Archive for September, 2011

September 23, 2011

5 Really Good Eats You Must Check Out in Gburg!

1. The Dobbin House Tavern- Baked King’s Onion Soup is awesome and out of this world!  Also check out their Fresh Fruit Plate for a more lighter fair, sweet cheese spread and sweet bread, paired with seasonal fruits and nuts, it’s soooo good.

The Dobbin House.

2. The Farnsworth House- OMG the meatloaf with gravy mashed potatos, that’s all I can say.  You gotta try it for yourself.

The Farnsworth House.

3. Friendlys- Hands down…the Honey BBQ Supermelt, if you love sweet BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, and bacon upon mounds of cheese, you’ll love this sandwich.  It’s my fav!

Friendly's Restaurant and Ice Cream.

4. The Plaza- Go with the Gyro!  It’s really good.

The Plaza Restaurant.

5. Olivias- They specialize in Greek and Meditteranean food.  I had this shrimp/rice appetizer dish that’s on the front of the menu, can’t remember what it was called, but it was deliscious!  They also have really good gyros and greek salads.

Olivias.

Me at Olivias.

September 23, 2011

The Historic Farnsworth House & Inn

The Farnsworth House & Inn

Slurping down the last remnants of my chocolate ice-cream soda, I pondered what to do next. My boyfriend and I were leaving Mr G’s when we noticed the ghost walk place across the street all lit up like fireflies. Hmm I thought, that sounds like it would be fun, let’s check it out! I’ve never been on a ghost walk before, but have always wanted to try it. It had been raining a little bit that night, so we pulled up front of the Farnsworth House and my boyfriend dropped me off. I approached the gardened path to the front door of the ghost tour shop.

I was met by some very friendly faces. “I was wondering if you guy were still doing the ghost walk tonight? I’ve never been on one of these before.” The girl at the front desk was very friendly and easy-going. She said sure as long as it not raining in about fifteen minutes, then we couldn’t do the walk up to the Grove. My boyfriend at this time had already parked the truck and was coming in the door behind me. So we decided to give it a go.

With fifteen minutes to kill, we walked across the pathway near the open-air outdoor garden, and through the doors into Sweeney’s Tavern. The tavern was garnished with props from the movie Gettysburg, and old-time photos which decorated the walls. All of the servers, including the bartender were dressed in time-period clothing which gave a nice “back in time” historic feeling. Well about sixteen minutes later, we gathered our things and scrambled out the door to the sidewalk in front of the Farnsworth House where we were greeted by our tour guide for the evening.

Sweeny’s Tavern.

Our tour guide, I think his name was Sean, was dressed head to toe as a civil war soldier. Sean lead us toward the basement of the Farnsworth House and down the cellar stairs into the dark and muggy room. He welcomed us to take a seat anywhere we liked, so my boyfriend Justin and I took second row, and sat facing what appeared to be a coffin with a wax figure in it. The wooden casket was surrounded by candles in the front center of the cellar.

Farnsworth Cellar.

Our tour guide began to explain the sounds and noises that we may here during our visit in the basement, and not to be frightened when you hear them. We were also told about the ghosts who reside here in the cellar and roam the house at all hours of the night. One of the ghosts is a red-headed man with a beard who has been seen by guests and employees of the Farnsworth House. Sean told us about an employee who was working very early in the morning and saw a bearded man standing in the corner of the kitchen, who appeared to be dressed like a soldier. He then vanished, she was so terrified that she wound up leaving. This was just one of the many stories we were told about the ghosts of this house.

Child’s coffin in the cellar of the Farnsworth Inn.

My boyfriend, about eight others, and I sat in this dark gloomy cellar for about fifteen twenty minutes, while we heard spooky stories about the encounters that folks on the tour have had with the spirits of the house. During some point in the cellar, I felt a cold chill go up my left leg, which had me feeling a little creeped out, but other than that, nothing real spooky happened down there. I nudged Justin, he just smiled and shook his head, he doesn’t really believe in this sort of stuff.After our visit in the cellar was over with, we walked up the steps and around the right side of the old civil war home. You could notice the bullet holes on the sides of the house as we made our way around the corner. The group of us began to pile in the side door which leads upstairs to all of the Inn’s bedrooms. The hallway was narrow and decorated wall to wall with pictures, and fancy carpet that draped over the stairs going up. I looked through some of the rooms, they each had their own name, The Sara Black Room, Cathy Sweeney Room, The Eisenhower Room, etc, which all were said to be haunted.

