GETTYSBURG >> Gettysburg is a fascinating area and for those lucky enough to live within driving distance, an interesting day trip is never far away. On my previous visits, I've taken bus tours, ghost tours and even a Segway tour of the battlefield. Then I heard about the food tours and wanted to learn more, so I called Deb Joyner, who has taken two tours with "Savor Gettysburg."
"It's a very nice tour," said the Cashtown resident. "I love how the tour is infused with the history of the town, the restaurants and the owners of those restaurants, and the food is excellent," she said.
History and food? I somehow overlooked a tour that combines two of my favorite things. How did that happen?
With one call to owner Lori Korczyk, I quickly had my answer. It turns out that "Savor Gettysburg" tours are relatively new. The business began just last year when Korczyk decided to take her career in a different direction.
"For a few years I wanted to open a business that benefited the downtown merchants — one that would draw both tourists and locals to the area," said Korczyk, who makes good use of her varied background. The businesswoman ran a Rita's Italian Ice, worked in sales in the global financial industry and spent years as an events director. When she felt it was time to launch a new venture, "Savor Gettysburg," was born.
"I pretty much combined all that experience and used it as a skill set for my position," she said.
The gregarious Gettysburg resident is well-suited to what she is doing these days, as witnessed by a tour I took on a recent sunny Sunday.
The Historic Downtown Food Tour
Korczyk met me in front of the Garryowen Irish Pub where we joined a group of 10 other eager eaters hailing from Maryland, Pittsburgh and the local area.
As we climbed the steps to the historic 1831 structure and filed into the dining room, staff greeted our group and presented each of us with our own personal piping hot shepherd's pie. The savory house specialty was hearty, flavorful and seasoned to perfection.
While we enjoyed our food, Korczyk regaled us with a few historical tidbits about the pub. She then gave us time to get to know our fellow foodies before moving on to the next destination, One Lincoln, located inside the Gettysburg Hotel.
One Lincoln specializes in craft cocktails and updated American comfort food. Our group filtered through the restaurant, passing curious diners before taking our seats on high-topped tables near a mahogany bar.
There we learned details about the award-winning chef and the history of the hotel, now owned by Gettysburg College. When it came time to dig into our crab mac and cheese, the room fell silent — the telltale sign of a delicious dish.
Exiting One Lincoln, we meandered down the road, stopping here and there to learn about the history of various buildings and their role in the Civil War before entering the Hauser Estate Winery tasting room.
We snacked on smoked Colby and crackers in between sampling red and white wines and Jack's Hard Cider, a light, refreshing, crisp libation synonymous with the fall season.
The group left a little giddy, but game to tackle the next four destinations.
During the last half of the tour, we dined on petite sandwiches from Café on the Square, enjoyed artisan bread and tomato basil soup at Gettysburg Baking Company and blew our diets on a rich, fudge-like piece of flourless chocolate cake at Café Amand. By this time, some on the tour were losing their enthusiasm for yet another bite, with more than a few expressing relief that they skipped breakfast.
Korczyk wisely built a break into the tasting at this point and led us to a building known in 1860 as Shriver's Saloon & Ten-Pin Alley. A docent in period attire greeted us and offered a little more insight about the award-winning, 19th century period garden located behind the house. The group strolled around the compact space where long-necked gourds, herbs and other plants like black tomatoes were giving up the last fruits of the summer season.
Just down the road sat the historic Farnswarth House, where the group learned more about Civil War history before visiting the last stop on the tour — Mr. G's homemade ice cream. At this point, I had to declare defeat and forfeit my scoop, which I likened to Monty Python's "last thin mint," before bidding adieu to the friendly group.
Plans for the future
In addition to the downtown food tour, Korczyk also offers a Savory Sweets Tour and a wine/cider/dine tour, which she just launched this summer.
For Korczyk, it's been a positive experience and one she hopes to continue.
"I absolutely love connecting with the community, meeting new people and introducing them to our town and the phenomenal food available at our restaurants," she said.
To book a tour now, or reserve a spot for 2016, visit: SavorGettysburgFoodTours.com