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Gettysburg/Amish Country/Colonial Williamsburg this summer

Gettysburg/Amish Country/Colonial Williamsburg this summer

Old Feb 27th, 2020, 11:31 AM
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Gettysburg/Amish Country/Colonial Williamsburg this summer

Every year we take a long road trip, and this year I was thinking Gettysburg, Amish Country, Colonial Williamsburg. It's three generations with my parents, who still get along good and are good travelers, my husband and I, and our three kids ( ages 14, 12, 8). They are all good travelers as well and we enjoy history and are working our way through the NPS passport book, trying to visit all the national parks and monuments before the oldest graduates. Anyways. any suggestions on how long and not to be missed while visiting? We are coming from Arkansas.

Thinking staying one night in Nashville then go on to Pennsylvania, it looks like it's close enough to drive to some areas of Amish country and Gettsyburg, so what would be your home base? Certainly want to visit the historic sites in Gettsyburg, and maybe a few farm tours, driving around the countryside, visiting some farmer's markets etc. around Lancaster. Would 3 days be good?

Then Williamsburg for Colonial Williamsburg. It looks like there is a lot to do there with Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, York etc. Would 3 days there be good as well? Then maybe stop again in Nashville on the way home? That would be 8 nights, we could do 1-2 more nights probably if this trip warranted it.

So:
Thoughts about the number of days spent in each place ( and where should home base be for the Pennsylvania days?) and recommendations about must-do activities?
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 01:10 PM
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Just very quick since I'm going out for the day . . . But for a family I'd give 3 full days minimum to the Williamsburg area. That would be one full day for Colonial Williamsburg including some evening events (concert/dinner, etc) - but a full day is very tiring so I'd break it into two bits on two different days. You can do the York/James sites in one day - busy by quite doable. Then maybe if the kids want to do something 'non-history-ish', include an afternoon at Busch Gardens or one of the water parks.
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Old Feb 28th, 2020, 05:19 AM
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There's a lot of "kitsch" in Amish country along with a LOT of great things. Do see the Lancaster Market. Visit a quilt museum.
I don't think Gettysburg is Amish country and I think you would want to do a battlefield tour.
Agree with Janis about Williamsburg.

Last edited by Gretchen; Feb 28th, 2020 at 05:23 AM.
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Old Feb 28th, 2020, 07:44 AM
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Maybe if you made it as far as Knoxville instead of Nashville, it would make an easier day to get to Gettysburg. If you want a 2-3 day "home base", try for York PA. The York Peppermint Pattie was made there from 1920 to 1988 when Hershey bought them out. Hershey Park (amusement park) will probably interest the kids more than the history of the area.
For sites to get the NPS book stamped, try Gettysburg, Valley Forge and the Liberty Bell area in Philadelphia.
Baltimore is an easy drive from York. In Baltimore you can see the Inner Harbor including the National Aquarium, the Constellation and a small submarine. Also within walking distance of the Inner Harbor is Camden Yards where the Baltimore Orioles play their home games.
I believe there is another big amusement park in the Colonial Williamsburg area (Kings Dominion?)
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Old Feb 29th, 2020, 08:42 AM
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Agree that your kids would like Hershey Park. Adults and kids will like Busch gardens Williamsburg. My parents used to live in Williamsburg and had season passes just to walk around at night.
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Old Feb 29th, 2020, 11:10 AM
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Be sure to have dinner at the King's Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg. Servers are dressed in period costume and the food was fantastic.

I agree about spending some time at Busch Gardens....our kids really enjoyed it.
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Old Feb 29th, 2020, 05:18 PM
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You are pairing together 2 unrelated and not particularly close areas, which is fine as long as you realize that you have to get through the hideous DC traffic and even more hideous Northern Virginia traffic to connect them, 3 hours bumper to bumper + 3 additional hours driving time to connect these areas is not out of the question at a bad time. It is possible to go from PA down the Delmarva Peninsula to Norfolk and then Williamsburg, stopping at one of the busy beach towns (Bethany is the nicest) which could be a great break, but I wouldn’t do it on the weekend. Delaware is part of perhaps the busiest stretch of beaches in the US, from Long Island NY down to the Outer Banks of NC.

Also a note that Amish have large families, and have grown to the point that they are a common sight across the Midwest. More than 3/4 of Amish do not live in Pennsylvania, although the best tourist facilities seem to be there.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List...ish_population

Last edited by tom_mn; Feb 29th, 2020 at 05:26 PM.
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Old Feb 29th, 2020, 06:17 PM
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How nice to have a family tradition. Frankly, I'd just stay in the Williamsburg area. There are scads of interesting things to do in Williamsburg itself. As others mentioned above, Yorktown and Busch Gardens are close by.

The town of Gettysburg is very interesting but you'll have to do a lot more driving to see Lancaster and Amish country. There are tours for the Gettysburg battlefield.

Plenty to do in Nashville also. Again, I'd stick with Williamsburg and spend your extra days in Nashville. OR look at Richmond Va.for Colonial sites. Please report back about your trip!
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Old Mar 1st, 2020, 06:36 AM
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I’m a little puzzled that there are no national parks or monuments on this trip (nor in Nashville) since that is what your tradition is. Unless you’re also counting national battlefields and military parks, in which case if you add in all the national _____’s you’ve got quite a list of national recreation areas, national memorials, national scenic riverways, national historic sites and landmarks, national lakeshores— a list too long for any lifetime.

