MJ Adventure Team Goes to MD – Day 6 – Harriet Tubman NHP

On Day 6 of our adventure we spent the first part of the day at Ft. McHenry National Monument. Then we headed for Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad in Dorchester County, Maryland. Maryland landscape-17

I commented in the last post that there is a lot of water in Maryland!

IMG_9606

At this time Chris was driving and we didn’t know until we got here that driving across bridges is not one of her favorite things.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge

This is a 4-mile bridge across Chesapeake Bay.

IMG_9611

Kathleen gave moral support from the back seat. Chris did just fine.

IMG_9612

I rode shotgun trying to figure out where we were going and not wanting to miss any photo ops. It turns out that our Visitor Center was not on this map because it is brand new.

Harriet Tubman NM

The Visitor Center is co-managed by the State of Maryland and the Park Service. To fully experience the Underground Railroad site you can follow a driving tour 223 miles through Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. There is written and digital documentation to explain the sites along the way. But we didn’t know that when we made this plan. So we ended up seeing only a fraction of what is actually part of the Underground Railroad Byway.

IMG_9616

The exhibits in the Visitor Center gave us a good understanding of Harriet Tubman’s life and the heroism that she showed in escaping slavery and then returning many times to rescue over 70 family members and friends.

IMG_9614

A chilling quote that describes some of the anguish inflicted by one person on another.

IMG_9617

At the last stop in the Visitor Center there is a video with modern era commentary about human rights and the fact that we still struggle.

Blackwater River

After leaving the Visitor Center we followed the Driving Tour map for a short way on our way to picking up Interstate 50. We drove through the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, largely unchanged from the time when Harriet Tubman lived in the area.

Maryland landscape-29

Maryland landscape-37

There are signs along the way.

Bucktown

This is the Bucktown Store, closed when we drove by. Harriet was in this store when the shopkeeper threw a 2-pound weight at a slave who was fleeing the store, but instead hit Harriet, nearly killing her.

Bestpitch Ferry Rd.

The one-lane, wooden Bestpitch Ferry Bridge at the site of a former ferry landing. Agricultural and timber products were transported on rafts.

Bestpitch Ferry Rd.

Harriet’s knowledge of the waterways and survival in the marshes aided her in escape and rescuing others.

Marsh-Dorchester Cty

Marsh-Dorchester Cty

Marsh-Dorchester Cty

We inadvertently left the documented byway and followed country roads toward the Nanticoke River where we would turn north to pick up I-50.

Marsh-Dorchester Cty

I wish I knew what that very tall grass was on the side of the road.

Bestpitch Ferry Rd.

Modern farming. We saw a lot of these huge long barns and decided that they were probably chicken houses. Agriculture is Maryland’s largest commercial industry and livestock, particularly broilers (5-12 week old chickens), followed by dairy, are the leading products.

Marsh-Dorchester Cty

Drive-by photography.

Marsh-Dorchester Cty

Vienna

This house is in the town of Vienna where we joined up with I-50.

IMG_9621

This “beachy” comfortable house near the town of Berlin was to be our headquarters for the next two nights. Look familiar? Chris and Kathleen figuring out where to go for dinner. They found a seafood restaurant and I had salmon, grits, and sweet potato fries. Southern dining. I hadn’t realized until this trip how close to “The South” Maryland is.

Our first day of site seeing took us to Harpers Ferry and  immersion in Civil War era politics and strife. We had a wonderful diversion at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival during the weekend. Then we saw Gettysburg and were immersed in Civil War history for a day. Fort McHenry took us back into history, focusing on another war and also learning about the Fort’s role during the Civil War as well. Learning about the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman emphasized this sobering and grim part of U.S. history known as slavery. Maybe it’s like reading the newspaper–most of what makes “news” is not happy. These episodes of history depict the desire for power  and the struggle of those being oppressed.

I was ready to see PONIES! That will be tomorrow.

