Tuesday, August 17, 2010
As anyone who reads here regularly knows, I have a deep love of the town of Gettysburg in the Southern portion of Pennsylvania. Randy and I have spent our anniversary there every year for the past several years. I just can't get enough. It's one of those things I'll never be able to explain fully, but when I get there, it feels like I'm "home." We arrived there Wednesday, August 11 and left after breakfast on Saturday, the 14th. It's never long enough for me. We visited our favorite spots, including: Sachs Bridge, the Pennsylvania Memorial, Devil's Den and the Virginia Memorial featuring Gen. Robert E. Lee and his horse Traveller, as well as trying new things during our stay. We toured the Jenny Wade house, did a ghost hunt and took a battlefield bus tour with a professional guide, all for the first time.
We tried a new bed and breakfast - The Dobbin House at 89 Steinwehr Avenue - this year. We love the food and the rooms looked gorgeous, so we stayed our three nights, had our lunch in their downstairs tavern one day and had dinner in the library for our anniversary night. The food was incredible! I'm sure I had to have gained at least a couple pounds. To show you how friendly the people are in the area, the couple seated beside us at dinner wanted to buy us a glass of champagne in honor of our 22nd anniversary. I can't drink alcohol, so we had to decline, but it meant a lot to be asked. We're complete strangers and had just made small talk with them. I'm sorry I didn't get their names.
After dinner, we walked to our room and saw a horse-drawn carriage in the parking lot. We have always wanted to take one of those trips, so we asked the driver to wait until we changed. I really enjoyed that ride. When it was over, we went out to Devil's Den to sit and reflect until the park closed at 10 p.m.
We went on two ghost walks and a ghost hunt at a near-by abandoned house. The group had all sorts of neat toys to play with. Even though we didn't get so much as a photo of an orb (or dust mite), it was still a fun way to spend an hour. The ghost hunt was scheduled to be from 12-2 a.m. on Friday the 13th. The group was late starting it and it took too long to hand out the toys and drive there. By the time we got to the house, it was already 1 a.m. and we had to be out by 2. The other major problem with the hunt was they had way too many people. There were 32 of us. With four "lead investigators", we were split into two groups of 16 each, with two pros. There was the house and barn to check out. The only remotely eekk filled moment for me was when the bat buzzed me in the barn. The group didn't really help the newbie hunters, so most of the time, we looked like a mob. I want to give the pros the benefit of the doubt and say they didn't realize how hard it would be to investigate with that may people and not just the money (most expensive in Gettysburg) they were receiving from each person.
The house hadn't been lived in for seven years, after the last two family members died in the home, so it was in bad shape. The floors and ceiling were in horrid shape and I'm not sure how safe it was for that many people to be walking around in it. One of the pros told Randy and me to make sure not to be in the attic with more than 5 people for that very reason. Bad part, they forgot to let everyone else know the same info. The steps to the basement were in bad shape. The equipment I had measured electrical charges. In one room, it went crazy. OK, the pro came running. I explained why it was going off - the wall was where the power came into the house. The woman in charge was also excited, until I explained that, too.
When the hunt was over, they did a quick debriefing and gave us each a nice printed certificate for participating. That was a nice touch. One of the other women on the hunt was excited because she had the same reaction from her equipment and was sure it was paranormal. The woman in charge explained what had happened. That was something some groups would never had done, they debunked. The hunter didn't want to believe it and left sure she had found something paranormal.
We were up and ready to leave early Saturday morning. After breakfast, we headed off to Ohio to see my best friend and finish up our trip. I'll be back in Gettysburg over the Labor Day weekend for the HorrorFind Convention. Of course, I'll be on the battlefields as much as possible. My daughter is a high school senior this year and I'm taking her senior photos while we're visiting. I can't imagine a better backdrop than Devil's Den or Big Round top at sunrise or sunset.