Spending time studying the battleground at Gettysburg was a dream trip for my husband and brother-in-law. My sister and I were along because we’re, well, good wives. But, Kaye and I both changed our minds about Gettysburg after our Road Scholar “learning adventure” this past week. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the experience was interesting, educational, fascinating, and loads of fun.
I was impressed with how weel the program was organized. At least for me, it flowed in a step-by-step fashion. Gradually each day was an unfolding of the Gettysburg battle. The first evening we gathered with all the other participants for a welcoming dinner and orientation. The evening was topped off with a most fascinating visit with Abraham Lincoln.
James Getty played Lincoln for an hour, never stepping out of character, even for all the tough questions our group threw at him. The real Lincoln visited the town of Gettysburg four months after the Gettysburg battle. That is when he delivered his famous Gettysburg address. Our Lincoln recited the address for us and also gave us background on himself and circumstances around the battle from his point of view.
For those of you who don’t remember this part of history, let me share a few points. The battle of Gettysburg was one of the pivotal battles of the Civil War. It was fought during the first three days of July 1863. General Robert E. Lee and his southern troops had won several battles up to this point. They were all fought in the south. He decided to bring his troops to the north, hoping to defeat the northern troops on their own territory and, hopefully, cause embarrassment for Lincoln. They were looking for the north to give up and let the south create their own nation. (See how much I learned thios week?)
Our Road Scholar program examined what happened on each of the three days of the battle, one day at a time. This was truly the heart of the program. It was presented by our instructor and tour guide, Rich Kohr. Rich made the battle and the military people involved come alive. On each of the three day Rich talked to us for an hour or two and then we got on a bus and went out to the battlefield. We stood on the battlefields Rich had just told us about and clearly “saw” the battle.
On the last night we had a farewell dinner and then enjoyed an hour of music from the Civil War era. We stayed at The Historical Gettysburg Hotel. It was a very comfortable place to stay and the food was excellent. They also had a good classroom for us. This is our first Road Scholar program but it will not be our last. Here’s the link for all of their programs, in case you are interested.
This is the way to learn history. My sister and I couldn’t believe how interesting the whole thing was and why the guys enjoy studying it. Needless to say, my husband and brother-in-law thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I can’t say that my sister and I are now full-fledged Civil War buffs, but we definitely feel comfortably involved with it.
This next week we are on the road heading west. We are heading for Portland, Oregon and those adorable granddaughters (and their parents). That’s a lot of miles and lots of audiobooks.