When you think of a farm, lots of images come to mind… barns and tractors, rows of corn swaying in the breeze, grassy pastures full of animals. You can almost hear the mooing of cows, the bleating of goats or the crow of a rooster. You can almost smell the… well, never mind the smells. It is rare that one imagines a bunch of RVs and other campers into this idyllic scene, but so it is at Gettysburg Farm. This campground is part of the Thousand Trails network, and for us, it was a unique camping experience.
This picturesque little central Pennsylvania farm along a bend in the Conewago Creek (which incidentally floods regularly, so we’d suggest avoiding the sites along the creek!) was our home for a week. We used it as a base to visit family and run errands, visit the Gettysburg National Military Park, and to just enjoy some calm days at the campground. Our site was just across a small lane from the pasture and some of our closest neighbors were cows, horses, alpacas, and other farm animals. Also not far were chickens, turkeys, and geese. The goats roamed freely but were never seen to be in the campsite areas or approaching anyone’s rig.
Gettysburg National Military Park
Our kids haven’t really studied the Civil War yet, although we discussed it briefly when they read the Magic Tree House book* set during that time period. Nonetheless we couldn’t pass up a chance to visit and explore this national park when we were in the area.
There are a lot of things to see and do in Gettysburg, but as a national park, we were somewhat disappointed. The visitor center and surrounding area are privately owned, so viewing the exhibits and films to learn more about what happened are not free. We decided it may be worth it in the future when we are studying the Civil War in more depth, but for a short visit, we chose to save our money. There are Junior Ranger booklets available, but their policy is just one booklet per family. This isn’t something we’ve encountered at any other national park in the country and when I said so, we were given a second booklet by a ranger who agreed that it was a ridiculous policy.
Gettysburg is a park of monuments in various sizes and shapes and the best way to see the area is by taking the driving tour. Most of the details of the battle were a bit too abstract for our kids to understand but there was much to be learned from the junior ranger booklets, the monuments, and the guided ranger tour we took of the national cemetery area. They were also fascinated by the Gettysburg Address, and after walking in George Washington’s footsteps at Valley Forge in the spring, they were excited to trace the steps of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. I must admit that the words of that speech captured me in a new way as I read them aloud to my kids on September 11.
“That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Trouble in Paradise
The day after our visit to Gettysburg, we had planned to meet my brother in a really fun park in York, but we were forced to cancel when Peter got sick. Two days later, instead of packing up the trailer and leaving as planned, I was on my way to the ER with a very sick little boy. Our Teledoc doctor suspected appendicitis and sent us to get him evaluated. Thankfully it was a false alarm, and the campground was willing to let us extend our stay under the circumstances.
The next day, Peter had improved somewhat and the campground was fully booked for the weekend so we decided to hit the road. Graciously, the campground was willing to find space for us to stay if we needed to, but we’d have to move from our site. Since we would have had to move anyway, we decided to start heading west and stop as needed. So we packed up the camper, hooked up to the car, and as soon as the supports were down and the weight resting on the tires, we saw that we had a flat.
Thanks to the kindness of neighbors and a full-sized spare, the delay wasn’t too significant and we were on the road… to the tire shop. For our peace of mind we replaced all four tires on the trailer and then started driving west. Peter was improving by the hour, our camper had all new tires, and we were headed toward Ohio.
Gettysburg Farms Thousand Trails is a fun campground for the whole family! They were understanding and compassionate with our back-to-back illness/tire situations. There is a lot to do in the nearby area, and even at the campground itself. Our kids loved the animals and the playgrounds. It was a great environment and we would undoubtedly recommend this campground to others!
*Affiliate link used.
Posted in Campground Reviews, Explore, National Parks and tagged find your park, flat tire, Gettysburg, Gettysburg Farm, junior rangers, national park, Pennsylvania campground by Christine with 3 comments.