by peter bonfanti
Peter Bonfanti is a restauranteur in New Jersey and co-founder of GettysBike Tours and cohost of Addressing Gettysburg Podcast
When Matt and I decided to stop our wildly popular podcast Checked Out in Jersey, and subsequently decided to focus on a podcast about all things Gettysburg, the number one question I was asked was "Why Gettysburg?" This question was usually followed with an eye roll, or just a general look of boredom and confusion.
This was also the same question and look that was thrown at me when 13 years ago, I decided to leave a lucrative career, and pack all my belongings and move to Gettysburg to create Gettysbike Tours with Matt.
Until recently, I honestly had not really given it much real deep thought. For some reason in felt right, similar to when I met my wife (while living in Gettysburg, but she lived in Jersey, but I digress). There was no lightning strike, or divine intervention - it just felt right.
Still the question remains... why?
I have always been interested in history, and when in school I was a master at memorizing the where when and who of U.S. History. While it was enough to keep my attention, and I aced the tests, I never learned the real stories of our shared history. After starting Gettysbike Tours, I was fortunate enough to go on tours of the battlefield on a regular basis, and a few times I week I would hear Licensed Battlefield Guides tell the real stories of the people of Gettysburg. Suddenly, history was no longer dates and names but real people living real lives. The drama of Gettysburg (and history at large) is far superior to anything the greatest dramatists in Hollywood or Broadway could ever conjure up for the simple fact that it is all real.
For me, that's "why Gettysburg".