I am not a world traveler. In fact, I am almost a non-traveler. Vacations in my life have been few and far between. The last time I went anywhere it was five years ago and that was to a funeral in NY. Pretty dull, right? I understand that most everyone needs to get away from it all, have a change of scenery and re-charge the old batteries. As for me, I really don’t care one way or the other. I’m content where I am. Call me peculiar (it’s OK–I have been called a lot worse than that). Don’t get me wrong. There are certain places that I do like to visit. Let’s start with St. Augustine, FL, the oldest city in the United States. The city was founded in 1565 (42 years before Jamestown) by Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles under the orders of King Phillip II of Spain. The old coquina shell fort still stands as do the original city gates nearby which is the oldest wooden schoolhouse in the country. If you like history, it is an amazing place to visit. I will be going there–again.
My favorite places to visit are Civil War battlefields and, without a doubt, Gettysburg, PA tops the list. If there is anyplace I love to spend time it is at Gettysburg. This place is truly hallowed ground. The battlefield is immense covering many square miles and over 50,000 young Americans died here from July 1 through 3, 1863. When I visit Gettysburg I am overwhelmed by what happened here almost 150 years ago. If you go up to “Little Round Top” and stand next to the statue of General Warren you can look down at the “The Devil’s Den” and “The Peach Orchard” and actually sense the fury and chaos that went on there on day 2 of the battle. Standing up on “Cemetery Ridge” you can look out across the vast field that leads to a line of trees. Picture 15,000 Confederate soldiers, under the command of Gen. George Pickett, stepping out from those tress and heading toward you. Imagine waiting and waiting as they slowly advance across the several mile long field. Then, all hell breaks loose as thousands of muskets and cannon began blasting away. “Picketts Charge” fails and the division is almost wiped out. This was the final battle at Gettysburg and the beginning of the end for the Confederate States of America.. Four months later, Abraham Lincoln, delivered the Gettysburg Address here and you can visit the boarding house where he stayed the night before as he finished up the two and a half minute masterpiece. Of course there are other battlefields like Fredericksburg, VA and Chancellorsville and Antietam and Fort Sumter off the Charleston, SC coast.
Well, I guess I just like history. Sometimes, when you go these places, you can just feel it.