I am taking a long-overdue vacation right now (only a week) but I’m trying to make the most out of it. I’m staying at home, but taking some day trips. That’s one of the things I love about living on the east coast – there’s so much, so close.  My first trip was to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, in West Virginia. While I love living in Delaware, I was feeling a need to see mountains again, having grown up with the slightly shorter ridges in western Wisconsin.

The park straddles Maryland and Virginia as well, but except for the few steps I took into Maryland after crossing the foot bridge, I spent my time in the West Virginia side.  The Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet in Harper’s Ferry, as does the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. The rivers and mountains together provide exquisite views. According to the introduction in the Park Service’s website for Harpers Ferry: “A visit to this quaint, historic community, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, is like stepping into the past. Stroll the picturesque streets, visit exhibits and museums, or hike our trails and battlefields…”

I didn’t go to the areas with the Civil War remnants or battlefields, but I did visit Jefferson’s Rock and the ruins of the factories along the rivers. These old factories ran on water power, but it was ultimately water that destroyed them when the valley was hit with massive floods.  Jefferson’s Rock is so named because Thomas Jefferson visited this spot in 1783 and wrote about its beauty.

Yes, I figure I’ll go back again because there really is a lot to see. One visit will be to take what will be an afternoon-long trek up the mountain opposite the town in order to get a photo looking down on the town and rivers. According to the travel blogs I’ve read, a round trip to the top and back down will take about 3-4 hours, and the locals I talked to confirmed that general timetable. I think I might try to get in a little better shape for that hike!

All photos © Colleen D. Gjefle, all rights reserved.