Our guide led us up another flight of stairs to the attic. Everybody gathered on the set of wooden benches toward the back of the attic. This was one of the most haunted places in the house. We were told a story about a man and his wife that were staying in the Inn. At the time, the attic was used as a room for guests. He was awakened by noise coming from the attic, which sounded like a party was going on at around 2 two o’clock in the morning. Angry and bothered, the man told his wife he was gong upstairs to tell these people that they had to keep the noise down. When he banged on the door of the attic, he was greeted by an elderly lady. The gentleman quickly apologized after realizing that there was no party going on, that the lady was resting in her room with what appeared to be her husband lying in bed.

The next morning, the man and his wife gathered downstairs for breakfast. The man noticed the elderly woman whom he had spoken to the night before, eating breakfast by herself at one of the dinning tables. He approached and apologized for waking her and her husband up. She looked at him strangely and said, “my husband?” She then explained to the gentleman that her husband had been passed away for a few years now. Creepy isn’t it?

The far left window in the attic was actually a window used by sharpshooters to fire upon enemy soldiers. There was much bloodshed in that corner of the attic, as well as the bodies that were piled up in the corner of the attic, as there was nowhere else to put them. Bodies were also stored in the cellar of the house as well. I’ve never really been a big Civil War buff until recently. Living here in Gettysburg has given me a whole new perspective on the war.

Sharpshooter’s Window.

I wanted to know more about the Farnsworth House so I ventured back about a week later to the Sweeney Tavern to speak to some of the employees there, and get their stories on the haunting of the inn. I was greeted again by Gina, the bartender from the pervious time I was at the tavern. I introduced myself, and asked her if she had any ghostly encounters or if anyone else here has. Gina began telling me that she hasn’t really seen anything, but there were two instances when she heard someone calling her name. It had been a busy evening, and the tavern was packed. “I kept hearing someone call my name…Gina, Gina, Gina.” Not thinking twice about it, she thought that a customer or one f her co-workers was calling out for her. When she had asked one of the employees if the kitchen or someone was yelling her name, they said no.

 Her second encounter was a little while later on a day when the restaurant and tavern weren’t very busy. She heard the same voice calling out her name, “Gina Gina Gina.” Again, no one was there. This time it was more frightening though because there was not a soul in the whole tavern but her. Gina also told me of her co-worker, Austin, who saw a bearded man dressed in a Civil War soldier outfit standing in the corner of the kitchen. He thought it may be a customer and wanted to explain to him that the restaurant wasn’t open yet. When Austin approached this man, it was if he disappeared into thin air. Well I thought, that would be enough to make me run out the door the other way screaming. I began to share some of my ghost story encounters with Gina. See, I used to live in one of the most haunted houses in Carroll County, Maryland, which was also a hospital to Civil War soldiers as well as a drinking spot because of the spring located in the back of the house.

A little bit of history about the place, the historic Farnsworth House can be dated back to 1810 when it was built. The tavern and brick part of the building wasn’t built on till about 1833. The house got its name from General Elon John Farnsworth who led his troops into Pickett’s charge, where he met his fate. During the Battle of Gettysburg, the Farnsworth House was overtaken by sharpshooters and is said to have sheltered the gunman who’s flying bullet fatally shot and killed poor Miss Jennie Wade, the only civilian casuality in the three days of battle in Gettysburg. After the war, the Farnsworth House was used as a hospital.

If you dare to spend a night at one of the most haunted inn’s in America according to Travel Channel, you just may see for yourself, the many spirits that dwell the halls of the inn. The history of this place is so rich and full of stories, one must see for themselves, trust me, you won’t be disappointed. If you aren’t up for spending the night with the inn’s ghosts, you might feel a little safer checking out one of the house’s many ghost tours and walks. Some of the ghost tour packages include depicted ghost haunting with special props and effects to give the real feel of the ghost stories. You can also visit a makeshift hospital, the haunted orphanage which is now the National Soldier’s Museum, Devil’s Den, Sachs’ Covered Bridge, and many more haunted areas in Gettysburg. I have yet to check out some of the places they take you, but I think I will be back to see more, and hopefully next time, have a ghostly encounter myself!

September 16, 2011

Top Ten Most Haunted Places to Visit While in Gettysburg!

