Oct 1, 2016 Gettysburg, PA

Our last stop in Pennsylvania was at Gettysburg Farm – Thousand Trails about thirty minutes from the Gettysburg Battlefield.  This campground is a charming working farm and we were delighted to interact with some of the friendly farm animals.  They anticipated being fed and would come running when they saw people.20161001_14003920161001_14005520161001_14004320161001_14011820161005_16252920161005_16232920161005_16241820161005_16245020161005_162458
20161004_154229We were last at Gettysburg in 2010 for a long weekend.  At that time we did an extensive tour of the battlefield using an auto driving tour.  So on this trip we were interested in seeing the Eisenhower National Historic Site.  Dwight and Mamie only owned one home, the Gettysburg Farm they purchased in 1950 at the end of his thirty year military career; he rose to the rank of five star general.  20161004_141319During his two terms as our 34th president they used the farm as a weekend retreat.  World leaders and dignitaries from around the world visited them where President Eisenhower used the laid back charm of the property to encourage friendly talks.  During Eisenhower’s heart attack in 1955 the farm served as a temporary White House.  When President and Mrs. Eisenhower left the White House in 1961, it became their retirement home where the President enjoyed painting and raising Angus cattle.  They gave their home to the federal government in 1967 with the understanding that they both be allowed to live there until their deaths.
After buying tickets at the Gettysburg Visitors Center we rode a bus for the fifteen minute trip to the farm where a guide met us for part of the tour.20161004_141858  The view from the farm was absolutely beautiful.  We saw the helicopter landing field where dignitaries would land and be greeted by Eisenhower in his golf cart.  He would take his guests for a ride around the farm to “break the ice” before heading to the house.20161004_13213420161004_13323720161004_135717
The house today is much like it was when the Eisenhowers lived here, and Angus cattle still graze in the fields.  The house has eight bedrooms and nine bathrooms and Mamie’s favorite color, pink, is throughout the house.  Even though the house has many bedrooms and baths, it did not feel that large and had a modest look. Most of the furnishings are original and the living room showcases the many gifts received by the Eisenhowers in the White House.  At that time of the 34th President, gifts received while president could be kept.  20161004_13351320161004_13345920161004_133530The Eisenhowers spent little time in the living room, preferring to stay on the porch, his favorite room where they watched TV and Eisenhower pursued his hobby of oil painting.  It is in this relaxed homey room that he entertained Khrushchev and De Galle.20161004_134223
The farm also includes a Secret Service Office, a guest house, a small putting green, an 1887 barn, several farming sheds, a cattle show barn and a garage with his presidential limousine, a station wagon he drove around Gettysburg, and several golf carts including the Surrey With the Fringe on Top golf cart he used to show guests around the farm.
One funny story is Eisenhower was always chauffeured around during his military career and presidency.  He did not get a driver’s license until the age of 70 after he retired.  Evidently he was not a very good driver.  Before he and Mrs. Eisenhower would leave to have dinner at their favorite restaurant in Gettysburg, he would call the restaurant owner and have him go outside and block off several parking spaces in front of the restaurant so the President would not have trouble parking.
President Eisenhower died in 1969 and Mamie continued to live at the farm until her death in 1979 at the age of 82.  They are both buried at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas.
20161004_16193720161004_16212120161004_163453After completing our tour of the Eisenhower Farm, we did spend the rest of the afternoon driving around some of the 24 miles of the Gettysburg Battlefield. It is such a beautiful, peaceful place that it is hard to comprehend the suffering and agony that occurred on this hallowed ground. The battle began on July 1, 1863, continued for three days, and the casualties were high. On July 3rd, Confederate General Robert E. Lee lost over 5,000 soldiers in ONE HOUR. When both armies marched away from Gettysburg, over 51,000 soldiers were dead, wounded or missing. 20161004_15461520161004_15472520161004_165404More men died during the Battle of Gettysburg than in any other battle on American soil before or since. At first the soldiers were buried in hastily dug graves, or not at all. Four months after the battle, re-interment began on seventeen acres that became known as Soldiers’ National Cemetery. On November 19, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg for dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. There he gave a speech which became known as the Gettysburg Address.20161004_15023020161004_150336

The nights are getting cooler and we are anxious to head south!

One thought on “Oct 1, 2016 Gettysburg, PA

  1. karnold249

    Thanks for this reminder about Gettysburg. We went there 6 years ago with some of the grandkids abd it was a great trip. Loved the info about Eisenhower’s farm because we missed it. We have been to his home in Abilene, Kansas though…a good stop too.

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