Archive for ‘Gettysburg is fun!’

November 23, 2011

Local Cigar Shop Welcomes Cigar Smokers and Enthusiasts!

Union Cigar Shop located at 5 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg Pa

The first thing you may notice when you walk into the Union Cigar Club is the warm musk of cigar smoke and the dim lighting which offers a cozy nostalgic feel to the atmosphere.  To the left is a mini-bar lined with a few cigars on display, a few ashtrays, and an espresso machine.  To the back-end of the cigar shop, is a cozy lounge, with walls covered with photographs and old cigar signs.  A television broadcasting an old war film plays in the corner across from the wrap-around couch.  A man lounges on the couch, puffing away on a cigar as he watches the movie.

Union Cigar Club's coffee and cigar mini-bar.

The Union Cigar Club, owned by Bill Synnamon, is located in Gettysburg, Pa. where it has stood for the past six years.  The cigar shop is located just a block off of the square in downtown Gettysburg.  Benjamin Thornton, 31, is manager of Union Cigar Club, and has been working there for about five and a half years.

The cigar smoking lounge at Union Cigar Club.

Thornton talks about the different types of cigars that Union Cigar Club offers.  Cigars range in flavor and strength, and Union Cigar Club offers a wide range of selections.

“You got your mild cigars for beginners,” Thornton explains, “or people who just don’t wanna smoke something really strong, or what you would call morning cigar…which you smoke a milder cigar earlier in the day.”

More cigar selections.

Thornton explains, “As you go up in strength…,” the next step up  is a medium cigar, “Then you get something medurally darkest.”

Cigars can be compared to drinking wine or beer, “Fuller bodied or fuller flavor richer tobacco, richer strengths or flavors…that’d be like drinking your Guinness,” Thornton said.

Cigar box with cigars, cutter, and lighter included.

However, the wrapper itself (the leaves you see on the outside) control roughly 70-80 percent of the strength of a cigar.  A fuller bodied cigar is not for beginners.  It can make a new smoker weak, even nauseous if they are not used to smoking a heavier cigar.  Trying to smoke one will, “Really knock you on your butt,” Thornton said.

“I’ve even seen guys toss their cookies if smoking like a really strong cigar.”

Inhaling a cigar is a misconception, Thornton explains, you’re not really supposed to inhale them.

“If you wanna see somebody turn three shades of green, don’t,” Thornton laughs.

There’s a lot of nicotine in cigars.  Even though you’re not supposed to inhale cigars, you can still get a lot of nicotine from the heavy second-hand smoke.

Union Cigar Club's various cigar selections.

Many of Union Cigar Club’s cigar collection comes from South America, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, and they even carry Cuban seed cigars.  They don’t actually carry cigars grown in Cuba, since there is an embargo against trade with Cuba, so you’d have to go out of the country to actually purchase Cuban cigars.

Union Cigar Club has a little coffee bar which offers up espresso, coffee, hot chocolate, and other refreshments for guests.  They not only offer cigars, but they also carry cigar boxes, a wide selection of what they call “chick cigars” meaning flavored cigars, as well as tobacco, pipes, hookahs, hashish, and butane lighters.

Union Cigar Club's hookah selection.

“Butane burns tasteless, odorless, clear,” Thornton explains they are more effective for a lighting a cigar, especially thick cigars.

Thornton says that when it comes to the price of cigars, people more or less pay for a brand name, like anything else.

“When you’re talking about good cigars, reflective with the price, cigars are rated.  When they rate a cigar, they take into account the quality of the tobacco and cigars, like wine, get better with age.  So the longer you age the tobacco after you harvest it,  the better it gets,” Thornton said.

The construction of a cigar also has to be taken into account when rating a cigar.  How well rolled the cigar is, can affect the consistency of the burning of the cigar.  A well rolled cigar will burn more evenly through so that the cigar doesn’t get clogged.  Both the tobacco itself and the quality of the roll of a cigar factor into how good of a cigar one is.

Union Cigar Club's pipe tobacco selection.

The better quality, most expensive cigar that Union Cigar Club offers is a Padron Anniversary cigar, which is out of Nicaragua.  This cigar will run you about $30.  However, price range for cigars varies state to state.