MJ Adventure Team Goes to MD – Day 6 – Ft. McHenry

It is taking me a long time to tell the rest of the stories about this trip but I want to finish. One reason I do this is that it makes me sort through my photos and jot down some notes before I forget. I also do a little more research into the history part to solidify that in my brain, at least temporarily. That is also why I don’t get too it right away,  because I need the time. I left off in the last post seeing Gettysburg National Military Park and staying in the town of Gettysburg. We planned on two stops on Tuesday before getting to our final destination.

Ft. McHenry-1-2

The first was Fort McHenry National Monument. It’s on that point in the northwest quadrant of the map. Living on the West Coast I haven’t paid much attention to the geography of the East Coast. Until I started trying to figure out where we were going on a map I hadn’t realized how big Chesapeake Bay is and how much water is within the state of Maryland in the form of rivers and marshes.

IMG_9556

I was driving this morning so just got a few shots through the windshield. Seeing signs for Washington stood out for me.

IMG_9557

This is in Baltimore not far from Fort McHenry. I was surprised at how little traffic we had getting through this industrial area to the fort. In fact, we had little traffic and a relatively small number of people at all the national sites we visited. The wonders of off-season and mid-week travel!

IMG_9560

We got to the Visitor’s Center just in time for the 10 minute film about the Battle of 1812 and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner, originally called “Defense of Fort M’Henry”, in which Francis Scott Key described the his sighting of the American flag over the Fort after 25 hours of bombardment by British ships.

IMG_9590

The Star Spangled Banner was sung at the end of the film and people stood as the movie screen lifted, revealing the flag flying over the fort. My telling of this doesn’t invoke much emotion, but the film was so well done and the ending so dramatic that when Chris and I looked at each other we both had tears in our eyes.

After that one of the Park Volunteers invited everyone to come outside and participate in a flag ceremony.

IMG_9563

Everyone lined up in two rows facing each other.

IMG_9565

A flag was brought out of what looked like a large duffel bag and was carried down the line of people. When the entire length was being supported then we all stepped back.

IMG_9568

This revealed a replica of the 32′ x 40′ garrison flag constructed by Baltimore seamstress, Mary Pickersgill for Fort McHenry.

IMG_9578

Major George Armistead, who commissioned the flag, wanted it to be large enough “that the British will have no difficulty in seeing it from a distance.” IMG_9573

We learned that the original flag, which is in the Smithsonian, was made of dyed English wool, except for the stars which were cotton (and are 2′ across!). There were 15 stripes, each 24″, because in 1794 Congress had approved two additional stripes for Vermont and Kentucky be added to the original 13. It wasn’t until 1818 that the stripes were reduced back to 13 to represent the original colonies and a star was added for each new state.

IMG_9583

As the Park volunteer tested our new-found knowledge of the flag we rolled it back up stripe-by-stripe. We were then encouraged to learn more at the Fort.

IMG_9591

Mary Pickersgill made two flags, the large garrison flag and a smaller storm flag, 17′ x 25′.

IMG_9592

That was the one flying on this day. They use the larger flag on days with less wind.

Ft. McHenry-5

As we walked to the fort we saw this couple, an interesting contrast with the buildings in the background.

Ft. McHenry-9

IMG_9598

Inside the Fort, many of the rooms on the lower floor have more information and interpretive displays.

IMG_9599

I wonder what how you’d know!

IMG_9600

I thought it was interesting to get this perspective. The glass case encloses part of the original oak cross-brace that was underground and anchored the original flagpole. The replica cross-brace above gives perspective of the size and the depth of the lower section.Ft. McHenry-18

The fort is star-shaped. These cannons point down the Patapsco River where the British bomb ships were stationed and toward Chesapeake Bay beyond.

Ft. McHenry-16

We could easily have spent more time at the Fort, absorbing more of it’s history, and driven around Baltimore to see the other relevant sites, but that will have to be on the list for a future visit.

Places to go. More things to see. Stay tuned.

MJ Adventure Team Goes to MD – Day 5 – Gettysburg

After a fabulous time at MDSW the fun wasn’t over for three of us.

IMG_9411

This is the house where we’d stayed for the last 3 nights.

DSC_0721

We left Dona and Mary at the bus station in Frederick where they would take a shuttle to the airport, and Chris, Kathleen, and I drove on to continue the adventure.

