Ryan and I arrived in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in the early afternoon on Friday. Our drive up from North Carolina was seamless and absolutely gorgeous. We drove through Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland and commented on the lush greenery and breathtaking mountain views at least a dozen times. It was stunning!
My mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law were waiting for us at the adorable house we rented for the weekend. I found a charming three-bedroom house on VRBO.com last week and had a feeling it would be the perfect place for all of us to stay this weekend as we came together to celebrate my grandmother’s life.
The farmhouse, located on the southern end of the Gettysburg battlefield, was originally built in 1799. It has been fully restored and the owners did an amazing job filling the home with antiques and other features that gave the place so much character. My family and I could not have been more pleased with this house and I highly recommend it as a great place to stay for anyone looking to visit the Gettysburg area.
After our arrival, Ryan and I quickly unpacked before joining Leslie and Ross for a brief tour of the Gettysburg battlefield while my mom and dad met up with my aunt and uncle at the church where my grandma’s memorial service was scheduled to take place the following morning.
Longtime readers already know how much I love Gettysburg. My mom and dad grew up in the small historic town and both of my grandmothers lived in Gettysburg for years. This was our first time in Gettysburg with our husbands and Leslie and I wanted to be sure they got a glimpse into the rich history of the area. By the end of our trip, both Ryan and Ross said they could absolutely understand why we love Gettysburg so much!
Unfortunately the pain I am experiencing in my left hip/glute/lower back continued to inhibit my ability to walk around too much, so we did our best to explore by car and kept walking to a minimum which was a bit of a bummer, but also very necessary for me right now. We were able to look out over the battlefield at the peak of Little Round Top and also stopped by Devil’s Den. We lucked out with the sunshine since the morning was apparently quite dreary.
After our time on the battlefield, we took the guys into town for a late lunch at Ernie’s Texas Lunch. My family and I always make it a point to grab lunch from Ernie’s when we are in town and since Ryan and Ross have heard all of us rave about their chili dogs for years, they were more than game to grab some food from Ernie’s for a late afternoon pick-me-up.
With full bellies, we made our way back to the farmhouse and met up with my parents to visit my grandma, Nana, at her home in Fayetteville. It was so great to spend some quality time with Nana and she absolutely lit up when arrived and greeted her with her favorite chocolates. My dad and I joked that there’s no doubt where we got our sweet tooth from because Nana’s affinity for chocolate is rivaled by none!
Our dinner plans took our group to Dave and Jane’s, a family-run restaurant that serves the most delicious hard shell crabs on the planet. They get their crabs from the Chesapeake Bay area and season them perfectly. We all toasted to Mimi before digging into a hard shell crab feast! My grandma was as big of a fan of hard shells as anyone and I know she would’ve loved sitting there with us, cracking open crabs on the long table topped with newspaper.
Once we were done with dinner, we drove back home and dug into whoopie pies for dessert while celebrating my sister’s birthday at the kitchen table before heading off to bed.
Remembering and Celebrating Mimi
Saturday was an emotional day but also a healing and joyful one as we all gathered to remember my grandmother and celebrate her life. There were plenty of tears and overwhelming sadness bubbled up inside me a number of times, but there was also a lot of laughter and so much love and support.
My grandmother had so many people come to St. James Lutheran Church to honor her and attend her memorial service. She was such a social person with so many close friends and it brought me so much joy to speak with people who have known and loved Mimi for years. Many of them offered hugs and condolences along with stories about my grandma that made me laugh and filled me with pride. Almost everyone I spoke to talked about how much she loved her family and how excited she was to become a great grandmother.
The service was beautiful and my Aunt Laurie spoke about her mother with such poise, strength and love. She moved me to tears at the end of her speech when she said she pictured Mimi entering heaven the exact same way she reacted to the news she was going to be a great grandmother: Hands shooting up high in the air and an excited squeal coming from her lips!
After the service and burial at Evergreen Cemetery, we returned to the church for lunch and continued the celebration of Mimi’s life. Many of Mimi’s friends and family stayed to dine together and share more stories. It was very cathartic and special and I was especially touched by a speech Ryan gave about my grandmother. It meant a lot to me to hear my husband speak so highly of Mimi, especially since I know she loved “her guys” very much.
A little before 3 p.m., everything came to an end, but Mimi’s close family came back to the farmhouse we rented to spend more time together.
