My Vegan Day Trip to the Burlington, Vermont Region

Every child loves teddy bears. Many a grownup will admit that they cannot resist a cute and cuddly bear, as well. I, too acknowledge my affinity for these precious creatures. Thus a day trip to Vermont and the “Vermont Teddy Bear Company” became a reality this past August. Of course, there were other reasons for visiting northern Vermont. New vegan-friendly places in the city of Burlington prompted my return. Whether it be a warm Summer day or a cooler Autumn afternoon, a road trip to Vermont is sure to please.

After a three hour drive north, I arrived in Burlington, Vermont. My morning started with breakfast at Pingala Cafe (Pingala Cafe). The area’s first all vegan cafe serves up breakfast items, baked goods, lunch options, and juices and smoothies. The restaurant is housed in a historic old mill building, by the Winookski River. The chef creates creative cuisine, using organic produce. I purchased my breakfast and lunch meals there. The whole wheat, walnut, and raisin cinnamon roll was superb.

For lunch, I opted for the Karma Burger sandwich. The veggie burger was topped with mixed greens, roasted tomato, red onion, cheese crisp and chipolte aioli on toasted millet bread. It was accompanied by a salad and pickle. What a delicious vegan burger!

My morning beverage selection was the Berry Bliss Smoothie made with mixed berries, banana, maple syrup, and coconut water. It was wonderfully flavorful.

The first stop on my itinerary was the Shelburne Museum, in nearby Shelburne, Vermont. This museum captures the spirit of Americana and art. Whether its folk art, paintings, or historic homes spanning 300 years time, there is much to explore for visitors.

One of the many museum buildings on the grounds, showcases Vermont furniture and woodworking from the 19th century period.


Steamboat Ticonderoga is a restored National Historic Landmark. It operated on Lake Champlain from 1906 until 1953. Its staterooms, spacious dining room, and impressive staircase are reminiscent of the grandeur of the heydey of steamship travel.


The Webb mansion located on the museum grounds, was the residence of the museum’s founders. The Webbs were enthusiastic collectors of Americana folk art, toys, furniture, quilts, and other creative forms.


After spending a couple of hours at the expansive museum, I then headed to the infamous “Vermont Teddy Bear Company”, conveniently located down the same road! The main building’s exterior was as cute as can be! It is painted in bright Crayola-like colors. Colorful bear “paw prints” guide visitors along the cement path to the factory entrance.

Once inside the main entrance, a gift shop tempts visitors offering adorable teddy bears of all sizes. Bear outfits ranging from career-inspired uniforms to festive attire are also available for purchase.

A glass display case shows special teddy bears designed throughout the decade for various causes.

An adorable giant teddy bear greets guests as they are about to enter through the factory door.

Our tour guide begins by giving us a brief history of the company, then describes the unique design of the bear. Each teddy is created with movable limbs. He informs us that each bear is stamped on its foot, with a manufacturing date and has a lifetime guarantee.

We then begin our guided tour of the teddy bear-making process! Step#1 is the cutting of the soft fabric into teddy bear parts and sizes.

Next, is the individual assembly and pinning of each of the bear parts. This is carefully done by hand with care, not by machine.

Following the assembly and pinning, each bear is individually hand sewn.

The bears are then filled with cotton stuffing to give them their fluffiness. We witness the vacuum machine which circulates the stuffing material.


After the stuffing in placed into the bears, their coat is brushed.

One of the bear types that the company creates are career bears. Each one is outfitted with attire for a particular profession, such as an emt or doctor.

Once each bear order has been completed, it goes onto an automated conveyor belt, and then placed into a cardboard box that filled with a certificate of ownership and some candy. The package is then ready to be shipped and delivered to its proud and happy owner!

The final segment of the tour shows visitors the customer care process for damaged bears sent back to the factory for repair. I had such an enjoyable time visiting the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory! Obviously, I could not leave without purchasing a small teddy bear for myself, with a terry cloth bath ensemble.

For my dinner meal, I decided to dine at New Moon Restaurant (New Moon Restaurant) back in Burlington. The casual and comfortable space is quite vegan-friendly. For starters, I opted for the gazpacho soup. My meal was off to a great start.

My main entree was the Vegan Delight signature sandwich. Made with whole wheat bread, the sandwich was filled with avocado, seitan or tofu, hummus, basil pesto, red onion, grilled zucchini & eggplant, and spinach. The taste was fantastic.