DSC_0723

Today’s plan was to see Gettysburg National Military Park.

IMG_9518

A chat with Abe outside the Visitor Center.

DSC_0725

Chris took a selfie with him.

IMG_9516

We spent a short time in the museum before entering the theater at our ticketed time for the presentation of a film about Gettysburg. This was a powerful film narrated by Morgan Freeman.

I must say here that I continue to be impressed with the modern visitor centers in our National Parks and Monuments. The presentation of history, natural history, collections of artifacts, etc is superb.  If you take the time to absorb all that is presented there is a lot to learn.

IMG_9515

After the film we were ushered into a circular room to see the Cyclorama. . It is a painting depicting Pickett’s Charge that was completed in 1884 and is 42 feet by 377 feet! The overhead lights go dim and you watch the sky lighten as dawn comes. Then you hear the story while different portions of the painting are illuminated, changing as the day (July 3, 1863) goes on and ends in carnage.

Here’s a refresher for those of you who remember as few details of U.S. history as I do.

The Civil War began in 1861 and the Battle of Gettysburg, fought from July 1-3, 1863, is considered the most important engagement. Troops commanded by General Robert E. Lee battled the Union Army, led by General George G. Meade. The two armies were on parallel ridges about a mile apart and on July 3 12,000 Confederate soldiers were sent across the open fields in an attack known as Pickett’s Charge. Over 5000 soldiers were killed within an hour and Lee retreated towards Virginia. This marked a turning point in the war and was (I think) the northernmost point reached by the Confederate Army.

DSC_0734

The Park encompasses the land upon which the battle was fought, located around the town of Gettysburg and there are signs that point out all the critical places that armies occupied and where battles were fought.  There is a 24-mile Self-guiding Auto Tour with opportunities to stop all along the way.

DSC_0776

You don’t have to have an Auto to take the Auto Tour.

DSC_0735

At first i took photos of all the statues we came across but I soon learned that there are over 1300 monuments and statues in the Park. Each regiment has their own and there are many markers that explain  the significance of some of the sites.DSC_0737

We looked specifically for this one because Chris has an ancestor who was represented here.

DSC_0744

We had bought an audio guide to be downloaded on a phone and listened to while we drove through the area. We couldn’t make it work and Kathleen did a great job of narrating the tour using the accompanying book. Kathleen is wearing her MDSW awarding-winning handspun Jacob sweater that I mentioned in one of the previous posts.

Virginia Mem.-Gen.LeeThis is the Virginia Memorial, including a statue of Robert E. Lee, at one of our first stops. I love horse statues.

IMG_9528At this site we saw a couple of groups of school kids having a lesson in Civil War history. We listened awhile to the guide who explained things that I never thought about (importance of flags and drummers as a way to signal, for instance) and then had the kids line up in formation and “right face, left face, etc” It was cute to see most of them turn together but there were always a few that went the opposite way. Watching them reminded me of when my oldest son was in middle school and his history teacher, who was a film buff in addition to teaching history, led the kids in making a film of Pickett’s Charge. The kids were dressed in home-made or scrounged clothing to look the part and carrying home-made weapons (that wooden rifle is still around here somewhere I think). The school band participated as well as some of the kids who owned horses. They played out the event and made the film out in a field owned by a local farmer. I took a photo of these kids to send Matt as a fun reminder about that, but it became less “cute” and more sobering the more we read and the more we delved into the history of what actually happened here. DSC_0754This is a view from where the kids are standing and where the Confederate troops were positioned on Seminary Ridge. Union troops were across the valley on Cemetery Ridge. This is part of a Valley that extends a couple of miles and there are significant points to the Battle of Gettysburg throughout. It is incongruous in this beauty to think of thousands of dead and dying men. And no one ever says anything about the dead and wounded horses. Add that in to the scene.

DSC_0771In this idyllic view you can see the Pennsylvania Memorial across the field and to the right. There are places along the route where you read (in the guidebook) about what the aftermath of a battle looks like–the biology of death–blood, flies, bloated bodies, etc.  I think that people need to hear that–does it help if we (they) are given mental pictures to try and  internalize the horror of war?  If kids hear that? What it really looks like? In person? Does it sink in at all what it means to kill another person? To be a bully in the most final sense?  This kind of atrocity is being played out in other parts of the world now. Do kids realize how lucky we are to live here? How about us adults too?

