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Gettysburg Gothic

The kitsch Ken Burns left out

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The Gettysburg National Military Park and Cemetery are more than just monuments to the Civil War's bloodiest battle and Lincoln's historic address -- the rolling pastures of the battlefield are among those few spots that inspire true reverence and national pride. But only in Gettysburg, as Cindy Adams might say, can you relish Abraham Lincoln's famous words as you stare at a robotic re-creation of our sixteenth president in the National Civil War Wax Museum. To teach children about American history and our peculiar ways of commemorating it, there is no better place. First, set up camp in the Farnsworth House. Built in 1810, the inn offers Victorian antiques and more than 100 bullet holes. At the park, kids reared on IMAX can wonder at the nineteenth-century "cyclorama," a 360-foot-long oil-on-canvas painting-in-the-round that documents Pickett's Charge. While wandering through General Lee's temporary headquarters and the modest room where Lincoln wrote his address, you can marvel at the sheer effort historians have spent chronicling the exact times and places where American leaders have slept -- an accomplishment that, in our time, has been rivaled only by Kenneth Starr.

DETAILS Gettysburg National Military Park, 717-334-1124; Farnsworth House, 717-334-8838 (doubles start at $95); for further info, visit www.gettysburgaddress.com and www.nps.gov/gett.


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