A refreshing and tasty lemon apple ginger cooler beverage on ice, complemented my meal.

A glass display case offers several vegan baked goods. I opted for the cranberry orange cupcake. it was delectable. My entire meal was delicious!

Before heading back home to Boston on my three hour journey, I had some time to explore Burlington’s waterfront. The shores of Lake Champlain touch the downtown area. Facing the lake to its left, one reaches New York state.

To its right, one views Vermont mainland.

This day culminated with a spectacular sunset over Lake Champlain.

My “one day” road trip was superb! It was fun to “be a kid again” while visiting the Vermont Teddy Bear Company. I recommend this as a great choice for any fun-loving tourist. Shelburne Museum is definitely well worth a visit to explore all of its vast collections of memorabilia from Americana’s yesteryear. And last but not least, I was happy with the ever-growing and impressive vegan food scene in the region. No matter the season, these indoor itinerary options are sure to please visitors from near and far.

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My Vegan Day Trip to the Newport, Rhode Island Area

Grand yachts in the harbor. Aristocratic summer “cottages”. Stunning gardens. These are the images that come to mind for anyone that reflects on Newport, Rhode Island. It remains a favorite summertime destination for those who wish to take a step back in time to the heyday of the Gilded Age in American “High Society”.

Two or three years had elapsed since my previous visit and it had recently come to my attention that the vegan dining scene there was evolving in a most positive direction. I just had to return to observe this for myself! Thus I decided to spend a summer day exploring the vegan-friendly restaurants, the stately mansions, a popular garden topiary, and the gorgeous ocean views that define Newport.

After an easy commute from the Boston area, I arrived in Newport just in time for a late breakfast in town. Keenwah (Keenwah Restaurant) is a very vegan-friendly, casual restaurant that offers healthy options such as vegan breakfast and lunch selections, smoothies and juices, and baked goods. The prices are reasonable. For my vegan breakfast, I chose the “Popeye Goes Vegan” English muffin sandwich made with a seasoned tempeh patty, daiya cheese, tomatoes, spinach, with a side of sweet potato homefries and salsa. It was really tasty.

My morning beverage was the coconut creamsicle smoothie. Ingredients included mango, banana, pineapple, coconut milk, orange juice, goji powder, and ice. The combination of fruity and sweet flavors made this a fantastic drink!

Their counter showcased several vegan baked goods, so I purchased a ginger pear muffin for the following day. I took a little bite out of it to sample the taste. It was superb.

A quick drive around town eventually led me to Raw Power Juice Bar & Restaurant(Raw Power Restaurant) for lunch. Raw Power is Newport’s first and only all vegan eatery. They serve up nutritious breakfast bowls, salads, healthy wraps and rice bowls, and fresh sandwiches. The prices are fair at this clean and cozy casual cafe. I opted for a vegan lunch entree of the pineapple curry and veggie rice bowl; made of brown rice, the chef’s curry sauce of pineapple, red and green peppers, sweet & red onion, carrots, and celery, topped with pineapple and sunflower seeds. This was a really delicious meal!

For my mid-day beverage, I opted for the raw power juice “lemonade series” consisting of strawberries, lemon, apple, and grapes. My juice was absolutely flavorful and refreshing! With my hunger satiated, it was time for my sightseeing to commence.

Visitors to Newport may purchase a five mansion tour ticket for a reduced rate or a combo of two homes for a lower cost. I decided to limit myself to combo of a single mansion tour and a topiary visit, given the brief time I would be in the region. Chateau-sur-Mer is a fine example of Victorian architecture and furnishings. It was the most exquisite home in Newport, until the Vanderbilt family built their summer “cottages” in the 1890s. The elegant parties held there, epitomized the “Gilded Age” in American High Society. China trade merchant William Wetmore had the Italian style home constructed as his residence in 1852. The lion’s share of his fortune went to his son George Peabody, who eventually became Governor of Rhode Island and a U.S. Senator. While George and his wife were on an extended European holiday, an architect was hired to redesign the residence in the French style of the late 19th century. Photography is not permitted within the home. However, the tour is well worth the visit to view the exquisite rooms and to hear the stories about the lives of this accomplished family.

Vast well-manicured lawns surround the mansion. The tour had concluded and it was time for me to move on to another “summer cottage” residence.

