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Anyone do a troop trip to Gettysburg PA????

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Hi, I'm new here, I'm Scoutmaster for Troop 79 out of Marcy NY. I am planning a troop trip for three days May 2005...


I am planning to stop at the Lacawanna Coal Mine for a tour on the way down, to break up the drive.


I'm mostly wondering how many parts of the Historic trail can be done in day without wearing the kids out too much, we have a lot of younger boys.


Does anyone have any pointers from past trips to Gettysburg


Thank You,


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Check the Camping & High Adventure threads. Gettysburg has been discussed extensively in that section.


We did a Troop trip in August, 2 years ago. It was a four day trip and our itinerary that allowed us to complete the Historic Trails award was something like:


Day 1 - Travel 8 hrs, arrive 2-3pm. Set up camp & go to last show of Electric Map and Visitor Center. Dinner, Evening walk/hike through downtown Gettysburg.


Day 2 - 9 Mile Hike, Swim & Shower at YWCA in Evening IPhysically this was the toughest day, it was 90+ degrees and we all felt it at the end of the day. Amazing how the kids perked up in the pool though. Most of the adults relaxed in the hugh Hot Tub Spa they had at the Y.)


Day 3 - The Shorter Hike(Johnie Reb Trail?), CycleRama(sp?) in the morning, Eisenhower Farm in the afternoon. Evening was an optional Ghost walk through town. (Don't know what the occaision was, but we were also treated to an awesome fireworks display that went off almost directly over MacMillan Woods that night.)


Day 4 - Travel home to Massachusetts.


We did this with a group of about 22. As you can see it is busy, but can be done.


Good luck, this trip was considered one of the best outings we had done upto that point and all that went had a great time.



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To repeat what others have stated - check the "archives" for an older Gettysburg thread.


In 2003 we arrived on a Friday, late afternoon, set up our tents at McMillan (?) Woods and did the tour of the town that evening (Historic Gettysburg Trail). The next day we completed the nine mile Billy Yank Trail. The next day we completed the three mile Johnny Reb trail (much hillier) and visited the Eisenhower home and the visitors center. It was tight to fininsh it all but well worth it. It was one of our most memorable troop outings.

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Gettysburg...we do it every other year...we are 2 hours away...I'm a Civil War nut. For young kids, the 3 mile Johnny Reb trail will knock them out, I would not attemp the 10 mile Billy Yank trail - thats an all day thing and you miss so much more. Better to do the shorter hike and then drive to the hotspots along the tour route - Devil's den and a hike up Round top. Definitely want to do the visitor center, electric map and cyclorama. The Eisenhower house tour is pretty good and takes about 1.5 hours. The wax museum is a good stop and it is just behind the visitor center across the street. Make sure you schedule a ghost tour at night - they have different options and providers in town. The kids always act cool at the beginning and then you see the terror in their eyes. Consider watching the Gettysburg movie as a troop before going - they will get more out of the visit and will recognize names and features better. After Gettysburg...you will surely want to make another trip down and check out Antietam (Sharpsburg for you rebs out there).



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PPPPPLLLLEEEEAAASSSEEE! don't do this as a quickie hit and run.

Plan it as a weekend or longer event! There is so much to see if you are interested. Call early, get a place in McMIllan Woods! We have done this trip twicw and it is incredible if you do it right! We did not the first time....

If history and the late war of Northern Aggression (can you tell I'm from the South)are of interest, give yourself plenty of time for the museum (like a year!) No really it's great! With younger scouts do one of the Hikes... we found that with the cyclorama (which I understand is closed now?) and museum, the Jonny Reb trail worked nicely...its shorter.

Then next day, take the longer of the two hikes the "Billy Yank Trail"...start early...takes a long time if you do the historic trail "stations" You can expect some of the younger boys to want to 'bail out', tired and foot sore (like the Virginians)...so you might want to have an 'ambulance corps vehicle' ready for the rescue...

Started early, plenty of water, trail lunch and you can be finished early afternoon.

But be warned, it is easy to forget about the time and if you plan on finishing and having time for a drive home...it may be tough. We found that even with three whole days it was, if not rushed then pushing things. But Man(!), is it a great trip! and Camping at 'the woods' literally right next to the battlefield just has to be experienced! Plan it well! Do it RIGHT!


Our boys talked about it for two years until we simply had to take them back a second time! Have Fun!

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We went last year and had a fantastic time.


Just a note, those that haven't been since last year the process for getting space in Mcmillian Woods has changed. You must get in the lottery for space now. The lottery takes place in January. If you don't get in the lottery drawing you have no chance at getting into the free campground.

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Our troop did this 4 or 5 years ago. So any thing I say should be verified with the National Park Service in Gettysburg and with York-Adams Council.


