Luray Caverns in Virginia

Luray Caverns in Virginia
Luray Caverns in Virginia

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Antietam National Battlefield- Sharpsburg, Maryland

So, on this road trip, we had not planned on going to see the Antietam National Battlefield.  The way things were planned, it simply was not on our radar.

Then- a few plans got shuffled around, a couple things changed, and we realized that we would be able to swing by here and check another National Park AND Civil War Battlefield off of the checklist!

I have to admit though....  I was a little reluctant.  Before we visit a major historic site like this, I like to read up on it...  research it....  know exactly what happened there.  Obviously I wasn't able to do that before this unplanned visit.  Still, that is no reason to skip out on a park when an opportunity comes up!

We arrived at the visitor center and I talked to a ranger.  It was $10 to buy a pass to drive around the battlefield.  The rangers were friendly and helpful...  and they were doing a presentation starting a few minutes after we arrived, so we went to a ranger talk about the battle.

I did not catch this ranger's name, but he did a great talk about the battle.  AND I thought it was cool that he did his talk in a roomy glassed in area, looking out over the battlefield.  In many ways, you could take in most of the battle from this room.

After the ranger talk, we did a walk though the museum at the visitor center. 

After leaving the park's visitor center, we used the map we got from the park and did the driving tour, also listening to CDs provided by the B&B where we were staying, the Jackson Rose.

Check out my photos!

Monday, November 20, 2017

John Brown's Grave, Near Lake Placid, NY

John Brown's Grave, near Lake Placid, NY.  This postcard is unused and undated.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

La Mezzaluna Cafe in Charles Town West Virginia

La Mezzaluna Café Italian Restaurant came very highly recommended by the Jackson Rose Inn.

I have never indulged in Italian food the way I did here.  The food was ridiculously good...  and there was simply a lot of it.

I had one of those experiences where I had had enough.  My stomach was tapping out, but there was still more on my plate... and it was so good... so I kept going.

We had a funny waitress who joked about it all being 0 calories, and how she was evil for tempting us with it all.  We loved her.

We had a great, fresh salad before our meal, along with some great bread.  The entrées were amazing, and then our evil waitress forced us to have a really nice ice cream/chocolate dessert, which she split for us.

Charles Town West Virginia is very lucky to have this nice little Italian place.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Jackson Rose Inn- Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

We can't say enough about the Jackson Rose Bed and Breakfast in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

We knew we wanted to spend a couple of days in Harpers Ferry, and we looked at what was available in the area.  After just a little research, we found this place.

What really got our attention, as we planned an almost 100% Civil War themed road trip, was that Stonewall Jackson used this exact building as a headquarters for a month!

Not only that, BUT, you can reserve the actual room that he stayed in for that month!  That's kind of a big deal.

ALSO, while staying here, he wrote to his wife and told her about the beautiful roses he could see outside of his room!

We called and found out that the room Jackson stayed in WOULD BE AVAILABLE for the nights we would be in town!

Like the Inn at Herr Ridge in Gettysburg, I was looking forward to staying at this beautiful place, full of history.  In fact, I was more excited about being at this inn than I was about being in the town of Harpers Ferry.

Deb greeted us when we arrived and showed us around.  She encouraged us to check out the other rooms, as none of the other guests had arrived yet.  I always enjoy this opportunity in a historic place like this- so we checked out the other rooms, which were all very nice.

I was most excited about our room though, where Stonewall Jackson likely spent most of his time.  Our room felt very big yet cozy.  You can look at the building and tell that it is old, but the whole place felt very taken care of.  The building and the room were old, but clean and kept up.  Our bathroom was nice and big too, which actually surprised us!

The sweet little family owning/running the place, Phil and Deb were very helpful, and made great suggestions.  They let us borrow driving tour CDs for Antietam when we mentioned that we would be going there.  HUGE BONUS!

Both mornings we had UNBELIEVABLE breakfasts.  Look at the omelet in the picture.  That is the best omelet I have ever had.  Not sure what they did to it, but I am still thinking about it.

AND, at breakfast, all guests take a seat at a cozy family table.  We were joined both days by a friendly couple from New Mexico, and on our last day, a couple from Lexington Virginia joined us!

This was a great experience, as all parties liked to travel, and to see historic sites.  Many of us had done similar things in the Harpers Ferry area and we compared notes.  We also talked about other parks and towns we had visited, or hoped to visit.  Everyone had been to Lexington Virginia recently.  We all raved about the National Parks.  Talking with the other couples each morning was a really pleasant part of our stay.

