We left Frederick, Maryland, yesterday morning around nine, after MAKING OUR OWN FRESH WAFFLES! (So delicious, in case my all caps wasn't indicative of this fact.)
In about half an hour we had been in three states. That was pretty stellar. It happened so fast I didn't even get a chance to take a picture of the "Welcome to Virginia" sign by the Exxon station. Hell, I don't even know if that's what the sign says. It could say "Get the hell outta Virginia", for all I saw.
Hotel check-in was at three. Not ones to waste time on vacation (although we will proudly do this in every other situation), we went to the park.
The visitors center at the park entrance was our first stop and is also where we met John - a seventy-five year old park ranger who struck up a forty minute long conversation with us because he noticed the poppies we wear on our jackets for Canada's Remembrance Day. His granddad was a WWI vet and he remembers a time when poppies were worn in the US for Armistice Day.
We chatted with John and heard some awesome stories. He gave us the skinny on the war of 1812, the civil war, Harpers Ferry, Gettysburg, Antietam and the current push by the FDA to ban transfats. I swear this man must consume history books for breakfast - so much knowledge! We then hopped on the shuttle down to the Lower Town.
Let me be perfectly honest. I came out here with zero expectations about Harpers Ferry. In fact, the only expectation that I had was that the weather would be warmer because we were in the south. Yeah. That was a fail. Shot down. Immediately. Crash and burn, baby.
Keep in mind that this is my first ever visit to a civil war battlefield when I say that Harpers Ferry blew my mind. Blew. My. Mind.
Buh bye mind. Bye.
We walked through the ruins along Hamilton Street, came up Market Street, strolled behind an 1800's version of a strip mall (haha) and came face to face with John Browns fort.
A covered wagon marked "US" was sitting out front of it. A fricken covered wagon, laddies!
And poof! There goes the mind. Again.
For some reason we didn't get in a lot of "sightseeing" in the three-ish hours that we were there. We chatted with rangers and volunteers. I made a bunch of lame jokes. We answered a lot of questions about our crack smoking mayor in Toronto. Everyone really loves our Niagara Falls. Etc, etc. Poppies are great conversational pieces, apparently, lol. We did see a short film called "A Place in Time".
There are these markings on the wall in the building showing water levels from floods that have dealt devastating blows to the town. Example: the record flood of 1936 had thirty six and a half feet of water in Lower Town. Again, the mind... It was crazy.
We left around one-ish, went into Bolivar and had lunch. Managed to check into the hotel thirty minutes early and promptly took a nap. Went to Charles Town that evening to get some supplies from the Walmart.
On our return I sat at the table and poured over all the information that the park volunteers had given us. Call it my homework. Because honestly I came here with very little knowledge of the civil war. All I really knew about Harpers Ferry was that it was a confederate victory led by Lee and Jackson. Lame right. I'm Canadian. My public school system in suburbia didn't cover American history in the curriculum. I felt much more intelligent after a series of google searches and the provided literature. Yeah, this was something I should have done before leaving. But what the hell. All is not lost. I hope.
Clearly I was also drinking Ultra Light Cider. Lovely, crisp and not sold in my neck of the woods.
Funny story about last night.
I went to the car to get the charger out of the glovebox that I had stuffed in there after realizing that having it out served no purpose. The car was parked in front of a window with the curtains partially open - exactly the way I had left them. The lights were dim. Roomie was half asleep when I left her. Who got the brainiac idea to creep up to the window and smack on it to scare the hell outta her? This girl, right here.
So I'm slowly and quietly sneaking up to the window, grinning the way a peeping Tom presumably would, and just as I'm about to jump at the window it dawns on me. Our room does not overlook the parking lot.
What a fail.
Thankfully I managed to realize this before I was arrested for being a creeper. That would have been not so awesomely fantastic.
I blame the cider.
More to come, unless I'm in jail.