Though my time schedule would not permit me to tour the interior of another residence, I did have a few moments to spare for viewing the home’s fine exterior. The Marble House is one of Newport’s most elegant mansions. The opulent residence was build as a “summer cottage” for Alva and William Vanderbilt between 1888 and 1892. Boasting of fifty rooms and requiring 36 servants, this “cottage” was fit for the wealthy members of the prominent Vanderbilt family, who amassed their fortune in railroads. This residence truly personified the “Gilded Age”.

No visit to the town is complete without spending some time strolling along the lovely Newport Cliff Walk! The shoreline path gives way to spectacular views of the vast Atlantic Ocean, colorful wildflowers, local birds, and the ornate “Gilded Age” mansions.






A “hidden jewel” attraction on my itinerary was the “Green Animals Topiary Garden”; located in nearby Portsmouth, Rhode Island. This uniquely creative topiary garden is the oldest in the United States. Purchased in 1892 by Thomas Brayton, Union Cotton Manufacturing Company Treasurer, the grounds included a home and gardens. The property’s gardener and his son-in-law created the topiaries. More than 80 topiary pieces of animals, geometric patterns, and whimsical designs grace the gardens.

An arched shrubbery entrance path welcomes guests into the gardens.

Visitors first gaze upon greenery that has been trimmed into shapes such as a giant pineapple, a lion, and a large mug.



As a vegan and obviously an animal lover, it was quite enchanting to see many of our precious mammals and birds being honored with beautiful topiary images of themselves. From enormous elephants to towering giraffes to adorable teddy bears, this garden has much to offer the awe-struck guest.



Several varieties of plants, shrubs, and flowers are in display throughout the gardens.

Flowers of every color and hue adorn the massive garden grounds.




The Green Animals Topiary is definitely a must-see on anyone’s itinerary! As I headed back to downtown Newport, I felt a sense of appreciation for the gorgeous topiary that I had just visited.

Back in Newport, I took delight in visiting a few of the countless gift shops and art galleries around the center of town and along the waterfront.



Yachts galore are found sailing the waters throughout the day or docked along the harbor during the evening hours.

Smaller craft are plentiful on the harbor as well.

As daylight was beginning to fade, I witnessed a splendid view of the setting sun, glistening along the water’s edge.

Before heading back home to the Boston area, I stopped by the downtown area for dinner. Ristorante Lucia (Ristorante Lucia) is an upscale, veggie-friendly, Italian restaurant in downtown Newport. They offer several vegan options on their vegetarian menu. For my dinner entree, I selected the seitan bites sauteed in extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and sauteed mushrooms, served with steamed broccoli. My meal was fantastic!

What a glorious day in Newport it had been! I relished my day of Gilded Age mansions, green animal topiaries, and oceanside strolls. It was such a pleasure to discover that the Newport dining scene now offers some amazing options for vegans. I definitely recommend a visit to Newport, Rhode Island for its scenic beauty, architectural elegance, and incredible vegan meals.

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Vegan Travel: My Weekend Getaway to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – Part#2

I was excited to start my second day of sightseeing in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Since my stay at the beautiful and chic Gettysburg Hotel included breakfast, I headed downstairs to their onsite restaurant “One Lincoln” (One Lincoln Restaurant). In sync with the local vibe, the restaurant wallpaper pattern actually contains the text of the Gettysburg Address. The bright and cheery restaurant was very accommodating to my vegan meal request. My breakfast started off with a hot oatmeal, accompanied with a bowl of fresh mixed berries.

Next arrived a potato hash that included broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and peppers. The veggies were cooked perfectly. I selected a green pomegranate tea to drink. My vegan breakfast was delicious!

It was time to conquer each of the stops on my day’s itinerary! I planned to first visit Cemetery Hill and the National Cemetery, which was further up the road. This path provided me with many interesting sights to view along the way. I popped into Gettysburg Presbyterian Church for a few moments to see the pew where President Abraham Lincoln sat for a patriotic speech by Charles Anderson, while he was in town to deliver the Gettysburg Address on November 19,1863.


All along the street, Civil War period homes were decorated with red, white, and blue banners. What a patriotic atmosphere and sense of American pride, this creates for locals and tourists alike!

I came across several Civil War Re-enactments around town. The re-enactments typically revolved around the war period makeshift hospitals and camps for the wounded.

Baltimore Street, one of the main roads in downtown, is also home to many restaurants, museums, and souvenir and gift shops.

