Growing up in a military household, a lot of my summer vacations were different from the normal trips my friends would take. Sure, we still did a beach vacation or two, but a lot of trips also centered around historical sites—especially those with battlefields. Surprisingly enough one place we never made it was Gettysburg.
So, when I had the opportunity to visit and experience it for myself as an adult I quickly jumped at the opportunity. Much to my surprise (and excitement) the focus of my trip would be on the food scene and the ever-growing brewery and winery market. A trip that is indeed right up my alley.
I definitely love to experience historical sites in cities I visit and discover things off the beaten path, but my true driving force behind every trip is hands down the best places to eat and drink. Often times I’ll find myself coming across a great neighborhood or local shop because I was eating dinner next door, and it happened to catch my eye. I firmly believe that much like the kitchen is the heart of the home, the restaurant scene is the heart of a community.
I’m happy to report that I couldn’t have been more right about that here in Gettysburg. Every place I had the privilege of dining was staffed with friendly folks that made me feel right at home—even though I was hundreds of miles from it. There’s something for every palette and budget in Gettysburg, but I’m going to jump right into highlighting a few of my favorites.
I started my first day off in town by stopping in Appalachian Brewing Company, a brewhouse that serves up pub-style fare alongside their brews. Once posted up on their patio, I proceeded to scour the menu before placing an order for their pieorgies & beer brats with a refreshing Peregrine Pilsner to wash it down.
While there I plotted out the course for the rest of my day, which included a stop at the Gettysburg National Military Park—definitely a spot to stop and check out. It was a gorgeous day so I parked the car and made my way through the various monuments and enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the gorgeous area. There's also a road that runs the length of the park and it can all be admired from the comfort of your car.
After a few hours spent in the park, I made my way to Tommy’s Pizza. Because you can’t go wrong with pizza, right? Especially after a long day of traveling. Safe to say I wasn’t disappointed in this decision whatsoever. It’s the kind of pizza shop that I would definitely see myself and my friends in at least once a week back home. For me, good pizza is dictated by BOTH good sauce and good crust—luckily Tommy’s has both. I ended up ordering the meat lovers pizza and hot wings and thoroughly enjoyed every bite before heading back to Federal Pointe Inn, an Ascend Hotel—my home away from home for the next few days.
No morning is officially started for me until I’ve had at least a few cups of coffee and something in my belly, so I started day two by making my way down the street to Gettysburg Baking. I instantly knew that I had made the right decision when I spied the words cold brew on the menu. I felt right at home and ordered my coffee, a strawberry and rhubarb tart for breakfast and a seeded twist to enjoy later on.
As I was leaving with coffee in hand, I noticed a cute shop, Lark, right next door so I made my way inside to discover a local boutique that focused on supporting small business owners and fair-trade merchants. Needless to say, I enjoyed my coffee while browsing their wares and picking up something for myself to remember the trip with.
With coffee and breakfast out of the way I made my way to Food 101 for an early lunch complete with margherita pizza, 101 Cauliflower and the 101 Club with Israeli couscous. Everything that I tried was exceptional, but hands down that pizza was one of the best I’ve had the privilege of enjoying. Thin, crispy crust with a tangy sauce that was perfect for a light lunch before a day of brewery and winery tours.
After lunch the real fun began as I made my way to a few stops on the Adams County Pour Tour. My first stop on the Pour Tour was Thirsty Farmer Brew Works, where I was greeted by the brother and sister who have helped put the brewery on the map. The brewery originally opened in 2015, and their tap house opened in 2018. The 4th generation farming family took their love for beer and turned it into an experience that locals and visitors alike can enjoy. They serve up a great selection of ales, lagers and ciders hand-crafted in their family farm brewery in small batches along with delicious light fare made with farm fresh ingredients, grown on site.
Second stop of the day was at Adams County Winery where I had the chance to learn a bit more about the eight different varietals of grape that they grow on site, as well as sample several Pennsylvania wines like Stray Cat Strut, Three Ships to the Wind and Black Magic.
Last, but certainly not least, I made my way to Mason Dixon Distillery. A three-year-old distillery that focuses on locally grown and sourced products as much as possible while sourcing all beer, wine and cider from Pennsylvania breweries and wineries. They also happen to boast an incredible food menu that, of course, I had to dive straight into and sample. Seasonal specials rotate every two weeks, but some tried and true staples on the menu included goat cheese brûlée, fried sprouts, hushpuppies and their burger. Yes, a burger. If there’s one thing I could order from a menu for the rest of my life it would be without a doubt a burger.
My time in Gettysburg was quickly coming to an end, but I knew I needed to fit in one more meal. One Lincoln stood out to me from the very first time I began to do research on where to eat while in town, and I would be remiss if I didn’t make time for it. The interior of the restaurant reminded me of something I would see in a much larger city, and the food was no different. From lobster-stuffed scallops to crab mac and cheese, everything I had was beyond delicious, and I couldn’t think of a better place to close out my short and sweet trip.
It was an action-packed 48 hours in Gettysburg, but it also goes to show that it’s the perfect spot for a weekend getaway. The city is full of old-world charm, idyllic settings and a bourgeoning food and beverage scene that continues to grow year after year. While it was my first time in the region, it’s also safe to say it will most certainly not be my last.