Traveling through history in such a vivid, visual way brings this out in me I guess. It seems that most historical events have to do with someone winning, someone losing, someone conquering. Kind of  like the newspaper. There isn’t much to say about normal people just living their lives. Off the soapbox now.

DSC_0752

There were observation towers at a few places that allowed us to get an overview of the whole area and visualize the events that played out.

DSC_0779This is a view from the tower that includes, in the foreground, the Eisenhower National Historic Site, the home and farm of Eisenhower that he bought in 1950. We ran out of time to visit that.

DSC_0789This view is from Little Round Top, a point controlled by Union soldiers. The rock formation below is known as Devil’s Den and the foreground is Slaughter Pen. There was fierce fighting as Confederate soldiers in a line a mile long approached from the far ridge and the Union soldiers tried to defend it. That description is too simplistic; there is detailed documentation about each battle site and each battle.

DSC_0804I don’t remember details of this house but it is along the tour route.

DSC_0830Near the end of the tour we were at what is known as the High Water Mark, the farthest point reached by Confederate soldiers during the Battle of Gettysburg.

IMG_9534From the Park brochure: “July 3…Some 12,000 Confederates advanced across open fields toward the Federal center in an attack known as ‘Pickett’s Charge’. The attack failed and cost Lee over 5,000 soldiers in one hour. The Battle of Gettysburg was over.”

DSC_0808Completed in 1914, the Pennsylvania Memorial is the largest State Memorial in the Park and is near the High Water Mark.

DSC_0835

Union General Meade’s statue is nearby.

DSC_0838The auto tour was almost over. Instead of the 2-1/2 to 3 hours described in the brochure I think we were there for about 5 hours.

DSC_0846The tour ended at the Soldier’s National Cemetery, created after the battle, and where 3500 Union soldiers were later buried. Remains of 3,320 Confederate soldiers were removed from the battlefield to cemeteries in the South. Veterans from 1898 War with Spain to the Vietnam War are also buried here.

DSC_0852

Graves of unidentified Civil War soldiers.

DSC_0729

This cemetery is also the site where Lincoln gave his famous speech, taking two minutes  to speak these profound words, following a 2-hour speech  by Edward Everett, a well-known politician and orator from Massachusetts.

DSC_0863

Whew! This was a sobering day. It was also very windy and tiring and we were ready to find a hot dinner and warm bed.

IMG_9553

Dinner first. We tried one place that looked good but there was a 45 minute wait. Chris and Kathleen found another and we eventually had hot showers and warm beds.

Next post: Ft. McHenry and Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad.

MJ Adventure Team Goes to MD – Day 4

On Sunday, the second day of MDSW, we got up early because we wanted to be at the show in time to watch the start of the Sheep to Shawl contest.

DSC_0521

There was another long line but that was for cash payment. We had tickets and could walk right through on the left.

DSC_0455

We were interested in the start of the contest because, unlike all the other contests I’ve seen, this one began with a team member shearing the sheep. This sheep shearer was on a team called Hair Spray…

IMG_9413

…and there are the team members anxiously watching.

DSC_0456

DSC_0461

Five teams competed.

DSC_0472

The Blues Sisters was one of them.

DSC_0511

The Hairspray team, fully costumed.

IMG_9440

I don’t know the name of this one but there seemed to be an indigo theme. Note the helper on the bobbin winder.

DSC_0466

While we watched we looked for and found another one of our Ravelry contingency and her famous (at least in our circles) and award-winning Jacob shawl.

I still hadn’t seen the main building or the vendors at the east end of the fairgrounds. Time to shop!

IMG_9467

The main vendor hall. It seemed to go on forever.

IMG_9456

Dress made from felted fabric pieces.

IMG_9482

Sweater with Border Collies.

DSC_0528

DSC_0531

I ran into Kathleen, Dona, and Chris as they were comparing purchases and considering a trip to the car.