After an invigorating morning walk, I arrived at Cemetery Hill. During the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Union forces commander Oliver Howard decided to select East Cemetery Hill as the base for his Eleventh Corps. These days, bronze plaques describing the various battles and troops are found along the grassy field.

The “Army of the Potomac” plaque is one of the many descriptive signs you will encounter. This corps was the largest Union Army in the eastern region of the Civil War. Major George Meade was its commander during the Battle of Gettysburg.


During July 2nd, the second day of the battle, Confederate General Robert E. Lee ordered Leutenant Richard Ewell to attack the Union position. Ewell and his men fired their artillery from Benner’s Hill. A Louisiana brigade under General Harry Hays, along with Colonial Isaac Avery’s North Carolina Brigade, initially pushed back the Union infantry lines. However, Union troops on Culp’s Hill and East Cemetery Hill closed in on the Confederates and destroyed them. During the darkness of night, Confederates attacked and pushed forward, while several cannons from New York’s Weidrich battery and Rickett’s battery fell into their hands. Second and Eleventh Corps Union reinforcements fired artillery that caused a loss of life for Lee’s men and prevented the Confederates from advancing further. The Confederates were outnumbered, forcing Hays and Avery to retreat down the hill and give up those grounds.



A statue of Major Winifred Hancock, who was wounded during Pickett’s Charge, specific battle markers, as well as cannons, now grace those fields.


During the afternoon of July 3rd, General Lee attacked the Union center on Cemetery Ridge. The Pickett’s Charge briefly overtook the Union forces, but was eventually pushed back with serious casualties.


Across the road, the Gettysburg National Cemetery is located. Over thirty five hundred Union soldiers were laid to rest here. Many Union soldiers’ bodies were scattered across the battlefields around town. The governor assembled a committee to develop a cemetery for these war casualties and heroes.

President Lincoln delivered his infamous “Gettysburg Address” speech here, during the cemetery’s dedication ceremonies on November 19, 1863. It is thought that the wooden platform on which he stood, was located near where the National Monument now stands. The statue was erected in 1869. The four small figures on its base represent war, history, plenty, and peace. The statue “Genius of Liberty” resides on the monument’s crown.

Onward I marched down Baltimore Street towards the Jennie Wade house. She is noted as being the only civilian casualty during the Battle of Gettysburg. Jennie was a twenty year old girl staying at her pregnant sister’s home for safety from the battle.

Unfortunately, she was killed when a stray bullet made its way through two door frames and struck her while she was kneading dough in the kitchen. The floorboard on which she stood, as well as the artillery shell that pierced the roof, are displayed within a glass case in the home.

The hole in the door to the right of the guide, is where the bullet entered the home.

We first toured the bedroom where Jennie helped her pregnant sister.

The guide then proceeded to show us the table to her right, where Jennie was kneading dough, prior to getting hit by the stray bullet. A bullet hole is also evident on the interior door directly before the table where she stood that fateful day.

The Shriver House Museum is located further down Baltimore Street. The Civil War home of George Shriver and his family gives tourists a good glimpse into a civilian home from the Civil War period.


Each room maintains the environment of what it may have resembled during the war and post-war time. Opposing army soldiers invaded Union family homes for easy access to fire their ammunition, and then left them in a messy and dirty condition, with items tossed here and there across the rooms.

Sharpshooters positioned themselves in the Shriver’s attic to take aim at their targets.

The Shriver basement was used as a makeshift hospital to treat wounded soldiers from either side.

The Shriver’s tavern business also resided in the basement and a bowling alley was located in the back yard.

After my busy morning of sightseeing and tours, it was time for a hearty lunch. I continued to stroll down Baltimore Street until I reached Ping’s Cafe (Ping’s Cafe). This vegan-friendly casual restaurant offers several vegan items listed under their “vegetetabe menu”. The kitchen is also willing to cater to their vegan diners. In my case, the entree I selected was the bean curd with vegetables which contained fried tofu. However, they kindly changed it to steamed, per my request. My lunch was a steamed tofu dish with green beans, asparagus, snow peas, broccoli, peppers, carrots, tomato, and mushrooms in a brown sauce. It was accompanied by steamed rice and a lemonade. The meal was very flavorful and reasonably priced.

