As we embarked on another homeschool field trip, we decided to make the most of a road trip to Gettysburg by watching movie and movie as well as documentaries to have the girls fully appreciate what the The Battle of Gettysburg was all about. Along the way, we saw a closed old asylum that was in operation for many years before closing its doors only to be reopened years later as a ghost tour business. We didn't go in but the view on the outside really magnified what some poor old souls possibly went through while locked up. We finally reached Gettysburg and was in awe at the size of the battlefield. The Battle was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee's attempt to invade the North. It was truly a moving experience to appreciate what so many endured and the many lives lost over the course of that battle.
Summary of our trip:
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, subsequently the Weston State Hospital, was a Kirkbride psychiatric hospital that operated from 1864 until 1994 by the government of the U.S. state of West Virginia, in the city of Weston.
Built by architect Richard Andrews, it was constructed from 1858-1881. Originally designed to hold 250 people, it became overcrowded in the 1950s with 2,400 patients. It was forcibly closed in 1994 due to changes in treatments of patients. The hospital was bought by Joe Jordan in 2007, and is opened for tours and other money raising events for its restoration. The hospital's main building is claimed to be one of the largest hand-cut stone masonry buildings in the United States, and the second largest hand-cut sandstone building in the World, with the only bigger one being in the Moscow Kremlin. As Weston Hospital Main Building, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990.
Gettysburg Battleground National Park
We opted to venture out alone and visit the battleground at our own speed. Watching the documentaries and movies ahead of time really helped us understand the layout of the battleground and the different battles that occurred. The Visitor Center provides the opportunity to pay for one on one trip guides to add to the visit, you can purchase a vehicle guide that allows you to have a narration of each key point along the way or do like we did and go alone. After we finished, which I recommend a full day or more pending how interested you are in the history of the battles, we went to downtown Gettysburg which was such a treat. We ate at a small Irish pub and although the food white whiskey chili was delicious, the rest of the food was mediocre and it was very expensive. It's a quaint town worthy of a walk through and don't forget the numerous ghost tours available which we did not partake in. It's really a great family vacation destination and I'd recommend at least two days to get the full impact of the historical significance this played in American history.