Monday, January 24, 2011

History & Nature in One

Today, my kids would normally be in school but it was a work day for teachers; therefore, some friends and I took our children and went to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia for a night and two days. I rented a Potomac Appalachian Trail Club cabin, only one of nine cabins are modern (electricity/plumbing) while the other 31 cabins are primitive (a roof over your head with a fireplace). Highacre is a beautiful old house, built in the late 1800's, that sits high on the cliff above downtown Harpers Ferry with an incredible view of the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers with the high ridges that surround the rivers. If it wasn't six degrees this morning, watching the sunrise from the front porch would have been breathtaking. Instead we witnessed it in warmth from the big dinning room windows.

  Whether you go to Harpers Ferry in the winter or summer, there are many activities to do providing different opportunities and experiences. The summer invites families to play in the rivers along the rivers' edges or drifting in the river's flow on an inner tube. The winter offers a family time to observe the icy caps on the rivers and hear the crackle of the ice and enjoy all the activities of Harpers Ferry with minimal visitors.
  • Learn about Harpers Ferry in the 1800's, its abolitionist movement, and its place during the Civil War, in particular the John Brown raid, at the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
  • Watch trains as you walk the bridge over the Potomac River.
  • Hike the Appalachian Trail into Maryland to Weaverton Cliffs or into Virginia to Loudon Heights.
  • Watch the sunset at Jefferson Rocks.
  • Hike the Maryland Heights Trail to experience an amazing view of the river's confluence and Harpers Ferry.
  • Bike or walk the C&O Canal path.
Even though it was a frigid day, the sun was shining with blue skies; we layered up, crossed the train bridge over the Potomac, walked the C&O Canal Path, to the trailhead of the Maryland Heights Trail and ascended the ridge. Even though, my little one couldn't make it to the amazing view at the top of the cliffs, the rest did. Walking back along the train bridge, we viewed the waving arms of my daughter and our friends on the cliffs. The hike and its spectacular views were the highlight of the staycation in Harpers Ferry. Harpers Ferry is definitely a historical and natural oasis in the Mid-Atlantic.

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