Sure, I’d driven past the iconic wooden fences on my way to the wineries with my parents.
I’d even caught a glimpse of the centuries-old farmhouses on my way to visit my best friend from college.
But when I stepped out of photographer Kate Penn’s car for our Smart cover photo shoot, I was in awe.
It was a hot, beautiful day and the sun gleamed off Robert E. Lee atop the Virginia Monument.
We sweated and scoped out our surroundings while we waited for Kristy Coscia and her children.
I felt like I was on hallowed ground and found myself reading placards like I was on a school field trip.
One day shy of my 27th birthday, I regretted not visiting sooner.
But I got the full battlefield experience that afternoon.
We chased Auvrie and Croix as they ran through fields, climbed cannons and went up and down the steps of the Pennsylvania Monument at least a half dozen times. And I made Kate do a lap around the National Military Park before we left just so I could check out the rest of the awesome monuments.
With the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg right around the corner, now is the perfect time to check out all the great destinations in your own backyard.
If you’re visiting the area this summer with kids — or kids at heart — don’t miss a thing! Check out our list of the top family-friendly 150th activities ranging from re-enactments to interactive exhibits on page 28.
Ever wonder how those re-enactors stand the summer heat? Our Smart Woman Lorraine Updegraff, featured on page 46, has been taking the humidity in stride — in a hoop skirt — since 1999 when she joined the 87th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.
Speaking of hoop skirts, Lynda Kerr of The Colonel’s Lady wants to set the record straight about Civil War attire: Ladies didn’t live in ballgowns. She says on page 14 that women of the day usually owned only three dresses — two for work and one for church. But those fancy dresses went all out — her shop’s signature piece features 200 pleats around the hem.
That throwback to Civil War-era craftsmanship and attention to detail was also present at the heart of Lisa Grim’s home remodel. She purchased more than 230 acres along the Conewago Creek six years ago. Today, her home, which you can see on page 16, is filled with reclaimed wood, salvaged brick and hand-spun spindles. But most importantly, it’s become a place where her friends and kids want to congregate.
Wherever your summer travels take you, near or far, take it all in like you’re seeing it for the very first time.
I hope you return to a beautiful home, a happy family and a healthier you.