IMG_9462

At some point in the day Mary became a volunteer and put her inner sales-lady persona to work…

DSC_0666

…and got another t-shirt for her trouble.

DSC_0539

At noon there was to be a Parade of Breeds in the sheep ring. First though was the presentation of the Youth Conservationist Program in which “Breeders who are willing to mentor youth donate a yearling ewe and help the recipient establish their own flock”. The recipients are expected to breed the ewe to a ram of the same breed, produce something with the fiber, and exhibit the sheep at least two shows. Some of the recipients have now become donors. The recipient of a Hog Island ewe is above.

IMG_9447

Royal Unzicker donated a Jacob ewe.

Barbados Blackbelly

The Parade of Breeds followed with representative sheep of 28 different breeds from Barbados Blackbelly, above to…Wensleydale…Wensleydale.

Following the breed presentation I went back over to the Sheep to Shawl area where there was an auction of the shawls that had been woven that morning.

Then back to the vendor hall one last time.

IMG_9476.jpg

Getting ideas for my upcoming Artery show.

IMG_9480

My one yarn purchase, 3 choices from Jill Draper Makes Stuff.

IMG_9488

My friends did a lot of shopping but no one else brought home a sheep. Shenandoah would get on a truck the next morning to be delivered to California.

IMG_9500

I moved her to a pen near her traveling companions. (Note random spotting–the guy with the panda ears.)

IMG_9505

After a long but very fun weekend it was time to leave the fairgrounds.

URMF1908

Back “home” we laid out all of our purchases and took a group shot.  Two friends were leaving the next morning to various directions, but three of us weren’t done yet. We had such a wonderful 4 days–traveling from CA, sightseeing, being at the festival, spending time together in the evenings–it was almost hard to imagine that we were only half way through our adventure. More to follow!

MJ Adventure Team Goes to MD – Day 3 continued

Did I mention in this post how much there is to see at MDSW? I heard someone describe it as the Disney World for sheep and fiber people.

After seeing the fiber entries and the Jacob sheep I started with the tents at the top of the fairgrounds. It had been raining the day before so it’s a good thing that commercial tents are provided for outside vendors. There is mud to contend with but many vendors put straw down which helps with that.

DSC_0238

The first tent I entered was the Equipment Auction tent. Have you ever seen so many spinning wheels in one place?

DSC_0243

There were wheels (including several great wheels), carders, looms, and all kinds of miscellaneous equipment. Incredible.

IMG_9375

Customers were lined up outside their favorite vendor booths. One thing that was so fun about this show was that since all the other fiber shows I have seen are on the west coast almost all the vendors were new to me.

Bunny

In one of the fiber booths I found this cute bunny.

DSC_0254

Ears, anyone?

IMG_9371

Silverware creatures.

 

IMG_9378

Dog or lamb coats made of felted wool.

DSC_0259

IMG_9402

TBWG9189

At 1:00 I went back to the barn to help with the Jacob sheep show. These are Royal’s two yearling rams. Royal’s other helpers were his two granddaughters who were sheep handling novices so I was glad to help out.

FAXF9988

The girls did well showing the ewes and were fun to work with. After the show I spent more time looking at the barns full of sheep. The Livestock Conservancy (I think–or maybe it was MDSW) organized a display of sheep breeds that weren’t necessarily being shown, along with educational information about them.

Dorset-2

Dorset, a breed from England that was first imported in 1885.

Clun Forest-2

Clun Forest, a British breed first imported into North America (Canada) in 1970.

Cotswold

The Cotswold is another English breed with long, lustrous wool.  The mature sheep weigh up to 230 lbs (ewes) and 300 lbs (rams).

Icelandic

The Icelandic sheep is considered to be one of the world’s oldest and purest breeds, with 1100 years of producing meat, milk, and fiber.

Leicester Longwool-4

Leicester Longwool, a sheep, also originally from England, that produces 11-18 pounds of lustrous curly wool that may grow to 14″ in a year.

Leicester Longwool

Another Leicester Longwool.

Rambouillet

Rambouillet ram. The Rambouillet is a fine-wooled sheep that was derived after prized Merinos were sent to France in 1786 and raised in a closed flock for many generations. They are now make up a large part of the commercial herds on the western range of the U.S., providing fine wool while producing crossbred lambs for market.