If you drive the beach route, this is recommended

https://www.chincoteague.com/assateagueisland.html

Editing to add: There is a national monument on the beach route, Ft. Monroe in Virginia Beach.

Last edited by tom_mn; Mar 1st, 2020 at 07:17 AM.
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Old Mar 1st, 2020, 07:33 AM
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Jamestown is a NPS site, tom. Yorktown Battlefield is also a NPS site. Regardless, it sounds like the OP's interest is history, not only NPS history.

rachellynn99, from Gettysburg you could bypass the DC area to the west on I-81 and stop at the Cedar Creek & Belle Grove NPS park (under 2 hours from Gettysburg) and then head further south on Skyline Drive (NPS site). Consider an overnight somewhere in the vicinity of Harrisonburg, Staunton, or ideally Charlottesville. The next day take in Thomas Jefferson's Monticello before heading east on I-64 to Williamsburg (approx 2 hours from C'ville). That would add another day & a half to your trip but it would break up the driving and pack more into your road trip.

The American history options on this route to Williamsburg could easily take another week to cover. James Madison's home, Montpellier, and Monroe's home Ashlawn-Highland are in the immediate vicinity of C'ville. As TDudette mentions, Richmond has a lot to see. Virginia's scenic Route 5 (which parallels I-64 for the last hour to Williamsburg) is a pretty countryside drive dotted with historic plantation homes.

https://www.virginia.org/byways/list...scenic-route-5





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Old Mar 1st, 2020, 08:40 AM
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trying to visit all the national parks and monuments before the oldest graduates.
Since there are about 190 of these it is already a Herculean task to visit them all before the oldest graduates from school. So I thought it was worth pointing out that there are only 4 in this area: Shenandoah NP, George Washington Birthplace NM near Colonial Beach VA, Ft McHenry NM in Baltimore, and Ft. Monroe NM in Virginia Beach. I may have missed a couple.

Last edited by tom_mn; Mar 1st, 2020 at 08:44 AM.
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Old Mar 1st, 2020, 11:25 AM
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tom: I'm pretty sure they are aware of the number/locations of NP's and monuments.

For this trip they seem to be specifically interested in Gettysburg, and Williamsburg/vicinity . . .
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Old Mar 1st, 2020, 11:55 AM
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I found Appomattox very interesting and have little interest in Civil War history.
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Old Mar 1st, 2020, 01:41 PM
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I'm pretty sure they are aware of the number/locations of NP's and monuments.
I’m not sure, it’s hard when the OP text is contradictory and doesn’t come back to clarify.

Re-reading the topic I wonder if they bought a version of a parks passport that has 25 or 30 popular NPS sites (including battlefields and historic parks) from across the country and the intention is to see all the sites in that passport, not all the national parks and monuments (which is a neat goal).
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Old Mar 2nd, 2020, 05:02 AM
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Tom, it is their trip. "Maybe" the reference to the NPS passport was just in passing and they don't have to do EVERY one EVERYwhere. Maybe........

It's a nice thing to have in the glove box on a road trip 'cause you can just pop in if you're going past.
And it's their "herculean task" to fulfill if they want to..
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Old Mar 2nd, 2020, 02:13 PM
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Actually, there are many more than that in the general area. They could visit Hopewell Furnace site, for example, it's not too far from Lancaster. Not to mention Gettsysburg, can't imagine why you left that off. I thought there were over 400, not 190, but don't do that book.

I haven't been to Lancaster county PA as I grew up not far from Amish areas in Ohio so never thought of it as a tourist thing to do. Back in the day, they didn't have tourist trips to Amish houses, etc.l, anyway, like they do now.

Just as an alternative, if you omit the Amish/Pa idea as being too far, you could easily just do some Shenandoah area and Antietam ballelefield/Harpers Ferry trip instead. I think it would save some time. Antietam battlefield is really interesting and it's one of those NPS sites as is Harpers Ferry. Then you could do more Virginia and skip the whole DC area.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2020, 05:32 PM
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All personal, of course, but I would also skip North of DC and concentrate on VA.

First, either coming or going, I would not miss Asheville, NC. It is one place I go back to see and still take family and visitors. It is beautiful in Summer and the Biltmore House has incredible history, including the people who lived there, the architecture and changes to American culture with regards to education and treatment of the poor that came from the Vanderbilts. There is a huge and truly wonderful fine crafts guild (sorry, can’t remember the name off hand), music festivals and many other things there.

Second, unless you already get to the Ocean often, once you are in Williamsburg, you are only about an hour and a half from Virginia Beach which is a great beach town with a wonderful boardwalk, excellent restaurants and wide beach. It would be a nice way to end your trip with a couple of beach days.

Richmond is an interesting city.

Charlottesville is very historic and well worth seeing Jefferson’s home.

People overlook Fredericksburg, but it is a very interesting place in American history.

As someone else mentioned, give a full day to Busch Gardens and perhaps Water country. I do not even like amusement parks, but do like Busch Gardens.

The Williamsburg area has an incredible number of things to do and see. One or two of the James River Plantations might also be included.
Have fun planning.
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