First, we arranged to stay at the McMillian Woods youth group campsite. This is operated by the National Park Service. It has the benefits of being located right on the park grounds (off the Confederate battle line), and is absolutely free. But you must make your reservation as early as possible, which means calling beginning 8:00 A.M. on January 2nd for the camping season which begins mid-April. It "sells out" fast, so do call at first opportunity, and be flexible in date reservation. The campsite holds numerous boy and girl scout troops. There will be a row of porta-potties, which if you arrive Friday evening, will be pretty ripe by the time you leave Sunday. There is a potable water spigot, so water is not a problem. There are no shower facilities, so you will be smelling pretty good by the time you get home. the alternative is camping at a commercial site, which will have showers, but of course will cost money. We took the very first weekend reservation, which was mid-April. There is adequate free parking.


We are about a 4-hour drive from Gettysburg, so we left home at 4:00 P.M. and arrived on-site at 8:00 P.M., just as it was getting dark. We found our numbered site no problem, and set up camp.


You must get the historic trail booklet in advance from York-Adams Council. It was also available from the NPS Visitor's Center bookstore, but you want to read it over in advance, not when you get there. Back when we went, it only cost a buck. Can't be all that much more now.


If you have only a weekend (2 days), you must plan carefully to do it all. We woke up Saturday morning and arranged to drive to the visitor center to get there when it first opened (9:00 A.M.). We viewed the Electric Map, and a real quick walk through the exhibits. Then it was across the the street to the National Cemetery. From there, we walked to the Cyclorama and viewed that. Note: Electric Map and Cyclorama involve fees (as does the Eisenhower Home). From the Cyclorama, you start the 9-mile Billy Yank trail. Basically, you walk the Union line from the Angle all the way down to the Round Tops, the back up along the Confederate line, and across the field that Pickett's charge took to the Angle. Then you walk back to your cars at the visitor's center and you're done for the day (it's a full day!). The boys liked the walk up to the top of Little Round Top, and recreating Pickett's Charge gave everyone goosebumps as we approached the cannons and cassions that are at the Angle.


The next day, Sunday, you drive back to the visitor's center first thing, and do the Eisenhower Home tour (buses are included in your fee from the visitor's center). When you are returned to the visitor's center, step off on the 3-mile Johnny Reb trail through Cemetery Hill, Culps's Hill, and Spangler's Spring. When you return form that, you can do the 5-mile Historic Home trail through downtown Gettyburg. Honestly, if you have travelling to do, you may have have enough time to do any or all of the Historic home trail. We only could do a small part of it before we had to leave for home.


I believe that a new visitor's center is being built,and I don't know how this will impact any of what I have described above. That's why you should call both the NPS and the Council to get the latest updates.


Good luck and have fun. By all means, watch the movie "Gettysburg" and do whatever else you can to acquaint youselves and the boys with the history and timeline of this pivotal 3-day battle. The more you recognize as you hike it, the more meaningful it will be.

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Troop 8 took a slightly different angle to the traditional Gettysburg Trip. We visited the Annual Civil War Gettysburg (140th Anniversary) Reenactment. http://www.gettysbg.com/z/reenactment.htm We made early contact with the Reenactment Committee, Coordinator to arrange camping in the RV camping area. (Camping in tents of course.) We were able to purchase group rate tickets and walk to the reenactment site at any time we needed to attend the different scheduled battles. The boys were thrilled with the canon fire and rifle barrage. No campfires were permitted, though we were able to cook on stoves.

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I have never been to Gettysburg with scouts, but I have been to Gettysburg. You may be wondering what the "electric map" that was mentioned in earlier posts is all about. This is a private commercial enterprise that illustrates the ebb and flow of the battle with a large relief map and electric lights. It sounds tacky, but it really is the best way to learn about the course of the action. I have no idea what the current fee is, but this is a "must see" item at Gettysburg.

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  • 1 month later...

I went with my Jambo troop in 2001. We got a tour guide to come on our coach bus which made the tour a lot of fun. If you call ahead the may be able to provide a tour guide for your troop personally. It is a lot easier that way also. He also showed us things we would not have got to see other wise. HAVE FUN


PS: Electric Map is a must!

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We did a trip to gettysburg in november... It was a trip that everyone will remember.


Here was our schedule...


Friday - Arrive at campground - Artillery Ridge http://www.artilleryridge.com/cntctind.htm


Saturday - We biked from our campground to one of the park entrences which was 500 feet down the road. We then followed the red path on the gettysburg map and covered almost everything needed for the 9 mile patch. We went to big round top where we ate lunch and saw most of the monuments. It took us 5 hours to do everything. Then that night we did a Haunted Tour. Which was awsome. Email HauntedGburg@aol.com the tour wasnt very scarry but we learned alot and it is a nice fun night out with the troop.


Then on sunday,

we went to the cemetary and walked around the visiters center + we went to the eternal light monument. Then we packed up and went home. There were alot of scout troops at the campground we stayed at and we found that the interaction between the troops added to the experience.


If you have any questions, reply and i will be happy to give you more info on how we did anything!

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