By Tinsy Labrie
I am a lifelong visitor to Gettysburg who decided to make this charming little town my home, like so many other travelers who fall in love with this community.
And, like a lot of those visitors, I find great passion in traveling solo – experiencing destinations on my own schedule, and sometimes, my own whim.
Solo travelers have been coming to Gettysburg since the battle ended, to tend to the wounded, to learn of their loved ones who fought there, or to understand the magnitude of what happened on July 1, 2, 3, 1863.
People like me who travel alone agree – experiencing Gettysburg on your own can be both spiritual and relaxing.
With no one else to worry about, following your own path based on what you want to see and do is liberating.
The peacefulness you feel while visiting Gettysburg just seems to fit in with the wide-open spaces and quiet wooded areas of the battlefield.
Here’s how I spent my “alone” time visiting Gettysburg.
I like to wake up in a warm, cushy four-poster at my favorite bed & breakfast inn, getting a whiff of fresh eggs and bacon cooked just the way I like them. Then I map the day’s strategy with fellow travelers over a hot cup of coffee, setting me up for what lies ahead.
I always have a battle-related book to read, usually about something I want to further dig into. Either alone in the comfort of my room or sitting outside soaking up the sun, reading about the battle is another part of Gettysburg’s magic. There are so many interesting, well-documented stories to discover. Museum bookstores or the Adams County Library are great places to spend “me time.”
Historic photos in their rich sepia tones from the very spots they were taken in the 1860s help to immerse me to a time long since passed. The life-sized photos exhibited on the walls of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center give me unique perspective, as does the 360-degree Cyclorama painting of Pickett’s Charge.
I am a huge fan of the new Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum, especially the civilian experience “Caught In The Crossfire,” where I’ve been able see, hear, and feel what it was like to be there in 1863.
Since I’m from the city, I like to head out of town to farms selling fresh produce direct from their fields. I discovered most of them through the Adams County Crop Hop, spending hours at places like the Historic Round Barn where I get fresh fruits (local strawberries are heavenly), veggies (I never liked kale until I bought it there), great gifts for friends and family, and something for me to remember each trip.
I always go to nearby Hanover (aka Snacktown, USA), where multiple factories make the best potato chips and snacks anywhere. Talk about fresh! My ritual – stocking up on my favorites at the Utz Outlet Store then trying hard not to eat them all on my drive back to town.
As for the rest of the food scene, I eat alone at the counter or the bar because the service staff always makes me feel welcome. I never miss a bowl of onion soup at the Spring House Tavern at Dobbin House or the amazing drinks concocted by the friendly bartenders at the Mansion House. Of course, the sweetness of the sauce on slices at Tommy’s Pizza make it a must.
Back in the comfort of my B&B, I liked to take time every night to post about the many special Gettysburg places, moments, or people I’ve encountered that day.
What’s so endearing about solo travel, with my mobile phone along for the ride, I never really feel lonely because my social media friends are right there with me. Now that I live in Gettysburg, they ask if they can come stay with me. But I must admit, selfishly, like a famous actress once said, “I want to be alone.”
About the author: Tinsy Labrie grew up in Western Pennsylvania, and spent many years in Pittsburgh. She was once a seasonal ranger for Gettysburg National National Military Park – something that sparked her passion for the town and beautiful countryside. She now resides in Gettysburg, but loves to explore as a visitor in her own backyard.