Gettysburg with kids: where to eat and tour in town

The heart of the Gettysburg experience is undoubtedly the National Military Park battlefield sites. However, Gettysburg with kids isn’t complete without spending time in and around town. Because Gettysburg in 1863 was much smaller than the Gettysburg of today, what is now town space featuring motels and restaurants was once farmland and battlefield. Throughout the town, houses sport plagues and flags marking them as Civil War homes, and unmarked graves of Confederate soldiers still inhabit the land in town. Here’s what to do (and where to eat) in Gettysburg to round out your historical experience.

Shriver Museum:

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The Shriver House shriverhouse.org is located on Baltimore Street within walking distance of most motels and B&Bs, and shows children what life was like for the civilians of Gettysburg during and after the battle. On this guided tour, I learned about the Shriver family (a typical family living in Gettysburg) and their actions and experiences during those three fateful days in July. The house has been totally restored to the period, and kids can walk through each room, seeing the kitchen, parlor, and bedrooms as they would have appeared. Admission is under $10 for adults and under $7 for kids. Plan on the tour taking 30 minutes. Location: 309 Baltimore Street.

General Lee’s Headquarters Museum:

This free museum civilwarheadquarters.com highlights the battle of Gettysburg, particularly the buildings located at 401 Buford Ave, which served as Lee’s headquarters during the battle. Families can see artifacts and exhibits, and check out the museum store, which has many books about Lee and the war. Location: 401 Buford Ave.

Civil War History Store:

This shop, and many others along Steinwehr, feature an eclectic mix of interesting historical souvenirs, books, replica uniforms and hats, and straight up junk souvenirs. The mix is too much to resist, and we spent a full evening browsing the shops and checkout out shell casings, musket balls, t-shirts, and toy rifles.

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Gettysburg Eddie’s:

This family-friendly restaurant is named for baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Plank. No, it has nothing to do with Civil War history, but it’s a fun diversion, and the food is great. Fare ranges from fish and chips and burgers to pasta and sandwiches. Try the beer on tap, or get a plate of onion rings to share. Location: 217 Steinwehr Ave.

Farnsworth House Inn:

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This upscale eating establishment appeals because of its inviting front patio, which is shaded and peaceful. But the real treat is the Dutch Pennsylvania food. Entrees come with pickled watermelon rinds, spoon bread, bread and apple butter, and a pick of sides like pumpkin fritters or slaw. We were full before our main course came! Location: 401 Baltimore St.

Sleepy Hollow of Gettsyburg Candlelight Ghost Tours:

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The Sleepy Hollow of Gettysburg www.sleepyhollowofgettysburg.com tour was very fun for all of us, and informative. Our guide Phyllis was a natural storyteller, and set the mood of this 1.5 hour walking tour with her enthusiasm and friendly personality. Phyllis took us to various homes in a 3-4 block radius and told us stories about their inhabitants during the battle of Gettysburg, including details about possible hauntings or paranormal activity. The tour was not scary to our kids (youngest is nine), but just intriguing enough to keep their watchful eye on the houses and their attention on Phyllis. The tour is not recommended for kids under age 7. There are many ghost tours in Gettysburg, but we recommend Sleepy Hollow for its historic vibe and city tour-focus. A few others take place in one location only, where participants sit in one house or basement waiting for ‘spirits to come’. That sounded too intense to us! The cost is $8 per person. Buy tickets online or at the Farnsworth front desk. Location: Farnsworth House Inn.

Where to stay:

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There are multiple historic B&Bs and economy motels in Gettysburg. We stayed at Quality Inn Gettysburg Motor Lodge, which is located within two minutes of the battlefield and visitor’s center, and within walking distance of most Gettysburg town attractions. The Quality Inn has some quirks: outdated decor, older locks and fixtures, and a very unique saloon on-site (which was never noisy), but offers perks that outweigh any negatives: free parking, free wifi, and free breakfast in an adjacent cottage, serving continental hot and cold breakfast items. Some rooms feature three double beds, fitting a family of five or six, another big plus. The Quality Inn also has an outdoor pool with diving board for summer visits, and an indoor pool for winter. Our room was outdated and dark, but the location, amenities like a microwave and fridge, and the pool made up for it.

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As we disclose whenever applicable, our stay at Gettysburg was hosted, for the purpose of review. Without the hospitality of hotels and destinations, we would be unable to bring up-to-date reviews to Pit Stops for Kids.

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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