Romeldale cross

This is a Romeldale cross. Colored sheep, even if not a pure breed, can be registered with the Natural Colored Wool Association

Scottish Blackface-2

Scottish Blackface is the most common breed in the United Kingdom and was imported to the U.S. in 1861.

There will be more sheep photos in another post, because there are a lot more sheep to be mentioned.

Rug hooking

While I was in the barn my friends were shopping.

DSC_0454

When we got back to the house that night everyone showed off their purchases. Mine were meager compared to some of the others. But none of them bought a sheep…

YGNM1240-2

This is Shenandoah, one of the sheep that I showed, and that got a ride to California on the Mendenhall truck.

MJ Adventure Team Goes to MD – Day 3 – MDSW

Saturday was the first day of the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. This was the reason for our trip to Maryland. We spent Thursday evening with our Ravelry / Spinzilla / Tour de Fleece friend, Adrienne, and Friday exploring Harpers Ferry. But we were all excited about the Main Event. Adrienne had given us tips for our first MDSW–bring chairs, bring food, bring toilet paper, where to park, and, most importantly, join her and the TPCMDSWAT (Timonium Presbyterian Church Maryland Sheep and Wool Adventure Team) for a tailgate breakfast. DSC_0221

Adrienne’s trunk was open and there was a big pot of steel-cut oats as well as fruit, yogurt, maple syrup, and more. We chatted with new friends.

DSC_0219

Adrienne and Dona strategized.

DSC_0224

The line stretched far from the gate and the cars kept coming. The skies were threatening and it was cold and windy.

IMG_9348

But fiber enthusiasts are usually a happy crowd. There was no pushing and shoving, just a lot of anticipation.

IMG_9349

The gates opened.

DSC_0225

DSC_0255

First vendor. I saw someone buy this hat from Centari Wool.

DSC_0227

I wasn’t ready to shop. In fact I didn’t really plan to shop because what could I buy when I have a fiber shop already? (I found some stuff…that’s for later.)

DSC_0232

Fist stop was the Fiber Arts show where Kathleen and I (and Alison from afar) had entered items featuring Meridian Jacobs’ wool. Kathleen won 5th and I won 4th in a crowded blanket class. Kathleen’s blanket is all handspun and dyed Romney yarn. Mine used Timm Ranch wool warp and Jacob weft.

DSC_0234

My woven handspun (Marilyn and Raquel) scarf.

IMG_9359

My comercial yarn Cormo scarf.

IMG_9362

My sheep pillow entered in “Handweaving-other”. I didn’t get a photo of Kathleen’s fabulous 3rd place handspun Jacob (Cassandra and Mae) sweater (“knitted with handspun, dyed”) but you can see a glimpse of it in this photo and you will see it in a later post when she was wearing it.

IMG_9358

Alison took first in the “knitted with natural colored handspun garment” category with this wonderful vest using 4-ply Jacob (Summer).

DSC_0231

I took photos of some of the winners and meant to come back for more. I got so distracted by all the other things going on that I didn’t make it back to the building.DSC_0230

IMG_9354

IMG_9363

IMG_9365

I moved on to the sheep barns to check in with Royal Unzicker, a Pennsylvania Jacob breeder who has asked me if I’d help show that afternoon.

IMG_9353-2

Royal’s yearling rams.

IMG_9351

Roy Deppa’s yearling ram.

After I spent some time catching up with Royal, whom I see occasionally at the annual JSBA meetings) I went out to see more of the show. That will be another post…or two…or three.

MJ Adventure Team Goes to MD – Day 2 – Harpers Ferry

Here is Day 1–getting to Maryland. On Day 2 we woke up early with places to go, things to see. Our plan today was to take our fiber entries to the fairgrounds and then go to Harpers Ferry to explore some of the Civil War history of this area.QPAC4753

Chris drove and I got into my usual Road Trip mode–Map Book and phone.

DSC_0090

Here is the destination. Harpers Ferry is situated at the confluence of the Potomac and  Shenandoah Rivers, where Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia meet. It is the easternmost town in West Virginia.

