) - This year marks the 150th anniversary of the turning point in the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg. As far as defining American moments go, it doesn't get much more iconic than that.
Following the early July battle in 1863, the Confederate army never regained its momentum, and the bloody war ended two years later. South central Pennsylvania -- now known as the Dutch Country Roads (DCR) region -- took years to recover from its pivotal role in history, but many cultural attractions stand as reminders.
There's no better way to experience the richness of the 150th Gettysburg anniversary
than to visit in person. Gettysburg is bursting with re-enactments, demonstrations and new programs.
After visiting Gettysburg, explore the Civil War story further in the surrounding area.
National Civil War Museum: Harrisburg is home to one of the largest museums dedicated exclusively to both sides of the Civil War. The museum offers a full understanding of the conflict, as well as exploring the experience of both civilians and soldiers.
U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center: Located in Carlisle, the center features an interactive one-mile outdoor trail with several Civil War aspects and a huge Civil War photography collection to explore.
Hopewell Furnace: See how pig iron production was vital to making Civil War weapons. This national historic site joins the Central Pennsylvania African American Museum -- a stop on the Underground Railroad -- and other heritage locations on the Greater Reading Civil War Trail. Learn more at the Civil War entry for Trails under "Things To Do" at gogreaterreading.com.
Mary Ritner Boarding House: Visit Chambersburg to see where abolitionist John Brown planned the raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859 and learn about the Confederate burning of the town at the Chambersburg Heritage Center.
Steam into History: New this year, step aboard this 1800s-style steam locomotive in New Freedom for a taste of railroad history while enjoying a ride featuring re-enactors on and off the train and a stop at Hanover Junction -- where President Lincoln changed trains on his way to give the Gettysburg Address.
President James Buchanan's Wheatland: This national historic landmark in Lancaster is the home of the man who preceded Lincoln in the White House and struggled to calm a divided nation on the brink of civil war.
To plan a visit, see the DCR entry under "Civil War Trails" at visitpa.com/pa-road-trips.