“That exact same stick in New York will cost you like 50, 60 bucks,” explains Thornton , “State to state, they all have different tobacco tax percentages and some have ridiculous,  like 100 percent tobacco tax.”

As of right now, Pa. doesn’t have a high tobacco tax, but that could change.

November 22, 2011

My Trip to the Evergreen Cemetery!

Jennie Wade’s memorial at the Evergreen Cemetery.

So I’ve been doing some research on the Civil War lately; one person’s account of the Civil War in particular has interested me.  Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg, is a pretty well known figure here in Gettysburg, if you ask anyone else outside of town who she is, they may not know, but if you’re a local, you can mostly recite her story.

Jennie Wade was a Gettysburg native.  She was born right here in town, in a house on the corner of Baltimore Street and Breckinridge Street.  She lived there and grew up with her parents, Mary and James Wade, and her older sister, Georgia, and younger brothers, John, Samuel, and Harry.

Jennie grew up playing in the fields around Gettysburg with her childhood friends, Jack Skelly and Wesley Culp.  Friends and family believe that the once innocent friendship between Jennie Wade and Jack Skelly later developed into a romance that we will never know since tragedy swept in and took both the lovers lives at a very young age.

On that fateful morning of July 3rd, 1863, Jennie was kneading dough in her sister’s kitchen when a stray bullet, coming somewhere north near the Farnsworth House, struck the outside door leading to the kitchen, and came through the other inside ktichen door, piercing jennie Wade in her back into her left shoulder blade, hitting her heart and killing her instantly.

When Jennie hit the floor, her sister screamed.  Jennie’s mother ran into the kitchen to find her 20-year-old daughter lying dead on the wooden kitchen floor, which was stained red with Jennie’s blood.  Jennie’s sister’s cries were heard from a few soldier’s that were posted outside, who all came rushing in from all ends of the house  when they heard her screams.

What the men found would shock them.  A 20-year-old girl, a civilian, was lying dead on the floor.  A civilian being mortally wounded during battle just didn’t happen, it shouldn’t happen.  Over the next few hours, Jennie’s family, followed by the soldier’s would carry the young girl’s body up the stairs, through the hole that was blasted through the wall by a ten-pound shell the night before, and down the stairs on the other side of the house, outside the kitchen door, and down the cellar steps into the basement.  It would be all night and half of the next day that the group of sad people would hold vidual for Jennie Wade until the battle was over with and it was safe to go outside.

When the battle had finally ended, Jennie’s body was laid to rest in a wooden casket made ready for a confederate soldier, and placed in her sister’s garden behind the house.  Jennie’s body would later be moved to the cemetery near the German Reformed Church.  It wouldn’t be till about a year later, that Jennie’s body would finally be laid to rest at the Evergreen Cemetery.

The Evergreen Cemetery.

“Her grave site is the most visited in Evergreen” said Brian Kennell, Superintendent of the Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa.

Kennell grew up here in Gettysburg and knows a lot about the history of the Civil War.  He also informed me about where Jack Skelly’s grave could be found so that I could snap some good pictures of the two grave sights .

Kennel explained to me a little bit of history about Jennie Wade’s plaque that reads her real name, “Mary Virginia Wade.”  It was donated by the Iowa Women’s Relief Corps, where her sister became the President.  The bronze plaque was placed at the base of her monument as it stands in the Evergreen Cemetery.

Brian Kennell, Superintendent of the Evergreen Cemetery, also wrote a book titled, “Beyond the Gatehouse: Gettysburg’s Evergreen Cemetery.”  Kennel gave me a copy to take with me to help me with my research.  His book gives an account of the history of the cemetery, Kennell’s life growing up in a cemetery, what “grave-diggin” is all about.

Kennell’s book features some of the first person ever to be buried in the Evergreen Cemetery.  Many of the people who have been buried at the Evergreen Cemetery are famous/notable people.  A few of the people featured in Kennell’s book include James Getty, John Burns, Jennie Wade of course, and Jack Skelly.

Jack Skelly’s tombstone.

