By Paige Neidig – Imagine carrying the same energy and enthusiasm you had for something as a child into your adult life. As a child you look at everything with curiosity and wide-eyes. Your life is centered upon exploring and discovering new things. This is exactly what I get to do every day working in Gettysburg, Pa.
I’ve been employed at Destination Gettysburg for a little over a month now. It’s still surreal to me. I grew up less than 30 miles away from Gettysburg, Pa. in small-town Wellsville, Pa. I wasn’t your typical kid growing up. Instead of watching TV, I read books. Instead of playing video games, I did puzzles. I was a bit of a nerd. I developed a unique fascination with the Civil War, and Gettysburg in particular.
The first trip I remember taking to Gettysburg was when I was in pre-school. My class went to the Explore & More Children’s Museum on East High Street. I loved it! What four-year-old wouldn’t want to stand in a giant bubble and draw shapes in shaving cream? My recollections of Gettysburg are what really developed my passion for the destination.
My sister was enrolled in LIU Summer Academy, a summer program for students in grades 3-8 held at Gettysburg College. (The program is now held at Gettysburg High School.) During the days my sister was attending LIU Summer Academy, my mom and I explored Gettysburg. We walked around Gettysburg College’s campus, toured the battlefield and went to the museums and gift shops. I absorbed everything! I was particularly fascinated by the Jennie Wade House where I learned about the only citizen casualty during the Battle at Gettysburg. The summer adventures with my mom in Gettysburg shaped me. I’ll hold onto them forever.
Once I was old enough, I too participated in the LIU Summer Academy Program. Although I was still learning new things, I no longer spent a week out of the summer exploring Gettysburg with my mom. So instead, our family began traveling to Gettysburg on the weekends. We would bring my grandparents along too. Gettysburg will always hold a place in my heart because of the quality time I spent with my family here.
Even more childhood memories were made in Gettysburg during my 5th grade field trip to the battlefield. This time, I had the opportunity to learn and sight-see with my friends and classmates.
As I grew older, I became busier with school and going away to college. My trips to Gettysburg weren’t as frequent as they once were. However, I never forgot the town and my love for it. Now, working as the Social Media Manager at Destination Gettysburg, I have the opportunity to experience Gettysburg in a new way as an adult.
I still value the history of the town, just as I did as a child; but my appreciation for Gettysburg has grown immensely. Despite the death that took place on the battlefield, it is absolutely beautiful. Just take a walk or drive to Devil’s Den or Big Round Top and I have no doubt you’ll agree with me. I look forward to warmer weather where I can go for long runs on the battlefield and take in its magnificence.
More recently, I’ve been tasting Gettysburg’s culinary treasures. I have quickly fallen in love with Food 101. They are a trendy new restaurant in town that serves delicious and unique menu items. Family-run Hollabaugh Bros. Inc. Fruit Farm and Market is another great stop in nearby Biglerville, Pa. They grow and sell fresh fruits and vegetables year round. They also hold cooking classes, teas, children’s programs and so much more.
As a young woman in my 20s, I love to shop. My mom and I still make frequent trips to Gettysburg, but now our mother-daughter bonding is in the form of filling our shopping bags together. Downtown there are a number of boutiques and shops stocked with items for every occasion. Lark – A Modern Marketplace and Gallery 30 are fantastic stores with artsy and creative finds. We also like to go to The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg because you can find so many popular stores with great deals.
Rediscovering Gettysburg has been such a wonderful adventure. I am so grateful to be working for an organization that helps visitors create meaningful memories with their loved ones. I know first-hand how precious those cherished moments are. It’s exciting to continue my personal rediscovery of Gettysburg.
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.