I’m so, so glad we were able to spend the entire day with my extended family and I know Mimi would have thought the whole day was perfect.
Mimi, we love you and miss you. Your memory lives on in the hearts of many!
Elizabeth Beil says
It sounds like a beautiful celebration of Mimi. I am so sorry for your loss.
Laura ~ RYG says
So sorry to hear of your loss as well. What a blessing you had the relationship you did with her. And what a lovely trip! I love VRBO, it’s so great for finding the perfect place to stay!!
I am so glad you got to celebrate your Mimi’s life with family. I am so sorry for your loss. My grandmother passed away about a month ago, and even though it was a difficult time, getting to be around family made it a little easier.
What a lovely weekend celebrating your grandma. The rental house looks amazing- what a great spot to stay with a big group.
Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl says
It seems like a lovely celebration of Mimi’s life by those who loved her best, and although it’s sad, it’s also joyous to know that she was such an amazing person who had so many people who truly cared for her. And you got to make the most of celebrating her life by introducing Ryan and Ross to the places that you and your sister loved just as much as your grandmother loved them!
For some reason I haven’t yet made it to Gettysburg but I’m such a history nerd, I want to someday soon. I made my parents take us to Williamsburg when I was 7 and Hampton Court when I was 8 because those were each what I was reading about that year…after that they stopped letting my brother and I dictate where we were going!
Beautiful pictures, service and family. I know she is smiling down on you all. xox
Anele @ Success Along the Weigh says
It sounds like a lovely service for a lovely lady. The house you found is gorgeous and I’m glad you all got to reflect on what a wonderful person she was in such a beautiful place!
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment says
Beautiful pictures – especially of the one of you and your sister. So sorry for your loss. I’m glad there was such a nice celebration of everyone who loved her.
Linz @ Itz Linz says
glad you had a nice weekend celebrating mimi, even though i know it was hard. sending you love and support! xo
Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner says
Glad everything went well. Sounds like it was a very nice service.
Jenessa @ Straight Laces says
What a wonderful way to celebrate her life – with loved ones and what looks to be a beautiful part of the country. I’m so sorry for your loss. Take care.
Nicole @ Squash on Squash says
Sounds like a very touching weekend. From what you’ve mentioned in your previous blog posts, Mimi seems like she was a fantastic person, and it sounds as though the celebrations encapsulated her spirit :).
My sincerest condolences to you and your family. It looks like it was a beautiful memorial service for your grandmother, filled with lots of love and memories. Thinking of you.
Julie, again, I’m so sorry for the loss of your Mimi. But I’m glad to hear you were able to spend some special time with all of your family. Your Mimi must be so proud of the beautiful legacy she left in her family.
Katie @ Fit Life by Katie says
It sounds like a beautiful celebration of your grandmothers life. I like the reference to her entering heaven with her hands up just like when she found out she would be a great grandmother 🙂
Also, I am from Gettysburg, so it is very fun to see all your pictures of my old stomping grounds. We got married in Gettysburg and I couldn’t have been happier because I think it is so beautiful But of course I might be a bit biased 🙂 i recognize the house you stayed in, so pretty on the inside!
Such a beautiful weekend! My boyfriend went to Gettysburg college and the amount of times I’ve heard about Ernie’s…. I think I need to finally have him take me there!
Erin @ Her Heartland Soul says
What a beautiful remembrance and celebration of such a special life! I feel like all we can hope for at the end of our life is to have touched so any people during our time here.
Also, I love Gettysburg and your post really made me miss Pennsylvania!!
Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out says
Such a sweet weekend memorializing your Grandma! I am glad you were able to focus on the joy of her life!
Cody @ onehungryrunner says
Looks like a great way to celebrate her life. Such beautiful pictures! I love VRBO for vacation rentals–it is nice to have options other than hotel rooms (this weekend I booked one for a girlfriend’s bachelorette party).
Amanda @ Slimplify Life says
So much love! She is smiling down, I am sure 🙂
So sorry for your loss, Julie. I’m glad you got to at least squeeze in some good family time and a few fun things into your weekend. I am sure she is and will keep smiling down on your and your little family!
It seems like you had a beautiful celebration for your grandmother. That looks like a beautiful house you rented!