Jack Skelly, Jennie’s sweetheart, is also buried at the Evergreen Cemetery, just 70-yards from Jennie.  During the Battle of Carter’s Woods in Winchester, Virginia, Jack Skelly was mortally wounded in his arm, and died almost two weeks after Jennie was killed by a stray bullet.  Jack was buried at a cemetery in Winchester, but his body was later moved by his brother, Daniel, to Gettysburg at the Evergreen Cemetery.

Jack Skelly’s grave.
November 17, 2011

Sing Like No One is Listening!

Tricia Nolan owner of Trisha’s Tunes Karaoke.

Tricia has been singing in bars for years, however, long before her DJ business even existed, she was a real estate appraiser.  Tricia Nolan has always been an entrepreneur, but when the recession hit, the housing market took a toll, and Tricia could see a decline in her real estate business.

“I thought, what else can I do?  What else do I know how to do except sing and I don’t wanna be in a band so…I started my own karaoke business,” Nolan said.

Little by little, Nolan purchased DJ equipment, and began building her karaoke business.  She collected most of her karaoke songs from a good friend, who at the time, already had a karaoke business.  A tremendous amount of time and effort went into putting song books together and calling around bars and clubs for gigs to get her business started.

One of her first gigs was at a restaurant/bar in Eldersburg, MD., called Luna Rosas.  As the pieces started falling into place, Nolan began booking more gigs, and she eventually purchased a laptop.  After going digital with her karaoke music, Nolan said goodbye to her CD’s and CDG’s.  For the past three years, Tricia’s Tunes Karaoke has made a name for itself, gathering quite a crowd of karaoke singers.  Nolan has sung karaoke in Hawaii, NJ., Conn., Ocean City, and even in Alcapoko, Mexico.

Tricia’s Tunes at Luna Rosas.

“I won a contest in Mexico,” Nolan said.

Nolan had won second place in Mexico at a karaoke contest.  She has also performed with bands, including the popular Florida rock band, The Joe Cullutti Band, at Lou’s Blues in Melbourne Beach, FL.  Nolan has even traveled as far as Nashville, TN., to try her luck in the Music City.

Lou’s Blues in Melbourne Beach, Fl.

Nolan’s warm smile and charismatic personality has won over a huge fan base of karaoke-goers in Carroll County, MD. and Hanover, PA.  Her routine gigs include the Moose in Reiserstown, MD., The Colosseum in Hanover, PA., The Eagles in Littlestown, PA., and in the summertime, she performs at a kids day camp in Carroll County, MD.  Nolan DJ’s at weddings and private parties.  She also does trivia shows;  including fun questions and trivial games that can be played for prizes.

Nolan’s latest and most exciting DJ gig is the Colosseum in PA.  The bar is holding a karaoke contest with a prize of one-hundred dollars for first place, and a 50 dollar prize for second.  The karaoke contest starts at 9 p.m. and runs till 1 a.m. every Wednesday night.  The contest runs for ten weeks, where the owner and bartender of the restaurant will pick two contestants each night, to compete in the finals.

Tricia and Friends.

Tricia Nolan’s husband, James, is also a musician.  His band, “Night Fall,” plays modern to classic rock, and Top-40 Hits.  “Night Fall” performs out  in the Baltimore County area.  Some have their gigs have included Belisimo’s in Finksburg, MD. and The Moose in Reiserstown, MD.

Nolan is a people person and loves what she does.  You will always see her smiling, and may always catch her singing a tune, whether it be at the gym, on a car ride to Nashville, or in her house practising some new karaoke songs!  Tricia and I have been singing together since I was 18-years-old, and I’m sure we will be singing for a long time.  Our next adventure will be singing karaoke in Vegas and California!

October 14, 2011

Why Devil’s Den is Scary to Me!

A view of Devil's Den from Little Round Top.

When I was about 15 years old when I first journeyed to Devil’s Den.  It was one time in particular I remember very clearly.  My friend Amanda, Miguel, Ahmed and I decided to go on an exploration of the Gettysburg Battlefield.  The four of us hopped into my 89′ Dodge Daytona and drove to Gettysburg.