A five minute stroll down the street led me to the David Wills House. He was a prominent figure during Civil War period Gettysburg. Mr. Wills was an attorney, judge, and president of Gettysburg Borough Council. After the 1863 battle, he opened his home for local nurses to take care of wounded soldiers. The U.S. Marshall’s office used the home as their headquarters, as locals would gather here to discuss burial of the war dead. Mr. Wills is credited for suggesting to then Pennsylvania Governor Curtin that a National Cemetery is needed to properly bury those who lost their lives during the war. President Abraham Lincoln completed his Gettysburg Address, while staying overnight at the Wills house prior to the National Soldier’s Cemetery dedication ceremony.

The bedroom where Lincoln slept is on display in the home, with its original furniture.

A leisurely twenty five minute stroll brought me to the Seminary Ridge Museum, the next destination on my itinerary. The museum features exhibits focusing on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg on Seminary Ridge, the care of the war wounded in Schmucker Hall which was utilized as a war hospital, and the moral/spiritual debates of the war.

Prior to arriving at the museum, another noted building appears along our path. Reverend Samuel Schmucker was the founder of the Lutheran Theological Seminary. His home, built in 1833, is also located on these grounds. Schmucker was an ardent abolitionist and was said to have aided the underground railroad in the area, as his residence was used as a stop.

An artillery shell from the Civil War battle still remains lodged in the side of his residence.

Seminary Ridge was a location that the U.S. Army used for defense during the first day of the battle. The Confederates used the area as an artillery position during the battle’s second and third days. Union leaders would ascend to the cupola of the Schmucker building to lookout for the enemy corps approaching.

Within the museum, I examined the religious documents and Scripture passages that the steadfast Christian soldiers and leaders would ponder over and debate, regarding the morality of the Civil War. Diary entries and other documents from various preachers and leaders of the time differed in their opinions regarding the moral and spiritual correctness of the war and of the issue of slavery. Original bibles that the soldiers carried on their person, are on display. The museum is definitely worth a visit!

Several exhibits showed the type of surgical tools and equipment used during that time. A wooden leg cast for injured soldiers is viewed behind a glass case.

Surgical tools for repairing broken limbs or for performing amputations are on exhibit here as well.

Additional exhibits and interactive displays examined a day in the life of those at the war time hospital and of the first day’s battle at Seminary Ridge.

As I picked up my pace to get back to town, I came across a few more Civil War camp re-enactments. The staff, dressed in period attire, would respond to any questions that an inquisitive tourist may pose of them.

Back on Baltimore Street, I stumbled upon the home where Union general John Reynolds was brought by aides, after he was shot and killed during the first day of the battle.

The final stop on my day’s schedule was the Gettysburg Heritage Center. This museum tells the stories of the local citizens and their reactions to the war around them. Recreations of various scenes about the town tells how they lived during those difficult times. 3D glasses are provided to fully encounter the experiences of the people of Gettysburg. Historical documents and excavated items such as bullet-ridden tree trunks and mortar shells from the war, are on display to tell their stories.


John Burns was a 69 year old Gettysburg farmer who joined the battle on the spur of the moment. It is said that he grabbed his musket and powder horn and walked onto the battlefield. He fought alongside the Iron Brigade at McPherson’s Ride. Mr. Burns was a good sharpshooter, but eventually was injured. He lived to became quite a famous war hero. President Lincoln requested that he join him at the Wills residence and walk with him to attend a speech at the Presbyterian church on the day of the Gettysburg Address. An exhibit in the museum recreates a scene with Mr. Burns.

As I headed back up Baltimore Street, I made a stop at “Hunt’s Battlefield Fries and Cafe” (Hunt’s Battlefield Fries and Cafe) after I noticed a sign on the street mentioning their homemade orange and lemon juices. My orangeade beverage was tasty and refreshing.

Evening had arrived and so had dinner time. I decided to dine at the historic Farnsworth Inn House (Farnsworth House Inn Restaurant). Its named for Civil War Union general John Farnsworth. He had led an unsuccessful charge, after the failure at Pickett’s Charge, and he lost his life with 65 of his men. Confederate sharpshooters occupied the home at one point. It is thought to be the place from where the shots were fired that accidentally hit Jennie Wade when the stray bullets entered her home down the street. A Civil War period dining experience awaits guests each evening. Waitstaff dressed in period attire serve diners in the Victorian era dining rooms, serving Pennsylvania Dutch and period fare.


The restaurant did not offer any vegan entrees. However, I still desired to dine there because of the historic relevance and the inn’s ambiance. The helpful waitstaff checked with kitchen and was able to provide me with a meal of corn on the cob(without butter), a large salad, apple butter, and pickled watermelon rind. My dinner was good and filling.


