Gettysburg: A Culinary Perspective
Jun 06, 2016 05:44PM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger
“The Return Visit” statue, by J. Seward Johnson Jr., adorns Lincoln Square. Photo by Ron Cogswell.
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Just For Fun
By Stephanie Kalina-Metzger
Photographs by Ali Waxman
A culinary walking tour in Gettysburg allows guests to visit a variety of restaurants to sample both house specialties and historical tidbits. The Historic Downtown Walking tour takes participants on an easy, one-mile, three-hour stroll through the heart of Gettysburg’s downtown, with stops along the way to sample food and learn about historic structures and events that occurred nearby.
Tours begin in front of the Garryowen Irish Pub on Chambersburg Street and are limited to 12 participants. Once inside and seated, guests learn about the pub that dates back to 1831 and the Irish owners who operate the business. Afterwards, they are invited to sample an Irish favorite, Shepherd’s Pie, before continuing on their journey.
At One Lincoln, tour participants are led past a stunning wall of copper cookery, paying homage to Abraham Lincoln and the copper penny with a pressed-tin copper ceiling and a copper pot art installation created using 100 pots of different sizes and styles. The menu incorporates some of Abraham Lincoln’s favorite foods, such as apples, cheese and chicken pot pie. The dining room is festooned with wallpaper featuring President Lincoln’s Gettysburg address; in the back bar, guests sample lobster mac and cheese, a house specialty. While enjoying the rich dish guests learn details about award-winning chef Joseph Holmes and the history of The Gettysburg Hotel, now owned by Gettysburg College, which occupies the same building.
As guests are led from restaurant to restaurant, they are invited to stop to notice a building or landmark and learn about its historical significance. A bronze Lincoln Statue located just outside the Wills House on the Gettysburg Square, for example, is called the “Return Visit.” Created by J. Seward Johnson, Jr., the statue depicts Lincoln standing next to a modern-day civilian and pointing to the house as if to say, “That’s where I completed my Gettysburg Address.”
Other details include information on architecture, events and true stories of how civilians coped with the ravages of war and the devastating effect it had on their daily lives.
Guests also visit the Hauser Estate Winery, which includes a short educational wine tasting and a story on how the business model evolved from concept to reality.
Some food samples on the tour—sandwiches, artisan breads, soups and desserts, for example— could be described as “demi-sized” portions and a hearty appetite is helpful. Participants are urged to skip breakfast.
Before a stop at Mr. G’s for ice cream, visitors explore the 1860s residence known as the Shriver House. Slated to be a home-based business dubbed “Shriver’s Saloon and Ten Pin Alley,” the outbreak of the Civil War foiled the plan. Guests are permitted to stroll the backyard and learn more about crops townspeople grew long before the term “farm-to-table” became fashionable.
“I have been studying history since the seventh grade and I learned things I didn’t know,” said Casey Doughtery. “There’s lots of camaraderie; you learn new facts about an area and you taste delicious food.”
“We love Gettysburg, but we never really went downtown much, so we decided it was time to do something different,” added Sheri Karan. “We liked it so much that we took friends back a month later. It’s the town’s story, from an entirely different perspective.”
Lori Korczyk launched Savor Gettysburg Tours to help draw people downtown. “I wanted to open a business that benefited downtown merchants—one that would draw tourists and locals to the area,” she explained. “The walking tour allows one to experience the culinary delights of the town, while being enriched with its history.”