We arrived at “The Den” about five o’clock with only a couple of hours of daylight left.  Now if you have never been to Devil’s Den, you should know that is it a very cool place.  Devil’s Den is a rock climbers dream.  Large boulders and intertwining rock sculptures make up one heck of an obstacle course for adventurers, and being the adventurer that I am, I proceeded with the climbing expedition.

As dusk approached, the four of us gathered our belongings and made our way back to car.  The only problem was, I had parked the car at the top of the hill up by Little Round Top, so we had a little bit of a hike back to my ride.  Walking up hill is no fun, especially in the rain, so by the time it started drizzling we began to move a little faster.

On our uphill journey, we were greeted by a tall thin man clothed in a flannel t-shirt with a dirty baseball cap.  He explained to us that he heard screaming coming from the woods across from Devil’s Den.

My friend Amanda was pretty reluctant to help this stranger, me on the other hand, was a bit skeptical.  The strange man said he heard screams coming from afar and wanted us to go with him and check-it-out and he would give us a lift up to our car.

Miguel at this time tugged my arm, “I saw this on America’s Most Wanted once!”  Miguel seemed pretty scared.

The strange man said he was accompanied by his friend and his friend’s fiancée, but didn’t know where they were and needed help finding them.  I told the stranger thanks but my friends and I were going to just walk back to the car.  So Miguel, Ahmed and I made our way up the hill while my friend Amanda, although i urged her not to go, left with the strange guy.

Moments later, I saw my friend Amanda hop into a tan four-door car with the strange guy and what appeared to be two other passengers in the car.  The headlights turned and made their way towards us coming up the slick road.  We all began to run into the field, hopping, falling and leaping over rocks and sticks.

My heart was pounding.  i felt like I was being chased and I didn’t know what to do.  The three of us gathered behind a tree and contemplated what move we were going to make next.  I said, “let’s all make a run for it, and when we get to the car, lock the doors, and if Amanda is not back in ten minutes, we call the police.”  I mean, what if she had really been kidnapped?

So about five minutes go by, and I see the same pair of headlight making their way towards my car.  The car then pulls over, and i could see a woman, a man dressed in a civil war costume, the strange thin guy, and my friend Amanda in the gleam of the over-head car light.

A huge sweep of relief came over me.  The couple gave us a wave and were off with the thin gentlemen into the night.  Although we didn’t see any ghosts that evening, we still, with exception of Amanda who was calm as can be, got the pants scared off of us!

October 14, 2011

Why Pennsylvania Hall at Gettysburg College is Haunted!

Gettysburg College

In a previous post, I listed the top ten most haunted places in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Hall at Gettysburg College being one of them.  See, some people may not know that Pennsylvania Hall was once referred to as “Old Dorm” and was used as a hospital to aide wounded soldiers during the Civil War.

The Cupola located atop the hall was also used as a look-out post by soldiers during the war; it was even said that General Lee used this post to see who was coming.  The Hall was constructed in 1838, one of the college’s first buildings which now serves as the administrative office.

Legend has it that a ghost of a Civil War soldier appears to unexpected students on campus atop the Cupola at Pennsylvania Hall.  It is even said that he is seen aiming his rifle at students down below on ground.  Students alarmed campus security of a gunman hiding out on campus.  When security further investigated the claims, they came to find that the hall was locked and nobody was up there according to Gettysburg campus security.

Author Mark Nesbitt wrote a book telling a story about two Gettysburg College administrators where working late one night in Pennsylvania Hall when they decided to call it an evening.  The two men took the elevator down to the main floor, but instead of the elevator stopping when they reached the first floor, it continued down into the basement.

When the doors opened, the men couldn’t believe their eyes.  The basement was filled with doctors and orderlies working on wounded soldiers.  Amputated limbs and body parts were piled up in the corner of the room.

The two men both began to panic as they pounded the elevator buttons to shut the door.  When the elevator start to work again, it brought them back up to the first floor.  The two men immediately went to campus security to tell them what they has just witnessed.  The guard on duty ran straight to the building, thinking it was a Fraternity prank.  When he got to the basement, there was nobody there.

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?

Check out my link at the bottom of my blogroll on the main page for more info!

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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