The next morning, I headed to the Ragged Edge Coffeehouse (Ragged Edge Coffeehouse) for breakfast. I opted for the cinnamon raisin bagel topped with homemade peanut butter. It was really yummy! My beverage was the really good “Classic Juice” made with fresh carrots, oranges, and apples.

My weekend getaway to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania had come to an end and it was time to head home to Boston. I glanced back at the beautiful Gettysburg Hotel as we drove away, filled with happy memories of my time in this historic town. For those with more time to spare, the region nearby is renowned for its apple orchards and peaches. During my three day weekend trip, I received a phenomenal educational experience that is unparalleled by any text book. The impressive and poignant Civil War battlefields, the engaging house museums, and the great vegan food made this a fantastic holiday vacation! Anyone wanting to experience a really crucial era of American history, should definitely make plans to visit historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

My accommodations, some meals, and admission to historic sites was provided as a guest of Destination Gettysburg. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Vegan Travel: A Weekend in Historic Gettysburg, PA – Part#1

From its strategic battlefield grounds to its brick-faced 19th century battle-ridden homes, no other town seems to capture the soul of the American Civil War more than Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I headed there to spend the Labor Day holiday weekend this year.

My accommodations were superb at the historic Gettysburg Hotel. Built in the year 1797, the hotel offers modern spacious rooms with jacuzzi, free wifi, a swimming pool, a fitness center, and dining. It is centrally located downtown within walking distance of the Gettysburg Battlefield and other popular attractions.



From my hotel room window, I had a lovely view of the Gettysburg Diamond, the circular roundabout leading to shops, restaurants, and historic sites in each direction.

Vegans may find a good breakfast option at the vegan-friendly Ragged Edge Coffeehouse(Ragged Edge Coffeehouse) downtown. The waitstaff confirmed that their bagels are indeed vegan. I opted for an “Everything” bagel filled with homemade hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, and carrots. My inexpensive vegan breakfast meal was great!

For my beverage, I chose the “Punch and Judy” smoothie. The smoothie contained fresh strawberries, pineapple, and bananas in an almond milk base. It was really good. The cafe’s picturesque garden was a wonderful spot to eat my breakfast.

After my meal, I strolled up and down Chambersburg Street, across from the cafe. Several 19th century homes displayed signs stating their historical significance. Renowned abolitionist and House of Representatives member Thaddeus Stevens had lived in a red brick home on this street.

As I headed over to the convenient trolley station, I passed by the Majestic Theater and the Gettysburg Railroad Station. This small town theater opened its doors in 1925, for the enjoyment of vaudeville performances and silent movies. President Eisenhower attended performances here and the monumental Civil War film “Gettysburg” made its debut here in 1993. In 2005, the renovated theater opened once again for musical and theatrical performances.

President Abraham Lincoln arrived at the Gettysburg Railroad Station on November 18, 1863; the evening before he made his famous “Gettysburg Address”. The railroad was utilized as a makeshift hospital for wounded soldiers during the Civil War.

The $1 trolley took me to the Gettysburg National Military Park, the first stop on my day’s itinerary. A bronze statue of President Abraham Lincoln sits proudly outside the Visitor’s Center building. Tourists, such as myself, enjoy posing with him!

Once inside the building, Civil War memorabilia and artifacts are exhibited upon the walls and glass covered display cases. A Civil War drum was showcased, along with other instruments. The drums played an important role, as drumbeats alerted troops of their orders when human voice could not be heard. Other times, instruments and music provided some entertainment for the weary soldiers.

Army clothing is on display at the museum, including several blue Union uniforms.

Civil War belts and pins were showcased as well.

After spending some time in the lobby, visitors are then led to the Cyclorama on the upper level. The large painting depicting the Civil War battle “Pickett’s Charge”, gives a good sense of what happened at the turning point of the war. Cycloramas are a popular late 19th century art form, in which oil on canvas paintings display a landscape scene and figures making it appear as three dimensional. Sound effects of cannon fire and visual displays of smoke upon them brought the battle scene to life for those of us watching in the gallery.

We were free to visit the Military Park Museum on the first level, immediately after the Cyclorama sound and light show. The museum exhibits are grouped together by chronological Civil War events and battles. One of the items on display was the bed and field desk of Confederate leader General Robert E. Lee.