Oh, if you stay in B&Bs often, you know that some can be a bit pricey.  Well, this one was actually VERY reasonable.  For such a nice, beautiful place with such history, we felt like we got an amazing deal!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mad Monks Coffee Shop- Charles Town West Virginia

You know I love coffee, and I really love oddball little coffee shops.  Well, my wife googled around and found Mad Monks Coffee Shop in Charles Town and we knew we had to visit!

They do close around 3, so we made a point to swing by earlier in the day.

Anyway, this is a coffee shop ran by Catholic Priests.

We went in and ordered a couple of drinks.  The friendly fellow who helped us seemed joyful and witty.  I joked with him about having too many options to choose from and he had a quick witted response for any playful jab.

The shop was cozy and the coffee was great.  The vibe inside was not stuffy and uptight......  like one might assume a coffee shop ran by priests might be (not to stereotype).  It felt more upbeat, welcoming, and happy.

I know there are a lot of coffee shops out there right now connected to a church, or trying to be a part of some mission.  I like seeing that sort of thing.... a business trying to do more than make a profit.  This seems similar, but still totally different.  I am not sure if there are many more coffee shops ran by priests, but I give these guys a HUGE tip of the hat.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ruins of St. George Chapel, Charles Town, W. Va.

"St. George's Chapel was the first church erected West of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  No record has ever been found on the exact date of its erection, owing to the fact that it was part of Norborne Parish, England.  The original furnishings were brought from England.  The roof of sheet lead was used for bullets during the Civil War."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Claymont Court, Charles Town, W. Va.

Here is another colorful old postcard of Charles Town, picked up at their community museum!

The back notes-

"Claymont Court, Charles Town, W. Va. was built in 1820 by Bushrod C. Washington, great grand nephew of George Washington.  Recently restored home of R. J. Funkhouser."

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Chalres Washington Hall, Charles Town, W. Va.

"Charles Washington Memorial Hall located on one of the four corners, donated by Charles Washington, brother of Gen. George Washington."

Sunday, November 12, 2017

US Armory Buildings. Harper's Ferry, W. Va. at time of Civil War

Here is a GREAT postcard I bought for pocket change from the Jefferson County Museum in Charles Town West Virginia......  Go there and buy one for yourself!  On the back of this one, it says-

"Of the many places that were in a constant state of siege during the Civil War, Harper's Ferry suffered most heavily.  The Government arsenal and armories located there were destroyed by Federal Troops to prevent their capture by the Confederates.  These buildings were erected sometime after the Revolutionary War, and it was there that many of the old flint lock rifles were made that were used in the War of 1812."

Friday, November 10, 2017

Post Office, Charles Town, W. Va.

 "Founded in 1786, by Charles Washington, Brother of the President.  Here John Brown was tried and convicted of Treason.  Home of W. L. Wilson, Post Master General- 1896- who here started the first Rural Free Delivery in America."

Here is a vintage postcard scan of the Charles Town post office (I bought this postcard in Charles Town), followed by a couple of photos I took at the building recently.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The John Brown Wagon- Charles Town, West Virginia

I mentioned that the John Brown Wagon, which took him to the gallows on the day he died and transported his remains later, is on display in the museum in Charles Town.

The top color photo is one I took of the wagon while we visited.  The black and white picture under it is scanned from a postcard I bought at the museum.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Jefferson County Museum- Charles Town West Virginia

This was something not even on my radar when we planned our trip to the Charles Town area.  I am so glad I found this place!

We stopped by the visitor center in Charles Town, and they recommended that we swing by the Jefferson County Museum which is in the same building as the library.

AND, this ended up being a highlight of our visit to the area.

A very nice young lady gave us a map of the museum, and even gave us a bit of a mini guided tour. 

They do have some very interesting displays on the local school, industry, etc.  There are vintage toys.  All worthy of display.

BUT, they have many items that I am sure make bigger museums jealous.

There is a HAND WRITTEN letter from George Washington to his brother Charles, who founded this town.  It is in a very protective case, and it is the original that is on display.

I think most visitors swing by here to see the John Brown related items though...  and they do have many.

Guns from the arsenal are here.  Personal items of Browns are in cases to see nearby.  They even have some very impressive items relating to the man and his time in the area.

There is an entire case of small items owned or relating to Brown.

I think the most stunning/shocking item is the wagon that Brown rode in on his way to the gallows.

As we left, we noticed that the museum sold old vintage linen postcards for a quarter each or five for a dollar!  I felt like a thief buying them at that price, but I bought $5 worth.  Plus, I think it was $6 to go through... so this place is a great bargain too!

I don't want to knock any of the other great sites around, but this museum is incredible.  I would say if you only had a couple of hours to spend in the Harpers Ferry/Charles Town area and you can only visit one place- this would be the one to visit.  I would even say that, if you had to choose between a quick visit to the National Park location, or this museum.....  I would pick this nice little museum!