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Only an hour and fifteen minute drive from Washington DC, Harpers Ferry National Park is a delightful getaway for the day, an overnighter or perhaps even a weekend. There’s lots to do and something for everyone: hiking, civil war history, river sports, fishing, shopping in the quaint town and much more.

Harpers Ferry Lower Trail We parked at the Visitors Center parking lot because the town has narrow streets and the parking is extremely limited. There’s a shuttle every 15 minutes but we walked 1.7 miles along the Lower Town trail into Harpers Ferry. There’s a sign at the start of the trail designating it as strenuous but it’s moderate to easy. The hardest part are all the steps.

Harpers Ferry Steps along the Lower Town Trail
Steps on the Lower Town Trail

Harpers Ferry Lower Town Trail on the rail
Attempting to make it more strenuous

We got to see beautiful wildlife along the way:

Butterfly at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Butterfly at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Along the Lower Town Trail, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Along the Lower Town Trail, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry Black Butterfly
B
lack Butterfly

IMG_9606
The Shenandoah River

Harpers Ferry Virginius Island Bent Log
Bent log on Virginius Island

Harpers Ferry Church and bookshop
Bookstore and Church on the hill as you enter Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry Ruins of Pulp factory
Pulp Factory Ruins

The town is named after Robert Harper who operated a ferry across the Potomac River beginning in 1747. By the early 1800s, the river powered the US Armory complex and the various commercial mills including two pulp mills, a flour mill, a saw mill and a cotton mill. There was also the Halls Island Rifle Factory which revolutionized manufacturing rifles by perfecting interchangeable parts.

Harpers Ferry National Park Guide
For a detailed historic talk about the famous John Brown Raid, be sure to go on one of the walking tours with a Park Service Ranger. We thoroughly enjoyed the stories he told us and certainly learned a lot about the history of Harpers Ferry. Although Brown’s raid failed, it became a symbol of Freedom and focused attention on the issue of slavery leading to the Civil War.

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The Big Island of Hawaii is, well… BIG!

That’s what I love about it ~ it’s so diverse.  We began our visit in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It’s located on the Southeast side of the island which is usually damp and chilly.  We’re stayed at the Kilauea Military Camp (KMC) which rents out cottages to military members and their Families.  We splurged and rented the “Eisenhower House.”  President Eisenhower stayed in this cottage in 1946 when he was General Eisenhower. It’s a beautiful house with two bedrooms, dining room, living room, full kitchen and two bathrooms. I could easily live here!

As lovely as the cottage is, the best part is the proximity to Kilauea Volcano and all the sights to see in the Park. There is a lot to see in the Park and I highly recommend the hikes. Makes you feel like you’re on another planet sometimes ~ the vast, empty spaces that have been covered by lava.  Well worth the trip to see it.

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