By Paige Neidig – Not all vacations have to be about pigging out and putting your feet up. I enjoy trips that leave me feeling energized all around – in mind, in body and in soul. This seems to be a trend among travelers today. Achieving this overall state of wellness provides the focus, motivation and vigor to face whatever comes next in your return to “reality.” I can tell you first-hand that a vacation in Gettysburg will allow you to achieve that overall state of wellness. Working in Gettysburg every day, I know just how to do it!
Energize Your Mind
It’s no secret that Gettysburg has a rich history and heritage. Around every corner in Gettysburg there is the opportunity to energize your mind and learn something new. One of these opportunities is the History Nerd Tours. Departing from the Gettysburg Heritage Center, a historian will accompany you on a tour of the town and the battlefield. Recently, I went along with some of the other staff here at Destination Gettysburg on a History Nerds Tour and we got to try out their new tour bus.
The first part of the tour is through Downtown Gettysburg. Our assigned “nerd” personalized the history by incorporating anecdotes about the residents of Gettysburg and the struggles of individual soldiers. One of my favorite anecdotes was a love story between a Confederate soldier and a female resident of Gettysburg who nursed him back to health. You’ll have to ask about that story on your History Nerds Tour!
After we made our way through town, we reached the Gettysburg Battlefield. We saw a depiction of the fighting on the monitors in front of us. As we drove through the battlefield, the audio and visual matched with our current location. It was incredible to be able to visualize the fighting as it occurred, exactly where we were. The best part of the tour was during the three stops we made on the battlefield. At each stop, you could get off the bus and pull up a virtual reality video on your smartphone or tablet. The virtual reality gave you a 360-degree view of the spot we were standing on with additional information about that part of the battle. It’s the only virtual reality battlefield history tour in the United States! After the tour, my mind felt refreshed and sharp with all of the new history I learned.
Energize Your Body
Personally, my body feels energized when I eat well and exercise. I like to eat locally grown produce so I know where my food is coming from and to show my support of local farmers. Adams County, Pa. has a huge farming community brimming with farmers’ markets. I like to head to Biglerville, Pa., just north of Gettysburg, to do some shopping at Hollabaugh Bros., Inc. This family owned and operated fruit and vegetable farm has an outstanding retail farm market with a wide variety of fresh produce. During a recent trip to Hollabaugh Bros. I decided I wanted to make a recipe with their fresh asparagus, which is in season each May. I found a recipe on their website for an Asparagus and Mushroom Puff Pastry Pie. I bought fresh asparagus, garlic and mushrooms at the market as well as a mix to make the Hollandaise sauce the recipe called for. You can find the recipe here.
In a previous blog, I shared my experience of taking a cooking class at Hollabaugh Bros. I’m still not an expert chef, but that class gave me the confidence to attempt the recipe. I chopped up the asparagus and mushrooms. I minced the garlic and combined everything in a pot over the stove. Garlic is one of my favorite flavors – I just love the smell of it cooking knowing that a flavorful meal will soon be ready. Instead of using puff pastry, I enfolded this mixture of vegetables, garlic and Hollendaise sauce in a pie crust and placed it in the oven to finish cooking. I was pretty pleased that I didn’t burn the pie and it still smelled delicious! Of course, I had to taste test the dish before calling it a true success. It was fantastic! The best part was I didn’t even have to feel guilty for eating something so good because it was made from locally grown vegetables and it was a great source of vitamins! This is step one to rejuvenating your body.
My body doesn’t feel energized if I don’t exercise. To some, this may seem counter-intuitive, but exercising regularly leaves me feeling invigorated and strong. I feel so fortunate that when I get off work I can drive a few minutes down the road and exercise at one of the most incredible places in the world – Gettysburg National Military Park. Running on these hallowed grounds is unlike running anywhere else. Putting one foot in front of the other on the very same grounds that thousands of soldiers sacrificed their lives on is truly humbling. It can be difficult to imagine that a little over 150 years ago the very same soil was lined with soldiers fighting for a cause they were willing to die for. But somehow, running in their footsteps makes it a little more fathomable and all the more inspiring. And in this sense, my battlefield runs are energizing for both my body and my mind. I invite you to try this experience for yourself on your next visit to Gettysburg.
Energize Your Soul
To energize my soul, I need a few hours to clear my mind. I know we’ve all been there – you run from work, to the gym or taking your kids to practice and then home to do laundry and the dishes. Before you know it, your head hits the pillow and you’re asleep without a minute to just breathe. Vacations are meant to be an escape from your chaotic busy life, but sometimes you go from one activity to the next on vacation and you still haven’t relaxed! This is the one part of wellness I tend to neglect. I find ways to challenge myself intellectually and to keep physically fit, but I forget to take time to relax and treat myself to a soul-cleansing experience.
Gettysburg has some incredible spas, like Serenity Salon & Spa, which will leave you feeling brand new after just a few hours. I recommend their 6o-minute Swedish Massage and 60-minute Classic Serenity Facial. I recently got a Swedish Massage by Licensed Massage Therapist, Kelly Groves at Serenity Salon & Spa. Swedish Massages are especially helpful in alleviating stress and relaxing. At Serenity, your massage therapist will work with you to choose the right massage for your needs. Kelly put on an ocean waves soundtrack and went to work. She rubbed each of my muscles with long gliding strokes, kneading into tense parts of my body. She made sure that the level of pressure was comfortable for me. It was one of the most relaxing hours I’ve ever experienced, and it ended way too quickly. Luckily, I also booked a facial.
Serenity Esthetician, Lakein “Lake” Poremski did my facial. Although the facial was based upon the Classic Serenity Facial, it was specialized to accommodate my allergy to aloe. Serenity offers many specialty facials and works with each client to choose products based on their skin’s needs. The first part of the service was a double cleanse to clean my skin and prepare it for a deep exfoliation. The exfoliation softened my skin for extractions. At this point my skin felt clean and clear. Next, Lake applied a soothing and balancing masque and massaged my skin (this was my favorite part). I let everything else in my life slip away and just allowed myself to enjoy the treatment. Finally, Lake toned my skin to its perfect pH and applied a moisturizer. Leaving Serenity, I felt totally relaxed and healthy. Although I looked at this experience as a way to energize my soul, it certainly rejuvenated my body as well.
I hope on your next vacation to Gettysburg, you take the time to energize all three of these states of wellness: mind, body and soul. If you do, I promise you’ll feel balanced and healthier than ever.
About the Author
Growing up in nearby Wellsville, Pa., Paige made frequent trips to Gettysburg with her family. Today, she enjoys rediscovering Gettysburg as an adult. As a nature enthusiast, she is especially amazed by the landscape of Adams County, Pa. She likes spending her time outdoors amidst the orchards and hillsides of Adams County. Paige enjoys traveling and experiencing new things with her friends and family.