1. Pennsylvania Hall at Gettysburg College

2. Devil’s Den

3. Sach’s Covered Bridge

4. The Old Orphanage, what’s now known as the Soldier’s National Museum

5. The Shriver House

6. Solomon’s Bridge

7. Lutheran Theological Seminary

8. The Cashtown Inn

9. The Farnsworth House

10. The Gettysburg Battlefield

September 7, 2011

The York Revolution Game!

It’s been like 5 years since I’ve been to a baseball game.  The last baseball game I can remember going to was an Orioles game with my parents when I was about ten years old.  🙂  From what I can remember, we had seats all the way in the back of the stadium and it rained that day.  I went to go and see the York Revolution with my boyfriend and his family on Labor Day, unfortunately, the rain kind of washed everything out.  The game got delayed for about an hour.  Then when they were about to play again, the removed the tarp from the field, only for it to start raining again.
Oh, but then the rain started up again, and they stopped playing.  Does it rain every Labor Day?  I swear it does.  York is  a neat city, I’m sure I’ll be coming here more often, maybe catch another game on a sunny day.  That’s if it ever stops raining!  Where did you go sun?

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September 7, 2011

My Visit to the Jennie Wade House

I have lived near Gettysburg for almost twelve years and have never really “toured” Gettysburg.  So I thought it would be fun to checkout a local legend I had heard about from a few customers of mine at the restaurant I waitress at.

A few single ladies came into eat a few months ago.  I asked them what brought them to Gettysburg and they said that they drove all the way here (I forget where they said they were from) just to stick their finger in the bullet hole at the Jennie Wade house to see if the legend actually worked.  “What legend?” I asked them.  Well the nice ladies told me that there is a legend that says if a single woman places her ring finger in the bullet hole in the door, she will receive a marriage proposal within a year!  Wow, I thought this was pretty interesting.  I’m slightly superstitious, but I don’t know about this one.

Well the subject never came up again until my first semester at college when I had the opportunity to write a cover story for my feature writing class.  Ghost stories and legends always interested me so I thought back to the legend that the ladies a few months back had told me about.  I mentioned the subject idea to a friend of mine at work, Nancy, and she told me that her and her friends went to the Jennie house and stuck their finger in the hole too!  She then smiled and said two weeks after they did it, her boyfriend of two years, Adam, who we both worked with, proposed to her at the beach.  Oh, I definitely need to write a story about this one, I thought.

Well I wasn’t sure about sticking my finger in the hole, but I thought, why the heck not?  Might make for a nice spin on my story by saying I did it too…let’s see what happens lol.  So I did the  tour thing, which only costs $7 by the way!  My tour guide, Sara Meyers, a History Major from Penn State University, was very friendly.  The lady who I had spoken to on the phone said she would be great to talk to if I had any questions, because she was a history major and all.

I was a little nervous at first, as I showed up with my little voice recorder, and camera phone hehe.  I pulled in to an empty parking space in front of the Jennie Wade House.  Most of the parking lot seemed to be empty, which I was kind of glad to see, that way I could have the whole place to myself.

I walked up to the gift shop doors, opened them and made my way to the front desk where I was greeted by a girl named Sara Meyers, my tour guide who I spoke about previously.  I bought my ticket, then followed Myers next door as she lead us into the Jennie Wade house and began the tour in the first room of the home, called the parlor.  Luckily it was only me on the tour so I had a chance to talk one on one and walk through the house taking pictures without worrying about tourists getting in my snapshots lol.

I noticed an old wooden framed bed in the corner of the room, which I thought was unusual for a bed to be in a living room.  Myers explained that during the time of the war, Georgia, Jennie’s older sister, had just given birth to her son a few days earlier.  The family had moved her bed down into the parlor where her and her baby would be safe, and where the family could keep an eye on her.

I noticed bullet holes in the fireplace mantel next to the bed posts.  Myers told me that many stray bullets came through the windows during the battle and struck the mantel, and even the bed post as Georgia lay in bed after her son was born.  Wallpaper now covers the once white-washed walls, covering the bullet holes that struck them years ago.  Myers and I made our way from the parlor into the small kitchen in the back of the house.  My lovely tour guide then began to tell me the story of Jennie’s last day on earth that fateful July morning.