Danica @ It's Progression says
Looks like a beautiful weekend celebrating your grandmother – during the toughest times, it’s priceless to be surrounded by family and loved ones.
Jessica @ Semi-Sweet Tooth says
That’s so wonderful that you were able to spend time with close family. It sounds like she was a wonderful woman, and I can only imagine the generations that will be inspired by her for many years to come.
You may have also convinced me to check out Gettysburg. 🙂
Ashley @ A Lady Goes West says
It’s great you were able to enjoy your time in Gettysburg with your extended family and celebrate your dear Mimi!
Nona @ RunningHigh says
Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend celebrating your Mimi!
That house is adorable. That kitchen!
Your post made me aww and tear up this morning! Grandparents are such a big part in our young lives it’s tough to see them go. At least you got some quality time in with your family which always helps.
Kim from MN says
What a lovely celebration of Mimi’s life! She clearly did such a great job with her family, seeing as you all came together to celebrate her life in such a nice way. The outpouring of family support is such an uplifting thing, it adds this odd splash of joy that feels SO strong in the middle of the grief.
Loved your family picture – that’s a great one! Everyone looks so good – I’d say it’s one to frame! Sad reasons sometimes give us a great chance to come together in a way people wouldn’t all have been able to do otherwise.
Loved the house you stayed in! Gorgeous! My husband is from Pennsylvania, and we’ll be going back for a visit sometime, so I’m keeping my eye on this house! Love it! I’ve done airbnb many times, but never VRBO. Great tip!
I drove through Gettysburg while I was attending Shippensburg University a few times and it’s BEAUTIFUL. Although you couldn’t walk around, driving definitely gives you a feel of the history too! I’m sorry about Mimi’s passing, but she knows your family loved her. She’s watching down on your little one now! Angel!
If your Nana loves chocolate, you should stop in Frederick or Waynesboro for Zoe’s Chocolates. They are THE.BEST.EVER. Seriously, I drove 3 hours to get them when I came home from college because the chocolate is just… so rich and delicious.
It sounds like a beautiful celebration for your beautiful grandmother – from everything you’ve shared, she seemed like a truly wonderful lady and my thoughts/prayers continue to be with you and your family. I’m glad that your shower was recent and so it hadn’t been too long since you’d last seen her.
It looks like you had a wonderful weekend celebrating a beautiful person. Spending time with those you love certainly makes tough times a bit easier. What a beautiful place to do so!
Beautiful photos from what looks like an even more beautiful weekend 🙂 May I ask, what kind of camera are these photos taken with? They’re fantastic quality, props to the cameraman! (or lady 😉 )
I owe all the credit to my brother-in-law! I’ll ask him about his camera and report back!
Hi Julie, looks like you had a beautiful even though emotional weekend celebrating Mimi’s life!
I was wondering how you like VRBO.com compared to Homeaway or airbnb if you’ve used them?
Our experience with VRBO.com was GREAT!! I can’t really speak to the other two because I haven’t used them too much (I think I used AirBNB a few years ago without any issues though)! The woman who owns the house called us back immediately and was so kind!
Rachel @ Simply Rachel Nicole says
What a beautiful place! I’m so glad that you were able to celebrate your Mimi’s wonderful life. 🙂 You and your sister are both so beautiful.
I went to Gettysburg College!! 🙂 I know what a special place it is, and what an absolutely beautiful town to celebrate the life of your Grandma Mimi.
So sorry to hear of your grandmother’s passing. That is so so hard but I’m sure it was great to spend time with family.
Also, I am in love with your sisters shirt! Do you happen to know where she got it from? Xoxo
Is anyone else not getting the posts in their email? I missed both Friday and today’s post.
Oh no! I’m not sure what’s up! I’ll look into this and hopefully get things running again soon!
Julie @ Running in a Skirt says
So sorry you had to go through this, but it is inspiring that you made the best of it.
Sara @ Oats & Rows says
I am so sorry for your loss, Julie! It seems like it was a beautiful weekend celebrating the life of your Mimi.
You captured our weekend so well. Thank you, Julie. xo
Ashley @ Sweet Carolina Belle says
I am sorry for your loss. I hope you get relief from your pain soon.
So sorry about your loss 🙁 your pictures are beautiful. Catching up on some posts!
I’m behind you by a few weeks with baby #2! I love your dark pink shirt- where did you get it from? You look amazing!