musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

harpers ferry wv

Adventures in family fun Thursday through Friday:


First we drove the boys to the parental switch drop off with their dad in Wilmington DE. It’s always mixed feelings, goodbyes to the boys for a solid month, a quiet month, a month without their squabbles or their laughs and hugs.  Then we headed to Harpers Ferry, WV and so did a storm. Here’s its approach as well as ours.

We managed to set up camp, cook eat and clean up dinner before the rain came.

“We’re camping!!!” 
The potty seat was only used once. 
She got the hang of a big toilet in the KOA restrooms.

Honey being a man, sparking the grill. Lucy wonders what is going on.


 Friday morning:


Appalachian Trail, Virginius Island, Lower Town, Ice Cream, Train & Rivers 


Virginius Island Ruins, The old Pulp Factory.

Before Toots decided she didn’t want to walk anymore.

She got tired, then scared Honey would drop her into the canal which was quite a drop behind that rock. 

And then everyone just wanted Mommy. It made me happy, then my hips got mad.

Tired Toots.

Loads of amazing old stone work

Then we stopped and picnicked on the little Island that had an old habit of being flooded really badly. Last flood resulted in complete ruins and permanent evacuation of residence and business in 1936. 

The gnats were quite fond of Honey everywhere we went.
More incredible stonework.
Then we ‘hiked’ back to the van and drove into Lower Town. Just prior to the shot below, we met a young man covered in sweat and tattoos. He had footed the Appalachian Trail to where we crossed back over the bridge above. He had been alone on foot since Georgia. He was doing the whole trail. When I was younger, it was among my ambitions, so I let him know what an incredible thing he was doing. 
In Lower Town we found the most delicious (and bluest) ice cream I have had in over a decade. I love Mom & Pop places. They take great pride in their product. This is at Scoops, if you are ever in Lower Town, Harpers Ferry National Park. 

Thank goodness that blue matched Toots’s blue flowers on that white shirt. 
It didn’t look as messy as it was.
Honey got the orange sherbet.
I rhapsodized about this black raspberry. The last time I had black raspberry so full and rich in berry creamy goodness was in Maine, in the mid-90s. The boys’ father’s family had a cottage on Lake Pemaquid, and there was an ice cream place on the way into Damariscotta with black raspberry of the gods.

 Here we are at the confluence of the Shenandoah River into the Potomac. Lewis & Clark supplied themselves and headed west from here into a new world, as far as the European Americans were concerned. I found the historical note “They bought tomahawks and other supplies” amusing.

 A nice family offered to take our picture all together after I took the one above. 
I took theirs in exchange. 
Row row row your boat.
More stone work.
An ancient sign carved into the side of the mountain where the rivers came together
 I need new glasses, couldn’t make it out except ‘powder’ at the bottom.

John Brown’s Slave Revolt didn’t work out so well in 1859. But I bet it served to plant the seeds of hope and fight into the slaves for what followed. This little building of his has a long and odd history because of its association with him. He was hanged nearby, too.

 Click to zoom and read about this little fort moving all over the place over a century.
Toots rang the bell inside.

This place is so full of nineteenth century history I can’t even write about all of it here, even the railroad to west. They still run regular freight trains through the mountain of Maryland Heights. (look at the map above)

Sorry it’s blurry, I ran to snap the train coming out of the tunnel.

Beyond that brick building is a stone staircase that goes up to the Catholic church on the mountainside. Little did we know how far past that church it continued up the mountain or how prominently it would figure in our lives the next day.

Toots sitting on stonework. This whole town is hewn from and built up the mountain. 

There are houses built up above that train car restaurant.

Looking down the other direction into the main part of town.

 Zoom in for a good look at the stonework. This is the next street up the hill from the main one. 
I was enamored with the little town in a mountain in the middle of a national park, and the fact that people lived there! There was a funky little town quality to it that reminded me of Provincetown, MA. An interesting mix of Civil War buff tourists, hippie Appalachian hikers, and locals populated the streets.
Don’t mind my lucky three legged frog. He keeps Big Bertha on the road. 
She had a rough time of it getting up this incline.

Just trying to show the house on the approach in the prior shot is sitting on top of the ravine, likely above that red train car restaurant.

Lower Town’s Old Town district. Poor folks working as costumed characters have to walk around in civil war attire and antebellum gowns made from wool. It was a very hot couple of days between the downpours.

Lucky snap of more stone work as we drove away.

Some of the mountainside that had been cut to build the town.
After our morning hike and trotting around town, Toots was pooped. 
As soon as we buckled her in, she was out.

What’s this?
 Oh, it’s our campground! 

We pulled into camp. Thunder and rain was so heavy, there was zero visibility and Lucy shook on my lap til I thought she’d shake herself out of her skin.

Toots awoke to lightning and thunder very surprised.

 We sat there for quite some time while our tent got drenched after making through the night before’s storm pretty well.

Honey stayed at camp, cleaning up and getting dinner together while Toots and I took the sleeping bags and pillows to the laundromat. I watched a unicorn wrestle with sleeping bags in the big dryers.
Another post to come soon, in which I conquer a mountain with a bad ankle, a hot and tired three year old, little determined dog and an even hotter man. and some other adventures and beautiful vistas and one famous rock.

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