Jennie Wade had been kneading biscuit dough for Union soldiers in her sister Georgia’s kitchen the morning of July 3rd.  Jennie and her family had not been staying with the sister very long, see the battle had made its way up through town after the Union had lost, so Jennie and her family went to stay with the sister, where they thought it would be safer from war.  Jennie would have been kneading biscuits on her dough tray in the middle of the kitchen floor, but because of gun shots going off outside of her sister’s home, she decided to pull her dough tray behind the kitchen door and work on her biscuits there, thinking she would be safe from stray bullets.

However, that July morning at approximately eight thirty in the morning, shots were fired, and a stray bullet that had been fired somewhere near the Farnsworth House down on Baltimore Street punched through the kitchen door, into Jennie’s left shoulder-blade, then pierced her heart, killing her instantly.  This event marked Jennie as being the only civilian casualty during those three days of battle in Gettysburg.

Of course I had to ask Sara about the legend behind the bullet hole.  The legend that has single women coming from all over the country, to try their chance at love and luck.  Myers told me about twenty to thirty woman a year send emails and letters saying that the legend actually works!  Wow!  Posted on the door itself was a letter from a woman explaining her love story.  So I tried it out, took a picture of me sticking my finger in the door.

According to Myers, many women come every year to put their ring finger in the bullet hole. Emails and letters from woman who have actually tried doing it and have gotten married or engaged have been received too, Myers explains. Maybe the legend lies in the fact that the bullet came through the very door the legend is attached too, and went through her heart.

“A lot of reason why I think people have the legend here on the door is because this is the last door it [the bullet] went through before it struck Jenny and killed her,” Myers said.

 

I should have brought a few of my single girl friends with me, but I still had fun.  It’s kind of bittersweet what happened to poor Jennie.  She had a sweetheart named Jack Skelly who was injured at the battle in Winchester, and wound up dying from his wounds.  When Jennie was killed as the result of a stray bullet to the heart, she was found with a picture of her lover in her apron pocket.  Some say that if he wouldn’t have died and Jennie wouldn’t have been killed, that the two would have wound up getting married.  It’s like a tale of star-crossed lovers who couldn’t be together in this life, but in the afterlife.  They’re actually buried near each other at the Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg, PA.  Some say this is how the legend began with the love story of Jennie and Jack.

“A lot of people say if Jack would have gotten out and Jenny would have survived they would have ended up getting married,” Myers said.

Although the love story was cute indeed, and tragic, I was just as interested in the history of the story of Jennie’s death and the war as well.  Continuing my tour, Sara Myers, my guide, said the was going to press a button, leaving me with a talking soldier replica to finish out my tour.  As she exited the room, a light lit up the wax figure of a civil war soldier, as he began talk about the morning of July 3rd, and the screams that came from Georgia’s house that day.  As I listened, I made my way back into the parlor, snapping shots of the bullet hole sin the mantel and the time period furniture.

I eventually made my way up the narrow creaky steps leading to the upstairs rooms.  The window I passed by as I got to the top floor had original rippled glass paneling.  The floor boards, as Sara explained earlier, were the original floors, as the downstairs floor were not.  The first bedroom I walked in, there were only two, it’s a small house, had a few time period furniture pieces in it.  The sign on the wall read that during the war, the rooms upstairs were used for storage only.

Making my way into the next bedroom, I noticed a huge whole in the wall where you could see right through into the other half of the house where the McClain’s lived!  The hole had been the result of a shell that came through the roof of the house just days before.  I climbed through the hole in the wall and checked out the other two rooms on the McClain’s side of the house.  Skipping down the stairs to the kitchen, there were a bunch more time period pieces of furniture and lots of photos hanging on the walls.  The pictures were of the Wade family, one of the blood stained floor board that Jennie bled on, and letters from Jack Skully that were framed and hung on the kitchen door.

I wandered around for a bit, I walked outside, and followed the steps leading down to the basement.  The cellar was damp and musky, giving off an eery feeling.  It was pretty dark down there, so I took a few pictures of the spot where the soldiers who found Jennie had laid her body to rest.  In the back part of the cellar, there were a few photos hanging on the wall of orbs and paranormal investigations.  After about ten minutes, I wrapped up my tour and made my way back into the gift shop to thank Sara for the tour and to look around a bit at all the souvenirs.  What a fun thing to check out if you’re ever in Gettysburg.  A neat little story yet tragic and lovely at the same time!

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