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.
Chris drove and I got into my usual Road Trip mode–Map Book and phone.
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.
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.”
We were looking for Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
The whole town is in a National Historic District, but it is the lower part that is the National Historic Park.
The Park is spread out in non-contiguous sections and we did cross state lines a number of times.
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.
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.
We climbed the path past the ruins of the Episcopal Church…
…and the Catholic Church that was built in 1833.
This route happens to be part of the Appalachian trail so we were able to stamp our passport books with the Appalachian Trail stamp!
The shops on the left in this photo are all occupied with modern businesses, mostly souvenir shops or cafes.
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.
This is a detail of the stone wall in the photo above.
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.
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.
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!”
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”.
The overlook from the eastern side.
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.
We drove to another part of the park to see the Civil War battlefields and another view of the town.
I noticed this flowering tree.
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.
Mary found one of her favorite indie-dyers there…
…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.
I enjoyed this window scene more than a couple of those in Harpers Ferry.
Preview of the next day.