles to the west of the battlefield, re-creates a three-course meal eaten here by Robert E. Lee during a pause in the Confederate retreat from Gettysburg.