GETTYSBURG -- If you're planning to visit historic Gettysburg and its environs in 2013 -- especially during the anniversary period of late June to early July -- book your hotel/motel arrangements now.
During next year's peak periods, the 2,600 rooms in Adams County already are 80 percent full, said Carl Whitehill of the Gettysburg/Adams County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Even though some lodging facilities have yet to open up their reservations, others already have waiting lists.
Up to 4 million visitors are expected here next year -- a million more than a typical annual attendance. Lodging will be at a premium, especially from June 28-July 7, he said. The second busiest time will be mid-November 2103, which will mark the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Almost 10,000 people attended the 149th commemoration on Nov. 19.
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought from July 1-3, 1863. "It's the mecca of the Civil War, so a lot of people have been planning this anniversary for a while," Mr. Whitehill said.
People coming from Western Pennsylvania also could look for lodging west and north of Gettysburg -- such as Chambersburg and other towns in Franklin County -- or in Carlisle and other towns in Cumberland County. Depending on traffic, which can be heavy during peak times, those areas can be a 30- to 45-minute drive into downtown Gettysburg.
The Gettysburg Convention Bureau hopes "to have a handle on hotels that have availability in all our neighboring counties, including south-central Pennsylvania (York, Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, Dauphin, Lancaster and Lebanon), as well as northern Maryland (Frederick, Washington and Carroll counties)," Mr. Whitehill said.
According to Sue Perrothers, general manager of the Gettysburg Hotel, a historic 119-room hotel built in 1797 on the downtown square, "Our rooms are filling quickly and we anticipate to be sold out, particularly late June and early July. We would encourage anyone interested in visiting Gettysburg next year to reserve their rooms now."
Hans Schreiber is sales director for two new hotels, the 248-room Wyndham and the 152-room Courtyard by Marriott, which are part of the Gateway Gettysburg complex just outside town at the intersection of busy routes 30 and 15.
"We are just about sold out" for the busiest period of late June-early July, he said "We have some rooms left but not many. We had an initial flurry when we opened reservations in late August. If someone wants to come here in June and July, they should make reservations as soon as possible."