DSC_0116

We were driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains and every time I said the name Shenandoah I felt like breaking into song (John Denver style).  Wikipedia says: “The Blue Ridge Mountains are noted for having a bluish color when seen from a distance. Trees put the “blue” in Blue Ridge, from the isoprene released into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the characteristic haze on the mountains and their distinctive color.”

Also from Wikipedia: “Isoprene is produced and emitted by many species of trees (major producers are oaks, poplars, eucalyptus, and some legumes.”

Harpers Ferry

We were looking for Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

DSC_0122

The whole town is in a National Historic District, but it is the lower part that is the National Historic Park.

DSC_0200

The Park is spread out in non-contiguous sections and we did cross state lines a number of times.

West Virginia

DSC_0214

IMG_9311

We finally found the headquarters and Visitors’ Center where I got my lifetime pass to all the parks, monuments, etc in the National Park System. (That’s the only good thing about the last birthday.) Kathleen and I bought the National Parks Passport book that shows all the parks and historical sites region by region and has places to include commemorative stickers and “postmark” stamps. We took a shuttle to Lower Harpers Ferry where there many restored old buildings, some preserved as museums and others with modern shops inside.

DSC_0128

One of the buildings on Shenandoah Street houses a bookstore and the others are set up as they would have been in the 1800’s or as museums.

DSC_0143

We climbed the path past the ruins of the Episcopal Church…

DSC_0138

…and the Catholic Church that was built in 1833.

DSC_0149

This route happens to be part of the Appalachian trail so we were able to stamp our  passport books with the Appalachian Trail stamp!

DSC_0156

The shops on the left in this photo are all occupied with modern businesses, mostly souvenir shops or cafes.

DSC_0160

I saw this in one of the windows. As creepy as it is, it’s not nearly as bad as a doll in another window that looked like a crime victim or a participant in a horror movie. I took a photo but am creeped out enough by it to not want it in my blog post. Some of the people in this part of town have an interesting sense of humor.DSC_0157

IMG_9315

This is a detail of the stone wall in the photo above.

DSC_0129

DSC_0164

The town became an industrial center between 1801 and 1861 with the construction of  the U.S. Armory and Arsenal. Below is a detail of the sign in the foreground.

DSC_0163-2

Just below (in relation to this photo) is where the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers meet, the Potomac cutting through a slot in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

DSC_0173

This is the confluence. There is a railroad bridge here and now a foot bridge that across the Shenandoah River.  The foot bridge is part of a system of trails including the Appalachian Trail, the north-south route along the crest of the Appalachians, and the 184-mile C & O Canal trail.   From the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal NHP site: “Preserving America’s early transportation history, the C&O Canal began as a dream of passage to Western wealth. Operating for nearly 100 years the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River as coal, lumber and agricultural products floated down the waterway to market. Today it endures as a pathway for discovering historical, natural and recreational treasures!”IMG_9324

This is the view from the western end of the bridge showing the old towpath and here is a link from a bicycling guide which states “the canal’s towpath remains a favorite of hikers, joggers, and bicyclists”.

IMG_9332

The overlook from the eastern side.

DSC_0183

Mary and Chris are not checking their stock portfolios here. We have a group of friends back home who want to travel with us vicariously. We all have been sharing photos and updates.

DSC_0196

We drove to another part of the park to see the Civil War battlefields and another view of the town.

Tulip poplar

I noticed this flowering tree.

Tulip poplar-2

Green flowers are so unusual. This is a tulip poplar which is actually more closely related to a magnolia than a poplar.

We spent only a few hours at this park where you could spend days exploring. But we made this trip for the FIBER. Next stop was a yarn shop in the town of Frederick where there was a sale promoting some well-known yarn dyers.

DSC_0215

IMG_9339

Mary  found one of her favorite indie-dyers there…

IMG_9340

…who dyed these yarns. While she stood in line (a very long line) to make her purchases the rest of us walked around the area.

IMG_9342

I enjoyed this window scene more than a couple of those in Harpers Ferry.

DSC_0086

Preview of the next day.