Summer Travel: Test the Waters
These vacation spots are dripping with fun. Start planning now.
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Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
You know it as the place where, on October 16, 1859, abolitionist John Brown and his 21-man “army of liberation” staged a raid to capture the weapon-filled arsenal and establish a guerilla warfare stronghold in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While the raid was a disaster, it did focus the nation’s attention on the issue of slavery and, to paraphrase Frederick Douglass, began the war that ended it. Although the living history town has been recreated in West Virginia at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, the 2,300-acre Harpers Ferry National Historical Park actually stretches into Maryland and Virginia as well. The Appalachian Trail also runs through Harpers Ferry offering the ultimate in hiking. And whitewater thrills await on the rivers. For shopping and dining, save some time to visit German Street in the neighboring community of Shepherdstown.
Where To Stay
Bavarian Inn (164 Shepherd Grade Rd., Shepherdstown, 304-876-2551, bavarianinnwv.com), with its river- and garden-view rooms and suites ($115 to $355), is a surprising glimpse of Europe with its Schwarzwald (Black Forest) Haus and collection of Alpine-style chalets. Rooms and suites have private balconies and antique furnishings, some with fireplaces, large sitting areas, canopied four-poster beds and double-size whirlpool tubs. There’s a pool with a deck on-site and inn guests have access to the private 18-hole, par-72 championship golf course ($38) at the nearby Cress Creek Country Club.
Where to Eat
At Greystone Mansion at the Bavarian Inn, the lunch ($6 to $19.95), dinner ($18 to $38) and Sunday brunch ($19.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids) menus highlight traditional German favorites from Sauerbraten to Szegediner Goulash with contemporary twists. Chef Wolfgang Vorment also includes American wild game dishes and the wine list offers more than 600 different labels. Tiny Stone Soup Bistro (112 W. German St., Shepherdstown; 304-876-8477; stonesoupbistro.com; $7 to $13) serves up a killer homemade soup du jour in a bread bowl, sandwiches, salads and entrées, including vegetarian and vegan selections.
Secret Six Tavern (186 High St., Harpers Ferry, 304-535-3044), named after six New England men who secretly funded John Brown’s Raid, is a casual spot in two 1839 former private homes. Burgers ($9.99) come Confederate (with local ham) and Union (with bacon) style.
Fancy, it’s not, but the locals flock to the Turf Motel & Rib Room (741 E. Washington St., Charles Town, 800-422-TURF, turfmotel.com; $5.95 to $10.95 for lunch, $15.95 to $24.95) for prime rib.
Made-from-scratch pastas, mozzarella, breads and desserts ensure that the menus at Yellow Brick Bank (201 E. German St. Shepherdstown, 304-876-2208, yellowbrickbank.com; lunch is $7.50 to $10, dinner averages $21 to $27) are always on the money. The talk of the town is the Jo Jo ice cream made from homemade peanut butter and marshmallow at Patterson’s Drug Store (134 S. Queen St., Martinsburg, 304-267-8903).
Stroll the brick sidewalks of Shenandoah Street where you can visit the restored 19th-century shops, museums and other buildings, chat with costumed interpreters and watch cooking, craft and artillery demonstrations in the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (304-535-6029, nps.gov/hafe, $6 per single, private vehicle, $4 for individuals on foot or bicycle). Trace the progression of John Brown’s 36-hour raid and its repercussions during a ranger-guided tour. Don’t miss the John Brown Museum and Black Voices Museum. Check out the sweeping mountain and river views from Bolivar Heights Battlefield, which Thomas Jefferson described as “one of the most stupendous scenes of nature.”
Keep your eye out for the over 170 bird species (including bald eagles, peregrine falcons and retailed hawks). To get more of the local story, stop in nearby Charles Town, home of the Jefferson County Museum and Courthouse (200 East Washington St., 304-725-8628, Charles Town, jeffctywvmuseum.org; $3 for adults) with its extensive collection of raid-related, Civil War and Native American artifacts and the Belle Boyd House and Museum (126 E. Race St., 304-267-4713; donations), childhood home of one of the most famous Civil War spies.
Take a two- to-four-and-a-half-hour guided raft ride on Class I to III whitewater with River & Trail Outfitters (604 Valley Rd., Knoxville, Md., right outside of Harpers Ferry; 888-446-7529, rivertrail.com; adults $61.42 weekdays, $68.09 weekends; kids $55.71 and $62.38). For some musical entertainment, you’ll hear all kinds at The Shepherdstown Opera House (131 W. German St., 304-876-3704, operahouselive.com) or you can relax in a rocking chair and enjoy an impromptu jam session every Thursday evening at O’Hurley’s General Store (205 E. Washington St., 304-876-6907, ohurley.com).
Page 4: Lake Naomi Club, Pennsylvania