Several flags for both Union and Confederate armies were on display, as well as a federal flag.

Union troops eating utensils and plates have also been uncovered.

After spending time wandering through the museum exhibits that depict each battle throughout the Civil War, lunch time had arrived. The Visitor’s Center cafeteria style restaurant gave me a couple of snack options as a lunch meal. I munched on a packaged hummus and mini pretzels and a banana. They were tasty and filled me up enough to partake in the afternoon’s tour.

A tour bus outside of the Visitor’s Center then picked up passengers for a comprehensive tour of the Gettysburg Battlefields. A licensed guide gave us a a detailed account of some the key battles in the area. General Lee’s Confederate Armies had encircled the town of Gettysburg awaiting the arrival of the Union forces led by General George Meade on July 1st, 1863. Barlow’s Knoll, west of Gettysburg, is where confederate soldiers under General Hill met Union cavalry from the Army of the Potomac’s Iron Brigade, on that day. The battle continued on McPherson’s Ridge, where Richard Ewell’s Confederate troops intimidated the Union right flank. General Barlow advanced his division to a knoll. However, the federal army was spread too thin. The Confederates eventually seized the knoll and damaged the Union’s right position on the battleground. The Union corps retreated to the heights south of the town.

Our tour bus stopped at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial on the grounds of the Military Park. This monument was erected in 1938 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Along one of the battlefield roads, we encounter a gray stone home that was General Robert E. Lee’s headquarters during the Civil War.

Wooden zigzag “worm” fences have been recreated to emulate authentic ones from the war time period. The fence barriers encompass the perimeter of the massive battlefields, since they are easy to construct.

After the completion of the war, each state corps was represented by a statue or monument marker along the battlefield.

Cannons now line the various battlefields and battle roads.



On July 2nd, General Lee struck the Union flanks which were under General George Meade’s command. Intense fighting occurred at Devil’s Den, Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Peach Orchard, Culp’s Hill and East Cemetery Hill. The Confederates captured Devil’s Den and the Peach Orchard.

However, on July 3rd, Union forces prevailed at Culp’s Hill. Lee’s troops attacked the Union forces again on Cemetery Ridge but was backed off at Pickett’s Charge. Over 50,000 soldier’s had lost their lives, were wounded, or were missing by the end of the three day Battle of Gettysburg.

After my afternoon of touring the National Military Park and Battlefield, I strolled about downtown to visit a few gift shops and galleries. Gettysburg downtown is home to several unique and creative shops. One shop offers colorful painted gourds for purchase.

Yet another offers Civil War antiques and artifacts.

Along each of the downtown roads, many Civil War era homes, taverns, and churches still stand. These brick or stone buildings bear plaques stating their Civil War period status.


I decided to have dinner at the Dobbin House Tavern Restaurant (Dobbin House Tavern Restaurant). The inn was the 18th century home of Reverend Alexander Dobbin. It was used as part of the Underground Railroad to temporarily hide and house runaway slaves on their way to freedom.

An upstairs attic space provided hidden shelter for these slaves.

The dining area contains original period furniture, including a canopy bed seating area, where guests may eat their meal. The waitstaff is dressed in period attire.

My first course was a flavorful salad of greens, tomatoes, and red onions, with a vinaigrette dressing.

I selected their “Vegetable Isabella”. This entree consisted of broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomato, green peppers, sauteed in a wine sauce over penne pasta. My meal was delicious! An herbal tea complimented the pasta dish. The knowledgeable waitstaff verified that the pasta did not contain egg and was indeed vegan. The vegan-friendly restaurant offers several vegan items on their vegetable section of the menu. They focus on local, fresh veggies.

For dessert, I chose a wonderful raspberry sorbet.

After a satisfying evening meal and a fantastic day of sightseeing, I was ready to call it a night. I waited with eager anticipation for the next day’s itinerary of Civil War house museums and the stories that would be told within their walls.

Tours, accommodations, and dinner proved by Destination Gettysburg, as their guest. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Vegan Travel: My Weekend Getaway in the Brandywine Region of Delaware-Part#2

Day 2 of my getaway weekend to Delaware started bright and early with a vegan breakfast burrito from Fresh Thymes restaurant (Fresh Thymes Restaurant). The really tasty sandwich was made with vegan sausage, guacamole, spinach, and tomato.

I headed over to the Wilmington Riverwalk, a short stroll from my lovely Westin Riverfront Hotel. A spunky little rabbit apparently was going on a morning walk himself!

