Monday, April 23, 2007

Harpers Ferry

Ah, glorious, glorious sun! The sun shone brightly last Saturday for the first time in months and the temperature shot up to a divine 70 degrees. To think that only a week before, I was shivering in my toes. Suddenly I was alive and perky! No wonder the Incas worship the sun. It gives life, it makes people happy.

And so last weekend, we went on a real excursion to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Harpers Ferry is a little, old historic town where three states meet- West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. And it is also the location where two famous rivers converge- the Shenandoah and the Potomac. The tiny, tiny town is rich is Civil War history. So little was the town that you can tour it in half a day. But no doubt about it, Harpers Ferry is a picturesque town. To walk in its cobblestone streets and alleys was amazing. It has few restaurants, some little museums, a number of souvenir shops and various Civil War sites and memorials. It also has a history dating back 1747. And Lewis and Clark replenished their supplies at Harpers Ferry back in 1803. Being nestled in a ravine, and with its old world buildings, the town exuded charm and mystery.

Harpers Ferry is only an hour and twenty-one minutes away from where we live. By the time we got there at half past ten o’clock, the sun was shining splendidly and visitors start trickling in. We got a nice parking by vintage-looking train station. It’s amazingly beautiful to watch a train go by. I am talking about the old trains which carry supplies, mails, etc. AmTrak passes by Harpers Ferry, too. As outdated as it may look, but people still has wonder about a train coming. When the train siren sounded somewhere, people really liven up and wait for its arrival, and then watch the train roll by, leaving an air of amazement in its trail.

We had lunch at the Armory Pub. I had wanted to dine al fresco, all getting excited with the restaurant’s deck with a good view of the train tunnel and the two rivers. But the hubby said it’s out of the question since bees were hovering above. So we ate inside its all-wood second-floor dining hall. I had the tuna melt sandwich, the hubby had the Philly cheese steak melt, and the mother-in-law had the crab cake sandwich, which she declared as the best meal she has ever had so far in the US. The food was good, however, the strangest thing was we were charged 25cents for our glass of water. First time I encountered such a preposterous thing.

We explored the quaint, narrow streets of the lower town, the railroad trestle, climbed the stone steps up the hill to the St. Peter’s Catholic Church and the St. John’s Church ruins. It has a great view of the lower town and the two rivers. We trekked in the footbridge to the C&O Canal, and watched an AmTrak glide past us and into the tunnel. In the Arsenal Square stood John Brown’s fort- a significant Civil War relic. We trod the pebble path to the Point, a lookout point for the converging two rivers. The sun was high and ablaze that my nape, neck and the top of my shoulders got burnt. But what the heck, I’ve been covered up for far too long I’m proud I got mildly toasted!

We spent the last 15 minutes of our visit at Harpers Ferry sitting on a bench outside the dark brick-red color of the Waiting Room at the railroad station, eating ice cream cones. We were hoping to catch another train and see what it’s like. But the train never came and it was time to leave. Maybe next time.

We drove for another 14 minutes to Charles Town, West Virginia, to the Charles Town Races and Slots. It was close to 4 pm when we got there, and the 4th level parking was practically deserted. I was excited to go to the casino. But I never got to try the slots and missed my chances of winning thousands of dollars (hehe) because the security adamantly refused to let me in. They wanted my ID. I didn’t bring any. I was more worried about the thong sandals I was wearing and totally obliterated the matter of bringing any form of identification. The whole thing- is worthy of another blog entry.

It still was, a glorious, happy, toasty, merry Saturday.

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