Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Harpers Ferry

 A couple of weekends ago, we had a rare free Saturday.  We knew the hurricane was coming, so we wanted to get out and see some fall foliage before it struck.  I'd recently read a Civil War era novel that mentioned John Brown and Harpers Ferry, so I thought we should go check it out.  While I'd heard of Harpers Ferry, I don't think I'd ever been there before.

It was just the right distance away, about 1.5 hours, split between highway for the first part, and winding country 2-lane roads for the second, with plenty of rolling vistas and fall colors on the way.  When we got to the National Park parking lot, we learned there are two ways to get to the main historical town area - take a shuttle bus or hike (an easy terrain 1.5 miler.)  Guess which we did.

 When we got down there, we found they were commemorating the War of 1812, so we sat and listened to some fife & drum, and an explanation of uniforms and other military traditions of the time.

 Hazel was so into it.  She loves learning about other times, and especially pretending she is in them.  There's a lot of historical play at our house right now, and she is devouring the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House series.

Poppy, however, was "so tired", you know because she had such a hard job of riding on Dad's back during our hike.

But tickling brings out a smile.

 After the demo, we wandered the town.  Harpers Ferry is really an impressive spot, with something for everyone (a difficult feat for our family), and history from several eras.  George Washington, Lewis & Clark, 1812, Civil War, manufacturing & industry, civil rights, and on top of all that, it's the halfway point on the Appalachian Trail between its two ends in Maine and Georgia.  We saw several Trail hikers throughout our day, reminding Ed that hiking the AT is high on his bucket list.  And if that's not enough, Harpers Ferry is at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, which was pretty awesome to look out at, and which fascinated the mountain man in Ed.  We saw some kayakers out there in super hero Halloween costumes. 

Ed's a reader.  Meaning, in any historical spot, scenic outlook, museum, etc. - anywhere that has a marker or sign to be read, he reads it.  That's good, because he learns a lot, and then can tell me about it if I'm interested.  Me, I glance or skim, but I like to keep moving.  I like to take in a place, not scrutinize it. 

This is easily my favorite photo of the day.  This fellow was playing some mean banjo; Ginger and I watched him for a long time, enthralled.  I love the banjo.  Then when the others joined us, they all broke into spontaneous dance, and danced uninhibited in the street for quite a few minutes.  There's nothing like music, dance, views, history, (and a little frozen custard) to make a fabulous Fall family day.

1 comment:

Celeste Elaine said...

I love Harper's Ferry. Ask my dad about High Acre; PATC rents a house right in the middle of the town (just above the old bombed-out church near the cemetery) for a really decent rate per night, and it makes it a fun getaway. The train does sound every three hours or so at night, but it's all part of the quintessential experience.

We have a picture of Jean and Cliff dancing in that very kitchen of High Acre one fall weekend when they came to stay.

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