A sign along the Riverwalk asking visitors “how many veggies they have eaten today” is a pleasing sight to any vegan.

Along the Riverwalk path, I saw a panoramic view of the distant downtown skyscrapers, an interesting sculpture of a family doing what appears to be a fast paced jaunt, and an oldtime steamboat.



On the opposite side of the path, several cafes and restaurants offered food for the weary runner or those taking a stroll along the river.

Artistic and whimsical dinosaur sculptures dotted the area, as well. One was all decked out in business attire.

The next stop of my day’s itinerary was the Russell W. Peterson Urban Refuge, along the riverfront. Mr. Peterson, a former Delaware governor was quite the environmentalist. This urban refuge park was named in his honor.

A winding wooden boardwalk makes it easy to safely stroll around the park.

Upon entrance, visitors are greeted with a sign stating “Adopt a Wetland”, stressing the eco-friendliness of the region.

The vast refuge contains ponds, streams, tall grasses, various plants and shrubs, trees, and several varieties of colorful flowers.


Occasionally, birds would land and perch themselves on a tree branch and stay a while, observing the view.

The flowers displayed in vibrant hues of purple, yellow, red, and white.



I spent a splendid hour at the urban refuge park enjoying and appreciating all that nature has to offer. What a wonderful idea it was that Wilmington, Delaware created this peaceful and scenic refuge within the city landscape!

My host from “Visit Wilmington” arrived shortly after my time at the refuge. We then proceeded to Hagley Museum on the outskirts of Wilmington, Delaware. Hagley House is the first American home of E.I. DuPont, who founded the DuPont company. It is located on the property of E.I. DuPont’s powder mills founded in the year 1802. The 235 acre site is located along the scenic Brandywine River. The restored mills, the DuPonts home and gardens, and a worker’s community is housed on these grounds.

I commenced my visit by spending some in the visitor’s center checking out the exhibits from the early day’s of the company. Mill equipment displayed with descriptive signs explaining its history and function in the DuPont company.


A shuttle bus took guests around the property making a few stops for those who wish to stop and visit other areas of the property. We enjoyed a fabulous view of the beautiful Brandywine River along our drive.


Several small and medium size stone powder mills appear as we make our way towards the home. Tourists may spend time at the mills to hear a presentation and view an actual demonstration of the powder making process.

A waterwheel between the mills provides power.

The DuPonts were fond of flowers, so some lovely gardens reside on the property containing many colorful species and plants.

We reach our destination within a few minutes time. The Hagley Estate also contains the first offices of the DuPont company. A small stone building contained the office of the accountant and bookkeeper for the first fifty years.

The Hagley home itself is a Georgian style house containing many of the family’s personal belongings.

The living rooms and bedrooms reflect the taste of the five generations of DuPonts who lived there, especially of the last family member who lived there. She decorated the home with china and statues from her world travels.


Children’s toys like a rocking rooster are found throughout the house.

E.I.’s bedroom is quite spacious and decorated in a pleasant light blue shade.

Our return shuttle went by the DuPont Worker’s Community on the hill. Worker housing, church, and school provided exceptional care for DuPont employees.

After my interesting visit to the DuPont home, I headed back to the Visitor’s Center. I spent some time on the upper level of museum, viewing exhibits of more modern 20th century DuPont inventions, such as Kevlar space suits and race cars.


It was a wonderful day learning about the DuPont family and their company’s beginnings. My schedule allotted me just enough time to grab some lunch before my weekend trip had to come to an end. Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant (Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant ) offers a couple of vegan-friendly items on their menu. I opted for the large red quinoa salad containing quinoa, spiced pecans, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, granny smith apples, green onion, orange vanilla-bean vinaigrette, and green apple-ginger puree. It was filling and delicious. Each of the sweet and savory ingredients contributed nicely to the flavorful entree.

As my bus was leaving Delaware and the Brandywine area, I reminisced about all of the beautiful and interesting places that I had visited this past weekend. From the impressive DuPont estates and company mills to the charming historic village of New Castle, from the picturesque Peterson Refuge to the Riverwalk and evening cruise, I enjoyed my visit immensely! Vegan meal options were available and pleasing. I recommend that any traveler with a thirst for history and nature do visit this region for a great vacation!

Note – I was a guest of Visit Wilmington for accommodations, lunch, and Hagley Museum tour. All opinions stated are my own.

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