Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, Day 5

We have been in three states today.

We started out the morning in West Virginia. After gassing up and getting a quick breakfast, we headed to... well, to shop. But then we went to the Harper's Ferry National Park. Personally, I only knew the bare basics about what happened at Harper's Ferry and how it was significant to the Civil War. This visit was great for filling in the blanks. Inserting personal opinion here: John Brown was crazy - a fanatic - but he ended up doing something significant. Look it up.

Today was National Public Lands Day and admission was free at all national parks. So we were able to visit two for free today! I did not notice that the parks were extra busy because of this, however.

At Harper's Ferry, you catch a shuttle bus from the visitor's center to two areas of the park... the Boliver Heights Battlefield and the town of Harper's Ferry, which is where we were last night for the ghost tour.

Boliver Heights Battlefied, Harper's Ferry, WV

The town of Harper's Ferry, WV

Since it was daylight, we could see much more of the town and see where John Brown led his raid of the U.S. arsenal. We could also see the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers and where they come together there in Harper's Ferry. (Because of this, the town has flooded several times.)

John Brown's Fort

Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers converge

We walked through exactly one store (Since when does a General Store only carry clothes and bike parts?!) and walked back to catch a shuttle bus. We left Harper's Ferry around lunch time.

We needed to have lunch so I did a quick search of restaurants along our route between Harper's Ferry and our next stop at Antietam. One that popped up was the Yellow Brick Bank in Shepardstown. Well, that was a place my cousin had recommended. So we headed over there. Well, it appears that Shepardstown is very busy on the weekend. Especially when their local college, Shepard University, has a football game. The Yellow Brick Bank is situated on a downtown corner with no parking available. It took us quite awhile to find a parking space and then it was a couple of blocks away. The restaurant had a great atmosphere; however, their lack of choices (for me) made it difficult. The only side items they offered were coleslaw or pasta salad... both of which were heavily doused in mayonnaise. I do not like mayonnaise except when it is in tarter sauce. I ordered a Po'Boy and Mom ordered a BBQ sandwich. She ate her coleslaw; I didn't touch my pasta salad. The server felt bad for me and had the kitchen mix up tarter sauce just for me for my sandwich. How's that for excellent service? Then we had a Steve's Brownie (brownie, hot fudge, and vanilla ice cream) for dessert - YUM!! However, here's the kicker. That lunch was $40. No kidding.

Moving on, we drove to Sharpsburg, Maryland (2nd state of the day) to visit the Antietam National Battlefield. I really knew nothing about this Confederate attempt to invade the North. We attended a film about the battle and an orientation talk by a ranger. The talk really made things clear so we felt ready to do the driving tour on our own. The tour had 10 stops, which we visited, only getting out of the car maybe three times.

Mom at Dunker's Church

Sunken Road or "Bloody Lane" - site of thousands of casualties

Mom near Burnside's Bridge

Everywhere we went today, the bugs were terrible. I don't know what they were, but they were tiny and flew right in front of your face. They reminded me of the gnats I grew up with in south Georgia. It was hard to even stand still for a picture with those pests flying all around your head! (Notice my squint and waving left hand.)

We left Antietam about 5 p.m. and drove to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (our 3rd state of the day). Gettysburg is definitely a tourist town with all the traffic that goes along with that distinction. We finally got across town to our motel and got settled in. Tomorrow we visit the Gettysburg National Battlefield and the Soldier's Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, so I guess I should have warned you that many (but not all:) of the places that are on my "good" list tend to be a bit on the expensive side. I am glad the brownie was good.

    Those little bugs aren't around all year, are annoying and are more prevalent in open spaces.

    It is sad that so many of these bucolic looking places are so commercial now but everyone had the same idea...if people are interested in history/something famous...we can make money from it :)

    Seeing these pictures makes my heart ache for that area. I love the gentle, green, rolling hills and the blue, blue sky. It is probably the the favorite of all the places I have lived. I love that you can be in a smallish town and not travel far to get everything you could possibly want. I love that it so near the heart of the nation and all its rich history and culture, too :)

    Enjoy Gettysburg!