Monday, November 25, 2013

Harpers Ferry - Day 3

Obviously, if you've been following the whole Harpers Ferry trip thing, you'll realize that I've been back for some time. We spent far too much time away from the hotel on our trip that when we would get back in the evenings I was too tired/busy plotting my next move to keep the posts updated, and when I got back home I was immediately vortexed back into the swing of work and my niece's teenaged dramatics. We've also been renovating, and painting, sanding, etc etc etc is a time thief - albeit a productive one.

Day three:

The plan was to explore Lower Town, and explore we did.

Saint Peter's Church:

This is the view from the street below. The steps are actually from the 1800's! (There's signage to prove it!)

That's my roomies butt, which you may disregard. She does not follow instructions well, and didn't use the handrail. Her jacket is seriously awesome, though...

I'm not sure why my finger is in this shot. I was using an iPad as a camera and there's no excuse for stray phalanges... Despite the finger, this shot does a better job at showing the stairway than the butt photo...

Those stairs seemed never ending and I used them as an excuse to not feel guilt about missing a couple days at the gym. 

Almost there!

You can't see him to around the corner is I suppose what they call a period actor - he was dressed in 1800-era attire. I didn't snap a pic because he was chatting with some people and I wasn't prepared to interrupt. I'm not rude like that. And I don't talk to people anyway. He was dressed like this though:

Minus the voting signs and the beard... (This is a photo of a postcard that I picked up in the visitor center).

And we're there! Unfortunately, the church was closed. It was a Saturday. We were thinking about attending the Sunday service but didn't for a few reasons.

1. Roomie is Jewish, and while she was up for anything on the trip the look on her face when I suggested attending a Roman Catholic Sunday service was equivalent to the look she gets when her daughter starts to talk about One Direction. Or opens her mouth at all. Yeah, she was pretty horrified with the idea.

2. While I born into a Roman Catholic family and was baptized and confirmed, I haven't been into a Catholic Church since 2003 when my son was baptized. I'm awesome like that. I was probably more horrified at the suggestion than she was. And I was the one who made it.

But anyway.

The view:

Spectacular view. 

The church was started in 1830 and finished in 1833, consecrated on May 5th 1833. It was reconstructed in 1896.

During the Civil War the town of Harpers Ferry changed control fourteen times, and this church was the only one that was not extremely damaged with the devastation that both sides wreaked on the town. Apparently Father Costello, the Priest, flew the Union Jack in an effort to prevent the Confederates from levelling it with artillery.

Train coming out of the mountain!

There's a ghost tour that starts at the church - highly recommend. According to residents around Charles Town, Harpers Ferry is the most haunted area in all of West Virginia. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but there was one really creepy incident back at the hotel that I'm saving for a later post...

So yeah. If you're in the area and you see this sign, make it a point to go. Very awesome. You'll hear all sorts of neat and creeptastic things. Like the disappearing priest. And the baby who was killed by a mortar shell. Both of these stories are associated with the church.


Instead of taking the stairs back down - wouldn't have been as strenuous but there is that tiny gravity thing and roomie and I are unbalanced on good days - we looped around and walked past root cellars and stairs built into the walls. 

Plaque erected for John Brown and his raiders (1859).

And the memorial for the United States Marine killed at Harpers Ferry during the raid:

This is actually down by the train station, but who's really keeping track.

Roomie and I stopped in to most of the shops just to take a peak, then meandered down to the point for the breathtaking view of where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet.

The Shenandoah on the right.

The Potomac on the left. There was a train going by when I snapped this and you can see the reflection on the water. We walked across the footbridge as well, but I was far too panicky to take a lot of photos and spent most of the time looking down to make sure my feet were on something stable-ish. 

The point where both rivers meet

Another of the Shenandoah.

This is off the bridge that goes across the Potomac River. It's one of two shots I took, the second being at the end, right as I realized that I still had to cross back over. Heart in throat. I so hate heights, but I did it!

Last photo on the bridge, lol. The entrance to the train tunnel that goes into the mountain.

St. Peter's Church from below. 


John at the visitors center sent us to check out Bolivar Heights and Camp Hill, and he recommended that we see Antietam before we left. It was getting late in the afternoon by this time so we headed to Camp Hill - specifically Storer College. We were going to check out Bolivar Heights (the trenches are still there!) but ran out of time. The problem with going so late in the year is that the days are short and it started getting dark just after five. Camp Hill was a Union camp back in the day. Obviously a lot has changed in 151 years. The photos we took are on the camera and I'm not sure where that is at the moment (still haven't fully unpacked!). 

Day three ended after a ghost tour and a trip in to Charles Town.

If you're ever in Charles Town, by the way, this store is haunted! According to employees, the strip plaza is built on what used to be farm land, and the family burial plot was dug up. One of the women we spoke to said that she was working late and suddenly felt the right side of her face heat up. A man demanded to know what she was doing there. She says they have also heard a young woman, an older woman, and a baby calling for mama...


St. Peter's church circa September-October 1862 during the Battle of Antietam.

Thanks for reading!


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