Haunts & Jaunts: Gettysburg bound

“Cannons & markers along the battlefield. The cannons have not changed position since the battle!” *Photo by Rick Hinton

   “The road to Gettysburg was littered with thousands of dead from both North and South. And the destruction of the reputations of commanding officers in both armies!”

   It was somewhere along the rolling hills of the Pennsylvania Turnpike on a Thursday that it finally hit me…we were drawing closer to the Gettysburg battlefield. This trip—a  bucket list item for my wife Laura and myself—and we were finally doing it! We were in anticipation. What lie ahead? As her four-cylinder Nissan engine strained along the dips and curves of the Appalachian Mountains (Laura: “Is my engine making a strange sound? Me: “No.”), we took the Breezewood exit onto Highway 30 shooting south, passing through Chambersburg towards Gettysburg. Sixty-five miles later we rolled into town in the late afternoon. Traffic was brisk. (Is there a rush hour in Gettysburg?) We checked into our hotel four miles out of town on Emmitsburg Road, unpacked, and returned to meet up with our team for the next few days.

Post and rail wooden fences lining the battlefield. Photo by Rick Hinton

   Laura had been speechless since we arrived. I myself—transfixed. Driving through the battlefield, just getting to the Eisenhower Hotel & Conference Center, was a setting of rolling hills, stark white monuments, cannons, and staggered post and rail fences lining the road. And… a sense of reverence regardless of any vehicular traffic, McDonald’s, tourist offerings, or stop lights. We were in a historical time stamp transcending any of those things. A time stamp where past became present, and 150 years ago seemed only as yesterday. We couldn’t have picked a better tour guide for this experience!

   Friend, author, Irvington advocate and haunted tour guide,

Alan Hunter, smiled when we arrived at the Appalachian Brewing Co. for dinner. He, his wife Rhonda, and the rest of the “Scooby Gang” were already seated. They made room for us. As a long time friend, I have

Our Gettysburg tour guide, Alan Hunter. Photo by Alan Hunter

come to rely on  Alan’s insight and historical perspectives. Yes, there’s the paranormal ties also, weaving a thread in our association, but  it’s the history that draw and bind us. And, the fact that we’re both Civil War buffs! Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is the crowning jewel of a five year battle that I still have problems wrapping my mind around. In 25 years Alan has visited and reflected upon the town and battlefield some 100 times. It won’t end anytime soon! He invited us upon this journey. I believed he had a thing or two to offer. He did!

   Thursday night, belly filled, tired from the drive, and thinking about some down time in the hotel room, Alan gave a whimsical smile to the group at dinner and said-”Let’s go to Devil’s Den.” And that we did…